The flute or C flute (most flutes are tuned to the key of C) is a transverse (side-blown) woodwind instrument made of metal or wood. It is the most common variant of the flute. A musician who plays the flute is called a flautist, flutist, or flute player.
The C flute is used in many ensembles including concert bands, orchestras, flute ensembles, occasionally jazz bands and big bands. Other flutes in this family include the piccolo, alto flute, bass flute, contrabass flute and double contrabass flute.
The flute is a transverse (or side-blown) woodwind instrument that is closed at the blown end. The instrument is played by blowing a stream of air over the embouchure hole. The flute has 16 circular finger holes closed by keys, which can be used to produce high and low sounds depending on which finger holes are opened or closed as well as the direction and intensity of the air stream.
The standard concert flute is pitched in C and has a range of about three and a half octaves starting from the musical note C4 (corresponding to middle C on the piano), however, some experienced flautists are able to reach C8. Modern professional flutes may have a longer B-foot joint, which can reach B3.
Some jazz and rock ensembles include flutes. Since Boehm's fingering is used in saxophones as well as in concert flutes, many flute players "double" on saxophone for jazz and small ensembles and vice versa. Jethro Tull is probably the best-known rock group to make regular use of the flute (played by Ian Anderson).
The modern professional concert flute is generally made of silver, gold or combinations of the two; a few of the most expensive flutes are fabricated from platinum. Student instruments are usually made of nickel-silver alloy, composed of nickel, copper, and zinc, (also known as "German silver") or nickel- or silver-plated brass. Headjoints are generally of the same metals, but may be made of wood. Wooden flutes were far more common before the early 20th century. The silver flute was introduced by Theobald Boehm in 1847 but did not become common until later in the twentieth century. Wm. S. Haynes, a flute manufacturer in Boston, told Georges Barrere, an eminent flutist, that in 1905 he made one silver flute to every 100 wooden flutes but in the 1930s, he made one wooden flute to every 100 silver flutes. Today the silver flute is still far more popular than the wooden flute and is accepted as the standard in most symphony orchestras.
The modern concert flute comes with various options. The B♭ thumb key (invented and pioneered by Briccialdi) is practically standard. The B foot joint, however, is an option available on middle-to-upper end models. Other, more recent additions include a C♯-trill key, and an increasingly popular roller between the E♭-key and the C♯-key.
Open-hole "French model" flutes, whose central openings are covered by the fingertips when depressed, are frequently chosen by concert-level players, though in Germany, Italy, and Eastern Europe, professionals commonly select ones with closed-hole "plateau" keys. Students may use temporary plugs to cover the holes in the keys until they master the more precise finger placement needed to play open-hole keys. Some players state that open-hole keys permit louder and clearer sound projection in the flute's lower register.
Open-hole keys are also needed for traditional Celtic music and other ethnic styles, and certain modern "extended" avant garde pieces requiring the player to produce harmonic overtones, or to manipulate "breathy" sounds in addition to the traditional "pure" tones. Also, on an open-hole flute, "quarter tones", which fall halfway between the regular halftone steps of the chromatic scale, are achievable.
The standard range of the concert flute extends from B3 to D7, sometimes to F7. There is an additional octave above C7 known as the altissimo register, which reaches C8, but its usage is rare, required only in advanced musical pieces, as this upper range demands fine breath control and exacting embouchure technique to produce.
Modern Flute History
Classical Flutes (1760–1820) and Romantic flutes (1820–1900)
The later half of the 18th century shows the first orchestras being formed, and the flute being a member thereof, featured in symphonies and concertos. Throughout the rest of the century the interest in flutes increased, and peaked in the early half of the 1800s. Friedrich Dülon was the flutist considered a great artist, and Theobald Boehm began flute making. The style of flutist changed during the classical era; keys were added to the flute to strengthen its lower register, used by all professional flutists.
With the romantic era, flutes begin to lose favor. Symphony Orchestras featured brass and strings more, and many musicians did not accept Boehm’s new flute design, however they would slowly win favor throughout Europe as the century wore on, until the end of the century brought a flute revival spurred by artists such as Debussy, when the Boehm flute had won favor. The early 19th century saw a great variety in flute designs. Conical bores giving a penetrating sound were used in Vienna, English flutes had a range to low C and played best in flat keys, French flutes gave a softer tone, and German flutes blended best with orchestras.
The Meyer flute was a popular flute in the mid 1800s. It was a combination of a traditional keyed flute and the Viennese flute, and became the most common throughout Europe and America. It had 12 keys, body of wood, head joint of metal and ivory, common at the end of the century.
The dimensions and key system of the modern western concert flute and its close relatives are almost completely the work of the great flautist, composer, acoustician and silversmith, Theobald Boehm, who patented his system in 1847. It was immediately popular, and spread worldwide in just a few years. Minor additions to and variations on his key system are common but the acoustical structure of the tube remains almost exactly as he designed it. Major innovations were the change to metal instead of wood, large straight tube bore, "parabolic" tapered headjoint bore, very large tone holes covered by keys, and the linked key system which simplified fingering somewhat. The most substantial departures from Boehm's original description are the universal elimination of the "crutch" for the left hand and the almost universal adoption of Briccialdi's thumb key mechanism instead of Boehm's. Boehm's key system, with minor variations, continues to be regarded as the most effective system of any modern woodwind, allowing trained players to perform with facility in all keys and with extraordinary velocity and brilliance. The modern flute has three octaves plus c-c♯-d in the fourth octave. Many modern composers used the high dm; while such extremes are not commonly used, the modern flute can perform up to an f♯ in its fourth octave.
Quite at the opposite end of the spectrum, in terms of the complexity of the key system developed by Boehm, was the Giorgi flute, an advanced form of the ancient holed flute. Patented in 1897, the Giorgi flute was designed without any mechanical keys, though the patent allows for the addition of keys as options. Giorgi enabled the performer to play equally true in all musical keys, as does the Boehm system. Giorgi flutes are now rarities, found in museums and private collections. The underlying principles of both flute patterns are virtually identical, with tone holes spaced as required to produce a fully chromatic scale. The player, by opening and closing holes, adjusts the effective length of the tube, and thus the rate of oscillation, which defines the audible pitch.
20th century flutes
With the ability to record sound (beginning in the 1890s), flutes begin to regain their favorability, not seen since the classical era. Recordings of flute music became increasingly common, with professional flautists spending a great deal of time recording music. Beginning in the 1970s, models of alto and bass flutes were invented for modern music and flute ensembles. In the 1990s, the French model replaced the previously used pre-1940 Boehm model, used by professionals. The 20th century brought the first recordings of Baroque music on modern flutes.
In the 1950s, Albert Cooper modified the Boehm Flute to make playing modern music easier. The flute was tuned to A440, and the embouchure hole was cut in a new way to change the timbre of the flute. These flutes became the most used flutes by professionals and by amateurs.
In the 1980s, Johan Brögger modified the Boehm-Lot-Cooper flute, by fixing two major problems that had existed for nearly 150 years: maladjustument between certain keys, and problems between the G key and the B♭ key. The result was non-rotating shafts, which gave a quieter sound and less friction on moving parts. Also the modifications allowed for springs to be adjusted individually, and the flute was strengthened. The Brögger flute is only made by the Brannen Brothers and Miyazawa Flutes 
The Kingma flute was developed at the end of the 20th century by Eva Kingma and Bickford Brannen to allow the use of quarter tones. It is essentially a Boehm flute, with the ability to play quarter tones and has better capability of producing multiphonics. These abilities are especially useful for those who wish to play eastern music and for jazz flutists. The Kingma system flute is only made by the Brannen Brothers and Sankyo Flutes.
Construction and materials
Concert flutes have three parts: the headjoint, the body, and the foot joint. The headjoint is sealed by a cork (or plug). It is possible to make fine adjustments to tuning by adjusting the headjoint cork, but usually it is left in the factory-recommended position around 17.3 mm from the centre of the embouchure hole for best scale. Gross, temporary adjustments of pitch are made by moving the headjoint in and out of the headjoint tenon. The player makes fine or rapid adjustments of pitch and timbre by adjusting the embouchure, and/or adjusting the position of the flute in relation to the player, i.e. side and out.
Often, a different head can make the flute play like a different flute. Some flute makers sell both end blown heads and transverse heads that can be interchanged. The same flute body can be used as a whistle/recorder style instrument, or as a transverse flute.
The most common mechanical options of flutes are "offset G" keys, "split E" modification, and a "B foot". All of Boehm’s original models had offset G keys, which are mechanically simpler, and permit a more relaxed hand position, especially for younger players. Offset G keys are more common on less-expensive flutes, but available on almost all makes at every level of expense. The in-line G was originally invented because it was easier to manufacture, and was used by the better commercial flutes, though currently even the best of flute makers offer the offset G as an option on their flutes. The split E modification makes the third octave E easier to play for some players, a less expensive option is the "low G insert". The B foot extends the range of the flute down one semitone to B below middle C.
Trill keys permit rapid alternation between two notes. Fingerings using the trill keys also permit a skilled player to reach four octaves of range, though the commonly used range is three octaves. The C♯ trill key, an increasingly popular option available on many top-end professional flutes, allows many trills and tremolos that would otherwise be difficult or impossible.
Less expensive flutes are usually constructed of silver-plated nickel silver (nickel-bronze bell metal (63%Cu, 29%Zn, 5.5%Ni, 1.25%Ag, 0.75%Pb, alloyed:As, Sb, Fe, Sn)). Flutes that are more expensive are usually made of more precious metals, most commonly solid sterling silver (92.5 % silver), and other alloys including french silver (95%Ag, 5%Cu), "coin silver" (90% silver), or [Britannia silver] (95.8% silver). It is reported  that old Louis Lot French flutes have a particular sound by nature of their specific silver alloy. Professionals tend to play more expensive flutes made from more expensive materials.
Most alloys used contain significant amounts of copper or silver. These alloys are all biostatic because of the oligodynamic effect, and thus suppress growth of unpleasant molds, fungi or bacteria.
The tubes are usually drawn, especially in student flute models. Soldered tubes are thought by some to improve tone. Tone-holes may be either drawn or soldered, more often soldered in more expensive instruments. The rest of the mechanism is constructed by lost-wax castings and machining, with mounting posts and ribs silver-soldered to the tube. On the best flutes, the castings are forged to increase their strength.
The head-joint tube is tapered slightly towards the closed end. Boehm described the shape of the taper as parabolic. Examination of his flutes did not reveal a true parabolic curve, but the taper is more complex than a truncated cone. The head joint is the most difficult part to construct, because the lip plate and tone hole have critical dimensions, edges and angles, which vary slightly both between manufacturers and in individual flutes especially where they are hand-made. Head joint geometry appears particularly critical to acoustic performance and tone, but there is no clear consensus on a particular shape amongst manufacturers. Acoustic impedance of the embouchure hole appears the most critical parameter. Critical variables affecting this acoustic impedance include: chimney length (hole between lip-plate and head tube), chimney diameter, and radiuses or curvature of the ends of the chimney. Generally, the shorter the hole, the more quickly a flute can be played; the longer the hole, the more complex the tone. Finding a particularly good example of a flute is dependent on play testing. Head joint upgrades are usually suggested as a way to improve the tone of an instrument.
Tone holes are stopped by pads constructed of fish skin (gold-beater's skin) over felt, or in some very low-cost or “ruggedized” flutes, silicone rubber. Accurate shimming of pads on professional instruments to ensure pad sealing is very demanding of technician time. In the time-honored method, pads are seated on paper shims sealed with shellac. A recent development is "precision" pads fitted by a factory-trained technician. Student model flutes are more likely to have pads bedded in thicker materials like wax or hot melt glue. Larger sized closed hole pads are also held in with screws and washers. Synthetic pads appear more water resistant but may be susceptible to mechanical failure (cracking).
Flutes may have open or closed tone holes (ring keys). Student models generally have closed holes for ease of playing. Flutes for more advanced players generally have open-holed, "French" keys in order to facilitate alternate fingerings, "extended techniques" (e.g. quarter-tones, glissando) and multiphonics. Multiphonics and microtones are possible on closed-hole flutes, but not on entire register and are hard to get; glissandos are limited to half tone only in this kind of flute). Many flute-players prefer these open-hole keys (some say that open-holes create a better projection of the sound). Closed holes permit a more relaxed hand position for some players, which can help their playing. Plugs can be used to seal off the open holes of learning students.
Flute key axles (or "steels") are typically made of drill rod or stainless steel. These mechanisms need periodic disassembly, cleaning, and relubrication, typically performed by a trained technician, for optimal performance. James Phelan, a flute maker and engineer, recommends single-weight motor oil (SAE 20 or 30) as a key lubricant demonstrating superior performance and reduced wear, in preference to commercial key oils.)
Most flute keys have needle springs, made of phosphor bronze, stainless steel, beryllium copper, or a gold alloy. The B thumb keys typically have flat springs. Phosphor bronze is by far the most common material for needle springs because it is relatively inexpensive, makes a good spring, and is resistant to corrosion. Unfortunately, it is prone to metal fatigue. Stainless steel also makes a good spring and is resistant to corrosion. Gold springs are found mostly in high-end flutes because of its cost.
Variation in materials used
Inexpensive Western concert flutes are normally made of brass, polished and then silver-plated and lacquered to prevent corrosion. They can also be made from a range of metals such as silver (Britannia or Sterling); gold (yellow, white, or rose); platinum ; and even alloys. Composites such as Carbon Fiber can be used as well. They can be either gold on the inside and silver on the outside, or vice versa. It is thought that silver flutes create a brighter sound, and gold allows for a darker, more multilayered sound. However, the idea that different materials can significantly affect sound quality is under some contention, and some argue that different metals make less difference in sound quality than different flautists playing the same flute. Gold can be more difficult to play, because it requires more expertise in order to create a resonant sound. It is more flexible, but only if the flautist is capable of providing sufficient breath support.
Most metal flutes are made of alloys that contain significant amounts of copper or silver. These alloys are biostatic because of the oligodynamic effect, and thus suppress growth of unpleasant molds, fungi and bacteria.
Good instruments are designed to prevent or reduce galvanic corrosion between the tube and the key mechanism. For example, many quality concert flutes have bronze springs.
Flautist (also "flutist" or "flute player") — one who plays the flute.
Crown — the cap at the end of the head joint that unscrews to expose the cork, and which helps keep the head joint cork positioned at the proper depth of insertion.
Lip plate — the part of the head joint which contacts the player's lower lip, allowing precise positioning and direction of the air stream.
Riser — a metal section shaped like a 'top hat with the top cut off', which raises the lip plate from the head joint tube.
Head joint — the top section of the flute, has the tone hole/lip plate where the player initiates the sound by blowing air across the opening.
Body — the middle section of the flute with the majority of the keys.
Closed-hole — a finger key which is fully covered.
Open-hole — a finger key with a perforated center, allowing the use of techniques such as pitch bending or glissando.
Pointed arms — arms connecting the keys to the rods which are pointed and extend to the keys' centers; found on more expensive flutes.
French model — a flute with pointed French-style arms and open-hole finger keys, as distinguished from the plateau style with closed holes.
Inline G — the standard position of the left-hand G (third-finger) key — in line with the first and second keys.
Offset G — a G key which is extended to the side of the other two left-hand finger keys (along with the G♯ key), thus requiring less bending of the wrist, rendering it easier to reach and cover effectively, and less uncomfortable and fatiguing to play.
Split E mechanism — a system whereby the second G key (positioned below the G♯ key) is closed when the right middle-finger key is depressed, enabling a clearer third octave E; standard on most flutes, but omitted from many intermediate- and professional-grade flutes, as it can reduce the tonal quality of 3rd octave F♯.
Trill Keys — two small, teardrop shaped keys between the right-hand keys on the body; the first enables an easy C-D trill, and the second enables C-D♯. A-B♭ lever or "trill" key is located in line directly above the right first-finger key. An optional C♯ trill key which facilitates the trill from B to C♯ is sometimes found on intermediate- and professional-quality flutes. The two trill keys are also used in playing the high B♭, and B. Although they can be played without them it speaks better with them.
Foot joint — the last section of the flute (played farthest towards the right).
C foot — a foot joint with a lowest note of middle C; typical on student model flutes.
B foot — a foot joint with a lowest note of B below middle C, which is an option for intermediate and professional-grade flutes.
D♯ roller — an optional feature added to the E♭ key on the foot joint, facilitating the transition between E♭/D♯ and D♭/C♯, and C.
"Gizmo key" — an amusingly named optional key on the B foot joint which although cannot be used to play low B, due to the fact that it only puts down the B key and not the C and C♯ as needed to play the low B, It can help in assisting in playing C4, increasing the tone and ability to speak.
Flutes were rarely used in early jazz. Drummer and bandleader Chick Webb was among the first to use flutes in jazz, beginning in the late 1930s. Frank Wess was among the first noteworthy flautists in jazz, in the 1940s.
Since 1950, a number of notable performers have used flutes in jazz. Frank Foster and Frank Wess (Basie band), Jerome Richardson (Jones/Lewis big band) and Lew Tabackin (Akiyoshi/Tabackin big band) used flutes in big band contexts. In small band contexts notable performers included Bud Shank, Herbie Mann, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Charles Lloyd and Hubert Laws. Several modal jazz and avant-garde jazz performers have utilized the flute: Eric Dolphy, Sam Rivers and James Spaulding. Many saxophonists take up flute as a second instrument, and vice versa.
Rock's most prominent flutist is Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull.
This article has been copied from Wikipedia Encyclopedia. The article in Wikipedia Encyclopedia is longer, more detailed and has links on almost every key word. Click here to go to the Wikipedia Encyclopdia's article on the Western Concert Flute.
Chasons products you may consider.
Works great on Keys
A.P.M. The Audio Personal Monitor
This is a non-electronic device which allows the player to personally hear what is coming out of their horn. We are working on the Patent. I wish I could share more about this exciting tool for the performing musician. I've used the working prototype on several live performances and it makes an amazing difference.
I hiked all through the 2010 Winter NAMM convention to find the smallest clip-on chromatic tuner with the biggest and best functioning screen. I found it! Chasons CT-20 is light enough to leave clipped on your horn through your whole practice regimen. Our tuner adjusts to any angle.
• Ultra large LCD screen
• Mic or vibration input
• Adjustable calibration range (A-410-490Hz)
• Auto power off and memory backup, battery included
• Detection range: A0(27.5 Hz) - C8(4186.0 Hz)
• Tuning accuracy: 1 cent or better