Waldflöte German
Wald Flute German/English
Woudfluit Dutch
Feldflöte German
Flautado Kuerolofón Spanish?
Waldpfeif[e] German
Wood Flute English
Waldhorn German
Flûte Champ French
Flûte des Bois French
Tibia Silvestris Latin
Tibia Sylvestria Latin?
Tibia Sylvestris Latin

Stops named Waldflöte, Waldpfeife or Woudfluit date from at least as early as 1600. These were large-scale flutes with strong, hollow tone, most often found at 2' pitch. The pipes were open wood, cylindrical or conical metal, or sometimes stopped. According to Adlung, there is little or no difference between this stop and the Hohlflöte. Williams lists Gemshorn and Waldhorn as alternate names, noting that the latter was not a reed until the mid-19th century.

In 1841 William Hill of London placed in his organ at Cheetham Hill, Manchester, England a Wald Flute, the first of its kind. One of the first English experiments with inverted mouths, his stop served as the model for the English Wald Flute which was soon being made by most English builders. It was refined by Walker, who placed it on the Great divisions of nearly all their instruments. Walker's Wald Flutes are considered by many to be the finest stops of their kind. The English stop was usually found at 8' or 4' pitch, though Bonavia-Hunt reports that Walker also used it at 16' as a “Great double diapason”. Invariably made of wood, its inverted mouth was placed on the narrow side of it body. Its upper lip might be thick or thin. Early example used stopped pipes in the 8' and 4' octaves; later examples used stopped pipes only in the 8' octave. The tone of the English Wald Flute has been described as full-toned, powerful, sweet, cloying, and horn-like. It is both a useful solo stop and a good blender. At 4' pitch this stop was sometimes named Suabe Flute. According to Hopkins & Rimbault it may be considered an octave Clarabella; Audsley states that it may be considered an octave Melodia.

According to Bonavia-Hunt and Maclean, the Waldflöte was called Melodia in America. Skinner, however, describes the Waldflöte as “an 8' open wood Flute with a normal mouth — not reversed like a Melodia”.

While Irwin claims that Feldflöte is a synonym for Waldflöte, other sources disagree. According to Williams, Waldhorn was a synonym for Waldflöte up until the mid-1800's.

See also Bois Celeste, Claribel Flute, Forest Flute.


Flauto d'Amore


The table at right shows the number of examples of names found in Osiris, the oldest of which are given below. Osiris contains one example each of Wood Flute and Waldpfeif, which are also given below. No examples of Flautado Kuerolofon, Flûte Champ, Flûte des Bois, Tibia Silvestris, Tibia Sylvestria, or Tibis Sylvestris are known. Contributions welcome.

Name 16'8'4' 2'1'
Waldflöte 0 5 191284
Wald Flute 1 7 48 160
Woudfluit 0 0 1 310

Waldflöte 2', Brustwerk; St. Jakobi, Lubeck, Germany; Stellwagen 1636-37.

Waldflöte 2', Brust; Nicolaikirche, Hamburg, Germany; Schnitger 1682-86 (destroyed).

Wald Flute 4', Choir; Town Hall, Birmingham, England; Hill 1834.

Wald Flute 4', Choir; United Methodist Church, Westbrook, Maine, USA; Hook 1854. Originally in State Street Congregational Church, Portland, Maine.

Woudfluit 2', Werk; Oosthuizen, Netherlands; unknown c1521.

Woudfluit 2', Bovenwerk; St. John's, Schiedam, Holland; Neijenhoff c1600.

Wood Flute 4', Swell; Town Hall, Leeds, England; Gray & Davison 1859. This is the only known example of this name.

Waldpfeif 2', Brust; Katherinenkirche, Hamburg, Germany; Sellwagen 1543. This is the only known example of this name.

Sound Clips

See the Sound Files appendix for general information.

Waldfloete 2', Great First Baptist Church, Riverside, California, USA Schantz, 1966 arpeggio


Adlung[1]: §137 Dolcan, §160 Hohlflöt, §199 Tibia sylvestria, §209 Waldflöte. Audsley[1]: Tibia Silvestris; Waldflöte. Audsley[2]: I.XIII Waldflöte; II.XXXIV Waldflöte. Bonavia-Hunt[1]: Waldflöte. Grove[1]: Waldflöte. Hopkins & Rimbault[1]: § 423, 605. Irwin[1]: Waldflöte. Locher[1]: Waldflöte. Maclean[1]: Waldflöte; Wald Flute. Skinner[1]: XII Wald Flute. Sumner[1]: Waldflöte. Wedgwood[1]: Flautado Kuerolofón; Tibia Silvestris; Waldflöte. Williams[1]: Glossary: Waldflöte, Tibia.
Copyright © 2004 Edward L. Stauff, all rights reserved.
Waldflote.html - Last updated 21 January 2006.
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