A little while ago I borrowed a flute to see if I could play it. I can read music reasonably well, and play a few instruments - badly, but with enjoyment! However, whether it's my age or my lack of skill, I was easily defeated by the flute. Just getting a sound out of it was hard enough. And all those keys! Give me the penny whistle any day - only six holes. Or a recorder - at least it has a fipple so sounds are easy to make. When I spoke to an accomplished flautist he told me about the development of the flute from the keyless wooden instrument to the present day nickel-silver concert model, Boehm fingering and all. It seems that, as with the claw hammer, this musical tool has been subject to evolution and improvement (though on a grander scale), and has arrived at its present form in order to meet the demands that composers place on it. To one who plays it well the mouthpiece and the myriad keys make it a model of ergonomics - another case of form following function.
But, whilst I've given up trying to play the flute, its construction is interesting, and so I have been motivated to try to get a photograph out it. I tried shots against a white background and against light wood, but eventually settled on this dark wood. Its richness provides a better foil for the highlights of the shiny metal. I used a macro lens to focus on a small part of the instrument, placed diagonally for interest, and filled the frame with those infernal keys!
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen