Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

The science of musical sounds
Miller, Dayton Clarence
cially susceptible to this influence because its metal tube is 
usually only 0.3 millimeter thick. It is conceivable that 
the presence or absence of a ferrule or of a support for a key 
might cause the appearance or disappearance of a partial 
tone, or put a harmonic partial slightly out of tune. 
The traditional influence of different metals on the flute 
tone are consistent with the experimental results obtained 
from the organ pipe. Brass and German silver are usually 
hard, stiff, and thick, and have but little influence upon the 
air column, and the tone is said to be hard and trumpet- 
like. Silver is denser and softer, and adds to the mellowness 
of the tone. The much greater softness and density of gold 
adds still more to the soft massiveness of the walls, giving 
an effect like the organ pipe surrounded with water. Elab¬ 
orate analyses of the tones from flutes of wood, glass, silver, 
and gold prove that the tone from the gold flute is mellower 
and richer, having a longer and louder series of partials, than 
flutes of other materials. 
Mere massiveness of the walls does not fulfill the desired 
condition; a heavy tube, obtained from thick walls of 
brass, has such increased rigidity as to produce an undesir¬ 
able result; the walls must be thin, soft, and flexible, and 
must be made massive by increasing the density of the ma¬ 
terial. The gold flute tube and the organ pipe surrounded 
with water, are, no doubt, similar to the long strings of the 
pianoforte, which have a rich quality; these strings are 
wound or loaded, making them massive, while the flexibility 
or “softness” is unimpaired. The organ pipe partly 
filled with water is like a string unequally loaded, its partials 
are out of tune and produce a grotesque tone. A flute tube 
having no tone holes or keys is influenced by the manner 
of holding; certain overtones are sometimes difficult to 


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