Baritone Flute (Contra-alto)

Baritone Flute (Contra-alto)

Baritone Flute in G range

Baritone Flute in F range

In traditional nomenclature, this instrument is referred to as either a Contra-Alto/Contr’alto or as a Bass in F/G, but as the flute family skips over the tenor and baritone voices, these names are rather silly.

It is pitched one octave below the Alto Flute in either F (Kotato) or G (Kingma).  The G instrument, seems to be the most common.  If writing for this instrument, it is best to include parts in both keys and only write down to the lowest concert G (and not the F that would be the lowest note on the F instrument). A low B foot  (sounding F# or E) is available as an option from the makers, but is not standard.

This instrument is far more unusual than either the Tenor or Bass, but is increasing in use.  Its role is rather ambiguous, and so far it has been found to be best at doubling bass lines (like all of the flutes below the Tenor).  Therefore, if I had to choose only one flute below the Tenor, I would prefer the Bass over the Baritone, but if both are available, then more interesting passages can be concocted.

Duets between either the Tenor or Bass are quite effective.  It has more projection than does the Bass, so would be more useful in solo passages, but light accompaniment is stressed.

Debussy’s Serenade for Flute, Alto Flute, and Baritone Flute in G (Contra-alto)

Bach on Baritone Flute

A duet between a Baritone (F) and a Bass Flute

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