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The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. Unlike other woodwind instruments, a flute produces its sound from the flow of air against an edge, instead of using a reed . A musician who plays the flute is generally referred to as either a flautist or a flutist . Flute tones are sweet and blend well with other instruments. The flute's pitch, and various aspects of its timbre are flexible, allowing a very high degree of instantaneous expressive control, although it is still very hard to control high-pitched sounds.

The flute has appeared in many different forms in many different locations around the world. A flute made from a mammoth tusk, found in the Swabian Alb and dated to 30,000 to 37,000 years ago and one seven-hole flute made from a swan's bone in the Gei?enklosterle cave in Germany to circa 36,000 years ago are among the oldest known musical instruments. Some early flutes were made out of the tibia (leg bone).

In its most basic form, a flute can be an open tube which is blown like a bottle.

There are several broad classes of flutes. With most flutes, the musician blows directly onto the edge of the flute. However, some flutes, such as the recorder , tin whistle , whistle , fujara , and ocarina have a duct that directs the air onto the edge (an arrangement that is termed a " fipple ").

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This 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 flutes, such as the Western concert flute, piccolo , fife , dizi , and bansuri ; and end-blown flutes , such as the recorder , ney , kaval , quena , shakuhachi and tonette . 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.

Flutes may be open on one or both of their ends. The ocarina , 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. Order now!

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