Flute

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The flute is a musical instrument, though you might not have ever heard of it. Flautists tend to be quite musically talented, which makes up for a lack of talent in other sections of the band. This talent is, however, sadly wasted because even when the rest of a band is playing at its ABSOLUTE quietest, flautists simply cannot be heard. Another problem is the 17,678,127 keys and buttons along the flute, making it officially the second most complicated and ridiculous instrument in the world, having been just edged out by the Cymbal.

Ranges

Flute range (left) compared to trombone range (right).

History

Flute

This contemporary flute looks much like prehistoric ones.

The flute is nearly unanimously accepted as the oldest instrument in the world, but as put so eloquently by Mark Twain, "The first revision of anything is crap." Therefore, the flute is the most worthless of all instruments. The flute started off as a small pipe of hellish matter with holes punctured in it and was given to a Zeus as a white elephant gift from a drunk titan. This original flute was inadvertently dropped from the clouds when it fell from the trash can a Zeus was taking out his garbage. As it entered the mortal realm, it turned into a simplistic form of wood, which was found by a very plain looking peasant. (Modern flutes and flautists greatly resemble the original pair.) Having music fall to Earth from the heavens would have been something to have been lamented, much like when fire fell from the gods, except that no matter how hard they tried, no mortal could play a flute loud enough to be heard.

Piccolos, which resemble flutes, were invented immediately following the first recorded concert. Because, flutes were the only instrument to have been invented, all the musicians were flautists. However, at the end of the first piece, the conductor was angered when no one clapped and broke a flute in half. Contrary to the conductors thoughts at the time, the audience didn't clap, not because they were being rude, but because they never heard a note of the piece. When the conductor found out about this, he greatly lamented his rash actions and replaced the musicians flute with one of his own. Later out of curiosity, he attempted to play the broken flute and found that it was barely audible. For his next concert, all the musicians were playing Piccolos, and with the help of ear horns, the audience near the front heard portions of the concert.

Properties

The following documentation outlines a flute's unique attributes and properties, and is of particular interest to anyone foolish enough to attempt to learn to play the flute.

Proper playing technique

The flute is held to the right of the player's head. It is held with two hands. Those two hands must press 17-18 keys at any given time, or sometimes, all at once. In a marching band, the flute must be held at an absolutely straight angle. If the angle of the flute at any time is not parallel to the ground, the drum major gets very angry and has occasionally been known to skewer the offending flautist with his baton. He then places the flutes in the rear of the band to shame them. If the drum major is a flautist, this is especially true. Traditionally, an offending flute player was also required to wear a dunce hat, which is the basis of modern tall marching band hats.

To produce a note, the flute player blows across the hole on the end of the flute. Roughly 99% of the air is wasted and 0% makes it into the flute to make the sound. To date, modern science has been unable to ascertain where the remaining 1% goes, but a commonly accepted theory is that the 1% discrepancy occurs simply because flutes suck.

Size

The flute's small size makes it an excellent candidate for smaller individuals who want to be in a marching band. Because it can be easily carried by even the smallest school children, it is perfect for pawning off on a younger sibling when you don't want to carry it to school yourself.

Construction

Material from which a flute may be constructed. Hark! A list approaches!

  • Gold: Exists, but is extremely rare. If you are lucky enough to own one of these ultra-rare flutes, put it on eBay and make a fortune.
  • Silver: No one has ever made a flute out of silver. Anyone stupid enough to use a precious metal to make a flute always goes for gold. What? Your flute is made of silver you say? Trust me, it's not.
  • Chrome plated iron pyrite: The vast majority of flutes are made from this, because no one has yet found a productive thing to do with iron pyrite.
  • Aluminium: Used for low-end student model flutes. It looks like silver but is in much more mailable so it can be easily fixed after you drop it three or four times. Occasionally, a very clumsy student might need to use one made from aluminum foil.
  • Wood: Flutes were once made of wood, but manufactures abandoned this practice years ago because no one would pay $750 for a stick with some holes in it.
  • Rubber: Actually better than aluminum and can play round corners.
  • Plastic: Cheap and effective, doubles as pipework during plumbing disasters.
  • Glass: No flute made of glass has ever lasted through an entire concert. Condensation from the flautist's breath causes the flute to become too slippery to hold after about 5 minutes.
  • Duct Tape: Best sounding, perfect for any marching mishaps.

Varieties

Bass flute

The bass flute is the illegitimate step-child of a piccolo and an alphorn.

  • Standard Flute: Quiet and high. You have been reading all about them.
  • Piccolo: A piccolo is a baby flute played by students with a similar disposition. When played properly the piccolo is the loudest, highest, and therefore most annoying instrument in the orchestra. It's Satan's favorite insrtment, and he plays it to all his guests. Most piccolo players are stuck up and snooty, if you make fun of this horrible instrument.
  • Alto: The only member of the flute family in the key of G. Is usually hated by band directors because it is not a "concert pitch instrument." It is said to have a deep, low, rich tone, but this is subject to interpretation, because, after all, it's still a flute.
  • Bass: Despite being possibly the biggest oxymoron imaginable, with the exception of "sober Scotsman" and "intelligent politician" there is such a thing as a bass flute. It is often used for playing solos, because it plays so low you can't hear it.
  • Contra and Sub-Contra Bass: These massive, mythical beasts are so unbelievably awesome they are destroyed on sight by any non-flautist in order to preserve their own instrument's dignity. This persecution has led to there being only a tiny number left in the world, and their owners are extremely nervous about allowing them to be played in a concert just in case there is a non-flautist present. Contras and Sub-Contras are not bought or sold with money, instead there is a sacred, unwritten law that if a flute player sees one they must ask for a go, if the owner is stupid enough to accept, the first flute player becomes the new the legitimate owner of the flute. This is another reason why these flutes are so rarely seen.

Tuning

There have only been three times in recorded history when a group of flutes has been in tune. This rarely matters, though because flutes can't be heard anyway. The difficulty of keeping a flute in tune has made it the instrument of choice when providing a source note for tuning the band. Because the flute cannot tune to the band, the band must tune to it.

Piccolo players themselves are the ultimate tuning scapegoat. Ninety percent of band tuning disasters are blamed on the piccolo, namely because of its high-pitched sound that is so many octaves above the rest of the band, that it is impossible for the human ear to determine whether it is in tune. If anyone happens to be out of tune with the band, the offending musician immediately shifts the blame to the piccolo player 100% of the time, without regard for the fact that piccolo player is only to blame 97% of the time.

Alternate Uses of a Flute

  • The flute can also be used as a pea shooter with a range of up to 500 yards, fired transversely in order to confuse the enemy.
  • At parties, the flute can be used as a multi-person drinking straw.
  • Beating arrogant Trumpet players.
  • Communicating with Michael Flatley.
  • Turning off a light switch.
  • Scaring wild animals.
  • That one time, at band camp...
  • A fishing pole if the band bus gets stranded with no food.
  • A javelin.
  • A ninja weapon.
  • Light saber.
  • Whacking Stick.
  • Long metal device used at football games to secretly bash the head of another band member (often a player far enough away to not suspect the flute as the instigator) who then turns in a rage and whacks the nearest sousaphone player.
  • That one instrument everyone wants to try and play during water breaks at band camp.

Alternate Uses of a Piccolo

  • That one instrument that the band director never has the patience to tune, thus ruining the entire sound quality of the band and preventing 1st place at competitions. There is no way in the Files of Forevermore to tune more than one piccolo. Winning bands shun their piccolos and let them appear only at football games.
  • Dog whistle
  • Satan's mating call
  • Murder weapon
  • Suicide weapon (in the case of freshman know-it-alls playing too loud and gasping for air, thus inhaling the piccolo which leads to suffocation and death. The dead flautist then falls to the ground, often causing disturbance to the entire band)
  • Used as a magical and often untouchable object possessed by flute players, so unseen up close that it captivates other sections, brainwashing them into a vortex of Temporary-Piccolo-Fascination so the remaining flute section can sabotage their music.

Flute Colors

  • Blue: You play this when you're sad.
  • Black: You play this at night.
  • Silver: Played for ordinary occasions.
  • Pink: No one is sure.

Personality traits of a flautist

Flute players can portray a great many personality characteristics, but generally fall into one of a few common categories. Categories include overly nice, incredibly shy, excessively pretty, or unabashedly mean. However, several hybrids have been found in the wild which means that regardless of the personality trait exhibited by the flautist, that trait will present itself in abundance.

The Guy

Many men look down upon playing the flute because it is simply not masculine enough. In fact, of all the "band fags", the male flautist is said to be the queerest. This is a controversial assertion, because it has compelling arguments on both sides. Those who contend against the assertion argue that a gay flautist is one of the greatest oxymorons of all time. The smartest males, they say, all play flute because the male flautist gets to hang out with the female flautists, unlike males in the trombone and tuba sections, which are full of other fat, sweaty, horny guys. Furthermore, because there is rarely more than one male in a flute section, a male flautist generally has an entire harem of girls to himself. Proponents of the idea believe that, while hanging out with the girls might be appealing to many males, sadly, many of the female flautists are abundantly annoying, and nag at the sole male in the section until he is driven insane and switches to front ensemble. On occasion the male may become the section leader, and attempts to right the section. He then graduates, and the section falls back into disrepair.

Priscilla Perfect

This character type usually thinks she is quite a good player, in fact, she is certain of this regardless of reality. She tends to point out the perfect things others can't do, talk about all the competitions she wins (probably by bribing judges), and plays with excessive upper body motion. Also, The diva tends to play with hyper-speed vibrato that no one enjoys listening to because it reminds them of a goat. Usually the diva is out of tune with the rest of the flute section, but because she cannot be wrong, she blames it on the rest of the section. To top it all off she tries to be the de-facto section leader by pretending to be friends with all the other flutes. Lastly, she generally has the most annoying voice to wake up to after a long bus ride home from competitions.

The Supermodel Wannabe

Usually this flautist is just in the band to hook up with guys. She is not particularly talented, but is just good enough to get into the band. She is often the cause of many accidents because some members of the low brass section (including the girls, with envy) stare at her when they should be marching. These people are blamed for ALL marching accidents.

The Control Freak

This flautist compensates for her lack of talent by controlling everything the members of her section do, sometimes as the section leader. This person also blames all her mistakes on the lousy flute. After making a mistake, she will blow and blow and blow on the keys until the imaginary thing clogging the keys is gone or she might stand there for approximately 15 minutes trying to fix an imaginary screw. Control freaks are hated by everyone, even the fairies in the flutes.

The Actual Good One

This flautist actually knows how to play his/her instrument (because she practices once in awhile) but isn't stuck up about it. They're normally seen hanging out with band members who aren't in their section (or other "actually good" flute players). While not always a section leader, she is sometimes seen helping other members in her section (such as the supermodel), so they don't look completely stupid. (This is often a difficult challenge given the instrument they play.) Most of these flautists wish they had learned to play a brass instrument because they usually don't fit in well with their own sections, because they don't feel the need to flaunt their talents to feel good about themselves. Sometimes they will date "The Guy" and become the band power couple, rarely seen without each other.

The Listeners

These are often Flutes that stand there and listen while pretending to play along. They are often very quiet in band, but not in school. They are known to be excellent marchers, which is why the band director puts up with them. They try not to get in other people's way and are loved by the Actual good one who sometimes takes pity on them and tutors them.

The Minority Flautist

Almost every flute section has at least one Asian person. The Asian practices for approximately 26.3 hours per night, which results in an ability to play with mechanical perfection. However, their lack of a soul prevents them from expressing any actual feeling in their music and they often become confused for a Flute-Playing Robot. In an attempt to compensate for this, occasionally they attempt to put too much soul in their playing, thus blowing their own minds and rendering them incapable of playing at all. The Mexican does the exact opposite of the Asian. The Mexican practices for only 2 minutes every week, loves Justin Bieber, and thinks she is smart. People often talk about her behind her back but she doesn't care.

The Slut

These are the people that star in all the movies. They are actually quite good but hide their talent behind their slut-like actions. They are the attractive stereotypical flute players seen in all movies and the original creators of "This one time at band camp".

The Piccolo Player

A rare breed of flute player, these are the heroes of the flute section, because they can actually be heard over other instruments. They often receive excessive amounts of hate from all other types of instrument for being so loud and yet so small and easy to carry. Due to this hate, piccolo players must quickly develop thick skins and indifference towards the many insults hurled at them from other instruments. If a piccolo player is provoked to extreme levels there is a chance that they will go berserk and perform an attack commonly known as "The Band Camp" with their piccolo upon whatever has infuriated them so. They are usually cocky and love to have the world hear them. They always must be the centre of attention and be heard. However, the Piccolo player is always out of tune, even with themselves.

The Queen/King Bee

The one player in the section who is better than everyone else. Everyone knows it so no one tries to change it. They are usually the section leader. Very strong-headed and never afraid to tell you if you suck. They will always be there to help you even though most are too intimidated to ask. The Queen/King will normally get really nervous or anxious before performances even though they never screw anything up. It's best to be on their good side.

The Geeks

In a section full of attractive people there has to be the odd ones out. This is a group of 2 or 3 players that aren't amazing when it comes to playing but they aren't horrible either. They will generally stick to themselves and pretend to be amused when the rest of the section is talking about the crazy details of their wild weekend. They tend to use music as their outlet and are obsessed with anything music related.

The Color Guard

These are the flute players who choose to twirl flags rather than play music during the marching season and are generally the most annoying flute players ever known. During concert band they are usually second or third or even fourth flutes who generally suck. They probably joined color guard in the the first place because of their lack of playing skill.

See Also

Band Class
Accordian - Air Drum - Air Guitar - Bagpipes - Band geeks - Bass - Bass Guitar - Bassoon - Cello - Clarinet - Cowbell - Drums - Euphonium - Fiddle -Flute - French Horn - Grand Piano - Guitar - Harp - Harpsichord - Kazoo - Learn Bass! - Learning the Guitar! - Left-handed noseflute - Lyre - Marching band - Oboe - Ocarina - Piano - Saxophone - Skin flute - Starting a band - Dog Fart Trombone - Trumpet - Tuba - Violin - Xylophone
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