The flute dates back to the Old Testament and the ancient Egyptians. The term 'flute' however, covers a wide range of instruments - many bearing little resemblance to the modern flute as illustrated here.

The modern design is based on a shape devised by Theobald Boehm in 1847; in trying to achieve a greater range of sound the holes were enlarged so much that a mechanical means had to be found to cover them. Boehm achieved this by using a system of rods and pads.

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