Saturday, July 03, 2010


I've won a vuvuzela! During the Soccer World Cup, our local grocery chain is running a lottery where one gets scratchcards for shopping. On one of the cards, I've scratched off exactly four vuvuzela icons, meaning I now own this wonderful plastic horn, just in time for this afternoon's quarter finals of Germany vs. Argentina.

It neatly comes in the German colours, and with all necessary assembly and safety instructions (120 dB or so in front of the horn can be dangerous...)

As this is a physics blog, you may expect me to say something about the physics of the vuvuzela, but it is too hot today, and I have to prepare for the match.

Besides, there are already great blog posts on the vuvuzela, for example at
Science 2.0, where it is explained that all horns work the same way. You blow into them and that creates a vibrating column of air but the construction of the horn means certain resonant frequencies will occur, or at A quantum of knowledge. And the New Scientist has a nice interview with Trevor Cox, president of the UK Institute of Acoustics, on the sound of the vuvuzela.

And if you'd like to dig really deeply into the science of the instrument, you may try to find a copy of Fletcher and Rossing's Physics of Mucsical Instruments and have a look at the chapters on Pipes, Horns and Cavities, Sound Generation by Reed and Lip Vibrations, and Lip-Drive Brass Instruments.

Have a great weekend!


  1. Hi Stefan,

    So you have one of those most annoying instruments, which has forced me to turn the sound down while wat6ching the games. I think you should take it to the local pub and use it while watching the match as I think it might be a good experiment in exploring the effects of “Backreaction”:-) I also have wondered if those plastic ones actually sound like the original that are fashioned from an antelope’s horn.

    I’ve watched several of the matches and will be watching Germany vs Argentina, which is coming up in a little more than an hour. It was sad to see Brazil go down in defeat yesterday. yet with the Netherlands winning it will assure at least one European team will be in the final; well at least from the way I have it figured. I really like the German team yet despite their talent many are very young and thus I hope they can hold their composer against Madona’s squad, especially with him attempting to stir the pot a bit with his innuendo or as it’s now called “trash talk”. I think it will be a hard fought game with Argentina now holding the torch for South American hopes making it all that more intense, so I expect to see a few of those yellow and red tickets being seen. The only problem is for me 9:00 am is a bit too early to crack open a beer:-)



  2. Hi Stefan,

    Sorry that should have scanned as Maradona’s Squad not Madona’s, although I don’t believe she’d mind having her own team; oh my apologies again that should be Madonna:-)



  3. A company offers a product claimed to cancel out Vuvuzela sounds:
    Title info:
    "Anti Vuvuzela Filter | Get Rid Of The Annoying Vuvuzela Trumpet Noise By Active Sound Cancellation:"

    You can download it for € 2.95.

    I don't know how well this product works but the principle is demonstrated valid and effective dep. on variables. I don't know how they pick out the Vu' sound to cancel and keep the rest.

    Heh, Madonna - makes me think of the "Madonna of today" Lady Gaga. How about a really extreme, garishly decorated horn making a really loud and edge "Raaaaahhhh" sound called a Gagazela?

    BTW did anyone ever figure out that bad call by Referee Koman Coulibaly against the US Team?

  4. It's been done - Jericho. The neighbors were sore wroth.
    Every obeisance has its sacrificies.

    Jewish law forbids Sabbath shofar sounding. The ba’al tekiyah might carry it - a class of forbidden Sabbath work. If a non-believer carries it without being so instructed, and does not touch it while doing so, you've got a loophole.

    A conch shell plus a topless Pacific Islander babe (or local quantum mechanician) is a viable alternative. A partially echoplexed Indian conch created the extraterrestrial sound of the derelict outworlder spacecraft in Alien.

  5. Second gooooooooooooooooooooal!!!!! for Germany so I think it’s time to cry for Argentina :-)

  6. Hi Stefan,

    Obviously these Germans have no regard for conservation laws as one would have been enough:-) More seriously congratulations and good luck in the semifinals.



  7. Anti-vuvuzela filter is actually quite long montonous mp3, but there is a sample and manual (PDF)...

  8. Zephir, they probably like the publicity but be careful when hosting materials by outsiders at your own web site. Make sure you have permission if needed, and my apologies if taking care of that is obvious to you and didn't need noting.

  9. Thanks for the updates guys. Saved me the effort of turning on the computer to get the result :-)

  10. Those manufacturers of the wuzuvelas
    should praise/sell some hearing protection.
    Ideal: every second spectator has a
    wuzuvela, the other 50 % use the
    That's business like the old "Oil for
    Chinas lamps" when Standard Oil
    gave free clay lamps to the Chinese.

  11. Click here for the 1:33 minute trailer from the upcoming summer blockbuster, "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Vuvuzela".

    My favorite line:

    GANDALF: YOU ... SHALL ... NOT ... PLAY !!

  12. *lol* Thanks, the video is quite well made actually :-)

  13. Lol yourself ... and you're welcome!

    Well, I gave you my favorite line, but my favorite scene is where Aragorn and Legalos shoot arrows at the Vuvuzela players.

    Other than hunting for food, that's probably the BEST application of bow and arrow technology, ever! :-)

  14. Sorry no Germany in the final.


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