Parts of the Flute

german flute on a music book
Hiob/Getty Images

The flute—often used in jazz and pop music, as well as more traditional pieces—has the highest voice in the woodwind family of instruments. The name might be a little confusing since not all flutes are made of wood, but the flute is designated as a woodwind instrument due to the way it produces sound.

The flute is also a very versatile musical instrument, it can play solo or be responsible for carrying the melody.

If you are thinking of taking up flute playing, learn about the three different parts of the flute and their specific functions.

Head Joint

This is the part of the flute that touches the mouth and has no keys. On the head joint, you will also find the tuning cork, which you can move to adjust the intonation of the flute.

The lip-plate, also called the embouchure plate, is likewise found on the head joint. The lip plate is where the musician rests his lower lip in order to play the flute. A curved lip-plate is easier to blow than a straight lip-plate.

The blowhole, also known as the mouth hole, is likewise located on the head joint. The blowhole is where the musician blows air into in order to produce sound. It can either be oval shaped or a rounded rectangle. A larger mouth hole favors low notes while a small mouth hole favors high notes.

Body Joint

This is the largest part of the flute. The body joint connects the head and foot joint and contains most of the keys.

The keys are pressed in order to produce a certain pitch. It is important that the keypads and springs are in good condition to produce the proper quality of sound.

Aside from the keys, on the body joint you will also find the tuning slide and tenons. These are used primarily to tune the flute.

Foot Joint

This is the shortest part of the flute. It also contains a few keys. The foot joint has a rod, which must be aligned with the center of the keys in the body of the flute.