The Book of Musical Knowledge: The History, Technique, and Appreciation of Music, Together with Lives of the Great Composers, for Music-Lovers, Students and Teachers

By Arthur Elson | Go to book overview

XLVII
FLUTE AND PICCOLO

THE great antiquity of the flute, and its prominence in Roman music, has been already described. It must be kept in mind, however, that the term flute, as used by the ancients, often included instruments with reed mouthpieces of various sorts, like our oboes, clarinets, etc.

In old times some of the flutes were held straight out from the mouth, and played by direct blowing into the tube. This type was known as the flute-a-bec, and afterwards called beak flute from its resemblance to a bird's beak. Sometimes such a flute would branch into two tubes, in which case one may have played a drone-bass accompaniment.

The use of the flute in the Grecian games has been already mentioned. Flute-playing was considered part of the necessary education of the rich Greek youths. Great flute-players grew very popular, and the account of their rivalries reads very much like the story of opera singers' disagreements in our own day. At one time Alcibiades checked the growing popularity of the flute somewhat, refusing to play the instrument because he feared that the large mouthpiece would spoil the shape of his mouth. His prestige was so great that he altered the fashion for a time; but some unknown flute- maker obviated the difficulty by producing a flute with a smaller mouthpiece than usual. Flutes were much prized, the most ornate ones selling for sums as great as three thousand dollars. The salaries of the best professional players were also very large. One of them, Nichomachus, earned by his playing enough money to buy an immense collection of jewels. Even theatrical flute-players were well paid, receiving more from the choregus (director) than all the members of the chorus. This must have been a comfortable salary; for the Athenians had a proverb stating that the way to ruin a man was to have him made a choregus.

Egypt had its flute music also. In the year 280 B.C., Ptolemy

-420-

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The Book of Musical Knowledge: The History, Technique, and Appreciation of Music, Together with Lives of the Great Composers, for Music-Lovers, Students and Teachers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations xi
  • Part I - The Evolution of Music 1
  • Part I the Evolution of Music 2
  • I - Primitive and Savage Music 3
  • II - Greece and Rome 13
  • III - Early Christian Music 23
  • IV - The Minstrel Knights 31
  • V - The Schools of Counterpoint 42
  • VI - The Harmonic Style 58
  • Part II - The Great Composers 67
  • Part II the Great Composers 68
  • VII - Bach 69
  • VIII - Handel 77
  • IX - Gluck 85
  • X - Haydn 91
  • XI - Mozart 98
  • XII - Beethoven 108
  • XIII - Schubert 120
  • XIV - Weber and Romanticism 128
  • XV - Mendelssohn 135
  • XVI - Schumman 143
  • XVII - Chopin 151
  • XVIII - Italian Opera 158
  • XIX - Cherubini and French Opera 170
  • XX - Berlioz and Other Frenchmen 179
  • XXI - Liszt and His Circle 188
  • Part III - Musical Form 307
  • XXXI - Melody and Appreciation 309
  • XXXII - Figures and Phrases 317
  • XXXIII - The Song-Forms 324
  • XXXIV - The Rondos 331
  • XXXV - The Sonata-Allegro Form 336
  • XXXVI - Other Sonata Movements 341
  • XXXVII - The Orchestral Forms 345
  • XXXVIII Dances and Piano Styles - Dances and Piano Styles 351
  • XXXIX - The Vocal Forms 360
  • XL - The Contrapuntal Forms 366
  • Part IV - The Instruments 376
  • XLI - The Piano and Its Predecessors 377
  • XLII - The Organ 384
  • XLIII - The Voice 391
  • XLIV - The Violin 398
  • XLV - Other Bowed Instruments *
  • XLVI - Plucked-String Instruments 413
  • XLVII - Flute and Piccolo 420
  • XLVIII - Oboe and English Horn *
  • XLIX - The Bassoons 433
  • L the Clarinets 438
  • Li Horns, Trumpets, and Cornets 444
  • Lii Trombones and Tubas 450
  • Liii Instruments of Percussion 456
  • Part V - Special Topics 463
  • LIV - Some Famous Pianists 465
  • LV - Some Famous Singers 474
  • LVI - Violinists and Violin Music 483
  • LVII - Orchestration 491
  • LVIII - Conducting 496
  • Lix Acoustics 503
  • LX - How to Read Music 515
  • LXI - Modern Music 538
  • Appendix 569
  • Index 581
  • Index to Supplementary Chapter 606
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