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   Forum » General » Tone: Vocabulary and Spectra
Author: William Date: 2004-11-04 20:37:14
I am an electrical engineer with a highly technical background, and I am also in the market for a new or used flute at the intermediate level ($1k range). As most of you are aware, there is a bewildering array of choices available, and an even bewildering-er array of opinions about those choices.

Everyone has his own two cents to put in about whether open or closed hole is better or whether Yamaha or Gemeinhardt is better. Some of those discussions degenerate into mudslinging and name calling and other flaming unpleasantry worthy of the most political discussion groups. When the matter is kept purely subjective in that way, there is no point in saying one is "better". What you mean is, you like one better.

Personally, I desire to play with a sound that I can only describe as a "chocolate" sound, because I do not have the vocabulary for describing sounds. I have read such descriptions of sounds as "dark", "brilliant", "shrill", etc., with never any explanation as to what that means acoustically.

OK. So the debate rages whether open or closed hole is better, but what I want to know is, are they DIFFERENT? Has anyone ever put two instruments, identical except for the open/closed thing, on a spectrum analyzer? What do the FT (Fourier Transform) of "dark" and "brilliant" sounds look like? Are those two mutually exclusive?

Do you know what I mean?


Author:Marco Date: 2004-11-26 12:56:45
I can't answer your question directly, but there is a site about flute acoustics: http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/music/flute/
Author:smb Date: 2005-01-09 00:13:14
There is no difference regarding the spectra of open and closed holes flutes. The spectrum of harmonics follows a mathematical pattern, and the tuning of such harmonics depends on many things, mainly the tuning of the flute.
Author:B Date: 2005-01-09 00:28:30
Playing open or closed hole is really a thing that depends on what the player prefers. But open holes offer so many more possibilities for microtonal tunings. I don't think that so called 'spectral' composers really think about if the player is using an open or closed hole flute. Most spectral composers write what they want to hear, and I don't know of any spectral composers who have written pieces based on a spectral analysis of the flute.

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