Recording Studios Sydney: The Pan Flute, named after the Greek God Pan, is a musical instrument believed to have originated in Greek Mythological lore. Also referred to as a panpipe or syrinx, the pan flute has become a popular folk instrument. Studies have shown the pan flute to be an ancestor of both a pipe organ and a harmonica. Although the precise origin is unclear, historical references and archaeological records suggest that the pan flute dates back as far as 6th millennium B.C. in Europe, making it one of the oldest musical instruments to exist in the world. Many musicians today find the pan flute appealing due to its unique structure, playing methods and cultural influence it has had on the world.
Recording Studios Sydney: the Structure of the Pan Flute
The pan flute is a collection of closed tubes usually comprised of five or more pipes that gradually increase in length. The pipes are then held together side-by-side using some type of twine, vegetable material or band forming a shape similar to a raft. Pan flutes are typically built using bamboo or cane stalks but wood, metal, and plastic have also been used as additional materials around the world. The pipes are generally stopped at each end creating a sound wave reflection and when heard, this reflection produces the different notes that a listener would hear. Stopped pipes produce a lower octave sound, while open pipes produce a higher octave sound.
Recording Studios Sydney: Pan Flute Pitch
Pan flutes can also be tuned to achieve the correct pitch. There are a number of different ways to fine-tune a pan flute. South American style uses small pebbles or kernels of corn and places them at the bottom of each pipe to reach the desired note. Beeswax has also been used to correctly tune Romanian-style curved panpipes, and is then carefully removed using special tools. For a much easier and faster method, corks and rubber stoppers also provide a means to discovering the perfect pitch.