The flute is a musical instrument
Musical instrument
A musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can serve as a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates back to the...

  of the woodwind family. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds
Reed (instrument)
A reed is a thin strip of material which vibrates to produce a sound on a musical instrument. The reeds of most Woodwind instruments are made from Arundo donax or synthetic material; tuned reeds are made of metal or synthetics.-Single reeds:Single reeds are used on the mouthpieces of clarinets...

, a flute is an aerophone
An aerophone is any musical instrument which produces sound primarily by causing a body of air to vibrate, without the use of strings or membranes, and without the vibration of the instrument itself adding considerably to the sound...

 or reedless wind instrument
Reedless wind instrument
Reedless wind instruments are wind instruments that do not have moving parts in their mouthpieces.Wind instruments are often characterized by their number of reeds, which is typically zero, one, or two. Reedless wind instruments typically have no moving parts other than the wind itself...

 that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening. According to the instrument classification of Hornbostel-Sachs
Hornbostel–Sachs is a system of musical instrument classification devised by Erich Moritz von Hornbostel and Curt Sachs, and first published in the Zeitschrift für Ethnologie in 1914. An English translation was published in the Galpin Society Journal in 1961...

, flutes are categorized as edge-blown aerophones
Edge-blown aerophones
Edge-blown aerophones is one of the categories of musical instruments found in the Hornbostel-Sachs system of musical instrument classification. In order to produce sound with these Aerophones the player makes a ribbon-shaped flow of air with his lips , or his breath is directed through a duct...


A musician
A musician is an artist who plays a musical instrument. It may or may not be the person's profession. Musicians can be classified by their roles in performing music and writing music.Also....* A person who makes music a profession....

 who plays the flute can be referred to as a flute player, a flautist
A flautist or flutist is a musician who plays an instrument in the flute family. See List of flautists.The choice of "flautist" versus "flutist" is the source of dispute among players of the instrument...

, a flutist, or less commonly a fluter.

Aside from the voice, flutes are the earliest known musical instruments
Paleolithic flutes
A number of flutes dating to the European Upper Paleolithic have been discovered. The undisputed claims are all products of the Aurignacian archaeological culture, beginning about 40,000 to 35,000 years ago, and have been found in the Swabian Alb region of Germany. These flutes represent the...