Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/549

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537
FLUTE.

downwards all the work is accessory, and not directly used in the production of the natural scale. For this reason the instrument is said to stand in the key of D. For the purpose of obtaining each sound by the closure of a single orifice, a somewhat new arrangement of the scale is necessary on certain notes. The G, for instance, in either octave is produced by closing the five holes of the left hand. For the F a whole tone below, the forefinger of the right hand is added. The intermediate F♯ is obtained by depressing the pad of the middle or ring fingers, that of the index being left open. In the Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, and other octave-scaled instruments, the B♭ a whole tone below C, which in a, D instrument like the flute is represented by the F♮ below the middle G, has to be produced by closing the B♮ and A♮ holes and lifting an intermediate B♭ key, thus lowering the pitch a minor third and raising it a semitone. The same method as that for the F♯ is employed for the B♭ or A♯, which is produced by lowering the B&#266e; a semitone through the intervention of a lever actuated by the fingers of the right hand, those of the left, middle, and ring fingers being left open. { \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f c'4 s c'''' } The compass of the Boehm Flute is from C to C three octaves higher, though the C♯ above this note, and even more acute sounds, can be obtained by exceptional players.

A variety of other Flutes, modified more or less from the old eight-keyed instrument or the Boehm system, are to be met with. Among these may be named those of Siccama, Clinton, and Carte. Their differences are chiefly mechanical. The main distinction between the older and the more modern instruments is the adoption of the cylindrical bore. There can be no doubt that this contrivance adds materially to the power of tone, and gives it a reedy quality closely approximating to that of the Clarinet. But it is a question if it does not to the same extent modify its peculiar orchestral character, and diminish its purity of intonation. This distinctive quality of tone has been shown by Helmholtz (Ellis's Tr. 113, 141, 172) to be peculiar, and free from most harmonic 'upper-partials' except the octaves.

The literature of the Flute is so extensive as hardly to admit of illustration within moderate limits. Bach uses it freely both as an obbligato instrument and in concerted passages, and ever since his time it has held a prominent place in the band. In the scores of his works it is sometimes marked Traversière to distinguish it from the Flute-à-bec.

Haydn, both in his Symphonies and in his Oratorios, awards it the same prominence. The Trio for three Flutes in the 'Creation' may be named as an illustration.

Handel usually specifies the 'German' Flute, and often indicates its importance by the words 'with the accompaniment of a German Flute.' It is difficult to understand how the players of his day were able to make themselves heard with the few Flutes then allotted to the Orchestra against, the large numbers of Oboes and Bassoons. In the Handel Commemoration in Westminster Abbey in 1784 there were 6 Flutes against 26 Oboes and 26 Bassoons, besides 12 Trumpets and the same number of Horns. Handel produces, however, a magnificent effect in the Dead March in 'Saul' by the simple employment of two Flutes moving in thirds against the reiterated bass of the kettledrum.

Mozart, except in some of his Symphonies, which were obviously written for a small band, freely scores for this instrument. The opera of the Zauberflöte derives its name from it. There are also two Concertos for solo Flute and Orchestra in G and D, and one for Flute and Harp among his works (Köchel, 313, 314, 299).

Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and all later writers, give it the leading part of the wind in all their compositions. The solo shortly after the trumpet flourishes in the Overture to Leonora No. 3 will not be forgotten, or the lovely part for two flutes in the 2nd movement of the Italian Symphony. Schumann also has introduced a prominent cadenza for it in the Finale to his B flat Symphony. The difficult accompaniment to the Ranz des Vaches, played by the Oboe, in Rossini's overture to 'William Tell' affords a good illustration of the mechanical complexities which this flexible and agile instrument is competent, and consequently is expected, to surmount. In a dramatic sense it is used by Mendelssohn in the sacrificial chorus 'O be gracious' in St. Paul, and by Gretry in 'Andromaque,' in which the part of Andromache is always accompanied by 3 flutes.

The most voluminous writer for the Flute was probably Quantz, who composed 200 solos and 300 concertos for Frederick the Great alone. But the instrument had a distinguished writer, Kuhlau, as the special exponent of its powers and beauty. This eminent contrapuntist devoted nearly the whole of his short life to Flute compositions. This singular fact has been accounted for by the statement that an amateur flute-player of position employed him constantly and liberally in writing them. Kuhlau has been termed the 'Beethoven of the Flute.' It will be seen from the list given below that Solos, Duets, Trios, and even Quartets for Flutes, are among his voluminous works. Indeed, but for a fire which destroyed the composer's manuscripts, their number would be at least threefold. Such as are extant afford inestimable models of construction and originality.

Flute Music.

Mozart.—Grand duo in G, op. 76; Andante in C, Concerto in G, Rondo in D, op. 86.

Spohr.—Concerto in modo di Scena Cantante, op. 47.

Weber.—Romanza Siciliana in G minor, with Orchestra; Trio for Flute, Cello, and Pianoforte, op. 63.

Beethoven.—Serenade for Flute, Violin, and Alto, op. 25.

Haydn.—Two Trios for two Flutes and Cello.