3D32.15 - Variable Pitch Whistles

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Variable Pitch Whistles
Resonance in Pipes
Area of Study:
Slide whistles, Nose Whistle or Nose Flute, Membrane whistles.

See Also: Galton's Whistle 3C20.15.

The nose flute shows the resonance of an adjustable cavity. Blow through the nose to produce the whistle sound.  By adjusting the opening of the mouth and throat the sound can be dramatically changed.

Changing the tension of the pipe on the membrane will change the pitch of the membrane whistles.  Practice to play simple tunes.

  • Jay S. Huebner, N. Sundaralingam, "Simple Sound Demonstrations", TPT, Vol. 36, #1, Jan. 1998, p. 16.
  • Martin Gardner, "A Puzzling Moo Horn", TPT, Vol. 32, #5, May 1994, p. 314.
  • "Vibration in Pipes", TPT, Vol. 18, #5, May 1980, p. 383, also A Potpourri of Physics Teaching Ideas - Sounds, p. 253.
  • Thomas B. Greenslade, Jr., "Galton's Whistle", AJP, Vol. 80, #8, Aug. 2012, p. 687.
  • Se-10, "Variable Pitch Whistle", Freier and Anderson, A Demonstration Handbook for Physics.
  • W- 220: "Train Whistle and Flutes", DICK and RAE Physics Demo Notebook.
  • S- 58: Richard Manliffe Sutton, Demonstration Experiments in Physics.
  • A. D. Bulman, "A Galton Whistle and a Bamboo Pipe", Model-Making for Physics, p. 49.
  • Don Rathjen and Paul Doherty, "Membrane Aerophone", Square Wheels, 2002, p. 45.
  • Jodi and Roy McCullough, "Sound with Melody Pops", The Role of Toys in Teaching Physics, p. 4.134.
  • Martin Gardner, "A Puzzling Moo Horn", Science Tricks, p. 58.
  • Jearl Walker, "3.3, Whistles and Whistling", The Flying Circus of Physics Ed. 2, p. 147.
  • Bobby Mercer, "Straw Trombone", Junk Drawer Physics, p. 58.
  • Tom Senior, "McDonald Straw Slide Whistle", PIRA Resource Room Make and Take.
  • Bobby Mercer, "Air Horn", Junk Drawer Physics, p. 73.
  • "Power Oboe", Toys From Trash, www.arvindguptatoys.com, 12-4-2008.
  • Joseph Frick, "#152 - The Organ of Voice", Physical Technics: Or, Practical Instructions for Making Experiments in Physics and the Construction of Physical Apparatus with the Most Limited Means", p. 152.

Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.