Overtone Characterization of Garner Headjoints Using Spectrographic Analysis and Fast Fourier Transforms

by Cleo D.M. Leung

Institution: University of Cincinnati
Department: College-Conservatory of Music: Flute
Degree: DMA
Year: 2014
Keywords: Acoustics; Garner Headjoints; headjoints; flute; Michael Geoghagen; Bradley Garner; power spectrum
Record ID: 2043970
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=ucin1396523100


Recent innovations by the Garner Headjoint Company in machine standardizing the making of flute headjoints has allowed us to reopen a seemingly closed discussion into the apparent differences in the power spectrum (strengths of each harmonic in the sound) produced by flutes made of different materials. Because of their standardized geometry, we can be reasonably sure that differences in power spectrum will be due to the variation in metal. Previous studies have implied that the physical composition of the flute is irrelevant to the sonic output. However, in this study, we will approach this problem by eliminating as many variables as possible besides the metals, including replacing the human flutist with an angularly accurate flute machine that plays the headjoints using a source of high purity compressed nitrogen funneled through a copper tube formed into the shape of a flute embouchure. Data acquisition was performed in a mostly anechoic chamber normally used to test the acoustics of jet engines by an array of thirteen microphones. From this, we produced unique physical portraits for six Garner headjoints sounded alone and fitted to silver YamahaYFL-587HCT #548, and 14K gold Yamaha YFL-997 HCT # 977A C338. While we were unable to find definite patterns explaining the power spectra we observe, this study represents a first step towards a more complete understanding of the precise effect of the materials used on the sound produced.