Flute History Essays


The flute is one of the oldest musical instruments of all and is regarded as the first ever wind instrument. It has been in use at least since the Stone Age.

Flute playing has a particularly long tradition in the Orient. The Sumerians and Egyptians were among the first to add three or four finger-holes to their bamboo flutes, which enabled them to produce several notes.

The Ancient Greeks also had quite sophisticated flutes, which were blown at the open upper end and had six finger-holes. However, the flute was regarded as an instrument of the common man and as such was held in scant regard. In contrast, the aulos , a distant precursor of the oboe, was always associated with high social standing.

The flutes used in today’s orchestras are transverse flutes, as opposed to the Greeks’ end-blown flutes and the (modern) recorder. The first evidence of the use of transverse flutes in Europe comes from Etruscan iconographs from the 4th to the 1st centuries BC. Side-blown flutes were also known to the Romans.

The Middle Ages and the Renaissance – drums and consorts

Between the fall of Rome and the 11th century no evidence is known to exist for the use of transverse flutes. It is probable that the instrument returned to the West from the Orient by way of the Byzantine Empire. The transverse flute of the Middle Ages was made of a single piece of wood and had six finger-holes. It was used in military contexts and was even played at court. Traveling minstrels acquainted their audiences with it all over Europe, and since they originally came from Germany the instrument also became known as the fistula Germanica. It was usually accompanied by a drum.

In the 16th century the flute consort, an ensemble consisting of three different-sized transverse flutes, became an established part of musical practice. At the same time broken consorts, ensembles combining various instruments such as the viol, lute and flute, were also popular.

The most common flute was in D and had a range of D4–D6 (which could be extended if the player was skillful enough). Since the instrument was tuned to D the notes of other keys could only be produced either by half covering the finger-holes or by using cross-fingerings. This gave the instrument a certain chromaticism but meant that intonation remained uncertain, which placed the flute at a disadvantage compared to the other woodwinds.

Baroque – the sound ideal remains unattainable

From the middle of the 17th century the flute underwent several sweeping changes. From 1660 onward it consisted of three separate parts: the cylindrical headjoint, the body with six finger-holes, and the footjoint. The body and footjoint were conical. An additional hole was added to the footjoint and fitted with a key to make D# playable. These innovations, which probably originated from the Hotteterres, a French flute-making family, represent the start of the development of the transverse flute as we know it.

In 1681 a Hotteterre flute with a range of 2½ octaves (D4–G6) was used in Jean-Baptiste Lully’s (1632–1687) opera orchestra, its first appearance in an orchestra of this type. Its wide range and brilliant timbre meant that the transverse flute soon became a serious rival to the recorder.

The recorder (or fistula Anglica), an end-blown instrument, had originated in England and gained popularity in Europe at the same time as the transverse flute, becoming established as an orchestral instrument. But from the middle of the 18th century the description flauto in musical scores no longer referred to the end-blown recorder but the transverse flute (which had hitherto been described as the flauto traverso).

The sound quality of the baroque transverse flute was still far from homogeneous and consistent, however. The irregularities in its range and the subsidiary notes which resulted from the use of cross-fingerings and had a different timbre were felt to be irksome in modulations. If it was possible to compensate for the shortcomings of the baroque flute’s intonation then only by means of exceptional virtuosity.

The common practice of changing the body only accentuated these problems; to achieve a different tuning it had become customary to insert either a longer or shorter body, but no change was made to the arrangement of the finger-holes, which would have been necessary to accommodate the instrument’s altered acoustic properties. The introduction of the exchangeable body is attributed to the virtuoso flutist Pierre Gabriel Buffardin (ca. 1690–1768).

Efforts to improve the transverse flute soon spread from France to other countries. The Prussian flutist and composer Johann J. Quantz (1697–1773), Frederick the Great’s flute teacher, studied the intonation problems of the instrument in great detail, later becoming a flute maker himself. He invented the tuning slide, experimented with various shapes and sizes of tone hole and added another key. These improvements, along with his treatise “Versuch einer Anweisung, die Flöte traversiere zu spielen” (An Essay on Instruction in the Art of Playing the Transverse Flute), published in Berlin in 1752, and his approximately 400 compositions for the instrument (chiefly concertos for flute and strings) boosted its popularity and brought it to the attention of ever more composers.


In harmonic theory the passage from one key to another is called modulation. Such changes have been customary since the 17th century and have developed into an important factor in the harmonic structuring of pieces of music.
Modulation can be so smooth as to be almost imperceptible, or abrupt; between the two extremes every degree of change from a key of departure to an arrival key has been tried out.

One of the most common – and smoothest – types of modulation is diatonic modulation. This works between related keys, i.e. between keys which have one or more triads in common. The different functions of a triad common to the key of departure and the arrival key are used as follows: the triad, which has a specific function (e.g. subdominant) in the key of departure, is simply allotted the function (e.g. dominant) that it will have in the arrival key. The feeling of having reached the arrival key is strengthened by a cadence.

In physics modulation describes the change wrought on a carrier by a second wave (modulator). If a very high and constant frequency is influenced by a second frequency, it is termed frequency modulation (FM); if a constant amplitude is used and an influence exerted on it, it is termed amplitude modulation (AM). FM has been used in synthesizer technology since the early 1980s, a technique which enables the production of characteristic sounds containing many overtones. Vibrato and tremolo are also based on the principle of physical modulation.

In the mid-18th century instrument makers in London added three more keys, thus rendering cross-fingerings virtually obsolete. In addition they reintroduced the C footjoint, which had already been in use at the beginning of the century. These changes signaled the start of a period during which the transverse flute was equipped with an ever larger number of keys.

At the turn of the 19th century, instruments with eight keys were standard, the first such flute being devised by the flutist Johann G. Tromlitz (1726–1805). Flutes with more than eight or nine keys were the exception rather than the rule. The keys did not do much to improve the sound quality, and led to more complicated fingerings into the bargain.

The Romantic period – Boehm revolutionizes flute construction

It was not until 1830 that a solution appeared to be on the way at last. The flutist of the court orchestra in Munich, Theobald Boehm (1794–1881), began to develop a new and comprehensive concept for the construction of flutes. Inspired by the attempts made by some of his peers to redesign the instrument, he began an intensive study of the key work and the size and shape of the tone holes. He also incorporated the ideas of other flute makers into his work, especially the ring keys patented in 1808 by Reverend Frederick Nolan and the principle of attaining a more powerful sound by means of larger tone holes, an idea that Tromlitz had already experimented with.

In 1832 Boehm constructed a transverse flute with tone holes which, for the first time, were arranged according to acoustic criteria rather than ease of fingering; these criteria were based on his own arithmetical calculations and experiments. In addition he created an entirely new key work, linking the keys by means of movable axles. The Boehm mechanism required a new fingering, but this actually proved to be less complicated than previous fingerings.

In 1847 Boehm presented an improved flute with cylindrical tubing and a parabolically conical headjoint – a revolution in instrument-making of the time.

The new flute also included an improved key work which featured the pin springs patented in 1839 by Louis-Auguste Buffet. Boehm added felt pads to the key cups to prevent the escape of air. He changed the shape of the embouchure, which hitherto had been oval or round, to a rectangle with rounded corners. The material he chose was German silver, to which he ascribed the best acoustic properties.

The Boehm flute was received with enthusiasm in France, England and the USA. It was awarded many prizes, including one at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1855. In Boehm’s home country, however, his instrument was greeted with a good deal of skepticism, a feeling echoed in Italy and Russia. These misgivings were due mainly to the new fingering, which flutists in these three countries were reluctant to accept. One prominent opponent of the Boehm flute was Richard Wagner, who described it disparagingly as a “blunderbuss”, presumably on account of its unusually powerful sound. Several instrument makers subsequently tried to make a model to rival the Boehm flute, but it was the latter’s form that ultimately gained general acceptance.

Present day – new facets, new playing techniques

Modern flutes are still made using the Boehm mechanism, which underwent only very slight modifications and improvements during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Once a technically complete flute with a satisfactory timbre had established itself, the amount of solo literature for the instrument increased dramatically. Composers began to explore the limits of the instrument, and experiments with different tone colors and means of articulation resulted in a whole new palette of playing techniques.

This article is about the whole family of side-blown, end-blown, vessel, and duct instruments. For the flute commonly used in orchestras, chamber music, wind ensembles/concert bands, military bands, and marching bands, see Western concert flute. For a list of notable flute performers, see List of flautists. For the wine glass, see Champagne flute. For other uses, see Flute (disambiguation).

The flute is a family of musical instruments in the woodwind group. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening. According to the instrument classification of Hornbostel–Sachs, flutes are categorized as edge-blown aerophones.[1][not in citation given] A musician who plays the flute can be referred to as a flute player, flautist, flutist or, less commonly, fluter or flutenist.

Flutes are the earliest extant musical instruments, as paleolithic instruments with hand-bored holes have been found. A number of flutes dating to about 43,000 to 35,000 years ago have been found in the Swabian Jura region of present-day Germany. These flutes demonstrate that a developed musical tradition existed from the earliest period of modern human presence in Europe.[2][3]

Etymology and terminology

The word flute first entered the English language during the Middle English period, as floute,[4] or else flowte, flo(y)te,[5] possibly from Old Frenchflaute and from Old Provençalflaüt,[4] or else from Old French fleüte, flaüte, flahute via Middle High Germanfloite or Dutchfluit. The English verb flout has the same linguistic root, and the modern Dutch verb fluiten still shares the two meanings.[6] Attempts to trace the word back to the Latin flare (to blow, inflate) have been pronounced "phonologically impossible" or "inadmissable".[5] The first known use of the word flute was in the 14th century.[7] According to the Oxford English Dictionary, this was in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Hous of Fame, c.1380.[5]

Today, a musician who plays any instrument in the flute family can be called a flutist (pronounced "FLEW-tist", most common in the US),[8] or flautist (pronounced "FLAW-tist", most common in the UK),[9] or simply a flute player (more neutrally). Flutist dates back to at least 1603, the earliest quotation cited by the Oxford English Dictionary. Flautist was used in 1860 by Nathaniel Hawthorne in The Marble Faun, after being adopted during the 18th century from Italy (flautista, itself from flauto), like many musical terms in England since the Italian Renaissance. Other English terms, now virtually obsolete, are fluter (15th–19th centuries)[10][11][12] and flutenist (17th–18th centuries).[6][13]


Further information: Paleolithic flutes and Prehistoric music

The oldest flute ever discovered may be a fragment of the femur of a juvenile cave bear, with two to four holes, found at Divje Babe in Slovenia and dated to about 43,000 years ago. However, this has been disputed.[14][15] In 2008 another flute dated back to at least 35,000 years ago was discovered in Hohle Fels cave near Ulm, Germany.[16] The five-holed flute has a V-shaped mouthpiece and is made from a vulture wing bone. The researchers involved in the discovery officially published their findings in the journal Nature, in August 2009.[17] The discovery was also the oldest confirmed find of any musical instrument in history,[18] until a redating of flutes found in Geißenklösterle cave revealed them to be even older with an age of 42,000 to 43,000 years.[3]

The flute, one of several found, was found in the Hohle Fels cavern next to the Venus of Hohle Fels and a short distance from the oldest known human carving.[19][not in citation given] On announcing the discovery, scientists suggested that the "finds demonstrate the presence of a well-established musical tradition at the time when modern humans colonized Europe".[20] Scientists have also suggested that the discovery of the flute may help to explain "the probable behavioural and cognitive gulf between" Neanderthals and early modern human.[18]

A three-holed flute, 18.7 cm long, made from a mammoth tusk (from the Geißenklösterle cave, near Ulm, in the southern German Swabian Alb and dated to 30,000 to 37,000 years ago)[21] was discovered in 2004, and two flutes made from swan bones excavated a decade earlier (from the same cave in Germany, dated to circa 36,000 years ago) are among the oldest known musical instruments.

A playable 9,000-year-old Gudi (literally, "bone flute") was excavated from a tomb in Jiahu along with 29 defunct twins,[22] made from the wing bones of red-crowned cranes with five to eight holes each, in the Central Chinese province of Henan.[23] The earliest extant Chinese transverse flute is a chi (篪) flute discovered in the Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng at the Suizhou site, Hubei province, China. It dates from 433 BC, of the later Zhou Dynasty.[24] It is fashioned of lacquered bamboo with closed ends and has five stops that are at the flute's side instead of the top. Chi flutes are mentioned in Shi Jing, compiled and edited by Confucius, according to tradition.

The earliest written reference to a flute is from a Sumerian-language cuneiform tablet dated to c. 2600–2700 BCE.[25] Flutes are also mentioned in a recently translated tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem whose development spanned the period of approximately 2100–600 BCE.[26] Additionally, a set of cuneiform tablets knows as the "musical texts" provide precise tuning instructions for seven scale of a stringed instrument (assumed to be a Babylonian lyre). One of those scales is named embūbum, which is an Akkadian word for "flute".[26]

The Bible, in Genesis 4:21, cites Jubal as being the "father of all those who play the ugab and the kinnor". The former Hebrew term is believed by some to refer to some wind instrument, or wind instruments in general, the latter to a stringed instrument, or stringed instruments in general. As such, Jubal is regarded in the Judeo-Christian tradition as the inventor of the flute (a word used in some translations of this biblical passage).[27] Elsewhere in the Bible, the flute is referred to as "chalil" (from the root word for "hollow"), in particular in 1 Samuel 10:5, 1 Kings 1:40, Isaiah 5:12 and 30:29, and Jeremiah 48:36.[28] Archeological digs in the Holy Land have discovered flutes from both the Bronze Age (c. 4000-1200 BCE) and the Iron Age (1200-586 BCE), the latter era "witness[ing] the creation of the Israelite kingdom and its separation into the two kingdoms of Israel and Judea."[27]

Some early flutes were made out of tibias (shin bones). The flute has also always been an essential part of Indian culture and mythology,[29] and the cross flute believed by several accounts to originate in India[30][31] as Indian literature from 1500 BCE has made vague references to the cross flute.[32]


A flute produces sound when a stream of air directed across a hole in the instrument creates a vibration of air at the hole.[33][34] The airstream creates a Bernoulli or siphon. This excites the air contained in the usually cylindrical resonant cavity within the flute. The flutist changes the pitch of the sound produced by opening and closing holes in the body of the instrument, thus changing the effective length of the resonator and its corresponding resonant frequency. By varying the air pressure, a flutist can also change the pitch by causing the air in the flute to resonate at a harmonic rather than the fundamental frequency without opening or closing any holes.[35]

Head joint geometry appears particularly critical to acoustic performance and tone,[36] but there is no clear consensus on a particular shape amongst manufacturers. Acoustic impedance of the embouchure hole appears the most critical parameter.[37] Critical variables affecting this acoustic impedance include: chimney length (hole between lip-plate and head tube), chimney diameter, and radii or curvature of the ends of the chimney and any designed restriction in the "throat" of the instrument, such as that in the Japanese Nohkan Flute.

A study in which professional flutists were blindfolded could find no significant differences between flutes made from a variety of metals.[38] In two different sets of blind listening, no flute was correctly identified in a first listening, and in a second, only the silver flute was identified. The study concluded that there was "no evidence that the wall material has any appreciable effect on the sound color or dynamic range".


In its most basic form, a flute is an open tube which is blown into. After focused study and training, players use controlled air-direction to create an airstream in which the air is aimed downward into the tone hole of the flute's headjoint. There are several broad classes of flutes. With most flutes, the musician blows directly across the edge of the mouthpiece, with 1/4 of their bottom lip covering the embouchure hole. However, some flutes, such as the whistle, gemshorn, flageolet, recorder, tin whistle, tonette, fujara, and ocarina have a duct that directs the air onto the edge (an arrangement that is termed a "fipple"). These are known as fipple flutes. The fipple gives the instrument a distinct timbre which is different from non-fipple flutes and makes the instrument easier to play, but takes a degree of control away from the musician.

Another division is between side-blown (or transverse) flutes, such as the Western concert flute, piccolo, fife, dizi and bansuri; and end-blown flutes, such as the ney, xiao, kaval, danso, shakuhachi, Anasazi flute and quena. The player of a side-blown flute uses a hole on the side of the tube to produce a tone, instead of blowing on an end of the tube. End-blown flutes should not be confused with fipple flutes such as the recorder, which are also played vertically but have an internal duct to direct the air flow across the edge of the tone hole.

Flutes may be open at one or both ends. The ocarina, xun, pan pipes, police whistle, and bosun's whistle are closed-ended. Open-ended flutes such as the concert flute and the recorder have more harmonics, and thus more flexibility for the player, and brighter timbres. An organ pipe may be either open or closed, depending on the sound desired.

Flutes may have any number of pipes or tubes, though one is the most common number. Flutes with multiple resonators may be played one resonator at a time (as is typical with pan pipes) or more than one at a time (as is typical with double flutes).

Flutes can be played with several different air sources. Conventional flutes are blown with the mouth, although some cultures use nose flutes. The flue pipes of organs, which are acoustically similar to duct flutes, are blown by bellows or fans.

Western transverse flutes

Main article: Western concert flute

Wooden one-keyed transverse flute

Usually in D, wooden transverse flutes were played in European classical music mainly in the period from the early 18th century to the early 19th century. As such the instrument is often indicated as baroque flute. Gradually marginalized by the Western concert flute in the 19th century, baroque flutes were again played from the late 20th century as part of the historically informed performance practice.

Western concert flute

The Western concert flute, a descendant of the medieval German flute, is a transverse treble flute that is closed at the top. An embouchure hole is positioned near the top across and into which the flutist blows. The flute has circular tone holes larger than the finger holes of its baroque predecessors. The size and placement of tone holes, key mechanism, and fingering system used to produce the notes in the flute's range were evolved from 1832 to 1847 by Theobald Boehm and greatly improved the instrument's dynamic range and intonation over its predecessors.[39] With some refinements (and the rare exception of the Kingma system and other custom adapted fingering systems), Western concert flutes typically conform to Boehm's design, known as the Boehm system. Beginner's flutes are made of nickel, silver, or brass that is silver-plated, while professionals use solid silver, gold, and sometimes platinum flutes. There are also modern wooden-bodied flutes usually with silver or gold keywork. The wood is usually African Blackwood.

The standard concert flute is pitched in C and has a range of three octaves starting from middle C or one half step lower when a B foot is attached. This means the concert flute is one of the highest common orchestra and concert band instruments.

Western concert flute variants

The piccolo plays an octave higher than the regular treble flute. Lower members of the flute family include the G alto and C bass flutes that are used occasionally, and are pitched a perfect fourth and an octave below the concert flute, respectively. The contrabass, double contrabass, and hyperbass are other rare forms of the flute pitched two, three, and four octaves below middle C respectively.

Other sizes of flutes and piccolos are used from time to time. A rarer instrument of the modern pitching system is the treble G flute. Instruments made according to an older pitch standard, used principally in wind-band music, include D♭ piccolo, soprano flute (the primary instrument, equivalent to today's concert C flute), F alto flute, and B♭ bass flute.

Indian flutes

Further information: Bansuri and Venu

The bamboo flute is an important instrument in Indian classical music, and developed independently of the Western flute. The Hindu God Lord Krishna is traditionally considered a master of the bamboo flute. The Indian flutes are very simple compared to the Western counterparts; they are made of bamboo and are keyless.[40]

Two main varieties of Indian flutes are currently used. The first, the Bansuri (बांसुरी), has six finger holes and one embouchure hole, and is used predominantly in the Hindustani music of Northern India. The second, the Venu or Pullanguzhal, has eight finger holes, and is played predominantly in the Carnatic music of Southern India. Presently, the eight-holed flute with cross-fingering technique is common among many Carnatic flutists. Prior to this, the South Indian flute had only seven finger holes, with the fingering standard developed by Sharaba Shastri, of the Palladam school, at the beginning of the 20th century.[41]

The quality of the flute's sound depends somewhat on the specific bamboo used to make it, and it is generally agreed that the best bamboo grows in the Nagercoil area of South India.[42]

Based on Bharata Natya ShastraSarana Chatushtai, Avinash Balkrishna Patwardhan in 1998 developed a methodology to produce perfectly tuned flutes for the ten 'thatas' currently present in Indian Classical Music.[43]

Chinese flutes

Main article: Chinese flutes

In China there are many varieties of dizi (笛子), or Chinese flute, with different sizes, structures (with or without a resonance membrane) and number of holes (from 6 to 11) and intonations (different keys). Most are made of bamboo, but can come in wood, jade, bone, and iron. One peculiar feature of the Chinese flute is the use of a resonance membrane mounted on one of the holes that vibrates with the air column inside the tube. This membrane is called a di mo, which is usually a thin tissue paper. It gives the flute a bright sound.

Commonly seen flutes in the modern Chinese orchestra are the bangdi (梆笛), qudi (曲笛), xindi (新笛), and dadi (大笛). The bamboo flute played vertically is called the xiao (簫), which is a different category of wind instrument in China.

Japanese flutes

Main article: Fue

The Japanese flute, called the fue, 笛 (hiragana: ふえ), encompasses a large number of musical flutes from Japan, include the end-blown shakuhachi and hotchiku, as well as the transverse gakubue, komabue, ryūteki, nōkan, shinobue, kagurabue and minteki.

Sodina and suling

The sodina is an end-blown flute found throughout the island state of Madagascar, located in the Indian Ocean off southeastern Africa. One of the oldest instruments on the island, it bears close resemblance to end-blown flutes found in Southeast Asia and particularly Indonesia, where it is known as the suling, suggesting the predecessor to the sodina was carried to Madagascar in outrigger canoes by the island's original settlers emigrating from Borneo.[44] An image of the most celebrated contemporary sodina flutist, Rakoto Frah (d. 2001), was featured on the local currency.[45]


The sring (also called blul) is a relatively small, end-blown flute with a nasal tone quality[46] found in the Caucasus region of Eastern Armenia. It is made of wood or cane, usually with seven finger holes and one thumb hole,[46] producing a diatonic scale. One Armenian musicologist believes the sring to be the most characteristic of national Armenian instruments.[47]

See also


  1. ^"edge-blown aerophone - OnMusic Dictionary". OnMusic Dictionary. Retrieved 2015-09-14. 
  2. ^Wilford, John N. (June 24, 2009). "Flutes Offer Clues to Stone-Age Music". Nature. 459 (7244): 248–52. Bibcode:2009Natur.459..248C. doi:10.1038/nature07995. PMID 19444215. Lay summary – The New York Times. . Citation on p. 248.
  3. ^ abHigham, Thomas; Basell, Laura; Jacobi, Roger; Wood, Rachel; Ramsey, Christopher Bronk; Conard, Nicholas J. (2012). "Τesting models for the beginnings of the Aurignacian and the advent of figurative art and music: The radiocarbon chronology of Geißenklösterle". Journal of Human Evolution. 62 (6): 664–76. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2012.03.003. PMID 22575323. 
  4. ^ ab"Flute". The Free Dictionary By Farlex. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  5. ^ abcSimpson, J. A. and Weiner, E. S. C. (eds.), "flute, n.1", Oxford English Dictionary, second edition. 20 vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press, 1989. ISBN 0198611862.
  6. ^ abSmith, Fenwick. "Is it flutist or flautist?". Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  7. ^"Flute". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  8. ^"Flutist". Oxford English Dictionary (American English). Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  9. ^"Flautist". Oxford English Dictionary (British & World English). Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  10. ^"Fluter (c.1400)". Oxford English Dictionary. 
  11. ^"Fluter". Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  12. ^"Fluter". Random House Dictionary and Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  13. ^"Flutenist". The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  14. ^Tenenbaum, David (June 2000). "Neanderthal jam". The Why Files. University of Wisconsin, Board of Regents. Retrieved 14 March 2006. 
  15. ^Flute History, UCLA. Retrieved June 2007.
  16. ^Ghosh, Pallab. (2009-06-25) BBC: 'Oldest musical instrument' found. BBC News. Retrieved on 2013-08-10.
  17. ^Nicholas J. Conard; Maria Malina; Susanne C. Münzel (August 2009). "New Flutes Document the Earliest Musical Tradition in Southwestern Germany". Nature. 460 (7256): 737–40. Bibcode:2009Natur.460..737C. doi:10.1038/nature08169. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 19553935. 
  18. ^ ab"'Oldest musical instrument' found". BBC news. 2009-06-25. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  19. ^"Music for cavemen". MSNBC. 2009-06-24. Archived from the original on 2009-06-26. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  20. ^"Flutes Offer Clues to Stone-Age Music". The New York Times. 2009-06-24. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  21. ^"Archeologists discover ice age dwellers' flute". CBC Arts. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2004-12-30. Archived from the original on 2009-05-28. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  22. ^The bone age flute. BBC. September 23, 1999.
  23. ^Zhang, Juzhong; Xiao, Xinghua; Lee, Yun Kuen (December 2004). "The early development of music. Analysis of the Jiahu bone flutes". Antiquity. 78 (302): 769–778. doi:10.1017/s0003598x00113432. Archived from the original on 2013-06-03. 
  24. ^Goodman, Howard L. (2010). Xun Xu and the politics of precision in third-century AD China. Brill Publishers. p. 226. ISBN 90-04-18337-X. 
  25. ^Goss, Clint (2012). "The Development of Flutes in Europe and Asia". Flutopedia. Retrieved 2012-01-08. 
  26. ^ abGoss, Clint (2012). "Flutes of Gilgamesh and Ancient Mesopotamia". Flutopedia. Retrieved 2012-01-08. 
  27. ^ abJudith Cohen, "Review of 'Music in Ancient Israel/Palestine: Archaeological, Written, and Comparative Sources', by Joachim Braun". Min-Ad: Israel Studies in Musicology Online. Vol. 3. (2004). http://www.biu.ac.il/hu/mu/min-ad04/BraunRev-2.pdf
  28. ^Strong's Hebrew Concordance, "chalil". http://biblesuite.com/hebrew/2485.htm
  29. ^Hoiberg, Dale; Ramchandani, Indu (2000). Students' Britannica India. Mumbai: Popular Prakashan. p. 125. ISBN 0-85229-760-2. 
  30. ^Chaturvedi, Mamta (2001). How to Play Flute & Shehnai. New Delhi: Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd. p. 7. ISBN 81-288-1476-1. 
  31. ^Morse, Constance (1968). Music and Music-makers. New Hampshire: Ayer Publishing. p. 7. ISBN 0-8369-0724-8. 
  32. ^Arvey, Verna (2007). Choreographic Music for the Dance. London: Read Country Books. p. 36. ISBN 1-4067-5847-7. 
  33. ^Flute acoustics, UNSW. Retrieved June 2007.
  34. ^Wolfe, Joe. "Introduction to flute acoustics". UNSW Music Acoustics. Retrieved 18 January 2006. 
  35. ^"The Flute". HyperPhysics. Retrieved March 20, 2016. 
  36. ^Spell, Eldred (1983). "Anatomy of a Headjoint". The Flute Worker. ISSN 0737-8459
A selection of flutes from around the world
Chinese women playing flutes, from the 12th-century Song dynasty remake of the Night Revels of Han Xizai, originally by Gu Hongzhong (10th century)
Center: Piccolo. Right: larger flute
An eight-holed classical Indian bamboo flute.
A sodina player in Madagascar
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