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Types Of Flute

The flute is regarded as one of the oldest musical instruments made by man. In this article, we will study the different types of flutes as categorized by the flute players. In its most basic form, a flute can be compared to an open tube which is blown like a bottle. Read on to know more about the various kinds of flute.

There are several types of flutes, depending on where the flute player blows the air.

Directly blown
Here the musician blows the air straight across the edge of the mouthpiece. However, some flutes, have a duct that directs the air onto the edge and the air is blown into a traveling across a sharp edge. These are known as fipple flutes and some examples are – whistle, recorder, tin whistle, flageolet, gemshorn, fujara, tonette, and ocarina. The fipple gives the instrument a distinct timbre and the instrument is easier to play. However, the musician can execute a lesser degrees of control over these kinds of flute.

Also known as a transverse flute, this is another type of flute. The flute player, instead of blowing on an end of the tube, uses a hole on the side of the tube to produce a tone. This kind of flute is held horizontally or sideways to play. Some examples are - concert flute, dizi, fife, piccolo and bansuri.

These types of flute are played by blowing at the end of a tube or pipe. Xiao, kaval, shakuhachi, quena, ney and danso are some examples of these flute types.

Rim-blown Flutes
Also referred to as notched flutes, these flute kinds are played by blowing across the top of a tube. As the tube has a notch or a sharp edge, the air gets split.

Moving on with the discussion of the types of flute, you will find the flutes to be open at one or both ends. The examples of closed-ended kinds of flutes are pan pipes, bosun's whistle, ocarina, police whistle and xun. The open-ended flutes like the concert flute and the recorder offer more harmonics and thus more flexibility for the player. Depending on the sound need, the organ pipe may be either open or closed.

Different kinds of flutes can be played with several different air sources. For instance, the conventional flutes are played with the mouth. Some cultures are also known to use nose flutes. The flue pipes of organs, which are acoustically comparable to duct flutes, are blown by bellows or fans.

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