“How many notes can you play on a flute?”
I get this question every so-often in my inbox from one of you awesome online-flute-learners.
During a student’s first few flute lessons, I like to give students a visual of what is to come. It is exciting and fun to find out there are so many notes on this beautiful instrument.
Unlike on a piano where the notes are sitting all in a row right in front of you, the notes on a flute need to be played or mapped out on staff paper if you’d like to view them in a nice neat row.
Most classical/concert flutes have the exact same number of keys. There are basically two types of flutes: Student Model or Intermediate/Advanced flutes.
Student model flutes have the C foot joint – which means the lowest note on the flute is a middle C on the piano.
Intermediate or Advanced (sometimes called Professional) flutes generally always have one more key on the foot joint which allows them to play one note lower. The low B is the very lowest note this type of flute has.
How high can a flute play? Well, it all depends on your skill-level. Most flutes will learn how to play up to a 4th octave C. But, there are some new funky fingerings for notes way higher than the standard C. Many advanced flutists can play some pretty high (squeaky) harmonics.
Are you ready to see the answer to the question: “How many notes can you play on a flute”?
If you have a regular (standard student classical flute) C flute with a C foot joint and you travel chromatically upward through the 3 full octaves you’ll have 36 notes.
If you have a B foot joint and use a few new fingerings to go above the 4th octave C, you’ll have around 38 + notes.