Styles of Flute Music

The flutist is required to be versatile and knowledgeable about several styles.Several styles of flute music exist which require special knowledge of the flutist to play effectively. These styles are created by composers with completely different musical backgrounds. Each style will require the flutist to learn special techniques and understanding the way in which the music is constructed. By learning about the different styles of flute music a flutist will be better prepared to perform any piece that comes her way.


Flutists who wish to play popular music must know how to put on a show for the audience. Unlike "serious" forms of music, the pop flute player must know basic chord changes and be able to improvise a musical line. While special techniques are generally not required of the flutist who plays pop music, the flutist must know how to mic his instrument properly to get the best sound. The mic on a flute should be placed just in front of the mouthpiece and not at the end of the flute.


Jazz and blues styles of music require extensive knowledge of chord symbols, specialized notation and improvisation skills. Jazz and blues has a long history in America and has developed into an art form that relies on the interpretation of chord symbols to create fascinating melodic ideas. Flute players must understand the concept of "ghost" notes and be able to play falls by quickly bending the pitch downwards on the instrument. This style of music has a free and improvisatory but relaxed nature that lends itself well to the flute.


Classical music from 1600 to 1910 require several advanced techniques. Flute players should know how to play trills, ornaments, and tremolos on their instrument. The flute player is often required to play extremely technical solos and duets with other instruments. She must be able to learn virtuosic parts quickly and play with great technical accuracy. Classical music generally has more complex and worked-out chord progressions than jazz and blues music. This is generally because the composer has time to map out complete pieces and improvisation is almost never required of the flutist.

Modern Techniques

Flutists who wish to play modern music must have a knowledge of highly specific notation symbols and extended techniques. Flutists who play modern music are commonly asked to play multiphonics that requires the flutist to play several tones at once. Flutists may also be asked to play "key taps" which require the flutist to blow air through the instrument and quickly moving the keys while avoiding playing pitch. Modern music makes use of advanced scales and methods of organizing sound. This lends a dissonant quality to the music that requires more careful listening from the audience.


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