I actually want to buy a D bamboos flute but I would like to know whether I can use it to play other keys as well

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    IMO, if you just want to have fun, it's best to stick to whatever things a flute like that naturally wants to do, and not try to force it to do any specific key or song or anything. Unless you're an actual professional flutist and/or want to spend years mastering that particular instrument. Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 7:43
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    Not conversant with the instrument, so a comment. It's probably diatonic - having ony the notes from the stated key. C has 2 different notes from D - no F#, C#, F,C instead. Both important notes in key C. So little chance, really. With a range of maybe an octave, playing even in D may be impossible for some tunes - moving them to key A would exacerbate the problem, notwithstanding lack of G#. Having said that, it may be a chromatic instrument, in which case, all keys are available, but range is still a problem.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 8:55
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    @Tim looking at this sideblown.com/Finger.html it seems that everything is possible in theory ... but, quote: "Every flute is unique because of the natural bore of the bamboo. One fingering may work fine for one flute and not the other, especially in the higher notes." Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 9:10
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    @piiperiReinstateMonica - many thanks for that. As I suspected, each flute is in a basic key - rather like trumpet in Bb, in C, in D. Xaphoons work the same. And using a 'half-hole' technique, the player can raise/lower any diatonic note to produce chromatics. With enough skill !
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 9:18

2 Answers 2


You’ve not really provided enough information, so I’m going to assume that it’s a keyless flute and also that it’s been made as a musical instrument rather than a toy or a tourist knick-knack.

If it’s a D flute with six finger holes and D being the note sounding with all holes closed, you can easily play in D, G, and (with a cross fingering) A. Playing in C will require you to cross-finger the f note - xxxx0x might produce a passable f, or maybe xxx0xx or xxxxv0 [where x is a closed hole, 0 is an open hole, v is a half-closed hole, your mouth is at the left hand side].

So it’s doable, but you’re going to need to practice practice practice, and the f note might be weak so try to avoid tunes that emphasise the f if possible.

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    In addition to the sharps and flats, isn't range an issue as well? Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 7:40
  • Almost no bamboo flutes will produce the minor third (F on a D flute) with cross fingering. Half-holing is the only option. Generally the only non-diatonic note available with cross-fingerings is the the minor seventh (C on a D flute), and the exact fingerings differ from flute to flute and octave to octave. .
    – PiedPiper
    Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 9:06
  • @piiperiReinstateMonica Range is an issue, but sometimes it can be an advantage to play a piece on a flute in a differenet key. A piece in C might lie much better on a G flute.
    – PiedPiper
    Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 9:08

For a versatile approach I would recommend a recorder instead. The ones out of plastic are comparatively cheap even from well known brands.

This assumes your choice was due to price; if you like the sound, you have to stick with appropriate pieces or become expert in transposition, either in real-time while playing or with notation software.

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