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Instruments in the Flute Family

Updated April 2, 2019 93.9k views29 items

It was your favorite instrument back in middle school band, but do you know how many instruments actually fall in the flute family? This list of flute instruments will help you out!  Here you'll find all of the most popular types of flutes, as we've included any well-known instrument group, along with photos when available. From the Irish flute to the fife, you'll find a number of different wind instruments on this list.

Unlike other kinds of woodwind instruments, the flute works differently. Sound is created by the flow of air across the opening, instead of with a reed. Of all the different kinds of flutes, what is your favorite? Check out these instruments (with pictures) on this list, and tell us in the comments!
  • The alto flute is a type of Western concert flute, a musical instrument in the woodwind family. It is the next extension downward of the C flute after the flûte d'amour. It is characterized by its distinct, mellow tone in the lower portion of its range. It is a transposing instrument in G and, like the piccolo and bass flute, uses the same fingerings as the C flute. The tube of the alto flute 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. It was the favourite flute variety of Theobald Boehm, who perfected its design, and is pitched in the key of G. Its range is...  more
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    Bamboo '​s natural hollow form makes it an obvious choice for many musical instruments, most commonly flutes....  more
  • The bass flute is the bass member of the flute family. It is in the key of C, pitched one octave below the concert flute. Because of the length of its tube, it is usually made with a "J" shaped head joint, which brings the embouchure hole within reach of the player. It is usually only used in flute choirs, as it is easily drowned out by other instruments of comparable register, such as the clarinet....  more
  • The contra-alto flute is one of the largest instruments in the flute family. It is in the key of G, pitched one octave below the alto flute, and a fourth below the bass flute. It is so large that the instrument's body is held vertically, with an adjustable floor peg similar to that of the bass clarinet. The instrument maker Eva Kingma calls her contra-alto flute a "contr'alto flute in G," and Kotato & Fukushima call their instrument "bass flute in F." Kotato & Fukushima's instrument sells for US$17,500. For an extensive list of repertoire for bass flute and contrabass flute see: Peter van Munster, Repertoire Catalogue for Piccolo, Alto Flute and Bass Flute, Roma: Riverberi Sonori, 2004....  more