Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


World Languages, Literatures and Linguistics

Committee Chair

Jonah Katz

Committee Co-Chair

Sergio Robles-Puente

Committee Member

Sergio Robles-Puente

Committee Member

William Koehler


Through an experiment and series of acoustic analysis, this thesis evaluates if vowel articulation modifies flute sound. It is an initial investigation in a sequence of research on linguistics solving major questions in flute performance and teaching, and is a continuation of a previous pilot project called “Acoustics and Perception of Speech Sound on the Flute,” where participants attempt to distinguish vowel articulation of the mouth while playing the flute. In this thesis, the flute sound is tested acoustically to provide evidence of how vowels alter the timbre. To this end, a professional flutist recorded A=440 Hz in the three octaves of the flute. The participant played one pitch while shaping the mouth using one monophthong. The first recording used peripheral vowels on the IPA, while in a second recording the flutist played vowels contrasting in jaw height on the IPA, therefore producing a total of thirty samples. The collected data was evaluated using spectra analysis, overall loudness, and specific spectral prominences to explain in different dimensions how flute sound behaves in isolation.

The results did not show consistent evidence proving timbre differences. The changes in spectra are small, not related to vowel articulation and quality, giving random results within a specified range. The results provide evidence that the acoustics of phonetic vowels do not correspond to flute sound.