Flute, Piccolo

The Flute & Piccolo

Hornbostel–Sachs classifies flutes as edge-blown aerophones. A musician who plays the flute can be referred to as a flute player, flautist, flutist, fluter, or flutenist.

Diagram of the Flute


Use of the Flute

The flute is held sideways to the right. The left hand operates closest to the mouthpiece while the right hand does the same further down the barrel using the foot lever to operate the last 3 keys.

The player holds the lips in a tightened embouchure directing blown air across the far edge of the mouth hole. Higher notes are achieved by blowing the air harder or faster.

Both hands are used to balance the flute on the thumbs. The fingers are used to cover the tone holes and press the key mechanisms.


Similar instruments in the flute group are (top to bottom) the Piccolo, Concert flute in C, Alto flute, and Bass flute. Image below: Western Concert Flute


Where in the Orchestra?

The flutes are seated centrally in the orchestra, behind the voilas, right of the 2nd violins, left of the oboes, and in front of the clarinets.

Noteworthy Flute Players & Developers


Theobald Boehm


Georges Barrère


Jean-Pierre Rampal


James Galway