See a complete list of sounds at the end of the page!
The whole range of the instruments
and how to make them
can be found
on the Mainpage of Kite Musical Instruments
sound samples are in mp3 format now!
Used the RealAudio format in former times here...,
but meanwhile MPEG3 seems to be a musical standard, so all KMI-pages were changed to mp3-format...
For example, WINAMP would be a suitable player to hear the sound examples.
In case you'd find them to be of minor quality, please remember, that the wind is the natural enemy of good sound recordings...
I'm still learning to do things better...
How were the recordings made?
It was in full summer 1998 when we decided to make some sound tracks of a part of the flutes described in KMI pages waiting for six weeks for an appropriate wind of >=30Kmh which might tempt the whistles to make some noise.
We waited in vain, however...
Then the idea came up, to fix the whistles or the whole kites at a bamboo pole, whirling the ensemble around us in a circle...
We gave up that idea also due to two reasons:
Firstly, the day, we tried out, there was a very slight wind, but it was enough to let the whistle's sound grow louder/ higher, when the whirled bamboo pole went against the wind and became quieter/ lower, when the pole moved with the wind. So we obtained an undesired wave motion of the sound.
Secondly, we were totally out of breath after a half an hour and, due to the constant turning motion, we felt a certain kind of seasickness, which prevented further trials...
For lack of the optimal solution, a wind channel, we chose our car for generating the wind. In order to avoid the engine's noise, the wheel's noise still being there, the car was allowed to roll down a long, slight slope at a speed of approx. 30kmh with the engine off.
The whistles or the whole kite with the whistles were fixed firmly to the bamboo stick and the ensemble was held out of the passengers car window thus allowing different "windspeeds" in an almost laminar wind.
That's the solution I would recommend for trying each type of whistle or musical bow etc., for that method will give you the best results in comparison with the expenditure.
AND, PLEASE, WATCH THE TRAFFIC!!!! For you might still be useful for the sounding world and for allowing me, to hear something about YOUR RESULTS, please place yourself on the passenger's seat and hire a driver!
Problems still wait for their solution...
The noise of the wind streaming over the microphone (we wrapped it in a T-shirt...) is too strong. It mainly can be heard in the "kite organ" recording.
When testing a little kite (Nantong "Ko-Ling" Whistle Kite; length about 1m) the wind produced a swinging motion of the whole ensemble, so the sound rapidly went up and down as you can hear in that special sound example.
A real problem is also the permanent "civilisation" noise like cars, aeroplanes etc. Even in rural areas there is at least ...a milking machine...which can be heard on the recordings afterwards. Our ancestors really lived in a sort of "sound-paradise" without noise, where aeolian-harp-tones could be listened without disturbance...
Some technical things for better recordings:
Soldering of piezo pickups by Richard Lerman.
See a complete instruction of a simple HYDROPHONE made of a can and piezos...
See many good technical ideas concerning better pickups/ recordings given by Experimental Musical Instruments:
and other nice things...
The sounds of the kite line...
For the sounds of the kite line, i.e. the sound which is created by the wind itself playing on the long string of the kite line, we first tried an acoustic stereo microphone and a resonator of the type "line-telephone" as it is described in "Music on the Kite Line" (see the German version). This method wasn't convincing due to the the wind-noise and surrounding noise we found difficult to avoid.
A simple piezo-pickup for musical instruments like guitars etc. worked best for that purpose.
(For example "Hot Spot", K&K Sound Systems; 20-15000 Hertz)
The pickup was fixed with cellulose tape on the "line telephone's" membrane.
Or the pickup was just held between forefinger and thumb, another part of the hand contacting the vibrating line. The line tones need sometimes considerable dampening.... they can be VERY loud...
To hear the whole sound of the "ensemble", an acoustic microphone was used.
Another method of testing is to search for an old castle, like the "Windeck" in Weinheim. In the windows on the castle's tower almost ideal conditions can be found for testing purposes of all kind of aeolian instruments.
Before "looking" on the different sounds, please let me mention the most appreciated software being used to build these pages:
The pages were made
with "Open Office 3.xx".
former times I used
a simple and easy wysiwyg freeware html-editor. Perhaps a bit
old-fashioned nowadays but still well working for someone who wants
to give good informations rather than nice effects to his/ her
pages, so I would recommend it nevertheless.
The sounds were
recorded by means of piezo-pickups or directly via microphone on a
MD-recorder; the sound files were copied to the PC as wave (*.wav)
Trying to transform these files into MPEG Layer 3 (*.mp3) files as unchanged as possible, the wind playes its role as a natural enemy of every recording and forced me, to cut off some parts containing undesired distortions..., filters were used rarely in the beginning. In the last time, I learned to use those tools - but saw also the possible loss in sound information when using it.
Since April 2011 a Zoom
H2 losless wav-recorder is
The friendly program, doing a good job in many difficult cases (wind noise...) is "GoldWave", a shareware wave-editor with lots of features and lifelong updates. A top product for a reasonable price!
Without "Find and Replace" of the ABACRE comany in France these pages would have cost much more time to realize. This small, but useful and powerful tool became a much appreciated companion in my daily work at the computer. Lifelong updates and an informative forum (!) taking care at special problems of the users.
Here's a complete list of sounds of Kite Musical Instruments site:
Kite Flutes. (6 sec., 12K)
A sort of bamboo flutes which are mounted onto a stick above the kite.
Kite Flutes. (13 sec., 27K)
Paper Maché Kite Flutes which are placed within the paper covering of the bamboo kite.
Kite Flute; single flute with piezo-pickup (9 sec., 19K)
Type Nantong/ China Kite Flutes from gourd/ bamboo, fir veneer and coco-shell.
Cambodian Musical Compound-Kite-Bow made from synthetic material (string), bamboo (bow) and car window-wiper metal blades (side parts of the bow) ... fixed at a string and whirled around the head...
All these tones were recorded by means of a simple piezo-pickup from different kite lines near the reel either directly from the line or an interposed "line-telephone" resonator. Please note, the different tones are created on one single line (!) by nothing else but the wind; beautiful harmonies can be heard.
Thin Line (49sec., 97K)
"Thin line" (Polyester, 1mm braided), where the wind was not strong enough to create steady tones.
Middle Line (55sec., 109K)
"Middle line" (Polyester, 2mm braided). Listen to the beautiful changing of tones depending on the windspeed and pull of the kite.
Thick line (60sec., 118K)
"Thick line" (Polyester, 3mm braided).
harmonic music of an Aeolian harp.
(*.mp3 format) 107sec., 210K)
The natures romantic voice or a simple musical automatic machine...? Please decide yourself ...!
A simple wooden box of mahagoni with three sound holes; twelve 80 cm nylon strings of 0.6mm (tuned "G") and 0.9mm (tuned "E min."). It stood in the airflow of an almost closed door...
Longstring Aeolian Harp
(See literature of Minssen, Mins; in German only)
This type of instrument was used with success in 1785 by Abbate Don Giulio Cesare Gattoni in Como/ Italy in order to build a mechanical instrument forecasting the weather. 50m threads were strung between his loggia and the tower of his church... using different metals including gold, silver, copper and iron-wires. The latter metal he found sounding best.
The instrument you can hear consists of nothing more but a 0.8mm 2V-A-Steel wire, about 15m long and put under tension on two suspension masts. The first sound is picked up from a resonator type "line-telephone" , which is fixed with a line of 1mm (under tension also) diameter to the steel wire. The second tone is made with a piezo pickup directly at the suspension mast. The tones have more "mechanical" sound qualities than the aeolian harp you heard before.
Longstring Aeolian Harp No.1 (*.mp3 format, 102K, 52sec)
Longstring Aeolian Harp (single round steel wire) picked up with "line telephone" resonator.
Longstring Aeolian Harp No.2 (*.mp3 format, 131K, 66sec)
Longstring Aeolian Harp (single round steel wire) picked up directly at the suspension mast.
Longstring Aeolian Harp No.3 (*.mp3 format, 87K, 44sec.)
Longstring Aeolian Harp with a single FLAT wire picked up with "line telephone" resonator.
A little accident ;-))... Insect impact on the string (*.mp3 format, 40K, 4sec)
The wire, being very sensible, even makes audible raindrops or an insect flying against the wire during the recordings...zzinngggg...
(*.mp3 format., 125K, 64 sec)
The resonator's line itself emitting sounds.
Flutes (*.mp3 format, 44K, 22sec)
Which are similar to kite flutes "in full flight" (recordings made by Jim Widess and his pigeon team, please see his HP!). You hear one flute carrying pigeon starting with clapping its wings; it's joining a flock of other flute-pigeons which circle three times around the "spectator".
Flutes; Street-scene from Lombok-Island/ Indonesia (*.mp3
format, 190K, 96sec.)
Recordings made in 1998 by Pierre Fabre, kite-artist, living in Paris/ France (pier.fabre"AT"wanadoo.fr)
It is early in the morning, two muezzins are calling the faithful, a cock is crowing, children are talking and over all the regularly returning sound of a flock of flute-carrying pigeons circling over the village. Close your eyes and listen....
Aeolian Harp (*.mp3 format, 140K, 71 sec.)
Perhaps the most beautiful thing to make from an old tin. Listen to the marvellous tones coming out of a little peanuts tin covered with packing paper and attached to a 120cm braided Polyamide-string...
The recording of an "edge-tone"
(*.mp3 format, 107K, 22 sec.)
A typical example of a "friction tone" in contrary to the "wire-tone" according to Strouhal. These low tones are generated by the vortex-shedding natural wind at sharp edges or around obstacles following the Strouhal-theory (see original text). The moaning sound's pitch following the windspeed without being "overblown" is very characteristic.
(*.mp3 format, 60K, 30 sec.)
A new kind of Aeolian "Harp". Free swinging reeds (brass) like in a harmonica make a beautiful accord in a wind of 3-5Bft.
Aeolian Organ" (*.mp3 format, 118k, 60sec.)
Or the famous "Weeping Bamboo".
Windharp" (*.mp3 format, 200K, 120sec.)
An aeolian harp NOT tuned to unisono; but nice...
noise" (*.mp3 format, 206k, 110sec)
Typical background recorded at a location of beautiful aeolian harps...
double-edge-tone" (*.mp3 format, 129K, 31sec)
consisting of two tones generated by an airflow through the gap at
the horizontal bottom part of a doorframe.
double-tone (*.mp3 format, 138K, 34sec) consisting of two
tones generated at the vertical gap of the doorframe.
The famous, two-bladed wharbling
bamboo propellers used in religious ceremonies in Bali
A big propeller of 200cm diameter (*.mp3 format 45K,16sec)
and a little one of 60cm diameter (*.mp3 format 72K, 27sec).
or "Lesiba" (*.mp3 format 140k, 34sec) originating
The only stringed wind-musical instrument which is blown with the mouth...
sound of a skilled "Goura"-Player. (*.mp3 format,
Aeolian Harp" with a different set of braided
strings...(*.mp3 format, 198k, 61 sec.)
Tower" (*.mp3-format, 187k, 47sec.); wind-sounds at
holes in metal-tubes of an observation tower in Odenwald Mountain/
of a transmission line (*.mp3-file, 53k, 30 sec.); sounds generated
at the cables, played with double speed.
friction tones" generated by the wind directly at the
cables of transmission lines.
sounds generated at my new room-door harp. A bit crazy but
of an original Nantong flute kite,
thanks to Marcia Bujold http://www.windabove.com/ for the friendly permission!
of an original Vietnamese Cai-Sao Kite flute in flight...
New sound of "Teltschik-Tower" *.mp3 format (1600k; 145sec)
New sound of a new pigeon-instrument. The Musical Pigeon-Bow (186k, 56sec)
Sound of a Portuguese windmill near Lisbon (18 sec, 85k)
Another sound of a Portuguese windmill near Lisbon (37 sec., 123k)
Sound of Dieu Sao kite flute with 5 flute tubes in gusty winds (3min 57sec.; 3,600k)
Sound of a circular saw, blade diameter approx. 100cm; different tone modi ( 1min 22sec; stereo, 2,2MB)
Acoustic impression of a Karman Vortex Street (69sec; 1MB)
Acoustic village-scene with many Vietnamese flute-kites flying... (36 sec; 578k)
Fallen needle-trees rubbing against another in the forest.
Small ice lumps falling down a spruce tree from (dry) twig to twig
Cambodian Musican Kite bow „Ek“ (recording by John Browning)
Ideas, criticism, questions or some more links...?
Please give me the opportunity, to improve these pages for you,
so please Mail me up your opinion , thank you!
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Uli Wahl, All Rights Reserved