A comparison of acoustic effects of two stopper and crown systems in the modern flute

J. Tait


A new stopper and crown system developed by flute maker Robert Bigio is reported to produce a louder, harmonically richer and faster response in the orchestra flute. Using spectral analysis software, the author compared the two systems (Standard and Bigio) in a test flute to find any significant differences in relative loudness and amplitude of recorded test note harmonics. A homemade impedance head mounted on the flute's embouchure plate was used to measure the pressure response of the flute sound wave produced in response to signal excitation (Schroeder chirp, 500 to 5000 Hz). Results showed that the Bigio unit was associated with stronger levels of amplitude and total power, higher amplitude in harmonics, and a slightly higher pressure response. The Bigio unit may be important for improving the timbre of the flute, but more work must be done to ensure that harmonic changes are more consistent, and to decide whether pressure differences make for an easier or harder blowing flute.


Acoustic waves; Harmonic generation; Musical instruments; Spectrum analysis; Crown systems; Flute; Pressure response; Stopper

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