Return to home page
n a v i g a t i o n




For younger visitors

On a historical scale, the modern metal flute and the way we play it are both fairly new. If your great-grandfather played the flute, chances are he played music you have never heard on a kind of flute you would not recognize. And as for your great-grandmother: it's unlikely she played the flute at all, since it was not considered suitable for women in her day.

This site contains information about many different kinds of flute and flute-playing that existed before the era of the modern flute. Knowing about earlier instruments and practices helps us better understand the music people played on them in those times, and this gives us a better sense of how to play that music today--as we often do.

You may have read how the modern flute developed from simple, defective earlier instruments. If mechanical complexity was the only measure, it would be true to say early flutes were simple.But in fact, the story is much more interesting than that. The flute was mechanically developed at just the right time--neither too soon nor too late.Both before those mechanical developments and after them, instruments were perfectly suited to the music they were meant to play.That's really the theme of this site.

If you are reading this page because you have been assigned the task of writing about the history of the flute for a school project, you may find useful material here. But be warned: the information is presented in some detail, and may take you a long time to read and digest. The best place to get a sense of what's here is probably the Timelines. By the way: pictures on this site are copyright and can't be re-used.

If you are already a fairly advanced flutist and are interested to know more about the history of your instrument, browsing this site over the course of several visits may help give you a sense of the subject. You can find more online and printed information under Resources in the navigation column. If you're looking for a particular piece of information, try the Search box on any page, or construct a more precise query on our Search page.

The ability to leave comments using the Interactive box at the bottom of each page has been disabled owing to abuse by children.

Happy browsing, and fluting!

Top of page Go To Top Of Page  

E-mail this page to a friend
Copyright © 2000,

write! suggestions, complaints, corrections