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The term fipple specifies a variety of end-blown flute that includes the tin whistle and the recorder. The Hornbostel–Sachs system for classifying musical instruments places this group under the heading "Flutes with duct or duct flutes."The label "fipple flute" is frequently applied to members of the subgroup but there is no general agreement about the structural detail of the sound-producing mechanism that constitutes the fipple, itself.
The accompanying illustration of the mouthpiece of a recorder shows a wooden block (A) with a channel carved into the body of the instrument (B), together forming a duct that directs a ribbon of air across an opening toward a sharp edge (C). The edge splits the air in a manner that alternately directs it into and outside of the tube, setting the contained column of air into periodic vibration. This flow-controlled "air reed" is a definitive characteristic of all flutes, which therefore all have an edge or equivalent air-splitting device.
As is clear from the Hornbostel-Sachs heading, there are several ways in which a duct can be formed. These include the player's lips controlling the stream of air as it is directed to the edge, without mechanical assistance. Common examples of this are the end-blown ney and the side-blown concert flute. The first attested use of the term fipple is in a comparison between the recorder and the transverse flute by Francis Bacon, published in 1626.
Recorders…were it not for the fipple that straineth the air would produce no sound…. Some kinds of winde-instruments, are blowne at a small hole in the side, which straineth the breath at the first entrance…which performeth the fipples part, as is seene in flutes and fifes, which will not give a sound by a blast at the end, as recorders &c., doe.
By this description, the fipple is the splitter of the air stream in a recorder – the edge (aka lip or labium). It is functionally, but neither morphologically nor terminologically, equivalent to the splitter in a transverse flute (the far side of the mouth hole or embouchure). This provides historical justification for using the term "fipple flute" to designate a recorder and whatever else Bacon may have meant with the “&c".. Subsequent authors have designated recorder-type instruments as fipple flutes but differ in the element of the mechanical aggregate illustrated above that they regard specifically as the fipple. That word is used variously to designate the block, the edge, the full block-duct-edge structure, and the entire instrument. This ambiguity is detailed in the article headed Fipple in Grove Music Online, which concludes, "Since nobody can agree what the term means, to avoid further confusion its use should be abandoned."In the text below, what might otherwise be termed a fipple flute is referred to as a block-and-duct flute.
A whistle sound is produced by the interaction between the air reed and the air column in the segment of the instrument that projects just beyond the edge. The dimensions of the entire body of the instrument determine its timbre and pitch. Various additional structural details permit the player to alter both these factors. One example of this is the set of finger holes that laterally pierce the body of a recorder and are opened or closed to change the length of the vibrating air column.
The recorder can be used to illustrate further nuance in the design of block-and-duct flutes. By definition, the duct is formed by a channel carved into the body of the instrument, and the block. This passage is alternately termed a windway and ends at an opening referred to as a window, bounded by the edge on the opposite side. This rigid structure affords intrinsically less dynamic and intonational flexibility than does, for example, a transverse flute embouchure. This can be offset by other structural details. In the case of the recorder, their presence or absence often differentiates between mass-produced and artisan-built instruments. In a broader context, the difference between one type of block-and-duct flute and another is determined both by gross and finer structural detail.
Block-and-duct flutes have a long history: an example of an Iron Age specimen, made from a sheep bone, exists in Leeds City Museum.
L.E. McCullough notes that the oldest surviving whistles date from the 12th century, but that, "Players of the feadan are also mentioned in the description of the King of Ireland's court found in Early Irish law dating from the 7th and 8th centuries A.D."
The Tusculum whistle is a 14-cm whistle with six finger holes, made of brass or bronze, found with pottery dating to the 14th and 15th centuries; it is currently in the collection of the Museum of Scotland.
One of the earliest surviving recorders was discovered in a castle moat in Dordrecht, the Netherlands in 1940, and has been dated to the 14th century. It is largely intact, though not playable. A second more or less intact 14th century recorder was found in a latrine in northern Germany (in Göttingen): other 14th-century examples survive from Esslingen (Germany) and Tartu (Estonia). There is a fragment of a possible 14th-15th-century bone recorder in Rhodes (Greece); and there is an intact 15th-century example from Elblag (Poland).
The following flutes have a block-and-duct structure:
The flute is a family of musical instruments in the woodwind group. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening. According to the instrument classification of Hornbostel–Sachs, flutes are categorized as edge-blown aerophones. A musician who plays the flute can be referred to as a flute player, flautist, flutist or, less commonly, fluter or flutenist.
The recorder is a family of woodwind musical instruments in the group known as internal duct flutes—flutes with a whistle mouthpiece, also known as fipple flutes. A recorder can be distinguished from other duct flutes by the presence of a thumb-hole for the upper hand and seven finger-holes: three for the upper hand and four for the lower. It is the most prominent duct flute in the western classical tradition.
Woodwind instruments are a family of musical instruments within the more general category of wind instruments. Common examples include flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, and saxophone. There are two main types of woodwind instruments: flutes and reed instruments. The main distinction between these instruments and other wind instruments is the way in which they produce sound. All woodwinds produce sound by splitting the air blown into them on a sharp edge, such as a reed or a fipple. Despite the name, a woodwind may be made of any material, not just wood. Common examples include brass, silver, cane, as well as other metals such as gold and platinum. The saxophone, for example, though made of brass, is considered a woodwind because it requires a reed to produce sound. Occasionally, woodwinds are made out of earthen materials, especially ocarinas.
The tin whistle, also called the penny whistle, flageolet, English flageolet, Scottish penny whistle, tin flageolet, Irish whistle, Belfast Hornpipe, feadóg stáin and Clarke London Flageolet is a simple, six-holed woodwind instrument. It is a type of fipple flute, putting it in the same class as the recorder, Native American flute, and other woodwind instruments that meet such criteria. A tin whistle player is called a whistler. The tin whistle is closely associated with Celtic music.
Hornbostel–Sachs or Sachs–Hornbostel is a system of musical instrument classification devised by Erich Moritz von Hornbostel and Curt Sachs, and first published in the Zeitschrift für Ethnologie in 1914. An English translation was published in the Galpin Society Journal in 1961. It is the most widely used system for classifying musical instruments by ethnomusicologists and organologists. The system was updated in 2011 as part of the work of the Musical Instrument Museums Online (MIMO) Project.
An aerophone is a musical instrument that produces sound primarily by causing a body of air to vibrate, without the use of strings or membranes, and without the vibration of the instrument itself adding considerably to the sound.
The ocarina is a wind musical instrument—a type of vessel flute. Variations exist, but a typical ocarina is an enclosed space with four to twelve finger holes and a mouthpiece that projects from the body. It is traditionally made from clay or ceramic, but other materials are also used—such as plastic, wood, glass, metal, or bone.
The low whistle, or concert whistle, is a variation of the traditional tin whistle/pennywhistle, distinguished by its lower pitch and larger size. It is most closely associated with the performances of British and Irish artists such as Finbar Furey and his son Martin Furey, Old Blind Dogs, Michael McGoldrick, Riverdance, Lunasa, Donie Keyes, Chris Conway, and Davy Spillane, and is increasingly accepted as a feature of Celtic music. The low whistle is often used for the playing of airs and slow melodies due to its haunting and delicate sound. However, it is also becoming used more often for the playing of jigs, reels and hornpipes from the Irish, Scottish, Manx, Welsh, and English traditions. A reason put forward for this being, it's easier to produce some ornamentation on the whistle, due to the size of the finger holes.
The vertical flute is either (1) a rim-blown flute, (2) a tubular duct flute, with tapered bore or (3) a transversely blown flute, Giorgi flute, designed to be played in an upright position. The vertical flute is contrasted with the "cross flute" and "globular flute", and in stricter usage may refer only to the first category above.
The end-blown flute is a woodwind instrument played by directing an airstream against the sharp edge of the upper end of a tube. Unlike a recorder or tin whistle, there is not a ducted flue voicing, also known as a fipple. Most rim-blown flutes are "oblique" flutes, being played at an angle to the body's vertical axis. A notched flute is an end-blown flute with a notch on the blowing surface. A lip-valley flute is a type of notched flute.
The flageolet is a woodwind instrument and a member of the fipple flute family which includes recorders and tin whistles. Its invention was erroneously ascribed to the 16th-century Sieur Juvigny in 1581. There are two basic forms of the instrument: the French, having four finger holes on the front and two thumb holes on the back; and the English, having six finger holes on the front and sometimes a single thumb hole on the back. The latter was developed by English instrument maker William Bainbridge, resulting in the "improved English flageolet" in 1803. There are also double and triple flageolets, having two or three bodies that allowed for a drone and countermelody. Flageolets were made until the 19th century.
The atenteben(atɛntɛbɛn) is a bamboo flute from Ghana. It is played vertically, like the European recorder, and, like the recorder, can be played diatonically as well as chromatically. Although originally used as a traditional instrument, beginning in the 20th century it has also been used in contemporary and classical music. Several players have attained high levels of virtuosity and are able to play Western as well as African music on the instrument.
Zuffolo (also chiufolo, ciufolo) is an Italian fipple flute. First described in the 14th century, it has a rear thumb-hole, two front finger-holes, and a conical bore. It is approximately 8 cm in length and has a range of over two octaves, from B3 to C6 (Marcuse 1975c). A larger instrument of the same name, with a lowest note of C5 appeared in the early 17th century (Fuller-Maitland, Baines, and Térey-Smith 2001).
A hydraulophone is a tonal acoustic musical instrument played by direct physical contact with water where sound is generated or affected hydraulically. The hydraulophone was described and named by Steve Mann in 2005, and patented in 2011. Typically, sound is produced by the same hydraulic fluid in contact with the player's fingers. It has been used as a sensory exploration device for low-vision individuals.
A nose whistle is a wind instrument played with the nose and mouth cavity. Often made of wood, they are also constructed with plastic, clay, or sheet metal.
A wind instrument is a musical instrument that contains some type of resonator in which a column of air is set into vibration by the player blowing into a mouthpiece set at or near the end of the resonator. The pitch of the vibration is determined by the length of the tube and by manual modifications of the effective length of the vibrating column of air. In the case of some wind instruments, sound is produced by blowing through a reed; others require buzzing into a metal mouthpiece, while yet others require the player to blow into a hole at an edge, which splits the air column and creates the sound.
The double flute is an ancient category of wind instrument, a set of flutes that falls under more than one modern category in the Hornbostel Sachs system of musical instrument classification. The flutes may be double because they have parallel pipes that are connected with a single duct. They may be "double vertical flutes" without a duct. There is also a double-transverse flutes.
A vessel flute is a type of flute with a body which acts as a Helmholtz resonator. The body is vessel-shaped, not tube- or cone-shaped.