Flute, six keyed, boxwood / ivory / silver and case made by John Hale, London, England, 1785-1804
This flute is important in showing the early development of multiple keys that were added to the instrument during the late 18th and early 19th centuries and the progression from the single key to six keys. The addition of the C and C# keys to the foot joint of the flute has been seen as particularly common in England during the 1780s and 1790s rather than in the rest of Europe (Solum, 1992, p.61). Instead of adding keys to provide alternative fingerings or correct existing intonation problems, as the four key flute used, these two new keys expanded the range of the instrument and broadened the options available for its use. The new keys were an innovative feature of the design and construction of the flute in its evolution towards the widely used eight key instruments favoured during the early decades of the nineteenth century.
This flute is also significant as it is the only flute in the collection to have the corps de rechanges or set of 3 joints of different lengths that allowed a variety of pitches to be played. This feature is important in describing the evolution of pitch to the standard known today and is an indication of the variety of pitches musicians had to adapt to depending on where and with what instruments they were playing.
Phillip Bate, The Flute (Ernest Benn Ltd, London, 1975)
Dr Danielle Eden & Michael Lea; ¬?The Powerhouse Museum Flute Collection: Multiple Key Flutes of Less Than Eight Keys¬? in Flute Focus, Issue 16, October 2008, pp.31-33.
Ardal Powell; The Flute, (Yale University Press, USA, 2002)
John Solum, The Early Flute, (Oxford University Press, Oxford, England, 1992)
William Waterhouse; The New Langwill Index - a dictionary of musical wind-instruments makers and inventors (Tony Bingham, London, 1993).
Curator, music & musical instruments.
John Hale worked in London from about 1785 until about 1804. He had previously worked with Thomas Collier who was active from the 1750s until 1785.
This flute was donated to the Museum as part of a collection of flutes owned by Mr Leslie Barklamb, with the assistance of Linda Vogt.