Posted January 1, 2005
Updated April 4, 2013
Well, this web page is here because I am embarking
on some new and strange musical instruments. Well, maybe not all
that strange, but different. I have two projects planned.
The first one is a set of Midi Chimes. This will be a set of
chimes that can be controlled via a Midi interface. Making chimes
is not at all easy. I have some metal tubing on order as we speak
so I can experiment further with tuning the tubes. Also, the
striker is going to be a minor challenge all by itself.
The second project is going to be a PVC Pipe
Organ. Tuning the tubes for this is going to be much easier, but
still a challenge, compared to the chimes. The most difficult
part is going to be making the valve for letting air into the
pipe. Comercial solenoid valves cost up to $250 each.
Surplus ones can be had, but finding the right one for the job is
difficult. I am going to see what it might take to make my own
valves. Anothe challenge is going to be the air pump.
Now a posible third project has to do with the
picture below. That frame is from the Disney Snow White
cartoon. I remember when I first saw this film a long time ago I
was completely fascinated with the little flappers that would cover the
holes in the pipe. Now, there is one minor problem here.
That instrument, as shown, could not posibly work. But that isn't
going to stop me. I think I know a good work around. My
plan is to basically make 6 recorders (old english flute) that are
identical. These will be activated just like I plan to activate
the PVC Pipe Organ pipes. A set of solenoids will also control
the little flaps that will cover the tone holes. Now, keep in
mind that each recorder is a one note at a time instrument. This
mean that it will be just like a polyphonic synthesizer, which is
really just a collection of monophonic synths that use a microprocessor
to control which one plays when a note on commnad is recieved.
So, while it may be imposible to build the instrument that Grumpy is
sitting at, I should be able to come up with something that captures
Believe it or not, I shot this picture off my TV....
April 4, 2013
It has been many years, but I am thinking about this. I am still
concentraing on the pipes. I am trying to figure out the best way
to construct the pipes out of wood. They are going to basically
be recorders. Mine are not going to look quite as organic as the
ones in the movie, but at least they will be made out of wood.
Finding information on how to tune recorders has been
problematic. It seems that the hole spacing seems to be some
closely guarded secret. Also, boring a long hole though the wood
is going to be a bit of a challenge. I hope to start making
practice pipes soon out of cheap wood. I am planing to make the
pipe out of multiple piecies of word so if I get hole locations wrong,
I can always just make a new piece. I want to put a piece of
dowle in the hole that also has a hole in it so I can carve it to look
like pursed lips. If you look closely, you will see this.
The carving is what is going to take a long time, and now that I
have next to no vision, well, that could be "fun".
Feb 13, 2005
Well, today I built my first whistle for the "pipe"
organ. I was surprised at how little air it took to make a
tone. It is made out of just an ordinary piece of PVC pipe, with
a cap on the end. I filed the whistle hole with my handy dandy
bastard file. The wood plug I turned on my lathe and then milled
in my milling machine. I will epoxy the plug into the pipe, but
to test it I just pushed it in (it is a slip fit), and blew...and to my
surprise, it made sound.
Picture of whistle:
On the left, is the whistle body, in the center, the
plug that goes in the blow end, and on the right, is the form for a
solenoid that will control the air flow, eventually. It would
seem I should be able to use a squirel cage fan to supply the air for