Hey ! I’m Darius Berghe, the person behind the Kaval.ro project. I’m a software engineer by training but my love for sound and my scientific curiosity have led me to set on a personal journey to understand and build traditional as well as original musical instruments.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where did I get this impulse to create and improve on flutes but I think I have a lead. Quite likely, the exposure to the musical work of Dimitrie Cantemir through Jordi Savall’s Hesperion XXI recordings, has influenced me into appreciating exotic sounds, in this case - the ottoman classical music. At this point, I had found music and sound that were completely new to the ear of someone who was used only to western music. This new discovery has led me to research about what instruments are used in traditional ensembles and thus found out about the turkish ney, kaval, then the arabic and persian ney, the balkan kaval with its romanian variation caval, the indian bansuri, the japanese shakuhachi and the native american flute. Around the same time I discovered the Tausend und eine nacht persian restaurant in Vienna, Austria which I then regularly frequented becuase of the flavoured persian food, cozy ambiance and their regular live music concerts of the world music genre. Many of these concerts featured these newly discovered instruments and I fancied the idea of acquiring one for myself to start playing it. I settled on the turkish ney and patiently struggled for weeks to get a stable sound out of it.
For a person who loves sound, once you know how to blow into the ney or the kaval you blow in all sort of tubing of all sort of material to get sound out of them. This has led me to realize that one can make an instrument out of any tube, provided they know where to drill the finger holes and tune it well. Sounds simple, but simple it is not ! I realized this after setting onto studying flute acoustics. It seems that all acoustic flute models employ empirical formulas because no one really fully understands how flute geometry affects its tone. Flutemaking is thus a typical engineering problem, where compromises have to be made to manufacture an instrument that is acceptably good acoustically.
The Kaval.ro project aims to document my musical instrument studies and manufacturing attempts and allow anyone who may be interested to follow along and get inspired. Technical drawings, woodworking technique for flutemaking, software for flute modelling and tuning, articles focusing on playing technique will all be published on this website and available for free.