Subcontrabass Flute

suhb-kon-truh-bas floot
The subcontrabass flute is a large woodwind aerophone instrument from the flute family. It is most commonly in the key of G and has tubing that can reach up to 15 feet in length. This flute is the second largest and second lowest flute, after the hyperbass flute.
History of the Subcontrabass Flute
The subcontrabass flute’s history dates back a short time to the late 20th century when the popularity of the flute and flute ensembles begun to require a need for a low range flute. In the early 21st century, the subcontrabass flute started to appear as an instrument that could reach the lowest notes on a piano. Instead of using the typical silver for a flute, early models had to be constructed from PVC piping and hardwood in order to manage the large scale of the instrument. American composer and low flute specialist Peter Sheridan was among those to champion the versatility of the hyperbass flute as a soloist instrument. The subcontrabass flute has never been mass produced due to its scarcity in musical compositions, however, there are instrument makers including Kotato and Fukishima that still create this instrument to order today. The subcontrabass flute is such a rare instrument that only a handful exist in the world and they are mostly in the possession of flute ensembles like the Florida flute orchestra.
Inventor: Kenji Ogawa

Where to Buy

£3,500 - £10,000

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How to Play

A large flute played by blowing air into the mouthpiece and covering the tone holes to change the pitch of the sound produced.

In Popular Music

The subcontrabass flute has been known to play on 'In The Hall Of The Mountain King' by Edvard Grieg and also 'Tico Tico No Fuba', a Brazillian song written by Zequinha de Abreu. Its use is so rare that there is very little known about the subcontrabass flute in popular music recording.

Famous Players

Kenaxis Quetzal, Zara Lawler

Close Relations

Contrabass Flute, Double Contrabass Flute
Video Credit: Jen Kramer and David Martin
Understanding the Subcontrabass Flute
Very Large


United States


21st century






Instruments of Music

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