Category Archives: Flute and human body

Physics of Flute applied to Human body

The working of wind instruments is of special interest to me since I could draw an easy analogy between this and human body. This is a humble effort to put my understanding and analogy of the same.

Wind instruments like flute work on the principle of open air columns/open pipes. Explained generally in crude terms, when air is blown through one end of the flute, vibrations/waves set in, which travel the length of the flute body thus producing the sound of a particular frequency. The frequency of vibration or resonance is inversely dependent on the length of the resonating air column. So shorter the tube, higher is the frequency. This frequency is altered by stopping the air at different intervals, through holes on the flute body, thus basically controlling the length of the vibrating/resonating air column/flute body. You may have observed a flutist tapping/closing different holes to produce different notes. This is what I mean when I say stopping the air at different lengths. Vibrating air columns can be of different types, open, closed at one end, cylindrical, conical etc. etc., the basic principle of producing sound being the same.


image courtesy:

A similar analogy struck me when I was studying the above phenomenon. Isn’t our body also an air column, much more complicated though? I say this because, when we breathe, air inhaled from the nostrils is sent to move all over our body and thus it should become an air column. Then a series of questions/thoughts etc arose in my mind as if this is so, do we resonate with a particular frequency? If so what is the source of the resonant frequency? Do we have a mechanism to control/alter the frequency, as in flutes where holes control the length of the column of air? So on and so forth.

chkrs n notes


In quest of an explanation for the above thoughts, I came across the above picture. Then a striking resemblance to the working of flute made me arrive at the following results.

Most of us have heard about the chakras in the human body. As I understand it, these are nothing but the different energy centers in the human body. Everything that is seen in the Universe is nothing but Energy, in different forms. As per my understanding, the air we breathe comes from the cosmos and so we should be resonating with the corresponding frequency in the cosmos. I prefer comparing these chakras to the holes on a flute, which control the frequency of the vibration, thus producing different notes, because for me the number of chakras (7) and the number of notes {sa, ri, ga, ma, pa, dha, ni- saptaswaras(7 notes)} is not a mere coincidence. Different swaras are produced when the air is tapped by different chakras. The notes can be mapped on to the chakras as the following:

Swaras                      Chakras
Base Sa Base Chakra (Muladhara)
Ri    svadishtana chakra
Ga manipurak
Ma anahata
Pa vishuddha
Dha Agya
Ni Crown chakra

The frequency of the notes go on increasing from base sa to ni and we can see that the length of the vibrating air column, which is our body goes on decreasing from the muladhara chakra to crown chakra.

I hope you find this analogy interesting. Something to ponder on.


Note: Suggestions and interactions are welcome




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