A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Fife
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FIFE. The smaller variety of the simple flute, possessing at most one key. It is made in several keys, F, B♭, and E♭. It is seldom used in Orchestral music, and only for the production of peculiar effects. Fifes are combined with drums in military use. They play simple melodies, without bass, of a marked character and rhythm, suitable to mark the time of marching.
[ W. H. S. ]