The modern flute descends from inventions made in 1832
and 1847 by the Bavarian goldsmith, flute virtuoso,
and industrial designer Theobald
Boehm, and modified by
many other instrument-makers since then. By the
early 20th century and the recording era, French-style
metal Boehm flutes had become the commonest type
in Europe and America.
During the 1960s flute maker Albert Cooper and a group
of English players re-scaled the model to fit a standard
pitch of a=440 that had come into worldwide use by about
1950. At the same time Cooper introduced new styles
of cutting the flute's embouchure hole, further altering
its sound-ideals. Cooper's innovations were adopted
by manufacturers in America and Japan, now the only
countries with viable flute-making industries.
Despite the dominant position of the Boehm-Lot-Cooper
metal flute, changes in design since 1970 have helped
the instrument adapt to new musical styles.
History is still going on, so this page will eventually
have information about modern developments that are
of historic importance. This will include the invention
of new key-systems for playing particular kinds of music,
the use of electronics in flute music, and the use of
new materials and techniques in flute building. Here's
The Brannen-Cooper Kingma system flute, which can
play a complete quartertone scale and allows increased
Chapters 12 and 14 of Ardal Powell's The
Flute (Yale University Press, 2002) contain
more information on this topic.