Designing End-Blown Flutes

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This program provides measurements for hole placement and size toward creating end-blown flutes from straight-walled tubes. The light blue area indicates suitable dimensions for flutes between E and F. The colored "timbre" rectangle indicates brighter or darker timbre as related to the aspect ratio. Bright flutes favor the second octave and darker, the first. A very bright flute will play into the third octave.


Holes are counted from the flute's foot and measured from the head. The fifth hole (uppermost) is often placed on the back and played with a thumb. The scale produced by these flutes is the minor pentatonic. All measurements are in millimeters.

The colored dots indicate whole bass note dimensions that can be made from PCV pipe. Green and blue dots are for 3/4" and 1" schedule 40 (thin walled) PVC. Green dots: D, C#, C, B. Blue dots: A, G#, F#, F. Black and brown dots are for 3/4" and 1" schedule 80 (thick walled) pipe. Black: E, D#, D, C#. Brown: B, Bb, A, G#.

Non-whole note flutes will be tuned to themselves and serve perfectly well as solo flutes.

Click and drag to operate. The play button sounds the nearest whole note pitch to the flute size selected and does not reflect changes in timbre.


Contributed by: Nelson Zink (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA




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