Homemade Musical Instruments — Pan Pipes — Pan  Flute — panflute —  zampona —  syrinx — antara  — paixiao


If you're interested in building a pan flute, or a set of pan pipes, this is the page for you!  It includes: 1) Virtual Panpipes you can play right now on your computer; 2) directions on how to build a 5-note set of panpipes; and 3) information on building and playing an 8-note set of panpipes.  Also, if you're participating in Science Olympiad, be sure to check out our 2014 Science Olympiad Addendum.  So take a couple of minutes, play the virtual panpipes, learn how to make your instrument, and discover all of the great songs your homemade panpipes can play.

Virtual Panpipes

Our Virtual Panpipes play the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th & 6th notes of the Major Scale.  It's called the Pentatonic Scale (see below). 

As you will hear, the longer the pipe, the lower the pitch the shorter the pipe, the higher the pitch.  

Start by clicking your mouse on each pipe (below). Then, choose a song and start playing. 
Playing tip: If you hold down your mouse, the notes will last longer. If you would like to make this instrument, just follow the directions below.

Choose a Song to Play

Building a 5-note set of Panpipes

Begin by getting approximately 2 feet of 1/2-inch/schedule-40 PVC sprinkler pipe.

  Inches Centimeters  
C 6 1/16 15.4 1
D 5 3/8 13.6 2
E 4 3/4 12.0 3
G 3 15/16 9.8 5
A 3 7/16 8.7 6

1) Cut the tubing into the five sections listed on the left.

2) Place a penny over one end of each pipe and cover each penny with a 2" X 2" square piece of duct tape.

3) Wrap about 18 inches of duct tape around the set as shown on the right. Blow across the top of each pipe it's just like blowing on a soda bottle.

If you would like to build an 8-note set that plays many more songs, see below.

Building an 8-note set of Panpipes

Phil and his daughter, Sarah, have created a special resource on building and playing panpipes.  It includes step-by-step instructions, sheet music written in treble clef, and play-along music tracks.  It has everything you need to be successful with your project, from beginning exercises to duets and quartets you can play with your friends.  Just like our water bottle xylophone, glockenspiel, fraction tubes, melodic tube drums, and didgeritubes, our panpipes are tuned to play an 8-note scale in the key of C — and if you want more than 8 tubes in your set, check out our new Science Olympiad Addendum!

“Building and Playing Panpipes”
by Phil & Sarah Tulga


Come and join Phil’s daughter, Sarah, as she builds a working 8-note set of panpipes out of PVC sprinkler pipe.  She shows you how to prepare your materials and guides you step-by-step in assembling your instrument.  She also covers a number of helpful tips on how to play your panpipes so you will sound your best.

You will learn special exercises to develop your playing technique, and some great songs to play by yourself and with your friends.  To help you learn faster, Phil and Sarah have included sheet music written in treble clef, and play-along tracks for each song.

It's the perfect project for scouts who are making a homemade instrument.  In fact, you will see many scouting songs in this package.  Homeschoolers will also enjoy the project as a cross-curricular activity on math, measurement, music, and the physics of sound.  If you’re building an instrument for the 2014 Division B Science Olympiad Competition, please see the addendum below.

This complete package (including step-by-step instructions, playing tips, exercises, songs, duets, quartets, and the 2014 Science Olympiad Addendum) costs only $14.95.

To download this PDF book on "Building and Playing Panpipes" along with all the music tracks, just click the "Buy Now" button below.


Table of Contents



I. Preparing your materials
II. Building your panpipes
III. How to play your panpipes
IV. Playing techniques
     - Scale
     - Take Big Breaths
     - Tonguing Exercise
V. Beginning songs
     - When the Saints Go Marching In
     - Lightly Row
     - Go Tell Aunt Rhody
     - Matarile (folk song from Mexico)
     - Oh Susanna
VI. Intermediate songs
     - Ode to Joy (Beethoven)
     - Song of the Dragon (Chinese New Year song)
     - Camptown Races
     - Oh My Darling Clementine
     - Tue Tue (folk song from Ghana)
     - This Land is Your Land
     - On Top of Old Smokey
     - Daisy / Bicycle Built for Two
     - Home on the Range
VII. Playing with a friend
     - Hot Cross Buns (duet)
     - Mary Had a Little Lamb (duet)
     - Yankee Doodle (duet)
     - Good Night Ladies (duet)
     - Shoo Fly, Don’t Bother Me (duet)
     - Jingle Bells (duet)
     - Jolly Old St. Nicholas (duet)
VIII. Playing with four or more
     - Row Row Row Your Boat (4-part round)
     - Frčre Jacques / Are You Sleeping (4-part round)
     - Taps

IX. 2014 Science Olympiad Addendum









2014 Science Olympiad Addendum

If you would like to build a wind instrument for the 2014 Division B Science Olympiad Competition, Phil and Sarah have now included all of the pipe lengths to make "Instrument 1" for the Sounds of Music event.  In their addendum, you will learn the pitch names, exact pipe lengths (in centimeters), and frequencies (in Hertz) for all 27 notes in the “allowable scoring range” between F3 and G5.  The pipe lengths are tuned and calibrated to an "A-440", and the frequencies they produce are precisely based on the “12 tone tempered scale.”  Additionally, you will learn exactly which tubes to play for the required “F Major Scale (F4 to F5)”, as well as the formula for equal tempered tuning.  This addendum is now included at no extra charge in the above package, "Building and Playing Panpipes" by Phil and Sarah Tulga. 

Also, see Phil and Sarah's Melodic Tube Drums, Didgeritubes, and Glockenspiel to read about other instruments that meet the 2014 Science Olympiad requirements.

Sarah Tulga
Science Olympiad
National Medalist

in Sounds of Music












Copyright © 2004-2013 Phil Tulga

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