Maria Ramey playing a Kotato contrabass flute
The contrabass flute
is one of the rarer members of the flute
family. It is used mostly in flute ensembles
. Its range is similar to that of the regular concert flute, except that it is pitched two octaves
lower; the lowest performable note is two octaves below middle C
(the lowest C on the cello). Many contrabass flutes in C are also equipped with a low B, (in the same manner as many modern standard sized flutes are.) Contrabass flutes are only available from select flute makers.
Sometimes referred to as the "gentle giant" of the flute family, the contrabass retains the facility for trills
, as found elsewhere in the flute world. Ease of arpeggiation is moderate and thus equivalent to the rest of the flute family. The upper registers (middle C and above) lack the strength of tone found in its cousins; the strongest register is arguably that between G2
. Though the upper register can lack strength, its sensitivity and lyricism can be used to great effect; and a good instrument can readily reach the high A or B (above middle C). The 'haunting' low register (below G2
) has similar qualities to the bassoon, and the low B1
(three octaves below middle C) can carry well with an experienced performer. Read more...