The Production of Music with Pyrotechnic Whistles

Fred Ryan

ABSTRACT: The techniques used by the Western Pennsylvania Skylighters to produce music with pyrotechnic whistles are described. Whistle tubes of various diameters and lengths are used to produce individual notes. The tubes, containing small amounts of compressed whistle composition, are fired electrically. Construction details are given for producing very reproducible notes over five musical octaves. This music was demonstrated at the Pyrotechnics Guild International (PGI) Convention in 1994 (“Stars and Stripes Forever”) and at the 1997 PGI Convention (Circus medley music accompanying set pieces) utilizing a computer controlled firing system. Simpler tunes have also been performed using hand-firing techniques such as a “nail board” firing system. Our experience in improving the tonal quality of the music produced, as well as suggested areas for further improvement, is discussed.

Keywords: pyrotechnic, whistle, music, resonators, mode selection, computer

Ref: JPyro, Issue 7, 1998, pp1-10

© Journal of Pyrotechnics and CarnDu Ltd

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