10 Best Flutes | March 2017
- available with silver or gold keys
- comes with grease
- paint peels on the colored models
- includes a handy screwdriver
- sleek and attractive looking
- can be difficult to service
- made in the usa
- comes with a fingering chart
- exceedingly fragile
|Brand||Hall Crystal Flutes|
- undercut beveled embouchure
- seal-tested for quality assurance
- putting it together is difficult
- comes with a cleaning rod
- power-coined keys
- good for intermediate level players
- tuned to the key of c
- features an offset g
- highly responsive fingering
- patented pinless mechanism
- simple yet efficient design
- b foot joint promotes extra comfort
Defining The Flute
Regardless of the instrument played, music serves to entertain, inspire, and soothe the soul. A musical composition is much more than simply notes on a page. Similar to the way genetics is passed on to future generations, so too is a musical composition as it transcends the ages. Each note represents an element of musical DNA. Music is an artistic reflection of history and the mood of a particular location at a given time. It is an evolving snapshot, meaning that the overall form of the original composition stays the same from a funadmental perspective with respect to its anatomy, but the piece can still change with mood and invoke a variety of emotions depending on where a person is when they're listening to it. Each instrument plays its own part in that reflection over time, hence using the concept of music as an element of historical overview. The flute is no exception.
The flute is a member of the woodwind group of musical instruments. Woodwind instruments are classified into two distinct categories that include reed instruments (i.e. the clarinet and saxophone) and flutes. The difference between a reed instrument and a flute is observed in the way each sound is produced. A reed instrument produces sound by focusing air into a mouthpiece and causing the wooden reed to vibrate. By contrast, a flute's sound is produced when a player blows a focused stream of air across the edge of a hole in a cylindrical tube, which causes the air inside the tube to vibrate. In order to change the tone of the flute's sound, a player must open or close holes that are built into the body of the instrument. Performing this action changes the lenth of both the flute's resonator and resonant frequency.
Flutes are either open or closed. With an open flute, an airstream is blown across a sharp edge where it is split, and finally acts on the air column contained inside the flute's hollow tubing. Using a closed flute requires the player to blow an airstream into a separate duct. The duct then channels the air into a sharp edge where it is split, thereby causing the air contained within the flute to vibrate and produce sound.
The most common modern flute is the Western concert flute, made from nickel, brass with plated silver, and even gold for the most professional of musicians.
Finding The Right Instrument
Two very important qualities one must consider when purchasing a flute are the materials the instrument is made from and its intended recipient. The materials will greatly influence the quality and tone of the instrument's sound. Students, for example, need a dependable and sturdy instrument that they can use while learning how to perfect their skills. Student instruments don't have to be made from premium materials (like silver and gold) to get a rich sound. Brass with silver or nickel plating is usually a good option.
Responsive and easy-to-play keys are also important, particularly if you're just starting out with the instrument. It should be easy to get a good sound out of the flute without too much effort. It's also a good idea to ensure the keys have some type of padding to ensure a proper seal over the holes when playing.
Definitely spend time to find the right head joint, as this part of the instrument gives the flute its musical personality. You may have to try several different head joints before you find the one that produces the most rich and velvety sound specific to your instrument.
Finally, if you're a professional flutist, you might want to find an elaborately-decorated instrument for show and performance purposes. Such decoration also gives the flute its individuality.
An Evolving Musical Species
The flute is considered one of the earliest extant musical instruments dating as far back as paleolithic times, somewhere between fourty-three and thirty-five thousand years ago. Some of the earliest flutes have been found in the Swabian Alb region of modern-day Germany. One of the earliest flutes recovered is made from a vulture's wing bone that is perforated with five finger holes. This type of crafting suggests that modern humans adopted music into their culture and used it as a form of human bonding among large groups to allow the species to expand.
Flutes were also used by both the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians, some having been preserved in tombs over the centuries. The Egyptian flute was vertical in design with two to six finger holes. By the second century BC, the transverse (horizontally-oriented) flute was used in ancient Greece as well as India, China, and Japan. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the flute had almost completely disappeared from Europe until the Crusades brought about contact between Europeans and Arabs. This contact spread the popularity of the vertical flute throughout Europe as far as Spain and France by the fourteenth century.
Throughout the Renaissance, most transverse flutes were cylindrical in shape and made from boxwood. By the late seventeenth century, the Hotteterre family was credited with making several design changes to the transverse flute that included the addition of a head joint, a body, and a foot joint as opposed to a single cylinder.
The German inventor and musician credited for perfecting the design of the modern Western concert flute and its fingering system was Theobald Boehm. Boehm's fingering system has also been adapted to both the oboe and clarinet.