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flute,in music, generic term for such wind instruments as the fifefife,
small transverse flute with six to eight finger holes adopted for military music by Swiss regiments serving in France in the late 15th cent. The fife was used in the British army until the end of the 19th cent. The piccolo has largely replaced the fife in modern use.
..... Click the link for more information. , the flageoletflageolet
, small straight flute of conical bore, with a whistle mouthpiece. The number of finger holes varies, as does the length, which may be from 4 to 12 in (10.2–30.5 cm). The flageolet, related to the recorder, was known as early as the 16th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. , the panpipespanpipes,
, or syrinx
, musical wind instrument, consisting of graduated tubes closed at one end and fastened together. The player holds the instrument vertically and blows into the open end of the tube; each tube has its own pitch.
..... Click the link for more information. , the piccolopiccolo,
small transverse flute pitched an octave higher than the standard flute. Its tone is bright and shrill, and it can produce the highest notes in the orchestral range. The piccolo is used in orchestras and especially in military bands. See fife.
..... Click the link for more information. , and the recorderrecorder,
musical wind instrument of the flute family, made of wood, varying in length, and having an inverted conical bore (largest end near the mouthpiece). Its tone is produced by an air stream against an edge, like that of the flute, but the air is conducted by a mouthpiece
..... Click the link for more information. . The tone of all flutes is produced by an airstream directed against an edge, producing eddies that set up vibrations in the air enclosed in the attached tube. In the transverse flute, the principal orchestral flute today, the edge is on the mouth hole on the side of the instrument, over which the player blows. The oldest known archaeological remains of any musical instrument are those of flutes carved of bone and ivory that were found in SW Germany and are at least 42,000 years old. The oldest complete, playable flute is a nearly 9,000-year-old bone flute that was found in E central China. The transverse flute is also an extremely old instrument, universal in ancient and primitive cultures; it was known in Europe by the 9th cent. During the baroque period both the recorder and the transverse flute were used in the orchestra, the latter by Lully in 1672. In the classical period the transverse flute displaced the less-powerful recorder, which could not match its dynamic range. In the 19th cent. the transverse flute assumed substantially its present form after the improvements of Theobald Boehm (1794–1881), who ascertained the acoustically correct size and placement of the holes and devised an ingenious system of keys to cover them. The flute was originally made of wood but is now most often of silver. It is the most brilliant and agile of the orchestral woodwinds, and it also has a considerable solo and chamber-music literature. The transverse flute has been made in several keys, but the C flute has long been standard. The alto flute in G, a fourth below the regular flute, is notated as a transposing instrumenttransposing instrument,
a musical instrument whose part in a score is written at a different pitch than that actually sounded. Such an instrument is usually referred to by the keynote of its natural scale—the clarinet in A, for example—in which case A is sounded when
..... Click the link for more information. .
a wind instrument. Flutes are classified according to the way in which they are held when played. End-blown flutes, like the oboe and clarinet, are held in a vertical position; transverse flutes are held horizontally.
The flute has been known since ancient times. The early flute had a conical tube and eight keys. The modern, transverse flute dates from the work of the flutist Theobald Boehm, who completely reconstructed the ancient instrument and perfected the key system. The modern flute is a straight cylindrical tube closed at one end. It consists of an upper part (the head) with a movable stopper for adjusting the tuning and an opening for blowing in air, a middle part with all the main keys, and a lower part with three or four additional keys. The material used may be a special kind of wood, metal, or plastic. The range is from B below middle C or from middle C to C three octaves above middle C. The sound produced is clear, limpid, and cool,. The instrument has great technical and artistic capabilities. The notation is in the G clef, and the notes are played as written.
The flute is used in orchestral music (in symphonic scores there may be up to four flute parts), chamber music, and solos. The different types of flutes are the piccolo (with a range from D in the second octave above middle C to B in the fourth octave above middle C), the alto flute (from F sharp or G below middle C to B in the second octave or C two octaves above middle C), and the bass flute (from B in the second octave below middle C to F in the second octave above middle C).
REFERENCESTrizno, B. Fleita. Moscow, 1964.
Chulaki, M. Instrwnenty simfonicheskogo orkestra, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1972.
Levin, S. Dukhovye instrumenty v istorii muzukal’noi kul’tury. Leningrad, 1973.
S. YA. LEVIN