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Renaissance flute pitches

You can order our renaissance flutes at any practical pitch level.

This page gives people who have special requirements detailed information about choosing a pitch. Unless you are concerned with historical pitch-relationships it will probably not interest you very much. Please go directly to the pages for Rafi and Lissieu flutes, or for Bassano, Rafi, and Schrattenbach consorts where recommended options are preset in the order forms.

Historical pitches

For easy comparison, historical pitches are given with approximate reference to a "cornett pitch" known in Italy as mezzo punto. The most usual pitch for flutes seems to have been a whole tone below this, so that the tenor flute's lowest note (6 fingers down) sounds as C at a=460 but as D at a=408. The latter pitch, known as tuono corista, was the level at which many choirs sang, at least from the late 16th to the late 17th centuries.

Modern pitches

The modern pitch of a=440 seems to have been known in 16th- and 17th-century Italy and elsewhere as tutto punto, but was apparently not used at that time for building flutes. However for the sake of convenience we offer a consort at 440, and another at a=392, which preserves the relationship between mezzo punto and tuono corista by playing in C at 440 or in D a whole tone below. Unless you have to play with instruments tuned to a=440 you can conveniently ignore these two options.

If you need to play seventeenth-century music with instruments tuned to a=415, we suggest you consider a two-piece Rafi tenor flute first. If necessary we can make a whole set to play at a=415, but it will not be useful for playing with other 16th-century instrument families.

Note that in the following table, the column headed "in D" means that the lowest fingered note sounds a D at the pitch indicated, etc.

  in D @ in C @ in Bb @

Consorts at historical pitch standards

Cornett pitch ~ mezzo punto



1/2 tone below   



1 tone below ~ tuono corista




2 tones below




Consorts based on modern standard pitch (no historic models extant)

Concert pitch ~ tutto punto



1/2 tone below   



1 tone below




Please refer to the page for each consort for ordering options.



 Bassano consort 

 Schrattenbach consort 

 Rafi consort 



Text and images copyright © 1997,1999, 2001, 2008 FOLKERS & POWELL, Makers of Historical Flutes
PO Box 148, Hillsdale NY 12529-0148 USA
TEL: +1 518 828 9779