Celtic Flute

Celtic flute and Irish flute are interchangeable terms. The flute has been found in Celtic music for over a thousand years, but rose in popularity in the 19th century.

The instruments are commonly wooden flutes with six holes. Some have no keys, but can have as many as eight keys. This traditional instrument has a haunting, airy quality, yet is smoother than a penny whistle.

Most traditional folk instruments employ the simple system versus the Boehm key system that the classical flute uses. German flutemaker, Theobald Boehm, developed his flute to enable the player to produce a louder tone for orchestral playing and to improve the intonation of the instrument.

The lack of a key system allows the performer to slide from one pitch to the next--an expressive quality typical of this style of playing.

In addition, the simple system flute is built with a conical-bore while the Boehm flute had a cylindrical bore.

Celtic flute music reached fever-pitched popularity with the release of the Hollywood blockbuster, Titanic, in 1997.

The flute is used for traditional Irish dances such as jigs, reels, and other Contra Dance music.

Irish flutes are also known as a penny whistle or tin flute. These are all basic end-blown wooden instruments.

The choice of wood is a major factor. Grenadilla and ebony are highly prized for their warm sounds, and boxwood is popular as well. Less expensive models are made from bamboo and polymer.

If you've never had the chance to hear this beautiful music, be sure to add at least one or two CDs to your library.

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