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#1 2010-05-31 22:01:06

tddy934
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Registered: 2010-05-29
Posts: 10

Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

I've tried only a few types of bamboo, and I was wondering which one to try next, I want one the sounds good and is easy to work with.

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#2 2010-06-01 10:04:30

Toby
Shakuhachi Scientist
From: out somewhere circling the sun
Registered: 2008-03-15
Posts: 405

Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

Bamboo itself has no "sound". But different types have different general internal dimensions and smoothness, and this is what does affect the sound. Shakuhachi are traditionally made from madake bamboo, but even then way less than 1% of culms meet the ideal requirements for shakuhachi (in terms of diameter and node spacing), to say nothing about the root end and other aesthetic points. There have been a few shakuhachi made of moso, but it is generally too large and with lower nodes spaced too close together to be of use.

Toby

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#3 2010-06-01 19:27:45

Tairaku 太楽
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From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
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Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

Ken made a nice one out of Tonkin bamboo.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#4 2010-06-01 19:56:06

Taldaran
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From: Everett, Washington-USA
Registered: 2009-01-13
Posts: 232

Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

I have made a few out of tonkin cane poles as well...used the section closest to the rootend. They make surprisingly good flutes!

Last edited by Taldaran (2010-06-01 19:57:01)


Christopher

“Whoever can see through all fear will always be safe.” Tao Te Ching

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#5 2010-06-01 20:28:34

Moran from Planet X
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From: Here to There
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Posts: 1524
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Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

Tairaku 大楽 wrote:

Ken made a nice one out of Tonkin bamboo.

I had a 2.3 cast bore Tonkin Taimu from Ken. It sounded great.

But, it sounded a lot different than the pure jinashi 2.3 Japanese Madake Taimu I had from him (A very thick piece of bamboo from one of Kodama's harvests). Both were A-flat flutes. Big difference in sound. Tonkin flute had walls 3 to 4mm thick. Japanese Madake flute had walls 8 to 10mm thick, not accounting for the root end which had 20mm walls.

Couldn't have been more different in sound except if one of the flutes were made of thin galvanized steel and the other one made from thick earthenware pipe.

Last edited by Chris Moran (2010-06-01 21:05:08)


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." —Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#6 2010-06-03 05:24:18

Toby
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From: out somewhere circling the sun
Registered: 2008-03-15
Posts: 405

Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

The thickness of the walls is not significant; the dimensions of the bore and smoothness are the main determinants of the sound.

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#7 2010-06-03 05:43:25

Moran from Planet X
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Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

Toby wrote:

The thickness of the walls is not significant; the dimensions of the bore and smoothness are the main determinants of the sound.

I suggest we test this statement of yours, Toby.

We (collectively speaking) can stuff you into a 1/2" thick walled culvert and leave you in an abandoned field overnight.

Then the next night leave you stuffed in a 3" thick walled culvert in the same field.

We can stand at the edge of the field and measure the decibels of your screams.

Fair 'nuff?


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." —Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#8 2010-06-03 08:18:09

Colyn Petersen
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From: Omaha, NE
Registered: 2009-11-20
Posts: 46
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Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

Toby wrote:

The thickness of the walls is not significant; the dimensions of the bore and smoothness are the main determinants of the sound.

This is where reality leaves theory far behind. I change the wall thickness of my flutes according to the density of the wood to get a particular sound. Absolutely it makes a difference.


Though images may appear on the surface of a mirror with clarity, they are neither in the mirror, nor sticking to its surface.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

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#9 2010-06-03 09:29:36

edosan
Edomologist
From: Salt Lake City
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 2185

Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

Chris Moran wrote:

We can stand at the edge of the field and measure the decibels of your screams.

Fair 'nuff?

You sure you've been keepin' up on your meds, Chris?


Zen is not easy.
It takes effort to attain nothingness.
And then what do you have?
Bupkes.

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#10 2010-06-03 14:57:42

Moran from Planet X
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Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

edosan wrote:

Chris Moran wrote:

We can stand at the edge of the field and measure the decibels of your screams.

Fair 'nuff?

You sure you've been keepin' up on your meds, Chris?

Well, the nurses said I could have cake today.


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." —Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#11 2010-06-03 17:21:17

Colyn Petersen
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From: Omaha, NE
Registered: 2009-11-20
Posts: 46
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Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

For me any audible difference in a flute is significant, even if it amounts to only 5%. Talking numbers, maybe not, but it can be the difference between choosing one flute over another. Bamboo itself may not have a sound, but it does react to sound as do most materials. The thinner a material, the more it is affected by sound and or vibration. Does not the sound in a resonating tube react to the vibration that is created within the material of the tube itself, a sort of anti or complementing resonance so to speak? Would not a thinner wall be more subject to this reaction over a thicker one? It may be subtle but it is there, perhaps resulting in more, or less, of an harmonic or overtone? For me it seems to be more audible in Otsu vs. Kan. I can both hear and feel this difference. Of course I can also hear a sonic welder which I am not supposed to be able to do. Having made several thousand flutes of various sorts in different woods with varying densities, wall thicknesses and hole placements, I do not just suspect, I am convinced. Granted some of the sound difference is due to the chimney height at the hole as John mentioned, there is still a difference and it is very much related to wall thickness as well as density of the material being used.


Though images may appear on the surface of a mirror with clarity, they are neither in the mirror, nor sticking to its surface.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

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#12 2010-06-04 02:40:09

rpowers
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From: San Francisco
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 285

Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

fouw wrote:

Theory and science are interesting but they're not going to convince me that skull thickness isn't an important factor.

I thought that only applied to oboe (if you've played oboe, you know).


"Shut up 'n' play . . . " -- Frank Zappa
"Gonna blow some . . ." -- Junior Walker
"It's not the flute." -- Riley Lee

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#13 2010-06-04 12:50:15

Toby
Shakuhachi Scientist
From: out somewhere circling the sun
Registered: 2008-03-15
Posts: 405

Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

Colyn Petersen wrote:

For me any audible difference in a flute is significant, even if it amounts to only 5%. Talking numbers, maybe not, but it can be the difference between choosing one flute over another. Bamboo itself may not have a sound, but it does react to sound as do most materials. The thinner a material, the more it is affected by sound and or vibration. Does not the sound in a resonating tube react to the vibration that is created within the material of the tube itself, a sort of anti or complementing resonance so to speak? Would not a thinner wall be more subject to this reaction over a thicker one? It may be subtle but it is there, perhaps resulting in more, or less, of an harmonic or overtone? For me it seems to be more audible in Otsu vs. Kan. I can both hear and feel this difference. Of course I can also hear a sonic welder which I am not supposed to be able to do. Having made several thousand flutes of various sorts in different woods with varying densities, wall thicknesses and hole placements, I do not just suspect, I am convinced. Granted some of the sound difference is due to the chimney height at the hole as John mentioned, there is still a difference and it is very much related to wall thickness as well as density of the material being used.

There is no audible difference due to wall thickness, since even the thinnest bamboo only vibrates about a micrometer due to the pressure of the air column. This translates into an addition to the radiated sound of about -40 dB, or .01% of the sound produced by the air column. That is more than totally inaudible. A recent experiment used a metal tube about 1/40 the thickness of a metal flute wall--15 micrometers--and the researchers could not even get it to vibrate significantly at that thickness. In fact to get it to enter breathing mode, in which the walls couple with a playing frequency and sustain the resonance in a way that the vibrations are large and continuing, they actually had to make the tube elliptical in shape. Even then, using an oval tube fifteen thousandths of a millimeter thick, they found that the vibrations had no appreciable effect on the radiated sound:

http://perso.univ-lemans.fr/%7Ejgilbert … ll_vib.pdf

This is totally in agreement with every credible experiment on the subject that has been performed in the past century or so. There is not one which leads anyone to believe that wall materials make any difference at all.

If you claim a physical effect, there must be a physical mechanism to cause it. There is no physical mechanism to cause any change in sound due to the miniscule vibrations of the wall. Further, you could only reliably claim that you find a difference if you are able to completely control all the other variables which are known to cause a difference in sound, the main ones being bore geometry and smoothness. Can you tell me that all your bores are identical to within, let us say, 1/100 of a millimeter throughout? Because that is the level at which significant changes in sound occur. I can supply you with all the math and formulae that explain this, if you wish. Likewise, since 99% of the input energy of a wind instrument is lost at the walls, smoothness plays a very important factor. Were all your walls of identical smoothness?

Finally, there is the wild card: human perception based on expectation. It has been reliably shown that expert flute players who were convinced that they could consistently tell the difference between flutes in different materials, to the point where they could describe the differences, found themselves absolutely unable to tell the difference when visual, tactile and weight clues were removed. In a separate experiment, ten top professional trombonists testing bells (again, which they felt sure they could identify by sound) were unable in double-blind testing to tell them apart, even though those bells actually did differ in sound radiation by 2 dB at the position of the player's ears. This is enough to be perceptible, but not one of those trombonists could tell those bells apart.

This subject is endlessly debated, and everybody is convinced that wall thickness and/or density makes a difference, but this is all untrue: any sound differences are due to either difference in bore geometry, smoothness, or player belief leading to expectation leading to differences in performance leading to perception reinforcing belief...

FWIW,
Toby

Last edited by Toby (2010-06-04 12:57:56)

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#14 2010-06-04 13:05:49

edosan
Edomologist
From: Salt Lake City
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 2185

Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

I'll be salting this one away for future deployment...


Zen is not easy.
It takes effort to attain nothingness.
And then what do you have?
Bupkes.

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#15 2010-06-04 13:16:57

edosan
Edomologist
From: Salt Lake City
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 2185

Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

One simple way of getting a 'real' world feel for at least part what Toby's talking about here is to take a bunch of your shakuhachi and tape all the holes up, each with a couple of layers of masking or blue tape, then play a hearty Ro on each of them, keeping your fingers OFF the taped holes (for now).

You will feel virtually NO vibration in your fingertips when you do this, on any of your flutes. I've tried it; I didn't. Then play a Ro with your fingers over the taped holes.

You'll feel some slight vibration at your fingertips (as you do when normally playing the flute), and that is caused by the resonating air column in
the bore and hole chimney pressing against the tape.

Any vibration you may feel on the outside of the flute when the holes are taped is MINISCULE in terms of creating any audible sound itself, or affecting the sound created by the resonating bore. You don't even feel all that much at the taped holes.


Zen is not easy.
It takes effort to attain nothingness.
And then what do you have?
Bupkes.

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#16 2010-06-04 13:19:39

baian
Member
Registered: 2006-03-28
Posts: 83

Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

physics , huh ?

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#17 2010-06-04 16:18:39

Moran from Planet X
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From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
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Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

edosan wrote:

Any vibration you may feel on the outside of the flute when the holes are taped is MINISCULE in terms of creating any audible sound itself, or affecting the sound created by the resonating bore.

My offer is open to you, as well as Toby, for being a principle test subject.


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." —Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#18 2010-06-04 16:37:36

edosan
Edomologist
From: Salt Lake City
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 2185

Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

Chris Moran wrote:

edosan wrote:

Any vibration you may feel on the outside of the flute when the holes are taped is MINISCULE in terms of creating any audible sound itself, or affecting the sound created by the resonating bore.

My offer is open to you, as well as Toby, for being a principle test subject.

There is no doable 'test', because in order to do one, you'd need two shakuhachi with identical bores, but different wall thicknesses (and you'd need to assume identical bamboo density as well).

Got any of those layin' around for the test, X?


Zen is not easy.
It takes effort to attain nothingness.
And then what do you have?
Bupkes.

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#19 2010-06-04 22:26:00

Toby
Shakuhachi Scientist
From: out somewhere circling the sun
Registered: 2008-03-15
Posts: 405

Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

For those who are still open to learning on this subject, I think it would be instructive to read John Coltman's classic double-blind experiment on the subject of the effect (subjective and objective) of wall materials. Go to:

https://ccrma.stanford.edu/marl/Coltman/Papers.html

1.06 Effect of material on flute tone quality.

Afterward read:

1.08 Material used in flute construction

This contains his response to his own Chris Moran-type interlocutor.

Amazing how this touches nerves, isn't it?

Bert Pimentel has summed up the subject very well here. No math needed...

http://www.bretpimentel.com/does-materi … -to-agree/

Finally:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_q … n21295745/

Instead of trying to kill the messenger bringing bad news, doubters are urged to read these papers and engage in constructive debate on the points contained therein.

Toby

"A fable, the more remarkable since it is always discussed, is that the material of which a wind instrument is made has an influence on the sound of the same; that this is not so rests on incontrovertible acoustical laws, about which there should be absolutely no more discussion."

--Arthur H. Benade, 1981

(Benade received the Acoustical Society of America's Silver Medal (for musical acoustics) and its Gold Medal (for overall excellence in acoustics). He served as the Acoustical Society's Vice President and also chaired its Technical Committee on Musical Acoustics. He was a President of the Catgut Acoustical Society; a member of the Technical Advisory Committee of Pierre Boulez's Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique in Paris; an advisor to the Dayton C. Miller Collection of Flutes at the Library of Congress; and an Honorary Member of the National Association of Band Instrument Repair Technicians. His many talks before scientific, educational, and musical organizations in the USA and Europe included a series in Stockholm sponsored by the Swedish Royal Academy of Music and the Plenary Session Lecture in Musical Acoustics at the 9th International Congress on Acoustics in Madrid.)

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#20 2010-06-04 23:12:23

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
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Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

I wonder why most of the big fat flutes I play with thick walls seem different to me. It would be interesting to grind down the bamboo except around the holes and see if they sound exactly the same. That would be the way to experiment and find out.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#21 2010-06-04 23:45:39

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
Website

Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

Jon Kypros wrote:

I was thinking why not make a single PVC flute and then double or triple it up, that is if you can get several pieces of PVC to fit into one another like a telescope.

Good idea. But that would only really prove about PVC. Bamboo might be different. I have a flute by Koga which has clearly been sanded down so the walls are thinner than normal. It is a good sounding flute but I would characterize the sound as thin. I don't know of course what it sounded like before they did that.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#22 2010-06-05 00:11:41

Moran from Planet X
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From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
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Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

edosan wrote:

There is no doable 'test', because in order to do one, you'd need two shakuhachi with identical bores, but different wall thicknesses (and you'd need to assume identical bamboo density as well).

Got any of those layin' around for the test, X?

The test I was referring to was the one stuffing either you or Toby into different thicknesses of drain pipe. I think that's doable.


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." —Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#23 2010-06-05 01:22:09

Toby
Shakuhachi Scientist
From: out somewhere circling the sun
Registered: 2008-03-15
Posts: 405

Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

Chris Moran wrote:

edosan wrote:

There is no doable 'test', because in order to do one, you'd need two shakuhachi with identical bores, but different wall thicknesses (and you'd need to assume identical bamboo density as well).

Got any of those layin' around for the test, X?

The test I was referring to was the one stuffing either you or Toby into different thicknesses of drain pipe. I think that's doable.

Absolutely doable, and the method of choice for so many down through the centuries for finding truth.

Toby

"Eppur si muove..."
      --Galileo Galilei

Last edited by Toby (2010-06-05 01:24:05)

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#24 2010-06-05 01:26:27

Moran from Planet X
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From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
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Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

Toby wrote:

Benade received the Acoustical Society of America's Silver Medal (for musical acoustics) and its Gold Medal (for overall excellence in acoustics).

Can we take both medals and pitch them off of a 12 story building and see if they sound different when they hit the concrete?


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." —Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#25 2010-06-05 02:36:06

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
Website

Re: Best sounding bamboo? If Humans can be cloned why not shakuhachi? Etc.

edosan wrote:

There is no doable 'test', because in order to do one, you'd need two shakuhachi with identical bores, but different wall thicknesses (and you'd need to assume identical bamboo density as well).

All kidding aside (which is hard to do when your opponent is bare-breasted and wearing lederhosen):

You seem to differ from Toby when it comes to density? That's significant. Toby's argument doesn't address density, from my reading, only "smoothness." If you argue that two pieces of bamboo have to be the same density you're making the argument for the other side of the debate.


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." —Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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