minstrel: Re-flageolet

dineley dineley at reivers.demon.co.uk
Thu Mar 9 01:29:03 PST 2000

Decided to finally emerge from lurking for this question.

There are actually three instruments (at least) called "flageolets". The tin
whistle, the English flageolet which Martin described and the French
flageolet. The French version had four holes on the front and two on the
back. It seems to have been particularly popular in the 1600's. Pepys
describes his efforts to learn to play this form of flageolet in his
diaries. I have one like Martin's, probably late 1800's. It's a really
lovely little instrument with a sweet tone. IMHO, it's much nicer and more
responsive than any of my tin whistles. The only problem is that with its
narrow bore it requires virtually no breath to kick you into the higher
registers, making the low D rather difficult to produce . All of these
instruments fall outside the SCA's period; however, Martin Beazley in the UK
makes a very nice early version of a whistle which would be suitable. As to
books, if its English or tin, Clarke's tin whistle book is great for
absolute beginners and then Geraldine Cotter's Traditional Irish Tin Whistle
Tutor when you're ready to get a bit more fancy with your playing. If its
French, I'm sure I saw a reference to a 1600's tutor that's been reproduced.
I'll try to remember where I saw it if this is what you've got.


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