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Utah Phillips asks re' Chinese Flutes

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katlaughing 18 Jul 00 - 12:41 PM
katlaughing 18 Jul 00 - 12:42 PM
katlaughing 18 Jul 00 - 12:46 PM
Bert 18 Jul 00 - 01:15 PM
Bert 18 Jul 00 - 01:24 PM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Jul 00 - 01:39 PM
katlaughing 18 Jul 00 - 02:26 PM
Art Thieme 18 Jul 00 - 10:48 PM
Bob Bolton 18 Jul 00 - 11:46 PM
IanC 19 Jul 00 - 05:48 AM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Jul 00 - 07:50 PM
katlaughing 22 Jul 00 - 01:30 AM
Art Thieme 23 Jul 00 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,leeneia 23 Jul 00 - 12:17 PM
Peter T. 23 Jul 00 - 12:18 PM
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Subject: Utah Phillips asks re' Chinese Flutes
From: katlaughing
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 12:41 PM

Dear Phoaks,

Art Thieme has forwarded some requests from Bruce "Utah" Phillips, for information and asked me if I would put them in some threads. Here is the first one, in Utah's words:

The 9000 year old Chinese flutes excavated at the Jiahu site in Henan province, China, were, to some extent, still playable. They are said to have between five and eight holes. I want to reproduce one of these flutes and play it. But I don't know how far apart the holes are.
What's the scale?
How is it blown - what kind of mouth piece does it use?
I've got a very old Babylonian creation hymn I'd like to try out on one. So, let me know how I can learn more about it.

It just occurred to me that I read a brief monograph about flute making by native Americans here in California. Seems they each made a flute with the holes placed randomly, no two flutes the same. So, each flute played its own song which, like the flute itself, belonged to the maker. His own song which could be given as a gift, along with the flue, to some other person. No System. But that in itself is a system. Is the same so with the Chinese flutes?


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Subject: RE: Help: Utah Phillips asks re' Chinese Flutes
From: katlaughing
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 12:42 PM

Sorry for the dupes, it said the first one had failed to post...


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Subject: RE: Help: Utah Phillips asks re' Chinese Flutes
From: katlaughing
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 12:46 PM

Forgot to add ths:

Ok history hunters, if you can dig up any information, sent it off to Utah at

No-Guff Records
U. Utah Phillips
PO Box 1235
Nevada City, CA 95959


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Subject: RE: Help: Utah Phillips asks re' Chinese Flutes
From: Bert
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 01:15 PM

There's a picture here it should be possible to scale the hole positioning from this.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Help: Utah Phillips asks re' Chinese Flutes
From: Bert
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 01:24 PM

here's a better one


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Subject: RE: Help: Utah Phillips asks re' Chinese Flutes
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 01:39 PM

I can't at present find the address for the original pages about the Jiahu bone flutes, but together with the second image Bert links to, this information might help:

"The best preserved flute, which was free of cracks, was chosen to be tested using a 'Stroboconn' sound-analysing stroboscope, supervised by Huang Xiangpeng from the Music School of the Art Institute of China. This flute has seven main holes plus a tiny hole near hole 7. Two other seven-holed flutes were considered, but playing tests produced cracking sounds and were promptly discontinued. However, data were recorded for two players blowing twice each with their embouchures angled at 45° up and 45° down across the mouth of flute M282:20 (eight scales altogether). The music research team did not use the modern standard of A4 = 440 Hz, but instead adopted an arbitrary standard of hole 5 = 'C6'. (Based on A4 = 440 Hz, the actual tone of hole 5 was C6 + 2 Hz(20 Hz), averaged over eight trials.) Then the interval relationships of the sounds from hole 3 to hole 7 fitted reasonably well to the note sequence E6, D6, C6, B5, A5, with the tone of hole 1 = A6 and hole 2 = F#6. On this scale, the tone of the whole tube is G5 or F#5. In Table 1 three of the intervals in M282:20 are evaluated numerically.

Tests revealed that the tiny hole next to hole 7 was probably drilled to correct the off-pitch tone of the original hole 7; thus a tone of G#5 + 16 Hz was corrected to A5 - 11 Hz, which is much closer to the octave of A6 - 36 Hz.

Without testing more flutes, we cannot say whether the tonal scale of the bone flute of Jiahu is the ancestor of either the six-tone Qing Shan scale or the seven-tone Xia Shi scale; in any case, the latter two scales are only documented six millennia later. It should be possible, by constructing exact replicas of the Jiahu flutes in material whose density approximates bird-bone, to study the tonal sequences of all these instruments without endangering the valuable artefacts themselves. The carefully selected tone scale observed ... indicates that the Neolithic musician of the seventh millennium BC could play not just single notes, but perhaps even music. It is important in considering the possible role of these flutes in Neolithic society to recall that ancient Chinese tradition held that there were strong cosmological connections with music: that music is part of nature. In this context, the performance of rituals and music were specifically associated with matters of state and sound government."

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Help: Utah Phillips asks re' Chinese Flutes
From: katlaughing
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 02:26 PM

This was in the duplicate thread I am trying to let drop down:

Subject: RE: Help: Utah Phillips asks re' Chinese Flutes From: GUEST,Banjo Johnny Date: 18-Jul-00 - 02:15 PM

I have a Chinese flute that has an extra buzz-hole in it. You lick a piece of rice paper and plaster it over the hole. When you play, it makes a buzz sound like a kazoo along with the regular flute sound. I use cigarette papers - they don't buzz as nicely but are easier to supply. == Johnny in OKC


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Subject: RE: Help: Utah Phillips asks re' Chinese Flutes
From: Art Thieme
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 10:48 PM

I'm gonna get off line and call Bruce & see if his wife can get to this site. I suspect he can't do it but that she can.

Thanks to you all.

Art


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Subject: RE: Help: Utah Phillips asks re' Chinese Flutes
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 18 Jul 00 - 11:46 PM

G'day all,

I have found the information and pictures very interesting but I would offer a caution to Bruce "Utah" Phillips: just having the (relative) spacings and placement of the holes tells you precious little about the scale - and particularly about the individual notes. As I know from making assorted flutes and whistles over the years, the note will depend on placement, size, angle and internal dimensions ... all things that will vary, especially with iregular natural materials like bones.

Given a spacing and placement for the holes, you can still create a wide range of individual tones - certainly enough to create different 'modal' scales on apparently similar instruments.

On another tack, I would like to know more about the 'embouchures' of these instruments ... presumably they are of the 'end-blown' type well-known in modern Chinese music, but do they have 'notched' embouchures and do these notches angle in or out? (The Chinese seem to be unusual in the way that they use an inward notch in bamboo flutes produced by drilling into the node at an angle. This needs a very different playing technique. Either angle is possible with an open end (say, a trimmed bone), but it is easier to grind am outward sloping notch with simple tools.

Thnks kat, for raising this thread - even if it has left me with more questions than answers (that is probably good for my soul!).

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Help: Utah Phillips asks re' Chinese Flutes
From: IanC
Date: 19 Jul 00 - 05:48 AM

The site is here and there also also one or two other articles on the Daily Telegraph (UK) site at WWW.TELEGRAPH.CO.UK.

Chinese Flutes

If you seriously(!!!) want to know more about the maths / physics of flutes then it might be worth gettin touch with my friend Alan Muhr at muhr@rubber.demon.co.uk. Alan has been making flutes for some time from sink overflow pipes from mathematical first principles. The equations for simple linear bore pipes with the holes the same size go into 4 or 5 pages, but he has got beyond that ...

Hope this is helpful.

Cheers!
Ian


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Subject: RE: Help: Utah Phillips asks re' Chinese Flutes
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Jul 00 - 07:50 PM

"The Neolithic musician of the seventh millennium BC could play not just single notes, but perhaps even music."

"Perhaps even music" Whoever wrote that takes the biscuit, I feel. Neolithic peope were people like us - of course they made music. And wherever there a Neolithic people still around (and there are a few places), they still make music.

And I can confirm that Alan Muhr makes some great flutes, even if they do look like white bicycle pumps. (Tell him I'm sorry I've been missing the sessions at the White Horse in Hertford - I'll try to get along.)


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Subject: RE: Help: Utah Phillips asks re' Chinese Flutes
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 01:30 AM

This is just great, the Mudcat at its best! Bob, I hope you won't hold the probably good for your soul against me.**BG** I was hoping to see you in this one! Great links and info, you guys!

Art, did Utah's wife have any luck?

kat


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Subject: RE: Help: Utah Phillips asks re' Chinese Flutes
From: Art Thieme
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 11:57 AM

I printed it all out for Mr. Phillips and sent it off snailmail.

Thaks to you Kat (cute cat cartoon) and to all of you. I'm sure it'll be appreciated.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Help: Utah Phillips asks re' Chinese Flutes
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 12:17 PM

Sometimes people in non-Western cultures simply drill holes in a flute to match the hand of the person it's going to be made for. i.e, where do their fingers fall? that's where I'll drill the holes! So every flute was different.

Works fine with percussion or with other instruments as long as they are far enough apart in pitch.

Reminds me of a piece I was heard by Villa Lobos - flute at the top of its range vs cello. No wonder he was able to write 2,000 pieces. The instruments were so far apart there was no need to worry about harmony.


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Subject: RE: Help: Utah Phillips asks re' Chinese Flutes
From: Peter T.
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 12:18 PM

I believe I saw a picture recently of one that was much older - like 25,000 -40,000 years old -- excavated in France? Denmark? bone flute (a couple of holes remaining).
yours, Peter T.


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