Constructing a Pentatonic PanPipe
1. Gather your supplies
3 feet of PVC ½ inch piping (diameter is not essential, but this is easily found, standard width PVC tubing)
- 5 PVC ½ inch end caps
- Saw, Dremel cutting tool, etc.
- PVC cement
- Ruler/measuring tape
- Spray paint/brush
- Chop sticks/dowels
- Twine or ribbon
2. Measure 5 lengths of PVC tubing as follows:
Adapted from and thanks to: http://www.philtulga.com/Panpipes.html
Cut the pieces a little long so you can tune them later as needed.
3. Attach the end caps using the cement.
- Using a tuner, trim the tubes until the tone is at the right pitch.
- If planning to paint when finished, now is the time to lightly sand so the paint will adhere.
- Use the PVC cement to glue the pipes together, lining up the open ends of the pipes.
- Use your cutting tool to trim the PVC end caps so the pipes sit flush against one another.
- Spray paint the pipes, and embellish with the chopsticks and twine/ribbon to create a set of pipes that resemble traditional bamboo panpipes.
Playing the PanPipes
Blow across the top of the pipes as you would a pop bottle. This 5 note set has a pentatonic scale, but by using a standard set of calculations, you can create a set that plays a complete chromatic scale and in multiple octaves.
Adapted from and thanks to: http://www.instructables.com/id/Homemade-well-tuned-pan-flute/
A pan flute is a group of tubes with a closed end. Each tube has a different length but all share the same diameter. The length of the tube determines the pitch: longer tubes produce lower notes, shorter tubes produce higher notes. The inner diameter of the tube influences the air speed needed to make the sound audible: a smaller diameter requires a faster, more focused air stream, while a larger diameter requires a slower, larger air stream.
Using the formula above:
– L is the length of the tube
– v is the speed of sound
– f is the frequency
Using the first formula shown in the previous step the list of lengths for a chromatic 13 note set of panpipes in cm:
31.69; 29.91; 28.23; 26.65; 25.15; 23.74; 22.41; 21.15; 19.96;18.84; 17.78; 16.79; 15.84.