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Re: Digest Number 159

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  • David and Nina Shorey
    Although many of the comments on this list are of great interest, and it would be a pleasure to respond, nonetheless the recent posting from Ardol responding
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 1, 1998
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      Although many of the comments on this list are of great interest, and it
      would be a pleasure to respond, nonetheless the recent posting from
      Ardol responding to the question about cylindrical bores on very early
      flutes, and specifically the creation of a medieval flute, is of
      particular interest.
      Ardol wrote:

      "As medieval instruments I consider the things I've been making a dead
      loss--I like playing 16th-century Italian and Dutch divisions on them.
      For medieval music I still think I want something that plays an octave
      and a 5th, with a tone like a foghorn, and has semitones between B-C,
      E-F, F#-G, and A-Bb, but no others. How do bamboo flutes fit the bill?"

      I am curious; most of the old iconography seems to show the transverse
      flute in pastoral or domestic (even pre-domestic) settings. When the
      flute-tone is depicted in pictures with a desire to portray a more
      raucous, earthy, "foghorn" like effect, then the recorder is used.

      There exists here in Amsterdam at the Rijkesmuseum a portion of a flute
      taken from the bottom of a well up north somewhere. They are able to
      date the layer of sludge from this well, and it was ludicrously old, as
      I recall (it has been some 10 years since I last saw this flute, and I
      can't remember all the details-I was there to look at the Laurent).
      This was a very slender, cylindrical flute, with a very thin wall, if
      memory serves me correctly. Not what one would expect from a foghorn.

      Not being a maker, I rely on others for the technicalities of the bore.
      Would it not make sense to make cylindrical flutes specifically if one
      were planning to play outside and therefore wanted the top range,
      perhaps even abandoning the first octave, like the cylindrical fifes
      used today, and making the instrument differently if one wanted it
      especially for indoor work of a more intimate nature, perhaps wishing
      for the lowing sounds of the first octave?

      Also, the array of notes that Ardol is looking for on his medieval flute
      is quite interesting.

      Piecing together the early use of the transverse flute is sort of like
      recreating literature using only a few sonnets of Shakespeare and a few
      poems by Robert W. Service and trying to fill in the gaps. Nonetheless
      I think that trying to understand the uses of the "flute tone" through
      the ages is very important for us, as we try to understand our own age.
      My thanks go to all who put time into these postings, and these
      pursuits.

      Happy Solstice Season to everyone!
      David
    • Ardal Powell
      ... Flutes and recorders both are often shown in the hands of shepherds. I hadn t noticed any such distinction between them. ... I meant foghorn to convey a
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 1, 1998
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        On Tuesday, December 01, 1998 7:07 AM, DavOd and Nina Shorey [SMTP:dnshorey@...] wrote:
        >
        > I am curious; most of the old iconography seems to show the transverse
        > flute in pastoral or domestic (even pre-domestic) settings When the
        > flute-tone is depicted in pictures with a desire to portray a more
        > raucous, earthy, "foghorn" like effect, then the recorder is used.

        Flutes and recorders both are often shown in the hands of shepherds. I hadn't noticed any such distinction between them.

        > There exists here in Amsterdam at the Rijkesmuseum a portion of a flute
        > taken from the bottom of a well up north somewhere. They are able to
        > date the layer of sludge from this well, and it was ludicrously old, as
        > I recall (it has been some 10 years since I last saw this flute, and I
        > can't remember all the details-I was there to look at the Laurent).
        > This was a very slender, cylindrical flute, with a very thin wall, if
        > memory serves me correctly. Not what one would expect from a foghorn.

        I meant "foghorn" to convey a directness and steadiness of tone, not roughness or pitch.

        > Not being a maker, I rely on others for the technicalities of the bore.
        > Would it not make sense to make cylindrical flutes specifically if one
        > were planning to play outside and therefore wanted the top range,
        > perhaps even abandoning the first octave, like the cylindrical fifes
        > used today, and making the instrument differently if one wanted it
        > especially for indoor work of a more intimate nature, perhaps wishing
        > for the lowing sounds of the first octave?

        Sorry, didn't get the question.

        > Piecing together the early use of the transverse flute is sort of like
        > recreating literature using only a few sonnets of Shakespeare and a few
        > poems by Robert W. Service and trying to fill in the gaps. Nonetheless
        > I think that trying to understand the uses of the "flute tone" through
        > the ages is very important for us, as we try to understand our own age.

        Well said, DavOd. I wholeheartedly agree.

        ArdAl
        ________________________________________________
        ArdAl Powell
        Folkers & Powell, Makers of Historical Flutes
        ardAl@... * http://www.baroqueflute.com
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