Recorder vs. Flutophone (What’s The Difference?)

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If you have been wondering if flutophones and recorders are the same instrument, the answer is no, they are not the same instrument.

They are, in fact, recognized as being two different kinds of instruments, though the reality is that they are very similar.

The simplest way for you to be able to make the distinction between these two types of instruments is to view the end of the instruments and the holes for the fingers.

The main difference between the flutophone and recorder is the shape. Flutophones have flared ends, while the recorder is straight.

In such cases where there are finger holes that are raised, then the instrument is almost definitely a flutophone.

But when there is the presence of holes that are drilled and not raised, then the instrument is probably a recorder.

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What Are the Differences Between Recorders and Flutophones?

The flutophone is easier to play, due to the fact that there is no need for as much control of air as when playing the recorder.

The recorder takes more control and a higher level of force in order to make the instrument function as it should.


A flutophone doesn’t have what you might call a “refined” tone, as a result of the mouthpiece being much like a whistle. This factor contributes to the instrument sometimes having a sound that seems to be shrill.

On the other hand, the recorder is associated with a tone that is softer, which is more applicable for the quality of a concert or band.


Moreover, the flutophone is not equipped to be able to accommodate the playing of as many notes as a recorder is. The impressive thing about the small recorder is that it is equipped to be able to play all kinds of musical notes.

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Speaking of all those musical notes, if you’re making your first recorder or flutophone purchase, it’s a good idea to scoop up one of these wind-instrument-focused tuners as well. Recorders can sometimes require tuning adjustments to the holes, which can be carried out by a handy expert. If you suspect something is out of whack with your recorder’s tune, one of these will help you confirm whether you’re on to something.

[PRO TIP: Avoid tuning frustration with this digital tuner made specifically for wind instruments.]

Which is Better to Teach: Recorder or Flutophone?

Recorders are often regarded as the preferred instrument to teach musical students, which is why some teachers who have been using flutophones in various schools have made the switch to teaching their students the recorder.

This is due to the fact that recorders are considered to be instruments that are more well established in comparison to flutophones, due to their possessing a long history and the ability to perform substantial reportoires.

There are not many serious repertoires that have been compiled for flutophones. So, the benefit of using a recorder in this regard is that the recorder is actually played in many songs that are still enjoyed by people today.

The recorder allows for more variability of usage for both students and adults, in comparison to the flutophone. The baroque fingering style that is used for recorders is more preferred in comparison to German fingering.

This fingering is what most people are more familiar with, and this makes teaching students much easier.

We recommend going with one of these bestsellers if you’re looking for a book to use for teaching the recorder (or learning it yourself!).

[PRO TIP: Learn the basics much more quickly with this recorder book from one of the most trusted educational brands out there.]

What Are the Similarities Between Recorders and Flutophones?

When playing the flutophone, the musician will place his or her fingers over the holes in order to produce a sound, while blowing in the mouthpiece of the instrument.

These same processes are also used to play the recorder. However, the holes for the notes of the flutophone are raised, while the holes for the recorder are simply drilled into the instrument.

For both the flutophone and the recorder, the amount of breath being applied contributes to distinctions in the softness, loudness, or placement of emphasis in the notes.

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Is a Recorder or a Flutophone Easier to Play?

A recorder is a woodwind instrument that is open holed. It is truly a simple instrument, and it’s common for elementary students to learn to play this instrument.

This instrument was created many centuries ago and was popular during the Middle Ages – again, perhaps due in part to its simplicity.

The recorder is fairly easy to play and works well with a student that is working on their music reading, coordination, fingering, breath control, and tonguing.

Many teachers consider the recorder to be a wonderful instrument of choice when getting students ready to play in a school band. It also helps that recorders possess a wide array of tunings and sizes.

It is common for students at school to take up the soprano recorder.

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Yamaha YRS-23 Soprano Recorder, German Fingering, Natural 1.00 x 2.00 x 13.75
  • Excellent tuning and sound quality
  • Made from durable and safe ABS plastic resin with no BPA
  • Double holes for low C/C number and D/D number to improve tuning

For the flutophone’s part, though it might seem very similar in appearance to a toy, it really is not a toy.

It is truly a recognized instrument that is used for children, as a sort of pre-band instrument to help them get ready to play other types of instruments (perhaps even the recorder!).

The flutophone is less expensive than a recorder. It is highly durable, which makes it a great option for small children to use. It’s also light in weight.

This is a key feature that makes it much simpler for children to start using this instrument in comparison to others.

Moreover, when someone plays the flutophone, there is no need for the application of a large quantity of breath, as is sometimes necessary for a recorder in order to produce a nice note.

PMV Top Pick – Start your musical journey on the right foot with this flutophone, designed with beginners in mind.


Both the recorder and the flutophone can play fairly similar ranges of notes, though the recorder is generally able to produce more notes than the flutophone.

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A major distinction is that the flutophone tends to be much more simple for small children to play. One nice perk is that it’s a relatively easy process for children to transition over to playing the recorder after learning how to play the flutophone.

The recorder can be used to play many different types of songs, and has a more refined sound than the flutophone.


What is a recorder and what is a flutophone?

A recorder is a musical instrument that is a type of flute, while a flutophone is a simple musical instrument that is similar to a recorder, but is made of plastic and is easier to play.

Is a recorder better than a flutophone?

The answer to this question will depend on the individual and their needs. A recorder is more complex and can produce a wider range of sounds, but it can be harder to play and is more expensive. A flutophone is easier to play and is less expensive, but it can only produce a limited range of sounds.

Can you play classical music on a flutophone?

While a flutophone is not as versatile as a recorder, it is possible to play simple classical pieces on a flutophone.

What is the difference between the sound of a recorder and a flutophone?

A recorder produces a warmer, more complex sound, while a flutophone produces a brighter, simpler sound.

Can you play duets on a flutophone?

Yes, you can play duets on a flutophone, but you will have to find music that is specifically arranged for flutophones.

Can you play in different keys on a flutophone?

No, flutophones are not designed to play in different keys.

Is it hard to clean a flutophone?

No, cleaning a flutophone is relatively easy. Simply wash it with soap and water, and dry it thoroughly before storing it.

Can you play a flutophone with other instruments?

Yes, you can play a flutophone with other instruments, but it is best to find music that is specifically arranged for flutophones.

What is the lifespan of a flutophone?

The lifespan of a flutophone will depend on how often it is used and how well it is taken care of. On average, a flutophone can last for several years.

How much does a flutophone cost?

The cost of a flutophone will depend on the brand and the features, but they are typically less expensive than recorders. You can find flutophones for as little as $10, but prices can go up to $50 or more for higher-end models.

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