flute(redirected from flutes)
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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