Zamfir and the magic of the ancient flute (flaut?)

Oct 20, 2011

It may be the first musical instrument ever: 40,000 years ago one of our ancestors blew into an animal bone and made music.

But were they fluting or flauting? There seems to be confusion, so let’s settle this right now.

Virtuoso piper Sir James Galway declared:     

"I am a flute player, not a flautist. I don't have a flaut and I've never flauted"

Flutes have a rich military history – Fife & Drum Corps were essential to any major military power, including our own during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.

Musicians wore different colored uniforms than the soldiers, so the enemy knew who to shoot at. … Here’s the Old Guard Fife & Drum Corps with some Revolutionary-era music:

A few famous fluters finessed their way onto the pop charts. In 1967, Manfred Mann had a hit with this Bob Dylan-penned tune "Mighty Quinn:"

One of the most successful bands to use flute was Jethro Tull, with flute wizard Ian Anderson. Here’s some footage of Tull recording “Living in the Past” in the studio:

The real Jethro Tull was an agriculturalist in the 1700’s. As far as we know he did not play the flute.

No show about flutes would be complete without the master of the Pan-Flute, Zamfir: