Years ago I composed a piece of chamber music that included an Eastern European-style pan flute (Romanian or Hungarian, I don't recall which). It was a large one, with a 3-octave range from G3 (the one below middle C) to G6. I asked the flautist if he wanted the music notated in concert pitch or down an octave like a piccolo. He preferred the latter, so that's what I did. I even used bass clef for some passages, since the written range was down to G2.

I want to publish this piece now, so I'm wondering how other flautists who play similar instruments like to read their music. Concert pitch or transposed? It occurs to me that the instrument's range is much closer to that of a standard flute, which reads concert pitch, than a piccolo.

  • Whichever method you choose you should add a note to the score and part indicating whether the notes should sound at pitch or an octave higher. – PiedPiper Jun 19 '20 at 19:05

Having a Pan flute starting at middle C it is mutch simpler to read at concert pitch. For me.

I know that for some panflutist reading it an octave lower is a norm because at first it was hard to find bamboo long enough to make the long tube. Therefore most Pan flute (in Romania) had the same range of the piccolo but read their sheet and octave lower.

Edit: if you want a transverse flûtiste to play your piece, at least let a note. Or transcribe it an octave up. Because they won't tell. And a Pan flûtiste that don't know it will play in the lowest octave that he has.


A flautist (panflautist?) proficient enough to get an orchestra seat has enough piano-plunking literacy to read bass clef, so transposed is safe. But if most of the material is closer to a concert pitch clef, use that, at least to not confuse the conductor, to thereby save a few seconds during rehearsals.

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