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How Do You Make a Straw Flute?: Q&A with Nate | Design Squad

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Hey, it’s Nate
from Design Squad. We got a message
in from “queenbead,” who wanted to ask about
making a straw into a flute. Well, queenbead, I think
that’s an awesome idea. A flute makes a tone
by blowing air across the hole. The way we’re going
to make this instrument, which actually
resembles more of an oboe, which has two reeds
that vibrate back and forth to make sound when
you blow air into them, we’re going to flatten out
the tip of the straw and then cut it into a point, so it kind of looks like
the top of a picket fence. It also makes a tone
from blowing air into it, but instead of just the air
vibrating all by itself, the air gets help in vibrating
and bouncing back and forth by the tips of the straw
bouncing back and forth. Let’s try this out. (blowing air) (making kazoo-like tone) (chuckles) It’s not quite as sweet
sounding as a flute, but kind of a fun instrument. (buzzing on various pitches) All right, it’s a little bit
hard to vary the pitch. What I’m doing to
vary the pitch is, I’m changing how hard I’m
blowing into the tube, and I’m kind of tensing
up the straw a little bit to make it change pitch. Now, another way you
can make it change pitch is to vary the
length of the straw. Watch what happens
when I cut off the end. (buzzing) (buzzing on higher pitch) (buzzing on still higher pitch) Not too bad. What if we could have a way to
vary the pitch as we played? I’m going to take
a second straw and push it
into the first straw. And now I’ve got kind
of a straw trombone. (buzzing low tone) (buzzing higher pitch) (changing pitch high to low) Not too bad. See what instruments
you can design out of things you find
around the house, and then send in your designs
to the Design Squad website.

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