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Use the tabs below to find out about each section of the orchestra, watch video clips, and read interviews with musicians.

This section of the orchestra got its name from the fact that many of its instruments were originally made from wood. Now they can be made from plastic, silver, gold - even platinum!

Sometimes the flute is made of real silver, sometimes of solid gold!

To play, the musician holds the long tube of the flute in both hands and blows across a small hole at one end. The holes can be opened and closed by pressing down different metal keys. The flute can make a shrill, piercing noise as well as being able to sing like a bird.

The flute player has to play more than just the flute! The piccolo looks like the flute, but is much smaller and sounds very high. The alto flute sounds lower than the flute, and is a little longer. Watch some examples below.

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Meet the orchestra

Rosie Elliot, Flute
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

  • How old were you when you first started playing?
    I was eleven.

  • Why did you choose this instrument?
    I already played the piano and took up the flute as some of my friends played it. My mum also thought it would be quite cheap to buy. She was wrong!

  • Do you play any other instruments?
    I also play the piano.

  • What do you like most about playing in an orchestra?
    I love the social aspect of being in a large orchestra; there are lots of friends to be made. I love the wide variety of music we have to play. No day is the same!

  • Do you play any other kind of music?
    I play solo concerts from time to time as well as playing in small groups.

  • What other music do you like?
    I love jazz.

  • Do you have any other hobbies?
    I like to keep fit. I recently ran in one of Scotland's major running events, the Women's 10k.

  • What would you have been if you weren't a musician?
    If I hadn't taken up the flute I'd probably have worked in a hospital.

Have you been listening to an orchestra without realising it?

Spot the orchestra

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