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This article is about the whole family of side-blown, end-blown, vessel, and duct instruments. Flute_sentence_0

For the flute commonly used in orchestras, chamber music, wind ensembles/concert bands, military bands, and marching bands, see Western concert flute. Flute_sentence_1

For a list of notable flute performers, see List of flautists. Flute_sentence_2

For the wine glass, see Champagne flute. Flute_sentence_3

For other uses, see Flute (disambiguation). Flute_sentence_4

The flute is a family of musical instruments in the woodwind group. Flute_sentence_5

Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening. Flute_sentence_6

According to the instrument classification of Hornbostel–Sachs, flutes are categorized as edge-blown aerophones. Flute_sentence_7

A musician who plays the flute can be referred to as a flute player, flautist, flutist or, less commonly, fluter or flutenist. Flute_sentence_8

Flutes are the earliest known identifiable musical instruments, as paleolithic examples with hand-bored holes have been found. Flute_sentence_9

A number of flutes dating to about 43,000 to 35,000 years ago have been found in the Swabian Jura region of present-day Germany. Flute_sentence_10

These flutes demonstrate that a developed musical tradition existed from the earliest period of modern human presence in Europe. Flute_sentence_11

While the oldest flutes currently known were found in Europe, Asia too has a long history with the instrument that has continued into the present day. Flute_sentence_12

In China, a playable bone flute was discovered, about 9000 years old. Flute_sentence_13

The Americas also had an ancient flute culture, with instruments found in Caral, Peru, dating back 5000 years and Labrador dating back approximately 7500 years. Flute_sentence_14

Historians have found the bamboo flute has a long history as well, especially China and India. Flute_sentence_15

Flutes made history in records and artworks starting in the Zhou dynasty. Flute_sentence_16

The oldest written sources reveal the Chinese were using the kuan (a reed instrument) and hsio (or xiao, an end-blown flute, often of bamboo) in the 12th-11th centuries b.c., followed by the chi (or ch'ih) in the 9th century b.c. and the yüeh in the 8th century b.c. Of these, the chi is the oldest documented cross flute or transverse flute, and was made from bamboo. Flute_sentence_17

The cross flute (Sanscrit: vāṃśī) was "the outstanding wind instrument of ancient India," according to Curt Sachs. Flute_sentence_18

He said that religious artwork depicting "celestial music" instruments was linked to music with an "aristocratic character." Flute_sentence_19

The Indian bamboo cross flute, Bansuri, was sacred to Krishna, and he is depicted in Hindu art with the instrument. Flute_sentence_20

In India, the cross flute appeared in reliefs from the 1st century a.d. at Sanchi and Amaravati from the 2nd-4th centuries a.d. Flute_sentence_21

In Europe, although there had been flutes in Europe in prehistoric times, in more recent millenia the flute was absent from Europe until its arrival from Asia, by way of "North Africa, Hungary, and Bohemia." Flute_sentence_22

The end-blown flute began to be seen in illustration in the 11th century. Flute_sentence_23

Transverse flutes entered Europe through Byzantium and were depicted in Greek art about 800 A.D. Flute_sentence_24

The transverse spread into Europe by way of Germany, and was known in Europe as the German flute. Flute_sentence_25

Etymology and terminology Flute_section_0

The word flute first entered the English language during the Middle English period, as floute, or else flowte, flo(y)te, possibly from Old French flaute and from Old Provençal flaüt, or else from Old French fleüte, flaüte, flahute via Middle High German floite or Dutch fluit. Flute_sentence_26

The English verb flout has the same linguistic root, and the modern Dutch verb fluiten still shares the two meanings. Flute_sentence_27

Attempts to trace the word back to the Latin flare (to blow, inflate) have been pronounced "phonologically impossible" or "inadmissable". Flute_sentence_28

The first known use of the word flute was in the 14th century. Flute_sentence_29

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, this was in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Hous of Fame, c.1380. Flute_sentence_30

Today, a musician who plays any instrument in the flute family can be called a flutist or flautist or simply a flute player. Flute_sentence_31

Flutist dates back to at least 1603, the earliest quotation cited by the Oxford English Dictionary. Flute_sentence_32

Flautist was used in 1860 by Nathaniel Hawthorne in The Marble Faun, after being adopted during the 18th century from Italy (flautista, itself from flauto), like many musical terms in England since the Italian Renaissance. Flute_sentence_33

Other English terms, now virtually obsolete, are fluter (15th–19th centuries) and flutenist (17th–18th centuries). Flute_sentence_34

History Flute_section_1

Further information: Paleolithic flutes and Prehistoric music Flute_sentence_35

The oldest flute ever discovered may be a fragment of the femur of a juvenile cave bear, with two to four holes, found at Divje Babe in Slovenia and dated to about 43,000 years ago. Flute_sentence_36

However, this has been disputed. Flute_sentence_37

In 2008 another flute dated back to at least 35,000 years ago was discovered in Hohle Fels cave near Ulm, Germany. Flute_sentence_38

The five-holed flute has a V-shaped mouthpiece and is made from a vulture wing bone. Flute_sentence_39

The researchers involved in the discovery officially published their findings in the journal Nature, in August 2009. Flute_sentence_40

The discovery was also the oldest confirmed find of any musical instrument in history, until a redating of flutes found in Geißenklösterle cave revealed them to be even older with an age of 42,000 to 43,000 years. Flute_sentence_41

The flute, one of several found, was found in the Hohle Fels cavern next to the Venus of Hohle Fels and a short distance from the oldest known human carving. Flute_sentence_42

On announcing the discovery, scientists suggested that the "finds demonstrate the presence of a well-established musical tradition at the time when modern humans colonized Europe". Flute_sentence_43

Scientists have also suggested that the discovery of the flute may help to explain "the probable behavioural and cognitive gulf between" Neanderthals and early modern human. Flute_sentence_44

A three-holed flute, 18.7 cm long, made from a mammoth tusk (from the Geißenklösterle cave, near Ulm, in the southern German Swabian Alb and dated to 30,000 to 37,000 years ago) was discovered in 2004, and two flutes made from swan bones excavated a decade earlier (from the same cave in Germany, dated to circa 36,000 years ago) are among the oldest known musical instruments. Flute_sentence_45

A playable 9,000-year-old Gudi (literally, "bone flute") was excavated from a tomb in Jiahu along with 29 defunct twins, made from the wing bones of red-crowned cranes with five to eight holes each, in the Central Chinese province of Henan. Flute_sentence_46

The earliest extant Chinese transverse flute is a chi () flute discovered in the Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng at the Suizhou site, Hubei province, China. Flute_sentence_47

It dates from 433 BC, of the later Zhou Dynasty. Flute_sentence_48

It is fashioned of lacquered bamboo with closed ends and has five stops that are at the flute's side instead of the top. Flute_sentence_49

Chi flutes are mentioned in Shi Jing, compiled and edited by Confucius, according to tradition. Flute_sentence_50

The earliest written reference to a flute is from a Sumerian-language cuneiform tablet dated to c. 2600–2700 BCE. Flute_sentence_51

Flutes are also mentioned in a recently translated tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem whose development spanned the period of approximately 2100–600 BCE. Flute_sentence_52

Additionally, a set of cuneiform tablets knows as the "musical texts" provide precise tuning instructions for seven scale of a stringed instrument (assumed to be a Babylonian lyre). Flute_sentence_53

One of those scales is named embūbum, which is an Akkadian word for "flute". Flute_sentence_54

The Bible, in Genesis 4:21, cites Jubal as being the "father of all those who play the ugab and the kinnor". Flute_sentence_55

The former Hebrew term is believed by some to refer to some wind instrument, or wind instruments in general, the latter to a stringed instrument, or stringed instruments in general. Flute_sentence_56

As such, Jubal is regarded in the Judeo-Christian tradition as the inventor of the flute (a word used in some translations of this biblical passage). Flute_sentence_57

Elsewhere in the Bible, the flute is referred to as "chalil" (from the root word for "hollow"), in particular in 1 Samuel 10:5, 1 Kings 1:40, Isaiah 5:12 and 30:29, and Jeremiah 48:36. Flute_sentence_58

Archeological digs in the Holy Land have discovered flutes from both the Bronze Age (c. 4000-1200 BCE) and the Iron Age (1200-586 BCE), the latter era "witness[ing] the creation of the Israelite kingdom and its separation into the two kingdoms of Israel and Judea." Flute_sentence_59

Some early flutes were made out of tibias (shin bones). Flute_sentence_60

The flute has also always been an essential part of Indian culture and mythology, and the cross flute believed by several accounts to originate in India as Indian literature from 1500 BCE has made vague references to the cross flute. Flute_sentence_61

Acoustics Flute_section_2

A flute produces sound when a stream of air directed across a hole in the instrument creates a vibration of air at the hole. Flute_sentence_62

The airstream creates a Bernoulli or siphon. Flute_sentence_63

This excites the air contained in the usually cylindrical resonant cavity within the flute. Flute_sentence_64

The flutist changes the pitch of the sound produced by opening and closing holes in the body of the instrument, thus changing the effective length of the resonator and its corresponding resonant frequency. Flute_sentence_65

By varying the air pressure, a flutist can also change the pitch by causing the air in the flute to resonate at a harmonic rather than the fundamental frequency without opening or closing any of the holes. Flute_sentence_66

Head joint geometry appears particularly critical to acoustic performance and tone, but there is no clear consensus on a particular shape amongst manufacturers. Flute_sentence_67

Acoustic impedance of the embouchure hole appears the most critical parameter. Flute_sentence_68

Critical variables affecting this acoustic impedance include: chimney length (hole between lip-plate and head tube), chimney diameter, and radii or curvature of the ends of the chimney and any designed restriction in the "throat" of the instrument, such as that in the Japanese Nohkan Flute. Flute_sentence_69

A study in which professional flutists were blindfolded could find no significant differences between flutes made from a variety of metals. Flute_sentence_70

In two different sets of blind listening, no flute was correctly identified in a first listening, and in a second, only the silver flute was identified. Flute_sentence_71

The study concluded that there was "no evidence that the wall material has any appreciable effect on the sound color or dynamic range". Flute_sentence_72

Types of flutes Flute_section_3

Main article: Fipple flutes Flute_sentence_73

In its most basic form, a flute is an open tube which is blown into. Flute_sentence_74

After focused study and training, players use controlled air-direction to create an airstream in which the air is aimed downward into the tone hole of the flute's headjoint. Flute_sentence_75

There are several broad classes of flutes. Flute_sentence_76

With most flutes, the musician blows directly across the edge of the mouthpiece, with 1/4 of their bottom lip covering the embouchure hole. Flute_sentence_77

However, some flutes, such as the whistle, gemshorn, flageolet, recorder, tin whistle, tonette, fujara, and ocarina have a duct that directs the air onto the edge (an arrangement that is termed a "fipple"). Flute_sentence_78

These are known as fipple flutes. Flute_sentence_79

The fipple gives the instrument a distinct timbre which is different from non-fipple flutes and makes the instrument easier to play, but takes a degree of control away from the musician. Flute_sentence_80

Another division is between side-blown (or transverse) flutes, such as the Western concert flute, piccolo, fife, dizi and bansuri; and end-blown flutes, such as the ney, xiao, kaval, danso, shakuhachi, Anasazi flute and quena. Flute_sentence_81

The player of a side-blown flute uses a hole on the side of the tube to produce a tone, instead of blowing on an end of the tube. Flute_sentence_82

End-blown flutes should not be confused with fipple flutes such as the recorder, which are also played vertically but have an internal duct to direct the air flow across the edge of the tone hole. Flute_sentence_83

Flutes may be open at one or both ends. Flute_sentence_84

The ocarina, xun, pan pipes, police whistle, and bosun's whistle are closed-ended. Flute_sentence_85

Open-ended flutes such as the concert flute and the recorder have more harmonics, and thus more flexibility for the player, and brighter timbres. Flute_sentence_86

An organ pipe may be either open or closed, depending on the sound desired. Flute_sentence_87

Flutes may have any number of pipes or tubes, though one is the most common number. Flute_sentence_88

Flutes with multiple resonators may be played one resonator at a time (as is typical with pan pipes) or more than one at a time (as is typical with double flutes). Flute_sentence_89

Flutes can be played with several different air sources. Flute_sentence_90

Conventional flutes are blown with the mouth, although some cultures use nose flutes. Flute_sentence_91

The flue pipes of organs, which are acoustically similar to duct flutes, are blown by bellows or fans. Flute_sentence_92

Western transverse flutes Flute_section_4

Main article: Western concert flute Flute_sentence_93

Wooden one-keyed transverse flute Flute_section_5

Usually in D, wooden transverse flutes were played in European classical music mainly in the period from the early 18th century to the early 19th century. Flute_sentence_94

As such the instrument is often indicated as baroque flute. Flute_sentence_95

Gradually marginalized by the Western concert flute in the 19th century, baroque flutes were again played from the late 20th century as part of the historically informed performance practice. Flute_sentence_96

Western concert flute Flute_section_6

The Western concert flute, a descendant of the medieval German flute, is a transverse treble flute that is closed at the top. Flute_sentence_97

An embouchure hole is positioned near the top across and into which the flutist blows. Flute_sentence_98

The flute has circular tone holes larger than the finger holes of its baroque predecessors. Flute_sentence_99

The size and placement of tone holes, key mechanism, and fingering system used to produce the notes in the flute's range were evolved from 1832 to 1847 by Theobald Boehm and greatly improved the instrument's dynamic range and intonation over its predecessors. Flute_sentence_100

With some refinements (and the rare exception of the Kingma system and other custom adapted fingering systems), Western concert flutes typically conform to Boehm's design, known as the Boehm system. Flute_sentence_101

Beginner's flutes are made of nickel, silver, or brass that is silver-plated, while professionals use solid silver, gold, and sometimes even platinum flutes. Flute_sentence_102

There are also modern wooden-bodied flutes usually with silver or gold keywork. Flute_sentence_103

The wood is usually African Blackwood. Flute_sentence_104

The standard concert flute is pitched in C and has a range of three octaves starting from middle C or one half step lower when a B foot is attached. Flute_sentence_105

This means that the concert flute is one of the highest common orchestra and concert band instruments. Flute_sentence_106

Western concert flute variants Flute_section_7

The piccolo plays an octave higher than the regular treble flute. Flute_sentence_107

Lower members of the flute family include the G alto and C bass flutes that are used occasionally, and are pitched a perfect fourth and an octave below the concert flute, respectively. Flute_sentence_108

The contrabass, double contrabass, and hyperbass are other rare forms of the flute pitched two, three, and four octaves below middle C respectively. Flute_sentence_109

Other sizes of flutes and piccolos are used from time to time. Flute_sentence_110

A rarer instrument of the modern pitching system is the G treble flute. Flute_sentence_111

Instruments made according to an older pitch standard, used principally in wind-band music, include D♭ piccolo, soprano flute (the primary instrument, equivalent to today's concert C flute), F alto flute, and B♭ bass flute. Flute_sentence_112

Indian flutes Flute_section_8

Further information: Bansuri and Venu Flute_sentence_113

The bamboo flute is an important instrument in Indian classical music, and developed independently of the Western flute. Flute_sentence_114

The Hindu God Lord Krishna is traditionally considered a master of the bamboo flute. Flute_sentence_115

The Indian flutes are very simple compared to the Western counterparts; they are made of bamboo and are keyless. Flute_sentence_116

Two main varieties of Indian flutes are currently used. Flute_sentence_117

The first, the Bansuri (बांसुरी), has six finger holes and one embouchure hole, and is used predominantly in the Hindustani music of Northern India. Flute_sentence_118

The second, the Venu or Pullanguzhal, has eight finger holes, and is played predominantly in the Carnatic music of Southern India. Flute_sentence_119

Presently, the eight-holed flute with cross-fingering technique is common among many Carnatic flutists. Flute_sentence_120

Prior to this, the South Indian flute had only seven finger holes, with the fingering standard developed by Sharaba Shastri, of the Palladam school, at the beginning of the 20th century. Flute_sentence_121

The quality of the flute's sound depends somewhat on the specific bamboo used to make it, and it is generally agreed that the best bamboo grows in the Nagercoil area of South India. Flute_sentence_122

In 1998 Bharata Natya Shastra Sarana Chatushtai, Avinash Balkrishna Patwardhan developed a methodology to produce perfectly tuned flutes for the ten 'thatas' currently present in Indian Classical Music. Flute_sentence_123

In a regional dialect of Gujarati, a flute is also called Pavo. Flute_sentence_124

Some people can also play pair of flutes (Jodiyo Pavo) simultaneously. Flute_sentence_125

Chinese flutes Flute_section_9

Main article: Chinese flutes Flute_sentence_126

In China there are many varieties of dizi (笛子), or Chinese flute, with different sizes, structures (with or without a resonance membrane) and number of holes (from 6 to 11) and intonations (different keys). Flute_sentence_127

Most are made of bamboo, but can come in wood, jade, bone, and iron. Flute_sentence_128

One peculiar feature of the Chinese flute is the use of a resonance membrane mounted on one of the holes that vibrates with the air column inside the tube. Flute_sentence_129

This membrane is called a di mo, which is usually a thin tissue paper. Flute_sentence_130

It gives the flute a bright sound. Flute_sentence_131

Commonly seen flutes in the modern Chinese orchestra are the bangdi (梆笛), qudi (曲笛), xindi (新笛), and dadi (大笛). Flute_sentence_132

The bamboo flute played vertically is called the xiao (簫), which is a different category of wind instrument in China. Flute_sentence_133

Korean flutes Flute_section_10

Main article: Daegeum Flute_sentence_134

The Korean flute, called the daegeum, 대금, is a large bamboo transverse flute used in traditional Korean music. Flute_sentence_135

It has a buzzing membrane that gives it a unique timbre. Flute_sentence_136

Japanese flutes Flute_section_11

Main article: Fue Flute_sentence_137

The Japanese flute, called the fue, 笛 (hiragana: ふえ), encompasses a large number of musical flutes from Japan, include the end-blown shakuhachi and hotchiku, as well as the transverse gakubue, komabue, ryūteki, nōkan, shinobue, kagurabue and minteki. Flute_sentence_138

Sodina and suling Flute_section_12

The sodina is an end-blown flute found throughout the island state of Madagascar, located in the Indian Ocean off southeastern Africa. Flute_sentence_139

One of the oldest instruments on the island, it bears close resemblance to end-blown flutes found in Southeast Asia and particularly Indonesia, where it is known as the suling, suggesting the predecessor to the sodina was carried to Madagascar in outrigger canoes by the island's original settlers emigrating from Borneo. Flute_sentence_140

An image of the most celebrated contemporary sodina flutist, Rakoto Frah (d. 2001), was featured on the local currency. Flute_sentence_141

Sring Flute_section_13

The sring (also called blul) is a relatively small, end-blown flute with a nasal tone quality found in the Caucasus region of Eastern Armenia. Flute_sentence_142

It is made of wood or cane, usually with seven finger holes and one thumb hole, producing a diatonic scale. Flute_sentence_143

One Armenian musicologist believes the sring to be the most characteristic of national Armenian instruments. Flute_sentence_144

Breathing Techniques Flute_section_14

There are several different means by which flautists may breathe in order to blow air that flows through the instrument to produce sound. Flute_sentence_145

Two techniques that players may use are diaphragmatic breathing or circular breathing. Flute_sentence_146

Diaphragmatic breathing enables the musician to optimize air intake, minimizing the number of breaths needed while playing. Flute_sentence_147

Circular breathing is a technique whereby musicians can breathe in through the nose and push air out through the mouth, enabling them to produce a continuous sound through the instrument. Flute_sentence_148

See also Flute_section_15


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flute.