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Author Topic: Endless wind... the Aerophor!  (Read 698 times)
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robcat2075

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« on: Sep 05, 2017, 11:17PM »

It has been mentioned here occasionally AFAIK, but always misspelled and these are the first pictures I have seen of it.


The Aerophor
(not Aerophon) was a foot operated bellows device that would blow air into a corner of a players mouth to enable infinitely long notes and phrases.

It not only provided air but humidified and warmed it to body temperature.

The diagrams show that one closed the soft palate at the back of one's mouth and relied entirely on the Aerophor to supply the horn, while breathing from the nose to the lungs.

I wonder how well that would work given that the throat is an essential part of the whole wind instrument sound production system.

It was ostensibly patented, so there must be a diagram somewhere that would permit us to recreate this wonder.

(see article link for more pictures)







« Last Edit: Sep 06, 2017, 08:07AM by robcat2075 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: Sep 06, 2017, 07:29AM »

Just wouldn't be feasible with the biology of today's musicians... not many of us have mustaches like that anymore  Evil

I'm interested in the difference in sound of a person playing with an Aerophor and with regular human lungs. I wonder if one exists in a museum, too.
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« Reply #2 on: Sep 06, 2017, 08:12AM »

Hmm.

Sort of like using a water pik while continuing to breath.  I guess it would work. 

No need to support, either. 
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« Reply #3 on: Sep 06, 2017, 08:32AM »

As a long time sleep apnea sufferer with a CPAP I often thought of trying to use the CPAP somehow.  But I don't think it generates enough pressure.
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« Reply #4 on: Sep 06, 2017, 08:43AM »

It appears the foot pumps it but I wonder how the pressure is regulated since your lungs are no longer in the loop.
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« Reply #5 on: Sep 06, 2017, 08:50AM »

I'm pretty sure it works like a bellows and you would control the "upstrokes" like you would in circular breathing.  They could have gotten more sophisticated using two bellows so you would work it like a Parlor Organ.
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« Reply #6 on: Sep 06, 2017, 08:54AM »

I'm pretty sure it works like a bellows and you would control the "upstrokes" like you would in circular breathing.

You mean by puffing out the cheeks?
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« Reply #7 on: Sep 06, 2017, 09:44AM »

You mean by puffing out the cheeks?

That's the way I was taught.  Note that if you normally puff out your cheeks, there's no room to add more air ;-)
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« Reply #8 on: Sep 06, 2017, 10:25AM »

It might be easier to use the aerophor bellows like the bag of a musette or Dudelsack, still providing part of the air support with the meatware bellows. A major difference would be the need to use the tongue and soft palate actively to swich between sources, instead of the automatic flapper valve of a bagpipe. Winding the pipes, or managing the air flow, is an element of the required skill set, and takes a bit of time to learn. Young piping students stepping up from a practice chanter may use a "goose" as an intermediate instrument; a bag and chanter without drones, it uses less air than a full set of pipes.
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« Reply #9 on: Sep 06, 2017, 11:10AM »

The contemporary description doesn't really align with either of those proposals. 

If the bellows were to feed into a pressurized chamber before the air went to the hose(maybe the "water chamber" serves this function), you could have a reasonably continuous air flow even during the upstrokes.  But that black cylinder at the back of the device looks rather small for such a thing.

However, a mediating device like that would distance the performer from adjusting the air flow

I recall reading about how a large organ in Bach's time had a huge mechanism, basically two large bellows under a see-saw, that you or your assistant would walk back and forth on to fill a larger reservoir that stored the air for the actual performance. But an organ is built to use a constant air pressure, unlike a tuba or trombone.
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« Reply #10 on: Sep 06, 2017, 11:47AM »

So, I too had thought of a device very similar to this one, but much more effective:

My device consists of a tank of oxygen, and a long nasopharyngeal tube that is inserted through the nasal canal and into the lung. The tube is hooked up to the oxygen and the valve opened. The musician allows his lungs to expand to capacity and keeps it there, and then slowly increases the oxygen flow until it is escaping out of his mouth at a fast pace. Then, the is able to play forever and during rests just takes the instrument away from his face to allow the oxygen to escape during the rests. Ignore the slight hiss.
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« Reply #11 on: Sep 06, 2017, 12:06PM »

Pure oxygen might be a problem, Harrison.  You could use SCUBA air tanks instead.  I don't recommend any other gas since you need some oxygen going into your lungs to survive. 

But I could envision using something like acetylene and lighting the bell Evil
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« Reply #12 on: Sep 06, 2017, 12:11PM »

The contemporary description doesn't really align with either of those proposals. 

The pictures do not completely align with the text of the article. I believe the cylinder behind the bellows in the tuba image could be the housing for the heating/moisturizing gadget mentioned in the article. As you say, it is not anywhere big enough to serve as a wind chest to even out the impulses from the bellows, which appear to be single-acting both places they are visible. That leaves either the player's cheeks or lungs to take up the slack.

It wouldn't be the first or last time a reporter elided some of the details of a story.
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« Reply #13 on: Sep 06, 2017, 12:26PM »

Pure oxygen might be a problem, Harrison.  You could use SCUBA air tanks instead.  I don't recommend any other gas since you need some oxygen going into your lungs to survive. 

But I could envision using something like acetylene and lighting the bell Evil


I figure if you ignite the oxygen as it comes out of your mouth you can blow fire out of the bell!
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« Reply #14 on: Sep 06, 2017, 12:47PM »

So, I too had thought of a device very similar to this one, but much more effective:

My device consists of a tank of oxygen, and a long nasopharyngeal tube that is inserted through the nasal canal and into the lung.

Temporarily effective, I think.

You'll have enough oxygen to survive indefinitely. 

However you'll be continuing to produce carbon dioxide, which will eventually prove toxic.
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« Reply #15 on: Sep 06, 2017, 01:06PM »

you'll be continuing to produce carbon dioxide, which will eventually prove toxic.
Search for Cheyne–Stokes breathing.

If it's flames you want, try a slug of lighter fluid under the tongue, for controlled release. Avoid backdrafts...
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« Reply #16 on: Sep 06, 2017, 01:26PM »

Temporarily effective, I think.

You'll have enough oxygen to survive indefinitely. 

However you'll be continuing to produce carbon dioxide, which will eventually prove toxic.


the tube is in the lung and so would continuously purge the gasses from within.
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« Reply #17 on: Sep 06, 2017, 01:50PM »

Force breathing pure oxygen for long periods isn't good for you.  That's why I suggested the mixture used in SCUBA tanks.  It's richer in oxygen than pure air, but not pure oxygen.  It's also at much higher pressure. 

In hospitals, pure oxygen is either put in a canula (so you beathe oxygen enriched air) or a low pressure mask.  None of them would provide enough lung pressure to play an instrument.
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« Reply #18 on: Sep 06, 2017, 02:07PM »

I wonder if there is a golden ratio of Nitrogen and Oxygen that will keep you alive but also provide the optimal density/pressure for enhanced tone, given they have different densities.
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« Reply #19 on: Sep 06, 2017, 02:23PM »

How about a tube attached to a tracheotomy hole?
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« Reply #20 on: Sep 06, 2017, 05:28PM »

How about a tube attached to a tracheotomy hole?

Now there's an idea.  But we'd all have to get tracheotomies.  I personally don't want one -- I like to be able to talk. :-P
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« Reply #21 on: Sep 06, 2017, 06:17PM »

When I was a boy it seemed like every medical drama would eventually have someone getting an emergency tracheotomy, ideally by someone who had never done it before.

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« Reply #22 on: Sep 07, 2017, 05:07AM »

This is kind of ghoulish so I'll try to be sensitive.

Before polio vaccine in the mid 50s, the treatment was the iron lung, a device that squeezed your rib cage mechanically and allowed you to live.  There were thousands of people in these cages, some of them who lived 60 years or more that way.  They cost about the price of a small house in those days.

The US still has 6 or 7 people surviving in them, the UK has 1 I think, of course these numbers are a couple years old. 

One of the fears is that we no longer have anybody left who knows how to repair them. 
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« Reply #23 on: Sep 07, 2017, 07:21AM »

Looks like it could be a challenge holding the tuba still while pumping with the right leg.

The modern day version of that would be to have a main pipe under the stage floor with bayonet type air fittings coming through the floor to which the musician plugged in his/her personal air hose.  A foot operated flow control valve would take care of volume control.:)

You could have some fun by injecting some helium into the system just upstream of the flute section to see if it improved their tuning.:D
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« Reply #24 on: Sep 07, 2017, 07:26AM »

This is kind of ghoulish so I'll try to be sensitive.

Before polio vaccine in the mid 50s, the treatment was the iron lung, a device that squeezed your rib cage mechanically and allowed you to live.  There were thousands of people in these cages, some of them who lived 60 years or more that way.  They cost about the price of a small house in those days.

The US still has 6 or 7 people surviving in them, the UK has 1 I think, of course these numbers are a couple years old. 

One of the fears is that we no longer have anybody left who knows how to repair them. 

what does this have to do with music? You forgot to tie the story in  :-P
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« Reply #25 on: Sep 07, 2017, 08:03AM »

what does this have to do with music? You forgot to tie the story in  :-P

From the iron lung, I was thinking maybe a giant blood pressure cuff could squeeze our rib cage enough to do the air support needed on trombone.

I note that Temple Grande built herself a squeeze cage out of plywood to cope with her autism symptoms, but it is not known whether she ever played trombone. 

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« Reply #26 on: Sep 07, 2017, 10:24AM »

I will pedantically note that the "iron lung" was more of a vacuum device. The reduced pressure inside the chamber allowed the higher pressure outside air to rush in through the patient's mouth and windpipe to the lungs. Then I presume there was some reverse pressure to exhale the air. Repeat.

Wikipedia says there were still 10 people on these devices in 2014

More recently, Christopher Reeve was unable to breathe on his own but he seemed to have been outfitted with a tube that blew air in through a throat hole.







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