Wooden flutes on a desk at night

What is "The Midnight Flute"?

The Midnight Flute is the name I've given to my daily music project. Each night I record a short piece of music on a wooden, pentatonic minor 432Hz (Native American Style) flute. Its the very last thing I do before getting into bed around midnight (give or take a few minutes), hence "The Midnight Flute".

Each night I play and record, by the light of (battery-powered rechargeable) candles, without any preparation or planning or practice. Its all improvised, a direct expression and reflection of the day that has just been. More than any other instrument, I find playing these flutes to be the purest of musical expression for me. Put it to your mouth and breathe and play your thoughts, play your feelings, play entirely in that moment. Each night is different because each moment is different.

Of course, some themes and motifs do reappear on different days. That's part of the nature of music and the instruments themselves, limited as they are to a pentatonic scale. I find creating within those limitations and to do so spontaneously to be wonderful.

This project was partly inspired by a desire to make sure I'm taking time each day to play, even if only for a few minutes and partly by artists who post their daily warm up sketches in blogs. Putting that together resulted in this project.

Are you editing these recordings?

Yes and no. I do edit them to remove hiss and to add a little reverb to the recording which these flutes benefit from so much, but I don't edit them to make them "better". So, if I make a mistake then it'll be on the recording. If the rain and wind is battering against my window in winter, or people or cars go past while the window is open in summer then you'll likely hear them on the recording. I'm not going to try and remove them, because they were part of the moment.

Inevitably, this means that some night's recordings will be better than others. We all have good days and bad days, times when we're sick and times when we're well, and that'll end up reflected in the quality of the music in those moments. That's appropriate for a daily project like this, I think, so I'm OK with that.

What does "432Hz" mean?

In short, its about the frequency that a note is tuned to. The standard tuning we're used to hearing is A at 440Hz, but my flute is tuned to A at 432Hz. Does it make a difference? There's a lot of people who say that it does, declaring that mathematically 432Hz is more "in tune" with the resonance of the planet and our brain waves, so music tuned to A=432Hz has a more positive effect.

Is it true? Why not listen and decide for yourself, or you can search online for 432Hz tuning, where you'll find all sorts of articles about it.

Personally, I think the basic importance of mathematics to the planet (and indeed the universe) is fairly well proven, so using a tuning which is mathematically "resonant" with the planet certainly can't be doing any harm and may even do some good. After all, there's an awful lot that humans do which is so clearly discordant with the planet we call home, so trying to do something a little more in tune can't be bad.

How are you making these recordings?

Without getting too bogged down in the technical details, I use a small Linx tablet (so that no fan noise is generated) running Audacity software, which I also use to remove hiss and add reverb. I plug a Sony stereo condenser microphone into a Behringer USB audio interface and plug that into the tablet. That's the whole set up, nothing fancy at all. One charge from a solar panel every 2 weeks is plenty to keep the tablet powered for recording and editing.

Can I download the recordings?

Yes you can, in various formats at The Internet Archive page that all of the recordings are stored on. I'm intentionally giving the music away to anyone who wants to listen to it, in a spirit of sharing and hope that those who enjoy it and will benefit from it will be able to find it because its freely available. If you like what I'm doing, please do share it so others can find it.

All the recordings are covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 licence. Please respect the license they are published under.