Orchestral Flute




Here is the Gemeinhardt silver Boehm-system flute:

[She Moved Through the Fair]

[Josefin's Waltz] (with cello by Alec Brown)

[the Jug of Punch]

The modern orchestral flute was designed by Theobold Boehm, with the modern design having been finalized in 1847; it has remained essentially unchanged since then except for minor adjustments and modifications.

Boehm, having been inspired by the robust sound and playing of Nicholson, an Englishman who played on a customized old system flute with enlarged tone holes, resolved to design an instrument where each chromatic note of the scale would have its own large tone hole, and where these holes were sized and positioned mathematically instead of merely being convenient to the fingers.  In the process he also moved from the old system's conical bore, which had a cylindrical bore headjoint and then narrowed towards the foot of the instrument, to a flute which had a cylindrical bore throughout the body, and a headjoint that tapered towards the stopper in a fashion resembling a parabola.

The modern flute has a range of about three and one-half chromatic octaves starting with the B directly below middle C and going up from there.  It is capable of playing with varying degrees of volume from extremely soft to very loud.

My Gemeinhardt 3SS-B flute, made in the late 70's, is handmade of solid sterling silver with white gold springs.  It is a lovely flute and fits me well.