Sound Holes

Music and sound are for me inextricably linked with playing a musical instrument. In my case it is the flute. Playing an instrument is a very physical experience that incorporates the senses of sight, sound and touch.


A flute is not grasped tightly but is balanced lightly between the joint of the left index finger, the tip of the right thumb and under the bottom lip. The other fingers need to be able to dance freely over the keys and your posture needs to be upright with the arms away from the body so that it is possible to expand the chest and breathe deeply. You inhale and breathe out slowly filling the flute with air. The air vibrates and the sound waves can be felt pulsing up and down the flute. My favourite notes are the ones where all the keys are pressed down: low note D and E flat and E flat two octaves above, as it is here that the fingers can really feel the sound.


A flute is basically a tube that is open at both ends with holes. The player blows across the mouth hole and the stream of air strikes the far edge bouncing it in and out of the tube causing turbulence and setting up vibrations in the column of air inside the tube. The tube acts as a resonator that amplifies the vibration and by opening or closing the holes the vibrating portion of the tube will lengthen or shorten to change the pitch of the sound heard.


The holes (and the keys covering them) therefore are the focus of all the sound wave activity. As the vibrations pulsate up and down the tube an open hole stops them in their tracks and releases them – essentially the tube becomes shorter. The hole is an opening that frees the sound waves enabling them to be heard.


As I sew hundreds of holes into this cloth I can’t help wondering what kind of noise they would make if  they were able to pulsate and resound with sound.

1 thought on “Sound Holes

  1. glengerrard

    I am struggling with a piece of repetitive stitched text which I do not have the confidence to push on with. Thanks for your holes, maybe it will give me the oooomph/believe to continue.


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