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.
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 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 as 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 musician's 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.
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.
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.
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 malleable 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 as long as you plug up the holes.
- 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.
- 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 legitimate owner of the flute. This is another reason why these flutes are so rarely seen.
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 the piccolo player is only to blame 97% of the time.
Types of Flautists
There are quite a few different types of flautists. Let's take a look!
- The Flautist: Typically the most talented in a concert band, however as you've read, they can not be heard. They are normally girls and seem very quiet and happy, but really they're sitting in the back of class plotting the death of the trumpet, trombone, and saxophone sections because of their awful jokes and lack of practice minutes.
- The Male Flautist: The second most rare type of flautist, just after the jazz flute. The Male flautist is made fun of by other members in the band and other non band kids. They are typically told that it is wrong to play flute and be a guy, because it is a "girl instrument" but really those people are just jealous of the supreme awesomeness of the male flautists and want to shame them into leaving to save their own dignity.
- The Jazz Flute: The rarest flautist there is, only two recorded times in history has man played jazz flute. The two legendary flautists who have accomplished this task would be Ron Burgundy and Ian Anderson, both on rare occasions. The Jazz Flute is a skill much like sorcery that very few people are gifted with at birth. Professor Flutewick of Smogwarts is told to have said "Jazz flutes are power" Flautists with this gift are typically rejected by society because they are unheard of. They gang up together along with the bagpipe, contemporary oboe, rock sitar, saxpit and quadruple double sub contrabass barrimatuba to learn and develop their skills with help from their elders in order to preserve this rare form of art.
- The Beginner Flautist: Often times young children are pulled into the trap of thinking "flute is the easiest instrument" because it is so small, little do they realize how difficult it is to play a 17,678,127 keyed instrument. It has been reported in the past that beginner flautists have a tendency to squeak in mass quantities which is possibly the only noticeable noise flutes are capable of making. If you happen to be the parent of sibling of one of these youngsters your best decision would be to soundproof a room in your house and never let them come out of the room with their flute, or else you will most likely go insane.
- The Alto, Bass, Contrabass and Sub Contrabass Flautist: Endangered species. In human history, none of these flautists have ever told their identities to anyone ever. The reason is unknown.
- The Piccolo Player: There is no exact term for one who plays the piccolo. Typically, since piccolo is such a hated instrument, it's players are just called "it", unless the player is respectable flautist in which case they are called a flautist. Piccolo players are usually very nice people as long as you don't insult their instrument, otherwise you may want to consider buying earplugs because tripple high f's are an unavoidable certainty.