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The Pan flute - Musical instrument overview | What a pan flute is?

September 24, 2016


The pan flute is a wind instrument consisting of a row or bundle of pipes which are closed at the bottom or sometimes opened with an object inside the pipes that allows you to change the tune of each of them.


The musician blows the pipes in a specific way on the open side, in such way that the air interacts with the border of the pan pipe and creates a sounds the same as on other woodwind instruments.



Usually a pan flute has 10 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 pressure-pushed to a base (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 penthatonic 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 pan pipe is traditionally made with bamboo pipes. However, historically this is not the only material used for making pan flutes around the world. Archaeologists had found rock, bone and ceramic pan flutes. Today is possible to find wooden, crystal, ivory, plastic ,and ceramic instruments. However, bamboo had always offered a easy, quick, and cheap way of making pan flutes, also repairing them more easily as well as offering a deep and wonderful sound.



At this point, you may have found that the pan flute is a very interesting as well as complex instrument. Finally to end this first post let's find why 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 pipe, disconsolate Pan chopped the pipe in different lengths, arranged and tied them and started playing a beautiful music so he can console himself for the lost of his beloved.


I hope you liked this first overview of the pan flute. I will be posting again soon.

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