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Fifes are an ancient wind instrument that have evolved over the centuries. The original form was small and bore six finger-holes, but later versions may have various sizes and numbers of holes. While ancient fifes were one-piece and therefor not easily tuned, modern fifes are two pieces connected by a joint made from either metal or cork. Modern 10-hole and 11-hole fifes are chromatic, thus able to play any note as opposed to the more limited ancient fifes, which could only be played in a few keys.

The fife originated in Europe and has spread widely beyond. It is a similar instrument to the German Schweizerpfeife, which translates to "Swiss fife", the Irish flutebaroque flute and the piccolo

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