The Pan flute - Musical instrument overview | What is a pan flute ?
Updated: Mar 22
A pan flute is a wind instrument consisting of a row or bundle of pipes which are closed at the bottom or sometimes opened with a cork inside the pipes that blocks the airflow to produce sound and it also allows you to change the tuning of the pipe by pushing the cork with a stick and changing its position.
The musician blows the pipes in a specific way on the upper end in such a way that the air interacts with the border of the panpipe and creates sound the same as on other woodwind instruments.
Usually, a pan flute has ten or more pipes that are arranged horizontally. Depending on the type of pan flute, the pipes can be attached to a cross-beam and tied with ropes (South-American style), or be glued to a base denominated "shoe" (Classic Romanian Style). The size and number of pipes can vary depending on the musical purpose of the instrument. For example, the South-American "Rondador" is tuned in two scales, in pentatonic form, which produces high and crystal-clear tones. On the other hand, we have South-American "Toyos" with particular y long pipes that produce deeper bass tones.
The panpipe is traditionally made with bamboo pipes. However, historically this is not the only material used for making pan flutes around the world. Archaeologists have found pan flutes made of rock, bone, ceramic, and many other materials. Today it is possible to find wooden, crystal, ivory, plastic, and ceramic instruments. However, bamboo had always offered an easy, quick, and cheap way of making pan flutes, also repairing them more easily as well as providing a deep and beautiful sound.
At this point, you may have found that the pan flute is an interesting and sophisticated instrument. Finally, to end this first post, let's find why it is called Pan?. Well, this is simply by the fact that the instrument creation is based on a Greek myth of the god "Pan" whose lover "Syrinx" (this is also a name for the pan flute) was turned into a bamboo reed. Disconsolate, Pan chopped the reed in different lengths, arranged them, tied them, and started playing beautiful music so he could console himself for the loss of his beloved.
I hope you liked this first overview of the pan flute. I will be posting again soon.