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While the metal flute tends to be the most popular kind, there are some advantages to a wooden flute, which is why some musicians prefer this type. For example, wooden flutes are known for creating a richer, more powerful sound than metal flutes, which can make them especially popular when playing folk music. In addition, they are quite rare, which means those who opt for this instrument are likely to produce a unique sound. There also are some drawbacks to this type of flute, including the fact that it takes more power to play it, but this can be remedied by slightly thinning out the wood.
The sound produced by a wooden flute tends to be more solid than the metal type, and it also often has an earthy tone to it. For this reason, it is usually more appropriate for traditional folk music than concert orchestras. When a powerful sound is considered more important than a wide range, the wooden flute may be best. The resulting sound is often unique, helping the musician to stand out while playing.
Another benefit of wooden flutes is that they are rarer than metal flutes. This makes them attractive to those who collect uncommon instruments, because they can make a nice addition to a collection. This is especially true of flutes made of wood that has been cleaved as opposed to sawed, because cleaving the wood can help get rid of defects so the material is less likely to crack in the future. Flutes made with cleaved wood tend to be rarer and more expensive, but they also usually last longer than the kind sawed from logs.
One of the main drawbacks of the wooden flute is that it generally takes more muscle to blow into it than a metal flute does. This means musicians often have to put forth more effort when playing; this makes them tire more easily so they cannot play the instrument for long. In addition, they cannot typically produce a light, airy sound like they could on a metal flute, because they have to blow hard into the flute to produce any music at all. There are, however, wooden flutes with thinner bodies, and musicians can exert less energy when playing this instrument. This may be the best option for those who want the earthy sound quality of the wooden flute without tiring quickly during songs.
The biggest drawback I seem to have playing a wooden flute is the chromatic scale, as you have to learn to cover holes halfway, and sometimes from one to three quarters of the way to get the next pitch up or down. This is rather annoying when you first start, and it makes playing faster melodies even harder. But, they do give a rich sound, and they are very fun to use.
I much prefer a wooden flute for a song that has little to no accidentals with a simple key signature, and a metal for ones that do have quite a bit and/or an awkward key signature.
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