Re: [oddmusic] membrane pipe advice?


A membrane pipe isn't quite like a kazoo type mirliton. I think, the membrane on it would need to be at least a bit more elastic than for an average kazoo.On a membrane pipe it needs to move enough that the air can escape under it to produce the sound.
A kazoo membrane transfers the vibrations that contact it from one side of the membrane to the other. In the process there is amplification and may be some distortion, depending on the type of material used and how it is mounted. In the patents for kazoos some specify an elastic diaphragm and some a nonelastic one. Some say loose, some say tight. It mostly depends on the location of the membrane (parallel or perpendicular) and the desired effect (buzzy or a clearer tone).

You can look at the membrane possibilities I have noted so far at
I have added BobC's idea about the various resins and airplane cement to the list of possible coatings for paper.

BTW you can use a membrane pipe of this kind as a kazoo by humming into it, sort of. For the most part, the sound you get out is controlled by what you put in, but when hitting certain notes a squeal is added from the membrane acting as a membrane pipe or air horn.
I'm thinking of making and using one as a kazoo for a comedic touch.

In what way is the pipe's pitch not stable?

I am not sure how much stretch or elasticity is necessary for a pipe's membrane to work. When you say don't stretch, do you mean over a period of time?

--More information than most people would ever want to know about Kazooz--

-----Original Message-----
From: RP Collier <>
To: oddmusic <>
Sent: Sun, Feb 26, 2012 8:44 am
Subject: Re: [oddmusic] membrane pipe advice?

On Feb 25, 2012, at 8:12 AM, tikkotikko wrote:

> If you have experience with these things, or know of good resources,
> I welcome your advice!

Nothing from the kazoo experts yet?
I don't know the parameters, you don't want stretch in the membrane?

I was thinking maybe condoms - less likely to get brittle than balloon
rubber, or maybe sheepskin condom if they make those anymore?
Sausage casing?

In the past when I have made buzz mirlitons for thumb pianos I have
used various kinds/weights of paper saturated with different resins
like epoxy or shellac, maybe even airplane model dope -- just have to


-----Original Message-----
From: tikkotikko <>
To: oddmusic <>
Sent: Sat, Feb 25, 2012 9:12 am
Subject: [oddmusic] membrane pipe advice?

As part of my instrument-a-day project, I made a membrane pipe for the first time a few days ago:

I like it a lot - it only took a few minutes to put together, and it has a surprisingly nice mellow sound. I'd like to make a more serious version of a membrane pipe, and an "organ" with multiple fixed pipes, so I'm wondering about best practices. Is it possible to make a membrane pipe with a more stable pitch? What kind of membrane materials work well, don't stretch, and last for a long time?

If you have experience with these things, or know of good resources, I welcome your advice!

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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