The flute is one of the oldest musical instruments in existence. The earliest flutes were made of wood or animal bones. Flutes were held sideways either to the left or right, or straight down like recorders. The flute was an important instrument in almost every ancient culture and civilisation and continues to be so in today’s modern world.


Facts and Features

1.    The oldest flute dates back 42,000-43,000 years and was found in in southern Germany.
2.    By 1530, the flute family had evolved to include the descant, alto, tenor and bass flutes.
3.    In 1670, Jean Hotteterre redesigned the flute in three pieces - the head joint, middle joint and foot joint.
4.    In 1829, Theobald Boehm invented his own way of flute fingering that using rods to connect the keys. By 1878, he had completed his final model, which is today’s modern silver flute. 
5.    The word “flute” was first used to name the instrument in the 14th century

Famous Players

Leonardo Da Vinci – (1452-1519)
George Washington – (1732-1799)
Marcel Moyse  - (1889-1984)
William Bennett – (1936-)
James Galway – (1939-)

Music to Listen to

Telemann – 12 Fantasias for Solo Flute
Bach – Brandenburg Concerto No.5
Debussy  - Prelude A l’apres -midi d’un faune
Poulenc - Sonata for Flute and Piano
Piazzolla – Tango Etudes for Solo Flute 

Find Out

1.    How many holes does a standard orchestral flute have?
2.    What are the names of the 12 types of the Western concert flute?