The flute is one of the oldest instruments in our recorded history. Some of the early flutes were as simple as a piece of cane or bone that was blown into. The flute family consists of a Piccolo, C Flute, Eb Soprano Flute, Alto Flute, and Bass Flute.
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The piccolo is a smaller version of the flute and plays one octave above the C flute. Most flute players will double on piccolo and rarely does one begin on piccolo and only play piccolo. Beethoven was one of the first composers to write for the piccolo in his symphonies. Today, the piccolo is used extensively in today’s concert bands, orchestras, and flute ensembles. Most often the metal or silver piccolo is used in the marching bands. The plastic or grenadilla wood piccolos are used for concert and symphonic playing.
The alto flute is characterized by its distinct, mellow tone in the lower portion of its range. The tube is considerably thicker and longer than a C flute and requires more breath from the player. This gives it a greater dynamic presence in the bottom octave and a half of its range.
The most popular flute for beginners. The flute is one of the oldest and most widely used wind instrument. This type of flute is used in many ensembles including concert bands, orchestras, marching bands, and occassionaly jazz bands.
The bass flute is pitched one octave below the concert flute. Because of the length of its tube, it is usually made with a curved headjoint, which brings the embouchure hole within reach of the player. It is usually only used in flute choirs.