Flute And Recorder Similarities And Differences

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The flute family of instruments is the most ancient melodic instrument in human history. Flutes & Recorder are considered “wind instruments” since they are played by blowing air into them. Wind instruments have a mainly organic and life-like sound and tonal quality since you physically “breathe life” into them to play melodies and songs.  Flute classes are very common in today’s music industry and many students choose to study recorder classes as well.

History of the Recorder

The Recorder, the most extensively used of all end-blown flutes, originated in Europe during the Middle Ages. It was regularly seen in energetic performances from the second half of the 15th century until the 17th century. The Flute, which differed in volume and timbre, progressively eclipsed the Recorder starting in the late 18th century.

History of the Flute

Flutes are the first identified musical instruments, as evidenced by paleolithic examples with hand-bored holes. Several 53,000 to 45,000 years old flutes have been discovered in Germany’s Swabian Jura region. These flutes show a developed European musical heritage from the beginning of modern human presence.

Isn’t the Flute and the Recorder the same instrument? Do they not generate the same sound? No way, no how! The Flute and Recorder frequently need clarification, and many people need to recognize the difference. We’re here today to clarify the differences between them. Many of us were exposed to the Recorder as a “beginner’s instrument” in school music classes. The Flute is the only one you can start playing (sideways!) once you’ve mastered the Recorder.

Main Differences between Flute and Recorder

  • The Flute is side-blown, and Recorder is end-blown
  • The Flute needs embouchure, and the Recorder is fixed edge
  • The Flute has open holes Recorder has keys
  • The Flute is easier to maintain Recorder requires service
  • The Flute is superior in tone, pitch, and dynamic control.
  • The Recorder is superior for legato and tone-bending.
  • The Western concert flute is the most common type of Flute.
  • The Recorder is a woodwind instrument that resembles a flute.
  • In Flute, blowing across the embouchure hole produces the sound.
  • In the Recorder, blowing air into a hole that directs it onto the edge creates the sound.
  • A side-blown flute of the Western concert flute type.
  • A recorder is a type of fipple flute.
  • Western concert flutes’ positions have to be horizontal.
  • The Recorder’s position has to be vertical.
  • Western concert flutes will usually made with wood or metal.
  • Wood, ivory, or plastic are to make recorders.

General characteristics & Materials

First and foremost, the Flute and Recorder are constructed differently. Concert flute instruments are typically composed of metals such as copper-nickel, silver, and gold (though flutes, mainly historical reproductions, can also be made of wood like grenadilla. Concert flutes are approximately 67 cm long and 1.9 cm in diameter. Three components fit together: the foot joint with the right little finger keys, the middle joint with the primary keys, and the head joint with the embouchure hole. On the other hand, the Recorder is traditionally made of wood (though student instruments commonly feature seven finger holes and a thumb hole made of plastic.

Read Also, Tips to Learn Flute for Beginners

Tessitura and production of sound

Another distinction between the Flute and the Recorder is the sound. The sound of the Flute is produced by blowing over the mouth hole, which activates the air in the tube. The instrument is functionally in C (and hence not transposable) and has an effective range of more than three octaves. The challenging element of this instrument is that sound control is performed primarily through the player’s lips. As a result, developing the embouchure is an essential element of flutist training.

Position on the Fields 

The playing manner is also notable since the Flute is held in an asymmetrical position that runs from the mouth to the right shoulder. On the other hand, the Recorder will hold vertically, with both hands in front of the upper torso. The Recorder leaves the concert flute’s jurisdiction to join the domain of the “fipple flute” family, which includes the Native American Flute, like the pentatonic Flute. The fingering is also distinct: while the transverse flute fingering is a relatively complex system shared by other wind instruments, the recorder fingering is simpler.

Flute and Recorder Pros and Cons

Flute pros

The Flute is such a popular instrument that it can take time to get acceptance into competitive ensembles such as youth orchestras. Being a professional flutist is even more difficult! Flute players have the chance to get shoulder or back pain when they frequently perform because their bodies will not get the balance when they play the Flute. However, good posture coaching from a teacher can assist. When you first start, getting a sound can be difficult; you must learn how to generate a sound by finding the ideal position with your lips.

Flute Cons

It is one of the woodwind family’s members, especially when you do not need to purchase reeds like the other members of the orchestral woodwind family. You can purchase instruments made of precious metals such as silver, gold, and platinum. Because you are one of the higher instruments in most bands, you get to play beautiful tunes.

Recorder Pros

You can begin learning as early as infancy, which is ideal for young musicians eager to start. In addition, they are less challenging to learn than most instruments. Recorders come in various sizes and shapes, so you can choose an instrument that fits your personality and the type of music you want to perform. The alto recorder and soprano recorder are two popular sizes. Recorders are inexpensive, making them ideal for musicians on a tight budget.

Recorder Cons

It cannot be easy to locate an ensemble to play with because not all orchestras have recorder sections. Recorders are not loud instruments, it is challenging to hear when competing with other loud instruments. Some people believe the Recorder is not a serious instrument but only for children. But of course, if you decide to use the Recorder, you must prove these folks wrong.


Flutes and recorders have a complicated history yet both have important places in our instrumental history. Though the Flute is the more familiar instrument in the modern industry, I recommend anyone interested in the antique or odd to investigate some medieval and modern recorder industries to discover what is available.


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