Types & Tuning
There are many different kinds of panflutes, varying in shape, material, range, and tuning. A standard instrument does not exist. In Europe, however, the Eastern-European model - a single concave row of pipes stopped at the bottom - is the most common instrument used. Traditionally, it is tuned in G major. The instrument is prevalent in Romanian folk music. The range of this instrument goes from G1 to G4.
Another tuning which is gaining ground is that of C major. These instruments are used or classical music, to prevent octave transpositions, as it has four extra pipes in the lower register in comparison to panflutes in G major. The range of C panflute is C1 to G4. These are not strict limits, as tones can be lowered (flattened) and the use of flageolets extends the range to five octaves. This will be discussed more elaborately in later chapters.
There also are larger instruments, up to two octaves lower. These will not be discussed in this paper. Should you decide to write for panflute, always consider what the range is of the instrument of the player(s) you will be writing for - a flute in G already has a smaller range than a flute in C, and not everyone has a bass panflute.
The tuning of the panflute also has a significant influence on the sound and chromatics. A scale in C is naturally easier to play on an instrument in C than on an instrument in G.
What follows next is an overview of the complete range of the panflute. Harmonics and flats have been put into this as well. Below each note are numbers, which indicate the pipes on which the pitch can be played.
(click the picture to download)
Next is an overview of all the possibilities per pipe in a matrix. Every matrix represents one pipe with all the possible pitches on that pipe. Those will be the ground pitch (underscored), the flat of the ground, the harmonics, and the flats of the harmonics. The left Y-axis indicates the pitch, the right Y-axis the dynamic range or that pitch. The X-axis indicates the level of difficulty. The entire column above and below the numbers written in the X-axis indicates one of the following levels:
2: not so easy
4: very difficult
6: highly impossible
The coloured squares behind the notes give the level of complexity for each note.