Bass Flute (Contrabass)
This instrument, two octaves lower than the C Flute and one octave lower than the Tenor (former Bass), has been growing in popularity over the past two decades. It provides a true bass for the flute ensemble. In pitch, it is equal to the Bassoon or Cello. Its sound is rather weak but haunting. Response is somewhat slow, so the fast passages associated with the C Flute are not advisable on the Bass Flute.
Scoring for this instrument must be done very lightly. Higher flutes, light percussion, harp, and piano are preferred. In octaves with the Tenor Flute, the Bass Flute is at its best. A lightly played Bass or Alto Clarinet or even Horn could make effective combinations with the Bass Flute.
This instrument is still quite rare, but I can foresee a day in a few years when we will see them as commonly as the Tenor Flute – an unusual, but not endangered species of woodwind.
Three Philosophies, concerto for low flutes