The "flute family" is the oldest in the category of woodwind instruments. Throughout history the size
of the tube along the flutes length has evolved in respect to its bore shape.
In the Renaissance the flute was a simple cylindrical wooden tube with embouchure hole and finger holes, stopped at
the end above the embouchure hole. To achieve a greater range, the bore of the baroque
flute was modified to a slightly tapered conical shape with the larger radius
at the embouchure hole and the smaller radius at the bell end.
The nineteenth century marked several additional modifications for the
flute. In 1830 Theobald Boehm, a German watchmaker and goldsmith and an
amateur flutist, developed the modern flute. The modern flute reverted back
to a cylindrical bore and achieved the desired range and acceptable intonation
by elongating the end section above the embouchure hole and modifying the
sizes and positions of the finger holes. Boehm
also designed the Boehm fingering system, which
was a most important improvement in the flute.
The body of the piccolo was originally made
of wood, but today the piccolo is made of metal, sometimes silver. In earlier
times there were a few piccolos made of pure gold. It was said that the
sound quality from them was the best.