Sailing Through the Magical World of Flutes from Different Eras and Ethnicities

Playing a flute is like workout for your brain. Flutes have been around since the Stone Age. Back then they were front-blown instead of side-blown. The Middle Age and Renaissance period saw the use of 6-holed simple wooden flutes. After making many upgrades a musician and goldsmith, Theobald Boehm revolutionised the flute design.

The model contained a system of rods, springs and pins and the new fingering method was simpler. He experimented around with many metals and came up with an instrument that produced a great tone quality. The flutes used today follow Boehm model with just slight modifications.

Various types of flutes available today:

Concert Flute: This is the standard flute used and also referred as western concert flute. This non transposing instrument is usually made of silver or nickel silver and can also be made of gold and platinum.

Piccolo: Being the smallest among flutes, it has the highest pitch. Burkart flutes named after Lillian Burkart, the world-famous Piccolo stand out because of their resonance and easy control. There are Burkart flutes for sale at Schmitt Music. Their flutes scream innovation and are of top quality.

Alto flute: This transposing instrument dates back to over 100 years. It is longer and thicker than concert flute and requires more breath to result in a good tone. Is headjoint is either straight or J-shaped.

Bass flute: It is longer than concert flute measuring 52 inches. Their sounds are overshadowed by instruments like clarinets and hence they are generally used in flute choirs. There are crutches and rods available in market to hold the flute as it is quite heavy.

Tenor flute: Known as the ‘flute of love’ its sound is quite haunting. It has been in picture since medieval time and its length lies somewhere in between Alto flute and Concert flute.

Flutes from different parts of the world:

  • Irish: Used in Scottish and Irish traditional music and was initially designed keyless and is now modified.
  • Bansuri: This bamboo flute is available in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh.
  • Dizi: This keyless, transverse bamboo flute is used in Chinese music and made from different bamboo species.

  • Native American: It is made of wood and front-blown, two-chambered and open-holed. Their tunes are accompanied by shakers, rainstick and buffalo drum.

Owing to its diversity, flutes are popular all over the world. It is extremely easy to maintain and portable making it a great choice for beginners.


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