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The Classical Flute

A new and more brilliant style of flute-playing appeared after about 1750 as the concerto and the symphony became the most popular musical forms. Instrument makers in London first added keys to the baroque flute and increased its bore taper, both with the aim of strengthening the instrument's low register, in the late 1750s. The new keyed flute was adopted by a few leading English players but did not become popular in continental Europe for another 30 years or more.

The flute virtuoso J.G. Tromlitz did much to introduce the keyed flute in Germany, in a version he designed himself: his playing was noted as brilliant, trumpet-like, and perfectly in tune. By about 1800 nearly all professional players used keyed flutes, of which quite different types were made in England, Germany, France, and other places. Continuing travel by solo flutists brought their different performing and composition styles to all parts of Europe, and the most famous of them were thought of as great artists for the first time.

Chapter 6, 'The Classical flute', of Ardal Powell's The Flute (Yale University Press, 2002) contains more information on this topic.

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