My music editor shows me that flute can't go so low (red color means this note is impossible on the flute): enter image description here I wonder which instrument I should use in this case to approximate the flute timbre as much as possible.

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    Well, that's just the standard concert flute. There are others in the concert flute family. And then you can get into flutes from other traditions or other fipple instruments like pipe organ. Commented Jun 14 at 4:03
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    While a flute can play the first six notes, it's unlikely to rise to the level of mezzo forte. The image gives little context but implies that other instruments may be playing; if so, the flute is unlikely to be heard. You could just leave out the low notes or the entire phrase. Rimsky-Korsakov's Principles of Orchestration says, of tutti passages, "full wood-wind may be employed or not, according to the register and musical context...in the low register flutes will be unnecessary, and yet the passage can still be called tutti."
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 14 at 9:29
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    Also, if you don't have a good reason for using a key signature of seven sharps you should seriously consider using five flats instead; it's much easier to read, not least because it's much more common. Both the choice of key signature and the out-of-range notes will tend to reduce the likelihood of your piece being performed.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 14 at 12:00
  • @phoog - Thanks for this input.
    – brilliant
    Commented Jun 14 at 13:06
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    Consider the recorder family, too. #TeamRecorder
    – mirabilos
    Commented Jun 15 at 0:53

2 Answers 2


Flutists can 3D-print a little plastic extension to stick on the end of the B footjoint to lower the B to an A# while leaving all other notes unchanged, so technically this passage is possible, with that extension. I have one myself that works pretty well.

Otherwise, this register would be well suited to be played by an alto flute, which is pitched a perfect fourth lower than the standard C flute.

  • Wow, ingenious. How would flutists do it before 3D printing? Do metal extensions available to be purchased, if they don't want to use an alto flute? Commented Jun 14 at 5:41
  • There are longer footjoints, but they are very rare. If I recall correctly, Sankyo makes one down to low A natural.
    – DanDan面
    Commented Jun 14 at 6:01
  • @GratefulDisciple a lathe and suitable stock material. In fact I suspect that many more flautists (or flute repairers) would opt for traditional techniques and materials than for 3D printing. Commented Jun 14 at 12:23

Write the same passage for alto flute. You would need to transpose the part (the alto flute sounds a perfect fourth lower than it's written). Check with your ensemble first of course -- many flute players will not have an alto flute.


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