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One Pipe Organ

An (extremely dangerous) organ with one pipe
  (+4, -2)
(+4, -2)
  [vote for,

Different gasses have different densities, which affects the way sound travels through them. Low density gasses tend to produce higher-pitched sounds, as when speaking in a high-pitched voice after breathing helium. Likewise, high-density gasses produce low-pitched sounds.

My proposal is for an organ with only one pipe. Instead of relying on diffrent pipe lengths in order to produce different frequencies, the organ will use different gasses to produce different frequencies. By pumping hydrogen or helium through the organ pipe, a high tone will be heard, while dense gasses like radon or uranium hexaflouride will produce low tones. Nitrogen or carbon dioxide could provide middle tones. Through careful chemistry, and possibly by mixing various gasses for some of the intermediate tones, one should be able to produce a full range of notes.

All that remains is to get a pressurized tank of each gas, attach it to a set of solenoid valves controlled by a keyboard, and start playing.

Naturally, not all of the gasses will be safe (flammable, corrosive, radioactive, etc.), so it's probably advisable to wear a self-contained environmental suit and avoid open flames while playing. Also, only one note can be played at a time, but that's a small price to pay for such an elegant display of physics in action.

Another small drawback is that each note will tend to start at the same tone as the last one played--the residual gasses will have to be cleared out before the new tone is produced, so you'll end up with a sort of glissando effect, especally with rapid sequences of notes. This could be mitigated by mounting the pipe sideways, so the heavier gasses don't get trapped at the bottom, but lighter gasses can still escape as well.

5th Earth, Nov 14 2007

Classical Gas http://en.wikipedia.../wiki/Classical_Gas
Seems relevant [csea, Nov 15 2007]


       Pass gas fast!
phoenix, Nov 14 2007

       //so you'll end up with a sort of glissando effect// This is basically a swanee whistle?
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 14 2007

       My proposal is that a song titled "One Pipe Organ" be composed and sung to the tune "Mustang Sally".
bungston, Nov 14 2007

       Are there any gases that are strongly paramagnetic? If so, you might be able to use one gas but control its effective springiness with a magnetic field.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 14 2007

       Don't forget heating and cooling the gas(es).
baconbrain, Nov 14 2007

       Is is a coincidence that Organ is an anagram of Argon? How better to perform Bach's Gas in G minor?
phundug, Nov 14 2007

       Speaking of Gs, could you compress the gas by subjecting it to high acceleration?
baconbrain, Nov 14 2007

       is gasses a word?   

       I might (just) plus an idea if it did not include the word ligter.   

       <wavering> oh o.k. +1
po, Nov 14 2007

       Blimey. (Almost) withholding a bun for one spelling error? That's a bit harsh. Anyway, I fixed it. Also, Dictionary.com lists "gasses" as a valid plural of gas.
5th Earth, Nov 15 2007

       I'd prefer an organ capable of polyphony, at least 8 pipes. [Link] for nostalgia.
csea, Nov 15 2007

       I'm imagining a very explosive premier performance. [+]
Noexit, Nov 15 2007

       You could vary the gas temperature also: you could get an additional octave by going from -136 degs to +273 degs for example, or 0 to 819 degs (Ideal gas, and ignoring tube end effect).
bhumphrys, Nov 15 2007


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