The Tonette is a small, end-blown flute made of plastic, which was once popular in American elementary music education. It has largely been superseded by the recorder. The range of the instrument is from C4 (middle C) to D5. It is also known as a song flute.

The Tonette was introduced in 1938. Designed as a pre-band instrument, the tonette was nearly unbreakable, chromatic, and tunable. It was easy to blow and the fingering was simple. By 1941 over half of the grammar schools in the United States had adopted the Tonette as standard pre-band equipment. The Tonette's pleasant flute-like sound was also used for special novelty effects in radio, television and film.

In World War II the armed services found the Tonette to be an inexpensive and entertaining way for idle troops to pass the time.

Peter Schickele has described the tonette as "a cheap, synthetic recorder with amusing pretensions"; it is one of the instruments featured in the "Gross Concerto" by P. D. Q. Bach.

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • tonette — /toh net /, n. a small end blown flute of simple construction and narrow range. [1935 40; TONE + ETTE] * * * …   Universalium

  • tonette — to·nette …   English syllables

  • tonette — to•nette [[t]toʊˈnɛt[/t]] n. mad a small end blown flute of simple construction and narrow range • Etymology: 1935–40 …   From formal English to slang

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