Instrumentation notes – Flute

  • This is the highest pitched family of woodwind instruments
  • Made of metal, they used to be made of wood
  • The family consists of:
    Flute (concert flute) in C  – sounds as written
    Piccolo in C – sounds an octave higher than written
    Alto flute in G – sounds a 4th lower than written
    E-flat flute – sounds a minor 3rd higher than written
    Bass flute in C – sounds an octave lower than written
  • Written range of the flute family (piccolo has B below as does concert flute sometimes):
    Flute playing range

  • Sound: lower range is warm and dark; sound is hard to penetrate through (needs light orchestral accompaniment without great mass to stand out)
    Middle range brighter & carries well
    Higher range is brilliant and penetrates well, sometimes shrill
  • Character: very agile, lyrical, melodic. Rapid scales and wide leaps all possible.
  • Technique: must have chances to breathe. Has good control over intonation over most of range.
  • Effects:
    Double tonguing:

    Published on 17 Jan 2014

    Flutter tonguing:

    Published on 6 Nov 2015

Blatter, A (1997). Instrumentation & Orchestration. 2nd ed. USA: Schirmer. Pgs 88-97


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