Flute Family

Flutes are the earliest known musical instruments, with some artifacts dating from about 35,000 BCE.  In its most basic form, a flute can be an open tube that is blown like a bottle.

The Western or standard concert flute (C-flute) is a transverse (side-blown) instrument that is closed at the blown end and is made of wood or metal, most commonly silver.  It’s played by blowing a stream of air over the embouchure hole.  Pitch is changed by opening or closing keys that cover circular tone holes (there are typically 16 tone holes).  The direction and intensity of the air stream also affects the pitch, as well as timbre and dynamics.

The dimensions and key system of today’s concert flute and its close relatives are almost completely the work of the great flutist, composer, acoustician and silversmith, Theobald Boehm, who patented his system in 1847.

In our flute choir, we play various instruments from the flute family.


Some instruments from the flute family. L to R: Bass, C-Flute, Piccolo, C-Flute with B-foot, Alto