The term flute refers to both a single musical instrument and a family of musical instruments. It is one of the members of the woodwind family. The many different flutes are the mere non-reed musical woodwind instruments used by the orchestra, with all others being either double reeds, such as the bassoon and oboe, or single reeds, such as the clarinet. The usual members of family “transverse flute” are the bass flute, the alto flute, the concert flute, the flute, and the piccolo. The bass flute serves as the lowest-pitched flute, while the piccolo is the highest.
The end-blown flutes are related instruments and a group that consists of the pennywhistle or tin whistle, the flageolet, the Native American flute, and the fipple flute or recorder. Other related instruments are the ocarina and the fife (a transverse flute).
The main use of the fife is in military or marching bands, in combination with the drums. In addition, there are several different pan flutes mostly made of numerous pipes, which are used for changing pitch, instead of using keys or holes. The flute is utilized in the orchestra and band alike. In these two ensembles, any of the players commonly doubles on piccolo.