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Basic Native American Flute Design Tool

This page provide a basic tool for finding notes and finger layouts for a wide range of flutes (five- and six-hole minor pentatonic, diatonic, Anasazi style, Mojave style, and Papago style) as well as exploring temperament (Equal versus Just-Intoned) and resonant colors.

Note: this tool does not calculate finger hole placement. It is an aid to determining the notes and tunings to use for a particular tuning / style of flute.

For more background information on this calculator, including the folks who contributed to the code base, see the Tools and Calculators Overview page. For more information on the tunings and styles, visit the NAF Tunings page. If you find any problems or suggestions regarding this page, please contact me.

Browser Compatibility Note: This tool does not function properly on all browsers. It has been tested on these browsers, with varying results:

  • OK - Internet Explorer 9.0.8112.16421, tested 6/14/2011, on Win7 64-bit.
  • OK - Google Chrome 12.0.742.91 m, tested 6/14/2011, on Win7 64-bit.
  • FAIL - Mozilla Firefox 4.0.1, tested 6/14/2011 on Win7 64-bit. Seems to fail to execute any JavaScript code, even with the configuration for JavaScript turned on. No JavaScript errors were flagged - just no execution of the code.
  • OK - Apple The New iPad (third Generation), iOS 5.1, tested 3/18/2012.

Basic NAF Design Tool

by Clint Goss, version 1.06

Inputs

Fundamental Note
  
Note Bias
+
 cents   
 
Tuning / Style
Minor Pentatonic
Six-hole, Mode 1/4
Minor Pentatonic
Five-hole, Mode 1
Diatonic / Major, Six-hole
Maqam Rast /
Arabic Diatonic, Six-hole
4
Major Pentatonic
Six-hole, Mode 2/5
Spanish Gypsy Six-hole
Minor Pentatonic Extended
Six-hole, Mode 1
Anasazi Tuning, Six-hole
Mojave Tuning, Four-hole
Papago Tuning, Four-hole
Pitch Standard
A4 = Hz  
Temperament
Equal Temperament
Just-Intoned

Results

                       Include cross-fingerings3            .
Select the inputs above and then click [Calculate]
This table will be filled in with the basic flute design
Fingering Note Frequency
(Hertz)
Tune to1 From Fundamental Wavelength Note # Color2 Details
Cents Ratio cm inches MIDI Piano
Finger diagram open open open open open open                                                                  
Finger diagram open open open open open open                                                                  
Finger diagram open open open open open open                                                                  
Finger diagram open open open open open open                                                                  
Finger diagram open open open open open open                                                                  
Finger diagram open open open open open open                                                                  
Finger diagram open open open open open open                                                                  
Finger diagram open open open open open open                                                                  
Finger diagram open open open open open open                                                                  
Finger diagram open open open open open open                                                                  
Finger diagram open open open open open open                                                                  
Finger diagram open open open open open open                                                                  
Finger diagram open open open open open open                                                                  
Finger diagram open open open open open open                                                                  

Documentation

This calculator helps you design a flute based on the fundamental note and the tuning and style of the flute.

The easiest thing to do is to play with the various inputs, click on [Calculate] after making changes, and see how the results change.

Some things to note:

  1. The “Tune to” column guide you on how to tune the note, with your tuner set to A=440, tune to this note. If the calculator shows “exact”, the intent is to tune so that the tuner registers "in tune" on that note. Otherwise, the calculator indicates a number of cents sharp (+ cents) or flat (- cents) to bias your tuning.
  2. The Color column shows a color swatch of the color that is resonant with the note, many octaves above it. You can see the exact frequency and wavelength by resting over the color swatch (it should pop up like alternate text). Note that the RGB color swatch is only an approximation of the color of the pure light, based on an algorithm from Dan Bruton's Color Science Page. See the The Color of Sound tool for more detailed information on the conversion of wavelengths of light to RGB colors.
  3. If the “include cross-fingerings” checkbox is selected, additional rows are added to the grid to show fingerings and tunings for some possible cross-fingerings.
  4. Some of the scales are "quarter-tone scales" that have notes between the chromatic notes of the 12-tone Western chromatic scale.
  5. If multiple fingerings are shown in the first column, these are some of the possible fingerings that can be used for this note.
  6. If you wish to adjust for temperature and humidity issues when designing your flute, use the CrossTune calculator to find the appropriate adjustment in cents and then enter that adjustment on this page.
  7. Error checking on the input is not complete. If you enter an inappropriate entry (such as something other than a number), results can be unpredictable.

For more background information on this calculator, including the folks who contributed to the code base, see the Tools and Calculators Overview page.

Revision History

Version 1.06 - February 12, 2012

  • Repair damage from overly-aggressive assignment of title= attributes, which affected the JavaScript code.

Version 1.05 - December 29, 2010

  • Add MIDI generation capability.

Version 1.04 - December 26, 2010

  • Add Spanish Gypsy, Maqam Rast, and Mode 1 Penta Extended (using a thumb hole).

Version 1.03 - December 16, 2010

  • Add the "include cross-fingerings" checkbox.
  • Add Mode 2/5 flute, using fingering from Steve Petermann.

Version 1.02 - December 12, 2010

  • Overhaul to improve colors, fix black colors, and add onChange() events to all inputs.

Version 1.01 - December 11, 2010

  • Initial release.

 
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To cite this page on Wikipedia: <ref name="Goss_2017_basic_naf_design"> {{cite web |last=Goss |first=Clint |title=Basic Native American Flute Design Tool |url=http://www.Flutopedia.com/basic_naf_design.htm |date=15 April 2017 |website=Flutopedia |access-date=<YOUR RETRIEVAL DATE> }}</ref>