2. Original Instruments

For the past several thousand years, every culture on every continent has had two instruments in common – a drum, and a side-blown or ‘transverse’ flute.

Travers flute

It is suggested by many music historians that these two types of instrument were so prevalent because they are ‘fundamental instruments’ – they are operated without mouthpiece or reed, strings or bow. A drum can be made to sound with the strike of a hand, a stick or a rock, and the production of a basic sound on a transverse flute requires such rudimentary skills that they can quickly be grasped by even the youngest of children. The first flutes were fashioned from hollowed-out pieces of wood, bamboo, or even animal bone, and mouth and finger holes were drilled through – indeed the flute of the baroque and classical periods of 18th & 19th Century Western music were constructed and played in much the same way as the flute of the 13th Century - all a far cry from the delicate and complicated piece of light engineering that we know today as the modern Boehm flute.

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