Bass Flute: Expliciting the secrets

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Written By MatthewWashington

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Bass flute was created in the 1920s and 30s by designers who began to experiment with it. There are many versions of the bass flute, as there were several makers who worked together to ‘invent’ it. Brittish Rudall Carte, Carte and Co. was the most successful/popular design. This design is still the most popular and it looks very much like a concert flute. The pipe is held to the side, and bends in a U-shaped shape around the pipes to make it easier for the performers to reach their keys. It measures approximately twice as large as a regular concert flute and has a diameter of about. It measures 146 cm in length or 57 inches.

Rudel Carte was also developing an upright bass with an B footjoint. It took a while for this design to become a functional instrument. Today, however, Kotato, Fukushima and Jupiter all make upright basses.

The alto flute, which was the lowest member in the flute family, was commonly referred to by the term “bass flute” up until the 1920s. The ‘original’ flute was formally known as an Alto flute after the invention of it.

The bass flute was originally used in ensembles of flutes. There is now more orchestral, chamber, and solo music being written for the flute.

To produce a sound, the flute can be played exactly like a regular flute. The flautist blows across the embouchure hole and the flautist plays the instrument in the same manner as a regular flute. The instrument moves very slowly, especially compared to the piccolo, which uses very fast air. 

  • It is small but responsive, and retains a lot the agility of the flute. It can sometimes be slow to respond when it is extremely cold.
  • The bass flute is more quiet than a regular flute, so it is often amplified in performances. See how to amplify a bass flute.

The instrument’s weight was another problem for both the maker and the flautist. The flautist must support horizontal bass flutes. Flautists must gradually strengthen their arm and finger muscles to support the instrument. Although lap crouches can be used to support the instrument’s weight, they are not very easy to use. The upright or vertical bass is supported by a cello spike, so the floor takes most of the weight.

The bass flute can be transposed by having its pitch one octave lower that it is written.

  • Variations for the Bass Flute

Open holes are possible with the Kingma System for both bass and alto flutes. The bass flute models can be made horizontally or vertically. Open holes atypical lymphocytes offer the player greater control of the instrument. Open holes allow for extended technics like glissandi or multiphonics, which would otherwise be impossible. Learn More

  • Old bass flutes

There were many developmental stages for the bass flute. One of these was an upright bass flute with a “S”-shaped bend in its neck. Rudel Carte also made a horizontal version of this instrument with an “S-shaped bend in the neck”. These instruments’ double bends would have affected the instrument’s intonation. It would also have been difficult to clean.