The Flute


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Ardal Powell

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This book tells the story of the flute in the musical life of Europe and North America from the twelfth century to the present day. It is the first history to illustrate the relationship that has bound the instrument, its music, and performance technique together through eight centuries of shifting musical tastes and practices.

In a comprehensive and authoritative account of the flute’s development, Ardal Powell takes full account of recent research: on military flutes and fifes of the fifteenth century, the renaissance consort flute, baroque and classical instruments, mechanically advanced nineteenth-century designs by Theobald Boehm and others, and further innovations that led to the modern flute.

All these transformations are related to revolutions in playing style and repertoire, in the lives of flute players and makers, and in the uses of the instrument to play military, religious, consort, solo, chamber, opera, symphony, jazz, popular, and flute band music. For the first time the role of amateur flutists receives due consideration alongside the influence of famous players and teachers. The ultimate guide to the heritage of the flute, this volume will delight both those who play the flute and those who love its music.

Ardal Powell is president of Folkers & Powell, Makers of Historical Flutes, Hudson, NY, and a distinguished performer. He has written numerous books and articles on flutes and flute playing of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries.

"Nobody but the renowned Ardal Powell could write such a comprehensive, engaging history of the flute. . . . His writing is clear and scholarly, but also active and fluent. This important resource is an achievement that ought to find its way to a wide audience."—Johnson, American Record Guide

"Montagu has succeeded admirably, bringing to his task a fine blend of the scholar’s erudition and the working musician’s sensibility. . . . Required reading for all percussionists, and a very useful introduction to the instruments for anyone else."—Choice

"[A] superb book. . . . Excellent illustrations. . . . A major contribution to the literature on the history of musical instruments and the best and most complete history of the flute and flute-playing available today."—Choice

"[An] enthralling, scholarly and admirably organized book. . . . The overall quality of the book is amply supported by the high standard of presentation, including a number of outstanding color reproductions. This reviewer will certainly be recommending the book to students and colleagues, not just for the wealth of information so persuasively conveyed within it, but equally for the thorough, balanced and enlightened intellectual approach to theoretical and practical studies that it exemplifies."—Edwina Smith, Galpin Society Journal

“A tremendous achievement. . . . One of the books greatest strengths is that it shows the inter-relationship of the instrument, its repertoire, and its players and their performing styles.”—Jane M. Bowers, Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society

“An informative and authoritative guide for those with previous background in these instruments and a serious desire to understand their place in history. . . . In addition to being well written, the books are sturdy and beautifully illustrated. Highly recommended for academic libraries, public libraries where an interest in music is strong, and upper-level music students generally.”—Library Journal (starred review) 

"No flute player can afford to be without this book."—Dennis Clarke, Pan Review

“An excellent book, suited equally to players, students and the general music enthusiast.”—Gramophone
ISBN: 9780300094985
Publication Date: August 11, 2003
360 pages, 6 3/4 x 9 3/4
42 b/w + 17 color illus.
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