The flute is a woodwind instrument that serves as a soprano voice in many bands, orchestras, and woodwind groups. The flute is considered a woodwind instrument event though most modern day flutes are made of metal.
Years ago flutes were made of wood. They were played in countries such as ancient Egypt, China, and Greece. In the mid 1700s they became very popular in Europe. The flutes earliest probably history dates back to approximately 900 B.C. It was first discovered on cave walls in China. They called this instrument a ch'ie.
Pre-Christian drawings of the early flute appear on Roman artifacts. Additional works of art, including two Etruscan reliefs which date from the second and third centuries B.C., clearly showed cross flutes being played.
Theobald Boehm, a German flute maker and musicin, developed the first cylindrical metal flute in 1832. This was the most widely used model in the 20th century. The cylindrical Boehm flute is made of metal or wood and has thirteen or more tone holes controlled by a system of padded keys which Boehm created.
Flutes consist mostly of a tube with a mouthpiece near one end. The mouthpiece has an oval hole. When you play the flute you hold it in a horizontal position and blow across the hole. At the same time the flutist presses finger keys that are positioned along the tube. The keys open and close tone holes to make different sounds.
Throughout the 16th century flutes were one of the most popular instruments of the Italian musical scene. Even King Henry VIII had a very large collection of flutes. Mozart and Hayden also played the flute in the 18th century.
There are many operas in the world today, but there are very few that consist of flutes. One of the most famous operas is called the Magic Flute. Orchestras also consist of flutes too. There are three flutes in an orchestra, but many in an opera. The flute is still popular in many school bands and orchestras today.