About the Flute
The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. Unlike other woodwind instruments, a flute is a reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air against an edge, instead of using a reed.
The earliest extant transverse flute is a chi flute discovered in the Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng at the Suizhou site, Hubei province, China. It dates from 433 BC, of the later Zhou Dynasty. Following the 16th century court music, concert flutes began appearing in chamber ensembles. These flutes were often tuned to the key of D, and used as the tenor voice. The later half of the 18th century shows the first orchestras being formed, and the concert flute being a member thereof, featured in symphonies and concertos. Throughout the rest of the 18th century the interest in concert flutes increased, and peaked in the early half of the 1800s. The 20th century saw a revival of the recorder, while the concert flute and tin whistle continued to be popular. The invention of plastics in the 20th century gave birth to the tonette, a fipple flute used in music education, but it soon fell out of use, replaced by plastic recorders.
In its most basic form, a flute can be an open tube which is blown like a bottle. There are several broad classes of flutes. With most flutes, the musician blows directly across the edge of the mouthpiece. Flutes can be played with several different air sources. Conventional flutes are blown with the mouth, although some cultures use nose flutes. The Flue pipes of Organs, which are acoustically similar to duct flutes, are blown by bellows or fans. The Western concert flute, a descendant of the 19th-Century German flute, is a transverse flute which is closed at the top. Near the top is the embouchure hole, across and into which the player blows. It has larger circular finger-holes than its baroque predecessors, designed to increase the instrument's dynamic range. Various combinations can be opened or closed by means of keys, to produce the different notes in its playing range. The note produced depends on which finger-holes are opened or closed and on how the flute is blown.
The standard concert flute is pitched in the key of C and has a range of 3 octaves starting from middle C. This means that the concert flute is one of the highest common orchestral instruments, with the exception of the piccolo, which plays an octave higher. G alto and C bass flutes, pitched, respectively, a perfect fourth and an octave below the concert flute, are used occasionally. Parts are written for alto flute more frequently than for bass. Alto and bass flutes are considerably heavier than the normal C flute, making them more difficult to play for extended periods of time.
Other sizes of flute and piccolo are used from time to time. A rarer instrument of the modern pitching system is the treble G flute. Instruments made according to an older pitch standard, used principally in wind-band music, include D♭ piccolo, E♭ soprano flute (the primary instrument, equivalent to today's concert C flute), F alto flute, and B♭ bass flute (incidentally, the clarinet and brass families retain this orientation to a B♭, rather than C tonal center)."Flute." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 24 Apr 2008, 17:22 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 26 Apr 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Flute&oldid=207904194>.
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