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Durham e-Theses
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The search for a microtonal Flute

Grain, Rachel Victoria (2006) The search for a microtonal Flute. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This thesis investigates the possibility of a microtonal flute and the practicality of playing such an instrument. Microtonality is concerned with the intervals between any two consecutive notes in a tuning system. Standard tuning is not considered microtonal, however, any other system can be. There are various tuning systems that are used throughout the world. These include Equal Tempered Tuning, Just Intonation, Chinese Pentatonic, and Javanese Slendro tuning. An instrument with the ability to change between any tuning systems would be considered fully microtonal. In this thesis the frequencies and spectrums produced by the Boehm flute are investigated prior to investigating the 'plunger' flute and the 'sieve' flutes. Within a given register the plunger can be considered as a fully microtonal instrument however, results from the plunger flute show that the instrument could not play the full range, and that the size of the bore greatly impeded the result. The Sieve flutes produced a clearer sound, which was more like the Boehm flute than the Plunger flute was. However, the results show that for the two sieve flutes produced, neither of them could play in any complete tuning system. Due to the tone hole positions not matching those on the Boehm flute the instruments were unable to play in 12-ET (Equal Tempered). However, the results were not entirely unsatisfactory and with the modifications suggested for the sieve flute it is believed that a tuning system other than 12-ET would be playable. This thesis examines some of the other possibilities that could be used to develop and subsequently produce a suitable playable microtonal flute. This thesis briefly considers how the ideas from the search for a microtonal flute could be used in the search for other microtonal woodwind instrument.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:2006
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Sep 2011 09:57

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