Master's Thesis | Sound Design

The digital bottle


The blown bottle is an old and very common musical instrument. It belongs to the family of aerophones. Similar to a panpipe, the air column in the bottle is oscillated by air blown over the bottle’s opening, which produces a tone. The pitch is determined by the shape of the bottle and its containing fluid level.

This workpiece-oriented master’s thesis documents the development of the digital bottle flute as an electroacoustic musical instrument. An electronic system is implemented to make ordinary bottles usable as a musical instrument and controllable via MIDI interface. Valves are used to regulate the airflow and the fluid level inside the bottle to provide digital control of the duration and frequency of produced sounds. By simultaneous frequency analysis the system can tune itself.

Die digitale Flasche
Photo: © Sound Design / Thomas Alpers