Theory Of The Single Woodwind Tone Hole

Douglas H. Keefe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


A single tone hole may be generally represented in the transmission-lines description of a woodwind musical instrument by a T-section circuit. This circuite element is comprised of a shunt and series impedance whose values differ depending on whether the hole is open or closed. The imaginary parts of these impedances have here been calculated as functions of frequency in terms of the main bore diameter, and the tone-hole chimney height and diameter. The loss-free wave equationis solved for a single tone hole placed through the wall of a cylindrical main bore. Green function expansions are made in both the main air column and tone hole. These two expansions must be equal on the surface of intersection between the main bore and tone hole, and this condition may be expressed by an integral equation over the surface. An approximate solution to the integral equation is obtained by Schwinger's variational formulation and the impedance parameters in the T section are there by computed and displayed in a form for use by musical acousticians. The series impedance for both open and closed holes is a negativeinertance. The shunt impedance of a closed hole is a compliance which is simply relatedto the closed-hole volume. The shunt impedance of an open hole is written in terms of the open-hole effective length and expressed as a function of the tone-hole proportions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)676-687
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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