is a small, end-blown flute
made of plastic
, which was once popular in American elementary music education. Though the Tonette has been superseded by the recorder
in many areas, due to their price, durability and simplicity, you can still find plenty of plastic Tonettes as well as Flutophones in use in elementary schools around the nation. The range of the Tonette 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
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
This instrument was played by Felix Pappalardi on "Pressed Rat and Warthog"
's "Wheels of Fire