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The body of the piccolo was originally made of wood, but today the piccolo is made of metal, sometimes silver.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.