Flute is a musical instrument that uses air as the primary vibrating medium for the production of sound. In Indian mythology, Lord Krishna's musical instrument is Bamboo flute called 'Bansur'.
Recent excavations at the early Neolithic site of Jiahu, located in Henan province, China, have yielded six complete bone flutes between 7,000 and 9,000 years old. The flutes may be the earliest complete, playable, accurately dated, multi-note musical instruments.
Curt Sachs and Erich von Hornbostel, based on the acoustical principles of an instrumentís sound, introduced a standard method for classification of instruments in 1914. In this, all wind instruments- instruments in which air itself is the primary vibrating medium for the production of sound are classified as aerophones, whether the air is enclosed in a tube or not.
Aerophones are further classified as free aerophones, edge instruments, reed pipes, and trumpet-type instruments according to their manner of tone production.
Free aerophones; include primitive instruments and technologically sophisticated devices. The bull-roarer in which a spatula stone, bone, or board, tied through a small hole to a string, which in turn is attached to a stick; when the instrument is whirled around, it produces a sound by its disturbance of the air is an example for the primitive.
The reeds of the mouth organ, accordion, reed organ, and the reed stops of the pipe organ, known as free reeds, are all considered free aerophones: the reed vibrates above or through a slot, setting the air into pulsations. The resulting pitch is determined by the thickness and length of the vibrating reed.
In edge instruments or flutes, airstreams directed against a sharp edge sets an adjoining air column within a tube into regular pulsations, producing sound.
Flutes may be simple or complex, depending on their construction, the transverse flute is a simple flute and panpipes, organs, and other multiple-tube instruments are complex ones.
Flutes are divided into true flutes and whistle flutes (also called duct flutes or recorders).
In true flutes, a ribbon-shaped column of air is produced between the player's lips and directed against the edge of an aperture. The player blows against either the sharp rim at the upper, open end of the tube (in end-blown), or against the rim of a hole in the side of the tube (in side-blown). The modern transverse flute and piccolo are side-blown.
In a further subcategory, globular flutes, the body of the flute pipe is vessel-shaped, not tubular.
Whistle flutes are the ones in which the air stream is shaped and directed by the duct rather than by the player's lips and because of this whistle flutes are simpler to play than true flutes. The recorder, the ocarina, and the open flue stops of the organ are all whistle flutes.
In the third category of aerophones, reed pipes, the column of air is activated by the vibrations between the two parts of a double reed or those between a single reed and the mouthpiece. Double reeds are generically classified as oboes, and the single reeds as clarinets. Accordingly, the bassoon is an oboe, and the saxophone a clarinet.
The fourth category, trumpet-type aerophones are those in which the vibration of the player's compressed lips sets the air column in motion. Depending on the shape of the bore, trumpet-type aerophones are either trumpets, whose bore is cylindrical, or horns, whose bore is conical. Trumpet-type aerophones are further classified in two ways:
According to the position of the mouth hole - end-blown and side-blown.
By the presence or absence of a mouthpiece.
Trumpet-type aerophones are classified according to construction design. They are natural such as the conch shell (Commonly used in Hindu Temples in South India) or the hoop-shaped baroque trumpet, and chromatic if built with finger holes, slides, or valves.
A possible fifth category would be the human voice, which approximates the criteria for a double reed aerophone.
With the classification in mind, the common terminology can be used with the understanding that the term woodwinds refers to flutes and reed instruments and the term brasses to lip-vibrated aerophones.
The flute that is used in Carnatic music is a side blown instrument with holes, The flute's seven holes are fingered by the middle joint of the fingers instead of the tips, producing an impressively fluid melody that would not fit into the graphic notation system of traditional Western music. At the same time, it does not compete with the vocal line by being too melodically clear. It is generally made of bamboo. It is referred as Venu and is the music instrument of Lord Krishna in Indian mythology.