is the most common chemical element found in nature. Diamonds, plants
and most natural organisms consist of carbon. The first technical use
of carbon fibre was Edison's lamp, where he carbonized cotton to create
an incandescent filament.
In the 1900s a
new group of materials called composites appeared. Carbon fibre is one
of the latest reinforcement materials used in composites. It's a real
hi-tech material, which provides very good structural properties,
better than those of any metal, not to mention plastics! Originally, it
was developed for use in space technology. Later on carbon fibre was
introduced for use in everyday articles and purposes where
extraordinary high performance was needed, such as sports equipment,
racing cars, boats etc.
Using carbon fibre opens up new possibilities in musical acoustics. The
effect of material on the sound of flute has for long been considered
controversial. Already in the 19th century Theobalt Boehm experimented
with different materials and came to the conclusion that a light and
strong body gives the best result. In those days the common view was
that the vibrating wall of a wind instrument body creates the sound,
like the cover of a violin. Conversely, scientists claim to have proven
that the molecules of the flute body can not essentially participate in
sound production and the material of the body thus has no effect on the
flute sound. This is an ongoing debate, as artistic perception and that
of so called hard scientific fact do not find agreement in this case.
Still, the evolutionary process seems persistently to hint at the
potency of the material of the body. Historically viewed, the tendency
has moved from soft to hard and rigid materials. Boehm's material's
studies concluded by favoring the tone producing qualities of the metal
flute. Albert Cooper reports that he had hammered a flute body for
several weeks to get a sufficient rigidity and a good sound. Soft flute
tubes haven't succeeded, and any of us can imagine what kind of an
acoustic effect a soft rubber tube would have on a flute.
The idea of using carbon fibre for a flute did not begin from
scientific calculations. The starting point for Kahonen was to
experiment the effects of sound by the exceptional properties of the
body. The focus of the studies was a body construction with a light but
very aperiodic wall, where energy losses are minimal. In a body of such
a configuration, the wall itself doesn't create the sound, as
scientists say. The most essential element is the vibrating column of
air inside the flute. The construction of the body along a proper bore
dimension, the placement of correctly proportioned tone holes and an
optimal headjoint taper, wall height and embouchure hole configuration
creates the best acoustical circumstances for the vibrating air column
of the flute.
Reportedly, players' intuitions are that the flute with a carbon fibre
body produces a responsive, powerful and rich sound with wide dynamic
dimensions in volume and tonal colors. Acoustical tests, carried out in
the laboratory of acoustics at the Helsinki University of Technology,
prove the players' intuitions to be correct. Measured maximum volume
level was notably powerful compared to the best conventional flutes
made of silver, gold and wood. The measured tonal spectra was notably
rich throughout the octave range.
The scale is a combination of modern theory of sound waves and practise
about flute playing. The scale meets the standards of professional
flute playing on all levels. The scale is based on the superior tonal
production of carbon fibre tube and proper designed geometry of the
body and the keys.
The tubes of MATIT flutes are made using a special manufacturing
method, which guarantees very good acoustical and structural properties
as well as the high quality of the inner and outer surfaces.