flute


flute
flutelike, adj.
/flooht/, n., v., fluted, fluting.
n.
1. a musical wind instrument consisting of a tube with a series of fingerholes or keys, in which the wind is directed against a sharp edge, either directly, as in the modern transverse flute, or through a flue, as in the recorder.
2. an organ stop with wide flue pipes, having a flutelike tone.
3. Archit., Furniture. a channel, groove, or furrow, as on the shaft of a column. See diag. under column.
4. any groove or furrow, as in a ruffle of cloth or on a piecrust.
5. one of the helical grooves of a twist drill.
6. a slender, footed wineglass of the 17th century, having a tall, conical bowl.
7. a similar stemmed glass, used esp. for champagne.
v.i.
8. to produce flutelike sounds.
9. to play on a flute.
10. (of a metal strip or sheet) to kink or break in bending.
v.t.
11. to utter in flutelike tones.
12. to form longitudinal flutes or furrows in: to flute a piecrust.
[1350-1400; ME floute < MF flaüte, flahute, fleüte < OPr flaüt (perh. alter. of flaujol, flauja) < VL *flabeolum. See FLAGEOLET, LUTE]

* * *

Woodwind instrument in which the sound is produced by blowing against a sharp edge.

In its broad sense, a flute may be end-blown, like the recorder, or may have a globular shape, like the ocarina. In its narrow sense, discussed below, flute refers to the transverse flute of Western music. The transverse flute, a tubular instrument held sideways to the right, appeared in Greece and Etruria by the 2nd century BC. By the 16th century a family of boxwood flutes, with fingerholes but no keys, was in use in Europe. Keys began to be added in the late 17th century. Theobald Boehm's 19th-century innovations resulted in the modern flute, which permits thorough expressive control and great agility. The cylindrical tube may be made of wood or, more often, a precious metal or alloy. Its range is from about middle C to the C three octaves higher. The flute family includes the piccolo (pitched an octave higher), the alto flute, and the rare bass flute. See also shakuhachi.

* * *

French  flûte,  German  Flöte,  
  wind instrument in which the sound is produced by a stream of air directed against a sharp edge, upon which the air breaks up into eddies that alternate regularly above and below the edge, setting into vibration the air enclosed in the flute. In vertical, end-vibrated flutes—such as the Balkan kaval, the Arabic nāy, and panpipes (panpipe)—the player holds the pipe end to his mouth, directing his breath against the opposite edge. In China, South America, Africa, and elsewhere, a notch may be cut in the edge to facilitate sound generation (notched flutes). Vertical nose flutes are also found, especially in Oceania. In transverse, or cross, flutes (i.e., horizontally held and side blown), the stream of breath strikes the opposite rim of a lateral mouth hole. Vertical flutes such as the recorder, in which an internal flue or duct directs the air against a hole cut in the side of the instrument, are known as fipple, or whistle, flutes (fipple flute).

 Flutes are typically tubular but may also be globular, as with the ocarina and primitive gourd flutes. If a tubular flute is stopped at the lower end, its pitch is an octave lower than that of a comparable open flute.

      The characteristic flute of Western music is the transverse flute held sideways to the right of the player. It was known in ancient Greece and Etruria by the 2nd century BC and was next recorded in India, then China and Japan, where it remains a leading wind instrument. It is first depicted in Europe c. 1100 AD. In the 16th century the tenor flute, pitched in G, was played in consort with descant and bass flutes (pitched in D and C respectively). All were typically of boxwood with six finger holes and no keys, semitones being made by cross-fingering (uncovering the holes out of sequence), and retained the cylindrical bore of their Asiatic bamboo relatives. These 16th-century flutes were made obsolete late in the 17th century by the one-keyed conical flute, probably conceived by the celebrated Hotteterre (Hotteterre, Jacques) family of makers and players in Paris. A conical flute is made in separate joints, the head joint being cylindrical, the others contracting toward the foot. Two joints were common in the 18th century, the upper being supplied in alternate lengths for tuning purposes. The instrument was known then as the flauto traverso, traversa, or German flute, as distinct from the common flute, usually called the recorder.

      From 1760, in order to improve various semitones, three chromatic keys in addition to the original E♭ key began to be used. By 1800 the typical orchestral flute had these keys plus a lengthened foot joint to C, making six keys altogether. Two more keys produced the eight-keyed flute, which preceded the modern instrument and which lasted, with various auxiliary keys, in some German orchestras into the 20th century.

      Theobald Boehm (Boehm, Theobald), a Munich flute player and inventor, set out to rationalize the instrument, creating his new conical model in 1832. He replaced the traditional hole layout with an acoustically based one and improved the venting by replacing closed chromatic keys with open-standing keys, devising for their manipulation a system of ring keys on longitudinal axles (rings allow a player to close an out-of-reach key in the same motion as covering a finger hole).

      This flute was superseded in 1847 by Boehm's second design, with its experimentally evolved cylindrical bore (having a contracting or parabolic head)—the flute since used. The loss of a certain depth and intimacy of tone of the old conical flute has been offset by gains in evenness of notes, complete expressive control throughout the compass at all dynamic levels, and almost limitless technical flexibility.

      A modern Boehm-system flute (pitched in C with the range c′–c‴) is made of wood (cocuswood or blackwood) or metal (silver or a substitute). It is 261/2 inches (67 cm) long, with a bore of about 3/4 inch, built in three sections. The body, or middle joint, and the foot joint (sometimes made in one piece) have the note holes (13 at least), which are controlled by an interlocking mechanism of padded key plates hinged on a longitudinal axis. The bore narrows in the head joint, which contains the mouth hole, and is closed just above the hole by a cork or fibre stopper; it is open at the foot end. Other flute sizes include the piccolo, the alto flute (in England sometimes called the bass flute) in G, the bass (or contrabass) flute an octave below the flute, and the various sizes used in military flute bands, generally pitched in D♭ and A♭.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • flûte — flûte …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • flûté — flûté …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • FLÛTE — La flûte est sans doute un des instruments dont les origines remontent le plus haut dans l’histoire de l’humanité. Le roseau des marais, le bout de bois creux offerts aux vents subtils ou féroces furent des objets dont les effets ne pouvaient… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Flute — Flûte Pour les articles homonymes, voir Flûte (homonymie). Le Sommeil de l’Enfant Jésu …   Wikipédia en Français

  • flute — 1. (flû t ) s. f. 1°   Dans un sens général, tout instrument à vent, en bois et à trous que l on bouche avec les doigts, et dans lequel on souffle. •   On prétend qu Hyagnis fut le plus ancien joueur de flûte, ROLLIN Hist. anc. Oeuv. t. XI, 1re… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • flûte — 2. (flû t ) s. f. Nom de certains longs verres à boire. ÉTYMOLOGIE    Scheler remarque qu il n est pas sûr que le verre ait été ainsi dit par assimilation de forme avec la flûte, instrument ; qu en allemand Flöte, qui signifie flûte et qui vient… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • flûté — flûté, ée 1. (flû té, tée) adj. 1°   Qui imite le son doux et agréable de la flûte. Des sons flûtés.    Se dit particulièrement des sons produits sur les instruments à cordes en laissant aller mollement l archet qui glisse et se rapproche de la… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Flute — Flute, n. [OE. floute, floite, fr. OF. fla[ u]te, flahute, flahuste, F. fl?te; cf. LL. flauta, D. fluit. See {Flute}, v. i.] 1. A musical wind instrument, consisting of a hollow cylinder or pipe, with holes along its length, stopped by the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • flute — early 14c., from O.Fr. flaute (12c.), from O.Prov. flaut, of uncertain origin, perhaps imitative or from L. flare to blow; perhaps influenced by Prov. laut lute. The other Germanic words (Cf. Ger. flöte) are likewise borrowings from French.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Flute — Flute, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Fluted}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Fluting}.] 1. To play, whistle, or sing with a clear, soft note, like that of a flute. [1913 Webster] Knaves are men, That lute and flute fantastic tenderness. Tennyson. [1913 Webster] The… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • flute — flute; wald·flute; hohl·flute; spitz·flute; …   English syllables


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.