Compatible Computers/Operating Systems

For PC types of computers:
This is a DOS program that may used in either a DOS virtual program such as some of those in certain versions of Windows, or straight DOS as is used in a DOS operating system or in other versions of Windows. For Windows programs which do not have either a DOS base or a virtual DOS program, there are online programs such as DOSBOX which are free downloads that provide DOS capability to your operating system.

Some people prefer to buy or scrounge an old computer like a 286 and use it with a DOS operating system.   Others prefer to place a DOS operating system on a hard drive that can be added to a more modern computer either by means of a drawer allowing removable drives or with a more permanent installation.   Most people simply use their Windows operating system by accessing the underlying DOS or its virtual DOS.   If one has a Windows operating system, the procedure is to copy the program to a folder, open the folder, click on the execute command, and the program comes up.

For Mac types of computers:
There are "translating" programs for older Macs and (I am told) some of the newer ones have some means of using PC programs.   In any case, Macs can be used with this program.

Newer printers vary in their means or capabilities for printing DOS programs. Some research and experimenting may help. If you have a problem with your printer in this regard, you may do what many people have done and create a sheet with blanks for you to fill out with the results for any particular program results.

Computer Program

Tunings for 5-hole Native North American Flutes
Mode 1 Pentatonic
Mode 2 Pentatonic
Mode 3 Pentatonic
Mode 4 Pentatonic
Mode 5 Pentatonic

Tunings for 6-hole Native North American Flutes
Modes 1&4 Pentatonic (on same flute)
Modes 2&5 Pentatonic (on same flute)
Modes 1&3 Pentatonic (on same flute)
Modified Diatonic
Whole Tone

Inputs for Each of Above
(These are found in highlighted areas to be chosen by the flutemaker as desired.)

Choose between 5 playing holes or 6 playing holes.
Choose from 4 direction holes, a single tuning hole, or no such holes.
Choose one of 24 modern keys for the flute fundamental or any frequency of your choice.
Enter the desired temperature.
Enter the correct K2 for your flute.
Enter the bore diameter or equivalent bore diameter of your choice.
Enter the barrel thickness of your choice.
Enter the playing hole diameters of your choice.
Choice of True Sound Hole Widths
Choice of one more octave of Key Choices (choice of 3 octaves of keys for the flute)
Choice of Separate Barrel Thickness for each playing hole
Choice of 4 possible Bore Lengths for each flute fundamental (key)

Readouts (which change whenever an input is changed)
Maximum Allowed and Suggested K2 for a either single octave or a 1.4 octave flute
Length to Bore Ratios (theoretical length divided by the bore diameter squared) with suggested ratio
Hole Placements (with warnings if limits exceeded)
Distance from Foot to Plug

Flute designs in keys with over 2 octaves of choices for:
Diatonic (6 playing holes)
5-Hole Mode 1 Pentatonic
6-Hole Modes 1&4 Pentatonic

The Above in 3 Flute Types:
Top Endblown - such as Kena (Quena) or Straight Bore Shakuhachi Style
Transverse - such as Celtic Fife or Bansuri Style
Diagonal (Side Endblown) - such as Middle Eastern or West Coast North American Style

The three basic types listed above can be designed for any of the many Native American tunings by accessing the subprogram for the Native American tuning desired and then changing the value for K2 to the correct one for the style desired.

Tips for Using the Flute Design Program

1.   Design the flute using the program and save the design.   Be sure to cycle the program sufficiently after you make each change.   There are over 600 interrelated equations that each change may affect.   The readouts must stop changing before the correct ones can be shown.
2.   Make the flute blank (it will not be exactly like the program design because the program design has an accuracy down to a thousandth of an inch).   DO NOT DRILL THE PLAYING HOLES YET, but do make the sound mechanism (fettish and all) and shorten the blank until it has the desired pitch for the fundamental.
3.   Measure the blank's bore diameter and wall thickness with caliper and micrometer or the equivalent.
4.   Place the new measurements in the saved design and re-compute the playing hole placements based upon the actual bore diameter and a wall thickness that is slightly less than the actual one for the blank.
5.   Drill the playing holes.
6.   Slowly and uniformly turn down the barrel exterior until the proper tuning is obtained for the flute fundamental (some methods for checking the flute are shown in Creating and Using the Native American Concert Flute).


The Flute Design Program Options are the result of 25 years of work to discover the way a flute functions and the equations used to describe the way a flute functions, and 6 more years to develop a fast, user-friendly program.   The Flute Design Program Options are copyrighted, registered in the U.S. Library of Congress, and subject to copyright protection.   When a copy is ordered, its serial number is automatically registered by me and the user's name is placed on a list with that number.

The Program Options have been placed on a DOS spreadsheet called Excalc and are precise and accurate to a thousandth of an inch.   The speadsheet used has been superceded by newer and more complex spreadsheets.   However, it is still the spreadsheet with the least bytes, fastest speed (due to its simplicity), and easiest presentation (non-linear approach) for flute designing.

Occasionally, someone wants to have the Flute Design Program placed on a newer spreadsheet.   This would be a mistake due to the number of equations involved and the excessive bytes used by newer spreadsheets.   The DOS spreadsheet used requires less than a megabyte of space and the flute designs that result require equally small space on one's computer.   Excalc has an on-screen presentation that can be altered if one wishes to do so, and looks good when one chooses the right colors.