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A reconstruction of Siccama's 1-key flute

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  • Terry McGee
    We know Siccama as the chap who invented, patented and marketed his 10-key Diatonic flute in the mid 19th century. But he actually patented 3 other designs,
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 5, 2009
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      We know Siccama as the chap who invented, patented and marketed his 10-key
      Diatonic flute in the mid 19th century. But he actually patented 3 other
      designs, all of them derided by Rockstro as "absolutely worthless". One
      was for a fully chromatic flute with only 1 key. There is no evidence that
      these were ever manufactured, so to test Rockstro's opinion, we decided to
      make one. The whole story starts at:

      http://www.mcgee-flutes.com/Siccama's-1-key-Flute-Reconstruction.htm

      You can even hear how the flute sounds to make up your own mind!

      Terry
      --
      Terry McGee - flutes, flute research, restorations and repairs
      3 Bunderra Court (off Bunderra Circuit), Malua Bay, NSW, 2536, Australia
      Ph +61 (0)2 4471 3837; Fax +61 (0)2 4471 2578
      Email: terry@...; Web: http://www.mcgee-flutes.com
    • rod cameron
      Interesting and valuable piece of work, Terry! Thanks for posting it! best Rod ... Roderick Cameron rcameron@mcn.org PO Box 438 10580 Williams Street
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 6, 2009
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        Interesting and valuable piece of work, Terry!

        Thanks for posting it!

        best

        Rod

        On Aug 5, 2009, at 10:38 PM, Terry McGee wrote:

        We know Siccama as the chap who invented, patented and marketed his 10-key  
        Diatonic flute in the mid 19th century.  But he actually patented 3 other  
        designs, all of them derided by Rockstro as "absolutely worthless". One  
        was for a fully chromatic flute with only 1 key. There is no evidence that  
        these were ever manufactured, so to test Rockstro's opinion, we decided to  
        make one. The whole story starts at:


        You can even hear how the flute sounds to make up your own mind!

        Terry
        -- 
        Terry McGee - flutes, flute research, restorations and repairs
        3 Bunderra Court (off Bunderra Circuit), Malua Bay, NSW, 2536, Australia
        Ph +61 (0)2 4471 3837; Fax +61 (0)2 4471 2578


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        Roderick Cameron
        PO Box 438
        10580 Williams Street
        Mendocino, 
        CA 95460,  USA
        studio 707 937 0412
        Home 707 937 9921
        cell:    707 813 7593




      • Malcolm Tattersall
        It s a fascinating exercise and a great example of creative flute-making, Terry - congratulations. However, as a teacher and doubler, I just can t justify so
        Message 3 of 4 , Aug 6, 2009
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          It's a fascinating exercise and a great example of creative flute-making, Terry - congratulations.
          However, as a teacher and doubler, I just can't justify so much re-learning for so little (present) benefit. As things stand, any woodwind player (recorder, which is what most of my students begin on, or flute, clarinet, sax, oboe or bassoon) can basically play simple tunes on any other member of the family as soon as he/she can get a note out of it. As a doubler, my skills on one stay reasonably current by playing any other/s because they are all so similar. That's too great an advantage, and too great an investment in skills and instruments, to sacrifice lightly.
          The situation was essentially the same 150 years ago, so perhaps this is why Rockstro rejected it?

          Apologetically,

          Malcolm Tattersall

          --- In earlyflute@yahoogroups.com, "Terry McGee" <terry@...> wrote:
          >
          > We know Siccama as the chap who invented, patented and marketed his 10-key
          > Diatonic flute in the mid 19th century. But he actually patented 3 other
          > designs, all of them derided by Rockstro as "absolutely worthless". One
          > was for a fully chromatic flute with only 1 key. There is no evidence that
          > these were ever manufactured, so to test Rockstro's opinion, we decided to
          > make one. The whole story starts at:
          >
          > http://www.mcgee-flutes.com/Siccama's-1-key-Flute-Reconstruction.htm
          >
          > You can even hear how the flute sounds to make up your own mind!
          >
          > Terry
          > --
          > Terry McGee - flutes, flute research, restorations and repairs
          > 3 Bunderra Court (off Bunderra Circuit), Malua Bay, NSW, 2536, Australia
          > Ph +61 (0)2 4471 3837; Fax +61 (0)2 4471 2578
          > Email: terry@...; Web: http://www.mcgee-flutes.com
          >
        • Terry McGee
          On Fri, 07 Aug 2009 14:55:42 +1000, Malcolm Tattersall ... Yes, anyone attempting to come up with a keyless or few-key chromatic faces this challenge - that
          Message 4 of 4 , Aug 7, 2009
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            On Fri, 07 Aug 2009 14:55:42 +1000, Malcolm Tattersall
            <kim_sind@...> wrote:

            > It's a fascinating exercise and a great example of creative
            > flute-making, Terry - congratulations.
            > However, as a teacher and doubler, I just can't justify so much
            > re-learning for so little (present) benefit. As things stand, any
            > woodwind player (recorder, which is what most of my students begin on,
            > or flute, clarinet, sax, oboe or bassoon) can basically play simple
            > tunes on any other member of the family as soon as he/she can get a note
            > out of it. As a doubler, my skills on one stay reasonably current by
            > playing any other/s because they are all so similar. That's too great an
            > advantage, and too great an investment in skills and instruments, to
            > sacrifice lightly.

            Yes, anyone attempting to come up with a keyless or few-key chromatic
            faces this challenge - that everything other flute players have learned
            makes picking up a totally new system harder. Though, if you were able to
            come up with an attractive alternative system, it could probably be ported
            to other instrument families too.

            > The situation was essentially the same 150 years ago, so perhaps this is
            > why Rockstro rejected it?

            I think if Rockstro had given any reasons for dismissing the designs, we
            might have taken him more seriously. He doesn't. He devotes three or so
            pages to Siccama but finds nothing nice to say about him. Siccama comes
            off better than Clinton, who he really asassinates, and Boehm, who he
            accuses of plagiarism and more. Christopher Welch, in his History of the
            Boehm flute totally refutes the charges against Boehm, also leaps to
            Siccama's and Clinton's defence. We can only conclude at this time that
            Rockstro was embittered that he had not received the attention he believed
            he deserved because of the likes of Clinton, Siccama and Boehm. Why he
            singles these three out I don't really know. He was friends with Pratten,
            so maybe that is why he treats him well in the book. He doesn't even
            mention the Radcliff flute, which is puzzling as it was a product and
            possibly a design of another friend, Richard Carte, who also was making
            the Rockstro Model. Perhaps that was simply to close for comfort!

            More work needed to understand Rocksto, I think. But important that we do
            understand him, as it might help us interpret his writings better. While
            it's tempting to write him off as a bitter and twisted looney, he covered
            a lot of stuff no-one else has. We just need to know what is real and
            what is Rockstro!

            Terry

            >
            > Apologetically,
            >
            > Malcolm Tattersall
            >
            > --- In earlyflute@yahoogroups.com, "Terry McGee" <terry@...> wrote:
            >>
            >> We know Siccama as the chap who invented, patented and marketed his
            >> 10-key
            >> Diatonic flute in the mid 19th century. But he actually patented 3
            >> other
            >> designs, all of them derided by Rockstro as "absolutely worthless". One
            >> was for a fully chromatic flute with only 1 key. There is no evidence
            >> that
            >> these were ever manufactured, so to test Rockstro's opinion, we decided
            >> to
            >> make one. The whole story starts at:
            >>
            >> http://www.mcgee-flutes.com/Siccama's-1-key-Flute-Reconstruction.htm
            >>
            >> You can even hear how the flute sounds to make up your own mind!
            >>
            >> Terry
            >> --
            >> Terry McGee - flutes, flute research, restorations and repairs
            >> 3 Bunderra Court (off Bunderra Circuit), Malua Bay, NSW, 2536, Australia
            >> Ph +61 (0)2 4471 3837; Fax +61 (0)2 4471 2578
            >> Email: terry@...; Web: http://www.mcgee-flutes.com
            >>
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > ------------------------------------
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >



            --
            Terry McGee - flutes, flute research, restorations and repairs
            3 Bunderra Court (off Bunderra Circuit), Malua Bay, NSW, 2536, Australia
            Ph +61 (0)2 4471 3837; Fax +61 (0)2 4471 2578
            Email: terry@...; Web: http://www.mcgee-flutes.com
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