Sunday, March 30, 2008

Webster Makes Balloon Flutes

We met in the woodshop and were joined by the Principal and a photographer from St. Paul Illustrated to watch us make 50 balloon flutes.

These are made by cutting 1" thin walled PVC conduit into 6-12" lengths. You smooth the burrs off the ends and drill a 1/2" hole off center which you then file flat to make a clean edge tone. Using all your finger strength and a helper you then pull qualatex balloons over each end and tighten them like a drum. When blown they sound like a cross between a shakuhachi and an ocarina with unpredictable overtones based on fingering the rubber endcaps.

We looked at nose flutes, pan pipes and slide whistles. Next is embouchure training and what kind of music you can make with dozens of these being played outdoors.

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