I recently heard this instrument play while rummaging through different artists that do not have a lot of recognition. I came across this fellow's music, and am dreadfully curious as to which instrument starts this song off.
The song is titled "At the Journey's End" and this link should bring you directly to it. Just simply hit play, and listen in. http://anttimartikainen.bandcamp.com/album/eternal-saga
It sounds like a sort of... woodwind instrument, right? It plays for the first 33 seconds and after that I believe a violin joins in. My best guess would be some sort of flute, but again, I do not know much about musical instruments. I'm an amateur pianist and seeking the thought of starting a woodwind instrument since they tend to be a bit more simple/straight forward (Not degrading you woodwind players!). When getting stressed on piano, I'd switch to the woodwind for a bit of satisfaction then continue on.
So is my guess of it being a flute correct? Is it some sort of medieval ancestor of the flute? It has a lot of power behind it and that's what I like. When I listen to a generic flute, it doesn't stand out much to my ears. But this, has some serious power. A friend of mine who plays on synthesizer-esc instruments says it may be a flute with strong effects put on it. To my ears, it sounds like the real-deal with sensitive microphones. It sounds a bit too real to be mere effects, but, what do I know?
Hopefully one of you will have the answer, and I look forward to seeing all of your opinions on the matter. My curiosity is raging.