THE ACOUSTICS OF THE LOVE FLUTE
By David Osborn
Introduction: A Lifetime of Flute Making, Applied to the Love Flute
When it comes to making the Love Flute, or the Native American Style Flute, I must admit that I am a relative newcomer to this endeavor, a “Johnny come lately”, so to speak. But I have been making flutes, of one kind or another, ever since my high school days in Japan. There was a bamboo warehouse down the hill from where we lived, so my first flutes were made from the bamboo I bought there. I have made vertically blown flutes, transverse flutes, Shakuhachis and Shakuhachi-type flutes, as well as Pan Flutes before I put my hand to making the Love Flute, and all of the flutes I have made previously have taught me something or given me some valuable insights into the Love Flute and its acoustics. In this article, I’d like to share some of these insights and findings with you. Although this article will have valuable information for all Love Flute makers out there, it has special importance and relevance for those who are crafting the inner bore of their flutes by hand, and not with a mechanical router or a machine drill.
Love Flute Anatomy from an Acoustical Perspective
To provide a general overview of my subject, I will start with an anatomical survey of the various parts of the Love Flute, from head (the blowing end) to toe (the foot or bottom / distal end of the flute), and briefly state the acoustical function and importance of each part:
The Mouthpiece / Blow Hole: The blow hole is what the player puts his lips to and blows through to produce the sound; as such, it must not be too tight or constricted, or the free flow of the player’s breath will be impeded. In my experience, a minimum inner diameter of ¼ inch, or 6 mm. or so is sufficient to achieve this purpose; of course, the blow hole can be made a little wider if so desired, just as long as the player’s lips can fit easily around the mouthpiece that houses it.
The Slow Air Chamber: The Slow Air Chamber, or SAC, is an initial antechamber or reservoir for the player’s breath before it is channeled into the Sound Production Mechanism and over the Cutting Edge. The Love Flute is unique among all block flutes / fipple flutes, to my knowledge, in that it alone has a Slow Air Chamber; other flutes of this genre, such as the Recorder, the Penny Whistle, etc…, manage to do fine without it – then what is its acoustical function? And so, the presence of the SAC, as well as its dimensions and inner contouring, continues to be a controversial subject for Love Flute makers. Ostensibly, the SAC serves to amplify breath-related effects when the flute is played, but breath effects are also obtainable on other fipple flutes as well. Whatever the length, diameter and other internal dimensions of the SAC may be, the important thing is that the player’s breath must move through it free and unimpeded, with a minimum of friction or turbulence created. Although there are those who argue that the Love Flute cannot play much above the lowest octave or register because the presence of the SAC prevents sufficient back pressure from the player’s breath from building up, I believe that the relatively wide air column width in relation to its length is the deciding factor in this.
The Exit Hole / Throat: The Exit Hole is where the player’s breath leaves the SAC and gets directed into the Duct or Flue of the flute to be directed over the Cutting Edge. This part of the Love Flute is analogous to a singer’s throat, and so it should be kept free and open, so that the player’s breath can flow through it free and unimpeded, with a minimum of friction and turbulence, as a free and unimpeded air flow produces a steady, clear tone. Many Love Flute makers, myself included, have opted to sculpt the bottom of the SAC, as it empties into the Exit Hole, in a curved or slanting fashion, since turbulence is created if the bottom end of the SAC is an abrupt, vertical or perpendicular wall. It’s much better to have the player’s breath go smoothly up a slanting ramp than to hit a vertical wall.
The Duct or Flue: The Duct or Flue compresses the air that exits the SAC through the Exit Hole by funneling it through a narrow channel that’s only about a half an inch (12.5 mm.) wide and only about the thickness or depth of a credit card. If the Duct or Flue is too shallow, the sound will be tight or pinched; if it is too narrow, the sound will also have too much of a narrow or constricted feel to it. It’s also important that the edges and inner surfaces of the Duct or Flue be smooth, so that the air stream that’s directed at the Cutting Edge will also be smooth and steady.
The Totem / Fetish / Bird: The Bird, which is also called the Totem or Fetish, serves as the roof of the Duct or Flue, to keep the player’s air stream securely channeled within that narrow space. And so, the most important thing that the Bird needs to do is to seat securely on top of the Flue, providing a firm, air tight seal so that no air escapes. If air does leak from underneath the Bird, then the sound will break or bleat. Regarding the Bird and its design, there are two basic types of acoustical arrangements: the Woodlands style Bird and the Plains Style Bird. The Woodlands style Bird is perfectly flat on its bottom surface, with the Duct or Flue being carved into the body of the instrument; this seems to be the dominant style or system in use today. The Plains style Bird has the Duct or Flue carved into its bottom surface, with the body of the instrument between the Exit Hole and the True Sound Window being perfectly flat. The sound generated by the Woodlands style Bird and its Flue is therefore more deep and hollow sounding, whereas the sound generated with a Plains Style Bird is more free, airy and open. Some flute makers will put lateral arms on their Birds, which cradle or shelter the True Sound Window on its left and right sides; this not only serves to keep the air stream concentrated, but it also protects the True Sound Window, where the sound is generated, from wind interference if you’re playing outdoors on windy days. In my experience, a Bird with protecting arms will lower the pitch of the flute by about 15 to 20 cents on an electronic tuner from where it would otherwise be.
The True Sound Window: This is the central space within which the flute’s sound is generated, and it needs to be just the right size, neither too large nor too small, for a clear, strong and balanced sound to be generated. Make the True Sound Window too small, and the sound will be tight or pinched; more typically, it will overblow to the octave too easily. Make the True Sound Window too large, and the tone of the flute will be too open and breathy. A clear, strong, balanced tone comes from making the True Sound Window just the right size. In addition, like all windows, the True Sound Window needs to be cut straight and clean, and free of superfluous matter or crooked, irregular surfaces jutting into it or obstructing it in order to get a good, strong, clear sound.
The Cutting Edge: The Cutting Edge lies at the bottom or distal side of the True Sound Window; its acoustical function is to divide the player’s air stream in half, so that half of the air stream goes down into the flute, setting the enclosed air column into vibration, while the other half goes up and out of the flute. The friction of the player’s air stream being cut in half sets the enclosed air column into vibration, much like a bow sawing away at a violin string. The internal surface of the Cutting Edge is angled away from perpendicular at a 30 degree angle from vertical, which allows the player’s air stream to be cut most efficiently for the production of the tone. The flute maker needs to make the inner surface of the cutting edge, angled as it is away from the vertical, as flat as he can, otherwise the sound generated will be muffled, bleating or otherwise unsteady. In addition, the final touch to be put on the Cutting Edge is to file away at its upper surface ever so slightly; this will put the sharp tip of the Cutting Edge right in the middle of the player’s air stream for a brighter, more vibrant tone. Making this final minor adjustment can also improve the ease with which the flute overblows into the octave.
The Sound Chamber: The Sound Chamber is the main vibrating body of the Love Flute, and all the seven parts of the Love Flute’s anatomy that went before it are all directed towards one final purpose: setting the enclosed air column of the Sound Chamber into vibration. The effective length of the vibrating air column can be made either shorter or longer by means of the six finger holes placed at certain points along its length. All aspects of the Sound Chamber’s enclosed air column – its length, its internal width or bore diameter, and also its tapering and contouring, or lack thereof, have a great impact on the sound generated by a Love Flute, which could be called the heart and soul of the instrument. The following section will be devoted mainly to this heart and soul of the Love Flute – the Sound Chamber and its enclosed air column.
The Basic Generalities of a Love Flute’s Air Column, or Bore
The Love Flute, like the Pennywhistle, has a cylindrical bore, with a constant, consistent internal bore diameter from the top of the air column to its bottom. Although it is possible to make a Love Flute with a tapered bore, which is wider at the top or blowing end than at its bottom, like the Recorder, this is not usually done, and the cylindrical bore is the general rule. The cylindrical bore is also the easiest to manufacture or engineer; it’s much harder to make a tapered bore flute and have it evenly or uniformly tapered, as it needs to be, than to simply make a flute with an even, cylindrical bore. And so, the Sound Chamber of the Love Flute is the main tube of the instrument.
The cardinal or most important acoustical proportion or ratio of the Love Flute is its air column width to length ratio. This is usually expressed with the air column width, or bore diameter, being assigned the number 1, and the air column length being expressed as a certain multiple of its width. For example, 1: 20 would denote a flute whose air column length is 20 times its width; for instance, if the air column width is 20 mm. (millimeters), and the air column length is 400 mm., or 40 cm., which is 20 times the width of 20 mm., then this would be a 1: 20 ratio. Working with metric measurements greatly simplifies the calculation of basic ratios like this.
The wider the bore is made in relation to the air column length, the bigger and broader will be its sound, especially on the lower notes and fundamental note, and the clearer half-holed notes will be on the instrument, especially on the lower notes. The sound may be big and broad, but the wider the bore diameter is in relation to the air column length, the less clear and focused the articulations will be, whether they are executed by the tongue or the fingers. Also, the wider the bore or air column width is made in relation to its length, the more limited will be the upper range of the flute, and the harder the upper notes will be to produce.
The narrower the bore is made in relation to the air column length, the narrower and more focused / defined will be its sound; making a flute with a bore that is too narrow will result in a sound that is too thin and reedy, with lower notes and the fundamental being too weak or hard to produce if the bore is too narrow. A certain amount of narrowness to the bore, if it is moderate and balanced, will produce articulations that are crisp, clear and well defined, whether they are executed with the tongue or the fingers. And the narrower the bore, the more the flute’s range will extend upwards, and the easier the upper notes will be to produce.
There are no hard and fast absolutes when it comes to the bore diameters of various sizes or keys of the Love Flute, although there are popular or prevailing tastes and preferences in this regard. It all depends on the individual flute maker and the kind of sound he or she wants to create. The narrower versus wider bore question is something like a polarity or continuum, with the strengths of a wider bore being the weaknesses of a narrower bore, and vice-versa; in other words, there are trade-offs, and each maker has to find his or her own preferred “sweet spot” in between the extremes of wideness versus narrowness.
Even though the whole question of wider versus narrower bores is in many ways an artistic and individual matter, the laws of physics do nevertheless intervene. To be able to produce a full upper octave or register, for instance, the air column width to length ratio needs to be at least 1: 23, preferably 1: 25. To be able to obtain about half of the upper register, until the fourth or fifth or so, the air column width to length ratio needs to be at least 1: 21, preferably 1: 22. Any air column wider than this will just enable the player to obtain the basic lower register plus the bottom few notes of the upper register, up to the minor third or so, which is the standard basic range for the Love Flute. The narrower the air column width is in relation to its length, the higher the upper range obtainable by the flute will extend, and the stronger and clearer the upper notes will be. Conversely, the wider the air column width is in relation to its length, the more limited the upper range of the flute will be.
This video discusses how to make the windway or Sound Production Mechanism, which is one of the most important and critical areas of the Love Flute.
Machine Drilling or Routing versus Hand Crafting the Bore
When you use machine tools to either drill out the bore from a solid block of wood, or rout out the bore from two halves or flute blanks, you will get a perfectly cylindrical bore each and every time – provided that you operate the machine tool correctly, with a steady hand. On the down side, because the bore contours are all identical, such machine manufactured flutes will tend to all sound the same, assuming that they are made to the same specifications, and are made from the same kind of wood. Simply put, the flutes thus made will lack individuality, even though the sound and quality will be very consistent and reliable.
When you carve or craft the flute bore by hand, however, your end results will always fall a bit short of a perfectly regular and cylindrical bore, even though you may get quite close to the geometrical ideal. Provided that there are no major deviations or irregularities in the bore of the finished flute, it can still be a very fine instrument, provided that all of the constituent parts of the bore manage to fall into a kind of synergistic balance or gestalt that works well together. What flutes with hand crafted bores have that flutes with machine engineered bores don’t is individuality. They can be in the exact same key, made out of the exact same wood, with all of their other basic specifications being the same, but no two flutes with handcrafted bores will sound exactly alike, in much the same way that no two singers will sound alike; each flute is an individual, call it the Zen touch, call it more natural and organic, or call it what you will.
Flutes with hand crafted bores are generally more difficult to make, however, and that’s because considerable tweaking and adjustment needs to be done to bring all the constituent parts of the flute’s bore into a state of balance and harmonious alignment. The flute maker who crafts his bores by hand needs to have tools and procedures for checking and confirming the quality and soundness of his workmanship while the bore is being carved or crafted, and he needs to have good, reliable strategies and procedures in place for tweaking and troubleshooting tuning and voicing problems after they arise.
Tuning problems are those that involve the musical pitches of the various notes played on the flute; adjusting the size of the finger holes on the finished flute is the usual way of tuning a Love Flute. Voicing problems primarily involve the relative strength, balance and tone qualities of the various notes played on the flute, and bringing these factors into balance. And some tweaks and adjustments can affect both the tuning as well as the voicing of the finished flute, as tuning and voicing are not mutually exclusive, but interdependent in many ways.
Principles of Flute Bore Acoustics and Engineering
The bore or enclosed air column of a Love Flute vibrates as a whole, and the whole air column, as well as each of its constituent parts, need to be brought into a holistic state of synergistic interaction and harmonious balance for the flute to play well. Each part of a flute’s bore exists in relationship with every other part. This is the holistic principle of flute bore acoustics.
The bore of a narrow bore flute needs to be engineered with much more precision than that of a wide bore flute, and is much less tolerant or forgiving of deviations or irregularities in the bore. In other words, a wide bore flute can more easily “swallow up” bore deformities or irregularities, much like someone who is of a stouter or more heavyset physique will have less prominent or knobby bones and joints, which will show up clearly in someone who is leaner.
Achieving a good, harmonious working balance within a flute’s bore requires achieving a good balance between constriction or focus versus openness in all of its constituent parts. If part of a flute’s bore is too narrow or constricted, then the note whose finger hole lies in the vicinity of that constricted part will sound unduly tight or pinched. Conversely, if part of a flute’s bore is too wide or open in relation to the rest of the bore, the note whose finger hole lies in the vicinity of that excessively open part will lack power, definition or focus, and come across as being weak or debilitated.
A flute’s enclosed air column vibrates not only as a whole, but also in halves, thirds, quarters, fifths and so on – this is what generates the partials or overtones in a flute’s sound and tone quality. And so, the part of a flute’s bore that most affects the tone or voicing of a particular note lies in the vicinity of its associated finger hole; in addition, the zone or region that has a secondary influence or effect on the tone or voicing of a particular note lies midway between its associated finger hole and the top end of the air column – this utilizes the octave or second partial. In this manner, you might say that a flute and its air column has certain pressure points, similar to those of acupressure massage, which exert therapeutic or balancing influence over the various notes produced by that flute.
Overblowing a flute to play in the upper register(s) involves getting the air column to vibrate in halves, or thirds and so on, to play on the upper partials of the air column’s vibration. The fractional production of partials is involved in producing all the notes on a love Flute that lie above those of the bottom octave, and problems in the production of these overblown notes are resolved by utilizing the fractional principle of partials that was introduced in the preceding paragraph.
Tips for Hand Crafting the Bore of a Love Flute
The first tip could be summed up in just three words: haste makes waste. You should proceed carving the bore with even, regular measured strokes or gouges. Above all, you must be on your guard against gouging too deep and leaving what would become ruts in the finished bore. Gradually carve the bore deeper and deeper, step by step, taking care to carve evenly as you go.
The first step in the carving process is to define the field, carving shallowly all the way up to the marked edges of the semicircular bore as you have marked them on the flute blank. Then, you should go for depth, getting close to what will be the final depth of the semicircular bore, but not all the way down to it. Then, round out the semicircular bore with infinite care and patience.
After you have roughed out the bore as well as you can with carving tools, your next step will be to smooth out the bore with various tools. I have found a cylindrical Surform planer to be very valuable and efficient in the initial stages of smoothing out the bore. Later on, dowel sticks with strips of coarse grained sandpaper glued to them can be used to further smooth and sand the bore.
How can you tell when the semicircular bore half you have carved is perfectly constant and cylindrical in its diameter specifications? What will give you a rough initial idea is “eyeballing it” and looking down the length of the bore half to check for any obvious irregularities. Different sized coins can also be used, sliding them down along the bore’s length, to check for consistency of bore depth and diameter. For example, an American penny is a good gauge for a ¾ inch bore. Also, dowel sticks come in handy as well. If you are making a ¾ inch bore flute, then go to your local hardware store and buy a ¾ inch dowel, cutting its length off to give you an extra 6 to 8 inches beyond the length of the air column. When you clamp the two halves or hollowed out flute blanks in place around the dowel stick, and still have the dowel stick be loose enough to pull out, then you know you have a pretty good and consistent bore. The dowel stick will also serve as a guide to help you glue the two halves or flute blanks together in perfect alignment. By far, “hourglassing”, or carving the bore more shallowly or tightly in the middle and wider at the ends is the most common erroneous tendency in hand carving a flute bore, so the final steps of the smoothing and finishing process are often spent towards the middle of the bore.
The Factor of Wall Thickness in Love Flute Acoustics
There are many Love Flute makers out there who are really into thin walls – get them as paper thin as you can. But the truth, I feel, is that fine Love Flutes can be made with thinner walls as well as with thicker walls – and I have seen good examples of each. Just be aware that flutes with thicker walls will sound and play differently than flutes with thinner walls – and be aware of exactly what those differences are. It’s also okay to make the walls of some flutes thicker, and the walls of other flutes thinner, as the piece of wood you’re working on suggests – after all, your mission as a flute maker is to bring out the sonic and tonal beauty that is inherent in the particular piece of wood you’re working on.
Thicker walled flutes tend to have a thicker, heavier, darker and richer sound. Their pitch can also have a tendency to sag if they are not being played with the full force of the breath, because more force needs to be put behind the breath to vibrate the thicker, heavier walls. Ergonomically speaking, making a thick walled flute out of heavy or dense wood will result in a flute that is too heavy; thicker walls are more advisable when the wood is light or less dense.
Thinner walled flutes tend to have a lighter, brighter and airier sound that is sweet and vibrant. Their pitch can have a tendency to rise unduly if they are being played with the full force of the breath, because the thinner, lighter walls are so easily excited into vibration. Ergonomically speaking, thinner walls are more advisable if the wood you’re working on is heavy, hard or dense; if you make thin walled flutes out of light or less dense wood, the tone will be very light, bright and airy, and lack sufficient depth or substance. Also, thin walled flutes made from light woods will tend to have the pitch rise more with forceful blowing.
Ultimately, what we are talking about when it comes to the question of thicker versus thinner walls is the relative proportion of wood versus air that is set into vibration when the flute is played. Simply put, thicker walled flutes will have a greater proportion of wood that is set into vibration, whereas thinner walled flutes will have a greater proportion of air that is set into vibration. This whole air versus wood dynamic can be reduced or boiled down to the cross section of the flute, which consists of two circles, one within the other, with the inner circle representing the inner bore or the enclosed air column, and the outer circle, and its extension beyond the inner circle, representing the walls of the flute and their thickness relative to the enclosed air column. Assuming a perfectly cylindrical bore with a constant inner bore diameter, as well as a constant wall thickness throughout the length of the flute’s main tube, the relative dimensions of these two circles should remain constant.
Keeping these two concentric circles in mind, we can even come up with a mathematical formula for determining the relative proportion of wood to air in a flute. The wall thickness, or proportion of wood, is what is left when the area of the inner circle, representing the bore or enclosed air column, is subtracted from the total area of the outer circle. And the basic formula for determining the area of a circle is Pi r squared. In other words, the constant Pi multiplied by the radius of a circle squared will give us its area. And so, the total areas of both the inner circle and the outer circle can be calculated with this formula, and the total area of the smaller inner circle can be subtracted from the total area of the larger outer circle to give us the total area of wood in our representational cross section.
To give a concrete example, a 14 millimeter flute bore will have a radius of half its diameter, which is 7 millimeters. Square 7 and you get 49. A flute whose outer diameter is 20 mm. will have a radius, from its central point that is only 10 mm. Square 10 and you get 100. Now, subtract the area of the smaller circle, which is 49 once the constant of Pi has been cancelled out, from the total area of the outer circle, which is 100 by the same token, and what remains is 51. 49 to 51 – that’s almost an equal balance of wood to air. In other words, a flute with an outer diameter of 20 mm. and an inner diameter of 14 mm. will yield us a virtually perfect balance of air and wood. Subtract 14 from 20. And you get 6 – a wall thickness of only 3 mm. on either side – and that’s pretty thin. If you expand those proportions to get a flute with a 20 mm. bore diameter – radius 10 mm, squared to get 100 – then the required wall thickness to get a more or less equal balance of air and wood would be slightly over 4 millimeters thick – and that’s still pretty thin. So I suppose that those who favor thin walls have it, then. But beyond such theoretical abstractions, whether you favor thicker or thinner walls is basically an artistic preference, or the kind of sound you want to create in your flutes. A basic wall thickness of ¼ inch, or 6 mm., is still a good wall thickness, favoring wood over air, but not excessively.
Acoustical and Tuning Guidelines for the Finger Holes
The basic function of finger holes on a Love Flute is kind of analogous to the frets on a guitar – they stop and shorten the effective vibrating length of the enclosed air column, which is the primary vibrating body on a flute. However, a fret will stop a guitar string totally and completely, whereas a finger hole will not stop or shorten the vibrating air column length as completely as a guitar fret; the air column length that lies below the finger hole will exert a definite flattening influence over the pitch. If an upper finger hole is opened, and one or more finger holes below it are closed, the flattening influence will be greater than if all the lower finger holes below the upper one are left open; this additional flattening influence of closing lower finger holes enables us to use cross fingerings to produce chromatic notes.
The larger the finger hole, the more completely and effectively the enclosed vibrating air column is stopped or shortened, and the higher will be the pitch produced. Also, the higher up the body of the flute that the finger hole is placed, the higher will be the pitch produced by that finger hole. Conversely, the smaller the finger hole, the less completely and effectively the enclosed vibrating air column will be stopped or shortened, and the lower will be the pitch produced. Also, the lower down on the body of the flute the finger hole is placed, the lower will be the pitch produced by opening it. And so, the higher the finger hole is placed, the smaller it needs to be to produce a given pitch; conversely, the lower a finger hole is placed, the larger it needs to be to produce a given pitch. However, there are definite limits within which these basic acoustical principles are operational. The Love Flute maker starts with a basic proportional schema that guides his initial placement of the finger holes; then, starting with relatively small pilot holes, he gradually enlarges the holes with a rat tail file, slowly raising the pitch until the right note or pitch is produced.
The narrower a flute’s inner bore diameter is in relation to the total air column length, the more the air column will function as a long air column, vibrating in halves, thirds, and other partials. With these long air columns, which vibrate pretty much like a long, thin guitar string, the precise placement of the finger holes up or down along the tube’s length is a much more important or crucial consideration. Conversely, the wider a flute’s inner bore diameter is in relation to the total air column length, the more the air column will vibrate as a globular air column, somewhat like that of an ocarina, and the less crucial will be the placement of the finger holes up or down on the tube’s length. For low pitched flutes with a very wide bore diameter in relation to the air column length, the most important factor in the tuning of the flute becomes the size of the finger holes rather than their longitudinal placement up or down the tube’s length. And so, lower pitched bass flutes with very wide bores offer a considerable degree of freedom to the maker regarding the longitudinal placement of their finger holes, enabling the maker to place the finger holes closer together, within easier reach of the player’s fingers.
The Type of Wood or Material Used
Although Love Flutes are most commonly made out of acoustical tone woods, they don’t have to be; it would be perfectly possible to make a flute that plays decently from plastic or a PVC pipe, for example. It’s undeniable that acoustical tone woods have a better overall sonority and tone quality than plastic or other non-acoustical materials, and it’s also undeniable that different woods have different qualities of tone or timbre inherent in them. I have devoted a whole article to various acoustical woods used for the Love Flute in the Love Flute section of this website. I have placed this acoustical factor last because a Love Flute made from even the finest quality tone wood will not count for much if the flute has been poorly designed, made and engineered, especially on its inner parts, which are most acoustically critical for the overall tone and playing response of the flute; a Love Flute that is poorly made will still sound and play lousy, no matter what it is made from.
That being said, the Love Flute maker must be aware of certain general characteristics of wood as a material for making the instrument, which are as follows:
As a general rule, different acoustical woods have their different characteristic tone qualities, but beyond this, specific factors inherent in the particular piece being used also come into play. These include how well the piece is dried or cured; the lay and orientation of the grain, and its grain patterns; the presence or absence of knots or other defects; and the climate, soil quality and other growing factors that went into the production of the piece of wood in question. Due to the exact way in which all these particular factors regarding the piece in question come into play, and how well they interact, Love Flutes made from the exact same type of wood, made to the exact same specifications, can either sound lackluster or ordinary on the one hand to amazing and extraordinary on the other. The same ensemble of particular factors also comes into play with other wooden instruments, like a guitar or a violin.
Wood is a living material – or a once-living material – with a natural, organic cellular structure, which forms the basis for its overall grain structure and texture. Generally speaking, wood is basically a bundle of longitudinal cellulose fibers held together by a pliable cellular glue or cement called lignin. With continued or frequent playing, the cellulose fibers and the lignin that holds them together will get more loose, flexible and pliable, resulting in less stiffness and inherent resistance to vibration. And so, with continued or frequent playing, the overall tone quality and sonority of a Love Flute will greatly improve – the more you play it, the sweeter the sound gets. The other factor in this overall improvement of tone and response with continued playing is that the player gets more used to the flute and how it responds to his playing; definitely, subtle changes and adjustments are happening, both in the Love Flute player as well as in his or her instrument, as the two are brought into harmony or attunement with each other.
Conclusion: The Total Flute
The secret to creating a great Love Flute doesn’t just lie in any one factor; it lies in a whole constellation of factors, which must come together in a synergistic balance, a working gestalt to create a total flute that is a great acoustical and musical performer. The guiding holistic principle of Love Flute making is that the total flute is greater than the sum of its individual parts. You can have a wider or a narrower bore, a wider or narrower True Sound Window, thicker or thinner walls, as you wish, but the bottom line is that all these diverse acoustical factors have to all come together in a winning combination to create a truly great Love Flute.