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Parts of a Flute

Updated on August 17, 2012
The flute is made up of three separate pieces or joints
The flute is made up of three separate pieces or joints | Source

The flute is a woodwind instrument which known as the earliest instrument. A flute is a reedless wind instrument or aerophone which produces its sound by blowing onto a sharp edge, causing the air enclosed in the flute's tube to vibrate.

Flutes have been found which date back to around 40, 000 years ago. These flutes were from the Swabian Alb region of Germany, proving that a musical traditional existed from the earliest days of modern human presence in Europe.

A musician who plays the flute can be known as a:

  • flute player
  • flutist
  • flautist
  • fluter

The flute is a hollow instrument made up of three pieces
The flute is a hollow instrument made up of three pieces | Source

What are Flutes Made of?

Flutes can be made out of a number of different materials. The more expensive the material, the more expensive the flute.

The most expensive flutes are commonly made out of platinum, however, these are rare and not what you find in the average flutist's case!

Often, flutes are made up of a few different materials. It is common for the mouth piece and/or head joint to be made of a more premium material such as silver to give a nicer sound, whilst the rest of the flute is silver plated.

Cheaper flutes are often made of nickel which is sometimes coated with silver to increase the quality of the tone and the visual appeal of the instrument.

Some materials used to make modern flutes include:

  • silver
  • nickel
  • copper
  • zinc
  • yellow brass (a combination of 70% copper and 30% zinc)
  • gold
  • platinum

Parts of a Flute

Modern Flutes are made up of three separate sections which join together to form the whole instrument. These parts are the:

  • Head Joint
  • Body Joint
  • Foot Joint or Foot Piece

The head piece of a flute
The head piece of a flute | Source

The Head Joint of a Flute

The head joint of the flute is the piece that touches the mouth. This piece has no keys, however, you will find the tuning cork which can be moved to adjust the pitch accuracy of the instrument.

The lip plate where you place your lower lip to play the flute is also known as the embouchure plate. There are two types of lip plates which may be used - a curved lip plate or a straight lip plate. A curved lip plate is far easier to use than a straight lip plate and is recommended for most flutists.

The mouth hole or blow hole is located on the head joint. This is where the flutist blows air into the flute in order to make a sound.The hole may be oval or rectangular in shape, depending on the flute.

The size of the mouth hole affects the sound, with a larger hole favoring low notes whilst a smaller hole favors high notes.

The body piece of a flute
The body piece of a flute | Source

The Body Joint of a Flute

The body joint is the largest of the three flute pieces. It contains most of the keys and connects the head and foot joint.

The keys of the flute are pressed down in order to produce a particular note. To ensure proper quality of the sound, it is necessary that these key pads and springs are kept in good condition.

As well as the keys, the body joint is also home to the tuning slides and tenons which are used to tune the flute to produce the right pitch.

The foot piece of a flute
The foot piece of a flute | Source

The Foot Joint of a Flute

The foot joint of the flute is the shortest section of the three. This section contains a few keys and has a rod which must be aligned with the center of the keys of the flute's body piece in order for the flutist to play comfortably.

It is important to line up the bar of the foot piece with the center of the keys of the body piece
It is important to line up the bar of the foot piece with the center of the keys of the body piece | Source

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    • kissayer profile image
      Author

      Kristy Sayer 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks Maddie!

    • Maddie Ruud profile image

      Maddie Ruud 5 years ago from Oakland, CA

      Thanks for educating us on the anatomy of a flute! Your original photos are gorgeous, too.