Alto flute

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Alto flute_table_infobox_0

Alto fluteAlto flute_table_caption_0
ClassificationAlto flute_header_cell_0_0_0 Woodwind (Aerophone)Alto flute_cell_0_0_1
Playing rangeAlto flute_header_cell_0_1_0
Related instrumentsAlto flute_header_cell_0_2_0
MusiciansAlto flute_header_cell_0_3_0

The alto flute is an instrument in the Western concert flute family, the second-highest member below the standard C flute after the uncommon flûte d'amour. Alto flute_sentence_0

It is the third most common member of its family after the standard C flute and the piccolo. Alto flute_sentence_1

It is characterized by its rich, mellow tone in the lower portion of its range. Alto flute_sentence_2

It is a transposing instrument in G (a perfect fourth below written C), and uses the same fingerings as the C flute. Alto flute_sentence_3

The bore of the alto flute is considerably larger in diameter and longer than a C flute and requires more breath from the player. Alto flute_sentence_4

This gives it a greater dynamic presence in the bottom octave and a half of its range. Alto flute_sentence_5

It was the favourite flute variety of Theobald Boehm, who perfected its design, and is pitched in the key of G (sounding a perfect fourth lower than written). Alto flute_sentence_6

Its range is from G3 (the G below middle C) to G6 (4 ledger lines above the treble clef staff) plus an altissimo register stretching to D♭7. Alto flute_sentence_7

The headjoint may be straight or curved. Alto flute_sentence_8

British music that uses this instrument often refers to it as a bass flute, which can be confusing since there is a distinct instrument known by that name. Alto flute_sentence_9

This naming confusion originated in the fact that the modern flute in C is pitched in the same range as the Renaissance tenor flute; therefore, a lower pitched instrument would be called a bass. Alto flute_sentence_10

Headjoint shape Alto flute_section_0

Alto flute headjoints are built in 'curved' and 'straight' versions. Alto flute_sentence_11

The curved headjoint is frequently preferred by smaller players because it requires less of a stretch for the arms, and makes the instrument feel lighter by moving the center of gravity nearer to the player. Alto flute_sentence_12

However, the straight version is more commonly used for better overall intonation. Alto flute_sentence_13

The embouchure for alto flute is similar to that for C flute, but in proportion to the size of the instrument. Alto flute_sentence_14

Hence the embouchure-hole sits lower on the lower lip, and the lip-aperture is wider. Alto flute_sentence_15

Repertoire Alto flute_section_1

The following lists are not intended to be complete, but rather to present a representative sampling of the most commonly played and well-known works in the genre. Alto flute_sentence_16

The lists also do not generally include works originally written for other instruments and subsequently transcribed, adapted, or arranged for alto flute, unless such piece is very common in the repertory, in which case it is listed with its original instrumentation noted. Alto flute_sentence_17

Alto flute alone Alto flute_section_2

Alto flute_unordered_list_0

  • Bruno Bartolozzi: CantilenaAlto flute_item_0_0
  • Garth Baxter: Variations on the Willow TreeAlto flute_item_0_1
  • Jonathan Bayley: Music for Pan (1982)Alto flute_item_0_2
  • Michael Csany-Wills: TrystyngAlto flute_item_0_3
  • Charles Delaney: Variations on the 'Seeds of Love' (1989)Alto flute_item_0_4
  • Jon Gibson: Untitled (1974)Alto flute_item_0_5
  • Alexander Goehr: Ariel Sing (2003)Alto flute_item_0_6
  • Philippe Hersant: Cinq Miniatures (1995)Alto flute_item_0_7
  • Daniel Kessner: A Serene Music (2012)Alto flute_item_0_8
  • Coreen Morsink: Andromache (2010)Alto flute_item_0_9
  • Patrick Nunn: Maqamat (2002)Alto flute_item_0_10
  • Michael Oliva: Les Heures Bleues (2013)Alto flute_item_0_11
  • Edwin Roxburgh: The Curlew (1994)Alto flute_item_0_12
  • Kaija Saariaho: Couleurs du vent (1998)Alto flute_item_0_13
  • Harvey Sollberger: HaraAlto flute_item_0_14
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen:Alto flute_item_0_15
    • Susani's Echo, 3. ex Nr. ​58 ⁄2 (1985)Alto flute_item_0_16
    • Xi, 3. ex Nr. 55 (1986)Alto flute_item_0_17
  • David Bennett Thomas: Carla (2012)Alto flute_item_0_18

Alto flute and piano Alto flute_section_3

Alto flute_unordered_list_1

  • Arnold Cooke: Sonatina for Alto Flute and Piano (1985)Alto flute_item_1_19
  • Tom Febonio: Sonata for Alto Flute and PianoAlto flute_item_1_20
  • Daniel Kessner: Simple Motion (1993)Alto flute_item_1_21
  • Melvin Lauf: Passing ThoughtsAlto flute_item_1_22
  • Phyllis Louke: As The Clouds PartedAlto flute_item_1_23
  • Andrew McBirnie: The Moon by Night (2003)Alto flute_item_1_24
  • Mike Mower: SonnetsAlto flute_item_1_25
  • Laura Pettigrew: OffertoireAlto flute_item_1_26
  • Gary Schocker: Sonata for a Lost PlanetAlto flute_item_1_27

Alto flute, piano and electronics Alto flute_section_4

Alto flute_unordered_list_2

Orchestral excerpts Alto flute_section_5

In the classical literature, the alto flute is particularly associated with the scores of Igor Stravinsky and Maurice Ravel, both of whom used the instrument's distinctive tone color in a variety of scores. Alto flute_sentence_18

It is featured in Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé, Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, Franco Alfano's opera Cyrano de Bergerac, Sergei Prokofiev's Scythian Suite and the original version of Webern's Six Pieces for Orchestra. Alto flute_sentence_19

Shostakovich used it in his operas The Gamblers (left unfinished), Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (also known as Katerina Ismailova), as well as in his Symphony No. Alto flute_sentence_20 7 (Leningrad). Alto flute_sentence_21

It also figures prominently in several movements of Gustav Holst's The Planets. Alto flute_sentence_22

It also appears in Howard Shore's music for The Lord of the Rings among many other contemporary film scores. Alto flute_sentence_23

Even before 1940 it had been used occasionally in Hollywood; early Broadway pit orchestrations using the instrument include Jerome Kern's Music in the Air (1932) and Very Warm for May (1939), both scored by Robert Russell Bennett (the manuscript orchestrations are in the Jerome Kern Collection, Music Division, The Library of Congress). Alto flute_sentence_24

Performers Alto flute_section_6

A number of specialist alto flute players have emerged in recent years. Alto flute_sentence_25

These include French improvisor/composer Christian Le Delezir, American Christine Potter, British Kingma System alto flute player Carla Rees, jazz players Ali Ryerson and Brian Landrus, American Peter Sheridan who currently resides in Australia, Swiss composers/performers Matthias Ziegler and Stefan Keller and Dutch composer/performer Anne La Berge. Alto flute_sentence_26

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: flute.