. .

of Music

Campus &

UpTown Flutes
UpTown Flutes
about us
about CD
contact us
site map

Go To

Music Dept
Drew U. Home

Drew University Department of Music
Campus & Beyond Programs

UpTown Flutes

The Instruments

The Family of Flutes

.In his review, Anthony Aibel wrote of the contrabass flute, "Ricky Lombardo's Renaissance for a New Millennium included a contrabass flute of all things, and it was the most cumbersome and bizarre thing you could imagine at a flute concert. But it added a deal of color to the group's sound as it had the eerie combination of a low organ stop and a bass clarinet."

The Flute

.The Flute is pitched in C and is made of silver, gold, or platinum. Possessing a range of three and a half octaves, it is the most versatile and expressive instrument of the flute family. In 1847, Bavarian flutemaker, flutist and watchmaker Theobald Boehm perfected the modern flute by inventing the open-standing key system, returning to the use of the cylindrical bore and adding the parabolic-like head. With very minor modifications, the Boehm-system flute is still in use. Boehm's innovation is all the more remarkable considering the vast shifts in stylistic trends that dominated music in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The far-reaching lyrical and technical capabilities of the modern flute continue to inspire composers today.

The Piccolo

.The Piccolo is about half the size of the flute, and sounds an octave higher. Its highest notes correspond to the top notes of a piano. Piccolos can be made of silver or different types of wood, most often grenadilla. Mechanically simpler than the flute, the piccolo has fewer keys, and possesses a range of just under three octaves. Composers employ it to extend the range of the flute, to color the top octaves of an ensemble, and to execute virtuosic passages. Occasionally, as in scores of Shostakovich and Prokofiev, the piccolo assumes an important lyric role. Its low register can be quite haunting and even spooky.

The Alto Flute

.The Alto Flute is pitched in G, a fourth below the standard flute range. Alto flutes, like all the lower flutes, are made of nickel-silver, silver, or occasionally gold. Because of the instrument's larger size, flute makers offer curved as well as straight headjoints for the alto flute. The curved headjoint decreases the distance between the player and the keys, allowing a more comfortable hand position for some flutists. Because it does not produce the volume of sound required by modern orchestral instruments, the alto flute is rarely used in orchestral scores. Two notable exceptions are Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps and Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé, both of which contain beautiful passages for the alto flute. In a flute ensemble, its roles are quite varied. The alto flutist doubles the bass line, the piccolo part, or any flute part, as well as assert important solo lines.

The Bass Flute

.The Bass Flute possesses a range exactly an octave below the standard flute. Though difficult to hold and requiring a tremendous amount of breath to play, the bass flute is surprisingly agile for its size. Most of the writing for the instrument, however, is limited to the lower octave, where it is most effective. It is mainly used in small ensembles and as a solo instrument. One bass flute may not produce an incredible volume of tone, but is enough to balance even a moderately large ensemble of flutes.

The Contrabass Flute

.The Contrabass Flute is the rarest member of the flute family, and is pitched two octaves below the range of the standard flute. Shaped like a large number "4", the contrabass flute is curved twice to allow the player to reach the keys. It adds depth and dimension to the flute ensemble, where higher voices predominate. Because of the incredibly soft, almost inaudible tone of the instrument, the contrabass flute is best used to double the bass flute in delicate passages.



About Us | About Our CD | The Instruments
Calendar | Reviews | Contact Us | Links | UTF Site Map

Top | UTF Home Page | Campus & Beyond Programs

Drew University Department of Music
Madison, NJ 07940
Virginia Schulze-Johnson: Telephone: 973/408-3428 - Fax: 973/408-3885
Email: vschulze@drew.edu

Web Page created by: Pat Hankinson
Web Master: Pat Hankinson email: j.p.hankinson@worldnet.att.net