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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Perhaps I should ask this question on a forum for brass players, but as I know that are a lot of people here who know something about accoustics, I hope for some enlightment here.
Now that the Dutch are in the final, I hear a lot of vuvuzela 'burps' in the streets of Amsterdam. I even bought one myself.... I have two questions:

1)When I blow it myself, I get something of an A as a pitch, and my girlfriend as well, and all other burps in the neighbourhood are around this boring same A. But in the live broadcasts of the matches, the buzz of the thousands of vuvuzela's together is around Bb! How come? Do they have shorter ones in South Afrika, or is there something else occurring?

2)Nobody seems to be able to get a second pitch from this pipe. One would expect that it's possible to play an octave or a fifth, or some other natural overtone, as can be done with a trumpet. Only once I succeeded in getting a kind of fifth (After the second goal against Uruguay, and I wasn't affraid of the neighbours response, as a bit of noise making was justified...).
I would expect that trumpetplayers would be able to do this easily. But as the unison buzz during the matches suggest, there are no people whatsoever that play a different pitch on it. There is a very small hole just behind the mouthpiece, which was used for attaching the pricecard. This should be closed off course, but even if close it with a vinger, still no overtone series.... I'm a lousy player thats for sure, but my hypothesis is that the walls of this plastic tube are to thin to get an accoustic 'seal'. Is it a desigh 'fault', or have the players so little musical sense that they are sattisfied with only one note?

Your opinions on this can improve the world, because next time we definitly need better music at the World Soccer Cup!

Hinzaldi
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Drake!
They play a Bb on this German ones. It appears indeed to be a little shorter than the 'Dutch' version. And they produce overtones, but apparently its not easy, even for professional brass players. The melody of the Bolero seems to be sung, with a natural Bb as accompagnement....
 

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I found it interesting that Brahms included the instrument in his 1st Symphony....
 

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I thought Vuvuzela was in South America.
 

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Well, there's certainly a loud Vuvuzela player down there blowin' his own horn.
 

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A trumpet has a length of about 134 cm; which gives it an extremely low fundamental. This note is weak and very out of tune, and is in fact never used in normal playing. Because of the extreme length of the tubing and narrow bore profile as compared to its length, it is quite easy to play a large series of overtones, and the higher ones lie closer and closer together. The bore proflie of the trumpet adjusts the harmonic series in a way that makes it useful for playing a large number of relatively-in-tune pitches, and missing notes are supplied by changing the tube length through valves and extra plumbing.

This is a completely different scenario than a vuvuzela, in which the short horn plays only the fundamental well. Because the horn is quite wide for its length, and not geometrically correct to play a good overtone series, it is extremely difficult to get the bore to play anything but the fundamental (whether this is in Bb or A, depending on small differences in length).

The Bolero and Brahms are played with the lips, not the actual bore: there is no standing wave inside the bore for the notes those guys are playing; the bore acts only as a megaphone to direct the note being produced by the lips. Needless to say, those guys are very accomplished brass players, who have very fine lip control.

Toby
 

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A trumpet has a length of about 134 cm; which gives it an extremely low fundamental. This note is weak and very out of tune, and is in fact never used in normal playing. Because of the extreme length of the tubing and narrow bore profile as compared to its length, it is quite easy to play a large series of overtones, and the higher ones lie closer and closer together. The bore proflie of the trumpet adjusts the harmonic series in a way that makes it useful for playing a large number of relatively-in-tune pitches, and missing notes are supplied by changing the tube length through valves and extra plumbing.

This is a completely different scenario than a vuvuzela, in which the short horn plays only the fundamental well. Because the horn is quite wide for its length, and not geometrically correct to play a good overtone series, it is extremely difficult to get the bore to play anything but the fundamental (whether this is in Bb or A, depending on small differences in length).

The Bolero and Brahms are played with the lips, not the actual bore: there is no standing wave inside the bore for the notes those guys are playing; the bore acts only as a megaphone to direct the note being produced by the lips. Needless to say, those guys are very accomplished brass players, who have very fine lip control.

Toby
Translation for the attention-impaired: They're doing this mostly in SPITE of the instrument, because they're that good.
 

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I thought about this some more. The vuvuzela is about a meter long, so not that much shorter than a trumpet. I'm guessing that a lot has to do with the bore width: just compare a trumpet mpc exit diameter/lead pipe to the diameter of the analogous parts of a vuvuzela and you will see a huge difference. In the same way that higher harmonics are weak in a large diameter tube, the vuvuzela is weak above the fundamental. All the energy is in the fundamental. Those guys in the video may actually be exciting a very weak resonance, but it is basically their lips doing all the work.

Actually, you could probably drill fingerholes in a vuvuzela and make it play like a cornett, if you really wanted to have different notes.
 

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I thought about this some more. The vuvuzela is about a meter long, so not that much shorter than a trumpet.
In the video above, though it's just a guess based on how the people look, the vuvuzelas look to me around 60cm-70cm long. If it was about a meter those three players would have to be about 2.50m tall :)
 

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THE RANGE OF THE VUVUZELA

After extensive testing we were able to work out the average range of the VUVUZELA. My colleagues and I all took turns and were able to consistently throw the VUVUZELA an average distance of approximately 27meters. However, this was not it's most accurate range. Given the light plastic nature of the instrument, it's effective range is reduced to approximately 14meters but would need to be adjusted on a windy day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
In the video above, though it's just a guess based on how the people look, the vuvuzelas look to me around 60cm-70cm long. If it was about a meter those three players would have to be about 2.50m tall :)
The one I have here in Amsterdam is 62,5 cm long. Diameter of the bell is 11,8 cm (outside), moutpiece diameter = 3,2 cm (outside)
 

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In the video above, though it's just a guess based on how the people look, the vuvuzelas look to me around 60cm-70cm long. If it was about a meter those three players would have to be about 2.50m tall :)
Yes, that makes sense. I had a vuvuzela in my hands and in fact it was about 70 cm long. I cold play a very out of tune octave on it, but nothing beyond that. It would be interesting to see an impedance graph of one of those.
 
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