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18 July 2010 @ 03:04 pm
questions for a physicist  
For some reason, I think my flute sounds really, really good in hot weather. I think it has something to do with the air density. My husband and I were having a discussion during lunch, because we were also wondering about the effect of humidity on all this. I know the air is less dense when it is hot, but is the air more or less dense when the humidity is high? And why would lighter air affect my sound? Is it just easier to get the sound moving? Hmm.

I am hoping someone will know the answer to these questions!
Crystalxroadtonowherex on July 18th, 2010 07:14 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that is has something to do with how the metal vibrates. In cold, metal contracts and probably doesn't vibrate as fast. The more vibrations in the metal= more vibrant sound! Hope this helps to answer some questions!
Roseexpresso_moon on July 18th, 2010 07:36 pm (UTC)
I asked my husband, who is a physics student and this is the best answer I could get out of him without it being a page long answer.

"Yeah, the density of air changes with temperature and when the density changes it affects the resonant frequencies and standing sound waves inside the flute."
Amanda: fluteflrt_311 on July 18th, 2010 08:01 pm (UTC)
In my experience, cold air restricts the vibrations created by the flute. Warmer temperatures allow the vibrations to be carried and therefore make it easier to play. Humidity usually bothers me. It doesn't help or hinder my playing. It simply annoys me because it makes my pads sticky.
Joyce Kaiflutulip on July 18th, 2010 08:16 pm (UTC)
I think you are right about the heat of the metal. Although it has been a LONG time since I played in dry heat. But just the feel of the warm flute seems to feel reassuring. The humidity annoys me because it makes the tops of the keys feel sticky, and it is also annoying trying to keep my chin dry.

And here I thought all these years that "warming up" meant to warm up my muscles. But I usually find that it does not make much difference whether I have played for a while or not. If the weather is hot, my flute sounds great from the first note.
Amanda: fluteflrt_311 on July 19th, 2010 01:38 am (UTC)
Well, warming up is indeed to warm up the flute, but at the same time, you need to get your muscles ready to play. It's like stretching to an athlete. :)