Understanding the aulos III: narrow pipes and the fourth

TitleUnderstanding the aulos III: narrow pipes and the fourth
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsByrne, M
EditorHickmann, E, Eichmann, R
Book TitleMusikarchäologische Quellengruppen = Music-Archaeological Sources: finds, oral transmission, written evidence. Papers from the 3rd Symposium of the International Study Group on Music Archeology at Monastery Michaelstein, 9-16 June 2002
Series TitleStudien zur Musikarchäologie 4; Orient-Archäologie 14

The sounding note of a narrow-bored pipe is deeper than when the same note is blown on a wide- bored one. The reason for this is that a substantial part of the vibrating air is influenced by the pipe wall. The resonance of the wide pipe becomes fuller with the narrowing of the internal diameter. In a cylindrical pipe played with a reed, the swing of the base note is flatter than that of the note with higher frequency. In this way, the production of “falsetto” notes, which lie a fourth deeper than the “root”, becomes possible.
Narrow reed instruments are known from Ur and the Egyptian New Kingdom. The latter were certainly blown with a double reed and, I believe, so were the former. Such reeds enabled the player to change between two modi in the distance of a fourth, even when two pipes are blown simultaneously. The narrow reed instrument is hence a newly discovered [yet ancient] type of aerophone. The positioning of fingerholes on narrow pipes can be explained by the way in which they could let both modi sound a fourth apart. - The [essential] significance of this interval [in ancient music] can be recognised by the proven qualities of narrow pipes. [http://www.vml.de/e/inhalt.php?ISBN=978-3-89646-645-7]

Site information

© 2007-2012 MOISA: International Society for the Study of Greek and Roman Music and Its Cultural Heritage

Site designed by Geoff Piersol and maintained by Stefan Hagel
All rights reserved.