b: a keyed woodwind instrument consisting of a cylindrical tube which is stopped at one end and which has a side hole over which air is blown to produce the tone and having a range from middle C upward for three octaves
: something long and slender: as
a: a tall slender wineglass
b: a grooved pleat (as on a hat brim)
: a rounded groove; specifically: one of the vertical parallel grooves on a classical architectural column
Woodwind instrument in which the sound is produced by blowing against a sharp edge. In its broad sense, a flute may be end-blown, like the recorder, or may have a globular shape, like the ocarina. In its narrow sense, discussed below, flute refers to the transverse flute of Western music. The transverse flute, a tubular instrument held sideways to the right, appeared in Greece and Etruria by the 2nd century BC. By the 16th century a family of boxwood flutes, with fingerholes but no keys, was in use in Europe. Keys began to be added in the late 17th century. Theobald Boehm's 19th-century innovations resulted in the modern flute, which permits thorough expressive control and great agility. The cylindrical tube may be made of wood or, more often, a precious metal or alloy. Its range is from about middle C to the C three octaves higher. The flute family includes the piccolo (pitched an octave higher), the alto flute, and the rare bass flute. See alsoshakuhachi.