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Bass flute

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The bass flute is the bass member of the flute family. It is in the key of C, pitched one octave below the concert flute. Because of the length of its tube (approximately 146 cm), it is usually made with a "J" shaped head joint, which brings the embouchure hole within reach of the player. It is only usually used in flute choirs, as it is easily drowned out by other instruments of comparable register, such as the clarinet. It is rarely found in scores today.

The instrument's range is between C3 (the viola's lowest note) to F#6 (three ledger lines above the treble clef). It has a lush, velvety, albeit round and slightly harder tone than that of a regular flute. Although the bass flute is generally regarded as a fairly quiet instrument, a few skilled professional flautists are able to produce a tone of considerable volume on the instrument.

Bass flutes are often made with silver plated bodies and head joints. Some compainies, such as Emerson Flutes, allow for options such as trill keys, silver head joint, and also a low B foot extension that is normally only available on concert flutes. This allows the bass flute to be more versatile in the music world, allowing it to do more of the techniques that the Concert flute can do.

Many composers are beginning to write more for the bass flute, not only for ensemble work, but also for solo works, as well as with duets and other ensembles. Tristan Murail's Ethers, for instance, is scored for solo bass flute and small ensemble. Tan Dun's Paper Concerto for Paper Instruments and Orchestra has a major bass flute part.

Prior to the mid-20th century, the term "bass flute" was sometimes used to refer to the alto flute instead (e.g., the part for "bass flute in G" in Gustav Holst's The Planets).

This article was started using a Wikipedia flute article


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