I'm writing a song for a high school band, but I'm unsure of the range for flute players. I know flute players play really high, but I'm not sure where the limit is (both high and low).

What range should I have high school flute players in, and what range can I have high school flute players in? (Sometimes there's a difference because there's notes that can be played but generally sound bad or are so quiet they won't be heard.)

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    There are many charts found by Googling, which will reveal all the instruments' ranges that you're likely to need. Bear in mind notes near each extremity of the range will be difficult for some high school players. – Tim Dec 25 '18 at 9:59
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    I play the flute and have composed a few songs for high school bands, and I did a lot of Googling during that time. Unfortunately, many sheets don’t describe any of the nuances like the answer @Kresimir gave; they don’t tell you where the instrument will just be overpowered or where it will sound the best. Most charts either say “playable” or “not playable”. So I asked in the hopes of receiving or eventually writing an answer like Kresimir gave so that people like me in the past can easily find it since Google will hopefully bring them here. Thank you though for the kind pointer! – Pro Q Jan 1 at 10:45
  • Yeah, google is useful for this type of question, but I doubt it has the data on high-school level players, @Tim. And ultimately, there's lots of varying skill levels for any musician subsert and ranges are rather inexact anyway, Pro Q. – user45266 Jan 7 at 15:57

I think it is quite safe to write the flute part up to B6, a competent high-school flautist should be able to play up to that note. For a professional orchestra, D7 should be the top limit, even though many flautists can play considerably higher than that. However, if you need to go that high, it is almost always better to add a(nother) piccolo part, than to torture the flautist.

When it comes to low notes, keep in mind that the flute's first octave (C4-B4) is always very soft and gentle, and works best in solo passages. In this low register, the flute can easily be overpowered by other instruments, so care should be taken to ensure that doesn't happen. On the lowest notes, beginner flautists often keep their lips too tight, leading to poor sound quality and intonation.

Flute's second octave (from around C5 to around C6, with a few notes more on both ends) should be very comfortable for every half-decent flautist. They should have no problem achieving great sound quality in this range, so if you are writing for a less competent orchestra, it may be a good idea to keep the majority of the flute's part around here.

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