Bringing the Text to Life
[INTERACTIVE NOTE: Have a musician play a brief solo on a flute, clarinet or other wind instrument as an aural prequel to the sermon].
That's a joyful noise, isn't it? A lovely, lilting melody, so full of breath and spirit. Just how are such beautiful sounds produced?
No one knows.
Really. No one knows. Not this fine musician. Not the careful craftsman who shaped the instrument. Not even the sharpest scientists of sound -- specialists who spend their lives studying musical acoustics.
It seems that the soul of sound is an ancient and elusive mystery.
"Flutes and their kin, including whistles, ocarinas, recorders and pipe organs, are among music's oldest and most versatile instruments," reports William Broad in The New York Times. "Yet science has long had trouble understanding all but the most elementary aspects of how they work."
Only now are researchers starting to learn some of the secrets, and as they do, they are glimpsing the soul of a very old machine. "These instruments ...