Flauto Traverso Italian
Flûte Traversière French
Flûte d'Orchestre French
Orchestral Flute English
Traverse Flute English
Concert Flute English
Concertflöte German
Traversflöte German
Querflöt[e] German
Boehmischeflöte German
Boehmflöte German
Dwarsfluit Dutch
Fiffaro Italian
Flaut Allemande (unknown)
Flaut Travers German?
Flauta Travesiera Spanish
Flauto Travesiera Spanish?
Flöte Traversa German?
Flute Alemand French?
Flute d'Alemagne French?
Flûte d'Allemagne French
Flûte Allemande French
Flûte Orchestrale French
Flute Traversa (unknown)
Flute Traverse (unknown)
Flûte Traversine French
Querfloit German?
Querpfeife German
Querpipe German
Soldatenpfeife German
Tibia Transversa Latin
Tibia Traversa Latin
Transversa (unknown)
Traversa Italian?
Traversiere French?
Traverso Italian?
Vienna Flute English

This stop has the distinction of having more names than any other organ stop, by a considerable margin. The words traverse, quer and their variants mean "across", referring to the manner in which the orchestral flute is played. The word Allemande and its variants means "German"; The name Vienna Flute is most likely derived from Wienerflöte. Theobald Boehm was a Bavarian instrument-maker who made important improvements to the orchestral flute during the first half of the 19th century. Grove cites the name Travesiera in the entry for Flauto, but does not make it clear whether the word Flauto properly precedes it. Traversa is mentioned only by Williams, who does not define it, saying only “see Flauto Traverso”. Maclean claims, possibly erroneously, that Flûte Creuse is also a synonym.

As the names imply, this stop is imitative of the orchestral flute, and can be one of the most effective orchestral imitations found in the organ. It is invariably a flue stop, but this is the only generalization that can be made for its entire history. A variety of materials have been used in its construction. Grove writes:

Construction can vary: stopped and wide-scaled (Praetorius, 2/1619); long, narrow pipes overblowing the 12th (built by Compenius, Fritzsche); conical (Snetzler); 'blown from the side' (Wagner); simple, stopped 2' Flutes (c1600); fanciful, large-scaled pipes (c1840), perhaps of turned hardwood (c1730). ... In some cases conduits leading the air under pressure to strike a flute-like lip in the pipe mouth.

Stopped pipes and half-stopped pipes (both Spitzflöten and Rohrflöten) were used in some early examples, but the best imitative tones come only from open pipes, preferably harmonic. Grove dates the use of harmonic pipes from around 1610 in Germany, and around 1850 in France and England. Williams tells us that this stop was found throughout Europe, especially in the late 17th and mid-19th centuries.

This stop is at its best when constructed of open harmonic pipes; that is, twice the usual length and overblown to speak the octave. Either wood or metal can be used; Audsley much preferred wood, though Bonavia-Hunt saw no advantage in wood over metal. The harmonic-length pipes are only used in the treble, from the top of the compass down to 1' C or 2' C; that is, the top two or three octaves of an 8' stop. Below that, normal open pipes are used, sometimes with stopped pipes in the 8' octave. Audsley provides detailed descriptions of four different styles of wooden construction for this stop, which are reproduced here. Skinner's Concert Flute was an 8' open wood stop of medium scale with an inverted mouth, the top two octaves harmonic, and the lowest octave stopped. Skinner describes his Orchestral Flute as follows:

The 4' Orchestral Flute, designed for association with the more powerful voices of the Solo division, is a Flauto Traverso of large scale, voiced on a 7-1/2 to a 10 inch wind. Its purpose is to form combinations with the powerful Gamba and Gamba Celeste as amplifications of lesser tonalities of like character on the Swell and Choir.

In Theatre Organs, Concert Flutes are typically very similar to the Melodia of classical organs. Kimball, Morton and Moller reportedly used wooden harmonic pipes for their Concert Flutes, at least in some cases. While Wurlitzer did produce a Harmonic Flute, their Concert Flutes did not employ harmonic pipes.

See Audsley's details of construction.

See also Boehm Flute, Dessus de Flûte Allemande, Flauto Allemano, Flûte-à-Bouche-Ronde, Panflöte, Traversine, Wienerflöte.


Flute Traversière Harmonique
Orchestral Piccolo


The following table lists the number of appearances of each name in Osiris:

Name CountPitches
Concert Flute 150 16', 8', 4', 2'
Flauto Traverso 131 16', 8', 4', 2'
Flûte Traversiére 76 8', 4'
Traversflöte 72 8', 4', 2'
Querflöte 51 8', 4', 2'
Orchestral Flute 45 8', 4'
Traverse Flute 21 8', 4'
Concertflöte 7 8'
Flute d'Orchestre 4 8', 4'
Name CountPitches
Dwarsfluit 3 4', 1'
Traverso 2 4', 2'
Flute Allemande 2 8', 4'
Querpfeife 2 2', 1'
Flute Traverse 2 8'
Flute d'Allemagne 1 2'
Traversa 1 8'
Traversiere 1 8'

No examples are known of the other names. Boehmflöte and Boehmischeflöte are mentioned only by Wedgwood; Flöte Traversa, Flute Alemand, Querpipe, Soldatenpfeife, and Transversa are mentioned only Adlung; Flute Orchestrale and Tibia Traversa are mentioned only by Audsley; Flauta Travesiera is mentioned only by Williams; Flauto Travesiera is mentioned only Grove; Querfloit is mentioned only by Maclean.

Sound Clips

See the Sound Files appendix for general information.

Concert Flute 8', Choir Kellogg Auditorium, Battle Creek, Michigan, USA Aeolian-Skinner, 1933 St. Anne


Adlung[1]: §139 Dulzflöt, §143 Fiffaro, §146 Flute alemande, §178 Querflöte, §199 Tibia transversa, Transversa, §213. Audsley[1]: Concert Flute; Flauto Traverso; Orchestral Flute; Querflöte; Tibia Transversa; Traversflöte. Audsley[2]: I.XIII Concert Flute, Flauto Traverso, Flute Allemande, Flute Orchestrale, Orchestral Flute; Querflöte; Traversflöte; II.XXXIV Orchestral Flute. Bonavia-Hunt[1]: Harmonic Flute. Douglass[1]: 86, 88, 109. Grove[1]: Flauto; Querflöte. Hopkins & Rimbault[1]: § 385, 397, 439. Irwin[1]: Concert Flute; Orchestral Flute. Locher[1]: Concert-Flute; Flauto Traverso. Maclean[1]: Concert Flute; Flauto; Flauto Traverso; Flûte Allemande; Querflöte. Skinner[1]: 53; XII Concert Flute, Flauto Traverso. Strony[1]: Concert Flute; Traverse Flute. Sumner[1]: Orchestral Flute; Querflöte; Traversflöte. Wedgwood[1]: Boehmflöte; Concert Flute; Flaut Allemande; Flauto Traverso; Traverso; Vienna Flute. Williams[1]: Glossary: Flauto; Querflöte; Rohrflöte; Sesquialtera.
Copyright © 2008 Edward L. Stauff, all rights reserved.
OrchFlute.html - Last updated 17 May 2008.
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