Flute Instruments

Flutes produce sound by directing a focused stream of air across the edge of a hole in a tube. The flute family can be divided into two sub-families: open flutes , and closed flutes .

Open flutes: To produce a sound with an open flute, the player is required to blow a stream of air across a sharp edge that then splits the airstream and causes it to vibrate. (Like blowing across a bottle).

Examples of open flutes are the transverse flute (flute, fife, piccolo), panpipes , and ocarinas . Ancient flutes of this variety were often made from tubular sections of plants such as grasses, reeds, and hollowed-out tree branches. Later, flutes were made of wood, ivory, glass, and eventually metals. Modern concert flutes are usually made of high-grade metal alloys, usually containing nickel, silver, copper, or gold.

Closed flutes: To produce a sound with a closed flute, the player is required to blow air into a duct. This duct acts as a channel bringing the air to a sharp edge. As with the open flutes, the air is then split; this causes the column of air within the closed flute to vibrate and produce sound.

Examples of this type of flute include the recorder , flageolet , and organ pipes .