What is A Flute Band

Scottish Amateur Flute Association

Founded 1920

What is a Flute Band?


The term "flute band" describes a band consisting of flutes and percussion only, although nowadays the terms "flute orchestra" and "flute ensemble" are becoming more commonly used.


Flute bands are descended from the military fife and drum bands of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. However, flutes are of a different technical construction to fifes and have expanded in their quality and range over many years. Flute bands have been leading adopters of the new types of flute and have also led the development of musical arrangements to optimise the use of of the new instruments.


Records indicate that flute bands were using bass and alto flutes in the early years of the 20th Century. Today, many Flute Bands include the very latest contra and sub-contra bass flutes in their instrumentation. An important element of the flute band instrumentation throughout its development has been the treble flute. The modern treble flute, a Boehm system instrument pitched in G, is a direct descendant of the fife and continues in the role of the lead melody instrument in a flute band.


The percussion section is an integral and distinguishing feature of the flute band. Originating in the marching band format of side-drum and bass-drum, the percussion section now typically consists of a range of instruments based around the core parts of an orchestral percussion section.

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