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Bach Books

B-0101

Title:

Fugitive Notes on Certain Cantatas and the Motets of J.S. Bach

Sub-Title:

Category:

Essay Collection / Analysis

J.S. Bach Works:

Author:

William Gillies Whittaker

Written;

Country:

England

Released:

1924

Language:

English

Pages:

298 pp

Format:

HC

Publisher:

London: Humphrey Milford, 1924 - Oxford University Press, 1925

ISBN:

ASIN: B0010XTSMM

Description:

Comments:

Buy book at:

Amazon.com

Source/Links:
Contributor: Aryeh Oron (April 2008)

Whittaker on Bach Cantatas 1924

Francis Browne wrote (April 18, 2008):
Whittaker on Bach Cantatas 1924

Thirty three years before his comprehensive two volume work on all the cantatas Whittaker published a much shorter book entitled Fugitive Notes on Certain Cantatas and the Motets of J.S. Bach. It was based on notes printed earlier in magazines, and gave practical advice on performing the canatatas and motets at a time when such performances were not common.

The introductory chapter on The Church Cantatas as a Whole concludes as follows:

"Parry points out that it is not necessary to subscribe to Bach's creed to be able to fall under the spell of the Matthäus-Passion' (BWV 244); that all earnest men, of whatever race and belief, can be touched by its exquisitely human feeling.

The same is true of the cantatas. Even where the master assumes a didactic role, or thunders out denunciations of those whose faith was not his, we admire the strength and firm belief of the man. He felt not only for himself, but for humanity. He could rejoice with multitudes, he could sing with legions of angels, and he could walk with the lonely troubled soul. He could exalt in the overthrow of Death, he could look forward to Death with longing, yet he could feel the terror of the crossing to the unknown. He could affirm his faith against the world in magnificent bold defiance, and he could fathom the plunge into the tortures of doubt. He knew the most serene peace of mind, and he could suffer at the thought of his own unworthiness in the presence of his Saviour. His por­trait of Jesus is the most beautiful figure in the whole range of music.

The various phases of the Church year were to him no outside spectacle-he lived through them as personal experiences. His Christmas music is a paean of ecstasy ; his Holy Week music moves in deep and personal anguish ; his Easter music is triumphant and exulting ; his Whitsun music glows with fire.

But in all his expressions of these thousand­ -and-one emotions there was no narrow-mindedness, no insularity begotten of creed. However far we may have travelled from the faith of Bach, however few of his theological views we can endorse, there is in him such a splendid humanity, such an intense sympathy with his fellow men, there is such a personal revelation of self in his writings, and they are clothed in such noble forms of the purest type of beauty, that they touch our heartstrings with the utmost intimacy, they give us continual mental refreshment and glimpses into the infinite".

No one would write like that today.Our generation is more cynical, less enthusiastic- surely to our loss. I wish the members of this list in listening to Bach may experience much continual mental refreshment and many glimpses into the infinite....

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 18, 2008):
[To Francis Browne] Francis, thanks for sharing these Whittaker excerpts. Beautifully written, and as you pointed out, it's a type of writing that doesn't happen much anymore.

"There is in him such a splendid humanity, such an intense sympathy with his fellow men, there is such a personal revelation of self in his writings, and they are clothed in such noble forms of the purest type of beauty, that they touch our heartstrings with the utmost intimacy, they give us continual mental refreshment and glimpses into the infinite."
Yes, I sense some of that too whenever I play through the WTC for myself, or the Musical Offering's several keyboard solos, or the E-flat prelude/fugue/allegro. Even though Whittaker's comments were about the vocal music, Bach's instrumental music is no less inspiring and wide-ranging. For me it's Bach's instrumental music in flat keys that often stands out most tellingly next to contemporary music by other people. The several violin/harpsichord sonatas and cello suites in three or more flats are extraordinary...not to slight the sharp pieces, either!

Somebody asked recently about B minor being some special key in the Leipzig vocal music. I don't think so, as to any extra spiritualized significance beyond the way it sounds. It just happens to be one of the most central keys in minor, given the fact that the organist's part in those was in A minor, zero sharps/flats, and the ease for violinists and violists to play in the two-sharps area.

One very interesting characteristic of A minor (assuming for the moment that my temperament work is correct) is that it's the key with the strongest and most pungent dominant, while the tonic minor and the nearby major triads in the A minor scale are all very gentle. So, music in A minor (and E minor and B minor) from the keyboard accompaniment perspective --setting a mood for the whole ensemble!-- has a vividly defined set of contrasts, whenever the music is resolving from tense dominants or secondary dominants back into these natural-note triads. It makes for strong, forceful gestures in a rather "public" way.

Music in flat major keys, by contrast against this, is more even-keeled and gentle. It has smoother peaks and valleys, and is overall more serene and "private". Dominants there are not tenser than tonics. The mood stays more concentrated and undisturbable, more steadily poised.

The flat minor keys are the ones that have the more unrelenting sorrow to them, like for example in cantata BWV 12, "Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen", or in the Agnus Dei of the big Mass (BWV 232), or the "Ich ruf zu Dir" in F minor in Orgelbüchlein. But, the BWV 198 funeral piece for Christiane Eberhardine doesn't go there; it's all in a middle-of-the-road couple of sharps for the orchestra and zero on keyboard.

John Pike wrote (April 19, 2008):
[To Francis Browne] A brilliant summary of Bach's genius and appeal. Thanks for this, Francis.

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 19, 2008):
John Pike wrote:
< "But in all his expressions of these thousand­ -and-one emotions there was no narrow-mindedness, no insularity begotten of creed. However far we may have travelled from the faith of Bach, however few of his theological views we can endorse, there is in him such a splendid humanity, such an intense sympathy with his fellow men, there is such a personal revelation of self in his writings, and they are clothed in such noble forms of the purest type of beauty, that they touch our heartstrings with the utmost intimacy, they give us continual mental refreshment and glimpses into the infinite". >
I'm sorry to be a wet blanket but I think this is sentimental drivel born out of a Romantic myth that if a man writes great music he must be a great man. I am the first to celebrate Bach as the composer of the greatest music the world has ever heard and to affirm that his music has a universal appeal. However, to say that he was morally superior person because his music is beautiful is wishfui thinking.

The more I read about Bach's life and his compositional method, the more admiration I have for him as the Well-Regulated Composer. I believe that the more we strive to place Bach in his historical matrix, the more we will see an extraordinary historical personality. But the claims for suprahuman universalist virtues that transcend time and place leave me cold. I'm not even persuaded that his particularly Christian themes move people to conversion.

Far from being blinded sarcastic modernity, I beliethat our historical method reveals a man not a saint. I would rather have Bach on my music shelf than in a devotional niche.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (April 19, 2008):
Francis Browne wrote:
< Whittaker on Bach Cantatas 1924
The introductory chapter on The Church Cantatas as a Whole concludes as follows:
"Parry points out that it is not necessary to subscribe to Bach's creed to be able to fall under the spell of the Matthäus-Passion' (
BWV 244); that all earnest men, of whatever race and belief, can be touched by its exquisitely human feeling. >
Well, again with appreciation of the time that these gentlemen (Whittaker and Parry) wrote and the denominational world in which they seem to have spent their lives, I see no need to contradict their experiences. However I never knew all the times I attended Bach "religious" music performances that I needed permission to be moved by the music. Likewise I never gave a thought to the religious beliefs or the race or anything else of my fellow-attenders at such performances except to assume that they were all there because they deeply cared for Bach's music. I guess, had I been in a different atmosphere than e.g. NYC or Princeton, things might have been different and many, a majority, might have been there for religious purposes. In my audiences, I believe, a disproportionate segment of the audience was made up of persons who were not Christians either by birth or belief as indeed was the fact in a discussion of the MP on the Moderated Music List a few years ago.

>> there is in him such a splendid humanity, such an intense sympathy with his fellow men, there is such a personal revelation of self in his writings, and they are clothed in such noble forms of the purest type of beauty, that they touch our heartstrings with the utmost intimacy, they give us continual mental refreshment and glimpses into the infinite. <<
Most great music will do that for me, Beethoven's late quartets, a lot of Berlioz, vocal or Instrumental and I have never worried about either guy's religion or race. Nor have I ever cared about the religious beliefs or lack thereof of my fellow list member on any other music list. On lists devoted to theology that is another matter.

Ed Myskowski wrote (April 20, 2008):
Francis Browne wrote:
>But in all his expressions of these thousand– -and-one emotions there was no narrow-mindedness, no insularity begotten of creed. [citing Whittaker, Fugitive Notes, 1924]<
In the intervening eighty years, there has been much acknowledgement of the narrow-mindedness of the Christian creed of the 18th C., most generously in official statements from the Vatican. This has come up from time to time in BCML discussions, not without controversy. I am attempting to cite facts, not express a personal opinion.

FB:
>No one would write like that today. Our generation is more cynical, less enthusiastic - surely to our loss. I wish the members of this list in listening to Bach may experience much continual mental refreshment and many glimpses into the infinite....<
I endorse the good spirits intended, and agree with the welcome suggestion to glimpse the infinite. I also agree with other replies which have questioned whether current scholarship is necessarily accurately described as cynical. No need to describe that question as a <wet blanket>. G. B. Shaw (paraphrase?): People with keen powers of observation and analysis are often described as cynics by those lacking such powers.

Enthusiasm is all the more admirable when it accompanies the best available scholarship, rather than relying on sentiment. I am not in agreement that our generation has lost anything in the transition, if indeed there was a transition, rather than a continual advance in critical thinking. We are now able to enjoy Bach with the insights of both Whittaker and Rifkin, just to pick easily reconizable examples from the two generations. I find no approach to Bach more enthusiastic than the current recording series by Kuijken and Suzuki, or the ongoing releases of the Gardiner pilgrimage project from the year 2000, already of legendary status. No slight intended to other enthusiastic performers, too numerous to mention.

Ed Myskowski wrote (April 20, 2008):
Whittaker (and more)

>Somebody asked recently about B minor being some special key in the Leipzig vocal music. I don't think so, as to any extra spiritualized significance beyond the way it sounds. It just happens to be one of the most central keys in minor, given the fact that the organists part in those was in A minor, zero sharps/flats, and the ease for violinists and violists to play in the two-sharps area.
One very interesting characteristic of A minor (assuming for the moment that my temperament work is correct)<

Bach the pragmatist, finding the efficient route? Very attractive, and especially appropriate for the composition/performance conditions of BWV 198. I hope the temperament work does indeed stand up (is that a serious question?)

I find comments of this nature, which might be considered musicological or technical, very informative on the general discussion list. Easy to skim past for those not interested, and a gratuitous education for others. Post more.

Francis Browne wrote (April 20, 2008):
I must confess that I expected there would be a range of reactions to Whittaker's view.It is commonplace now even in classical studies, which I know far better than music, that criticism is in many ways determined by the historical and personal circumstances of the critic.Anyone who follows this list will not be surprised by the difference of views, and I am happy to let Whittaker's views stand without rushing to their defence, .People can read what he says and the comments and decide for themselves.I would only add to Ed's perceptive remarks that even though we may feel that our own generation is well placed to appreciate the best of the past and the present, nevertheless in 80 years time our views of Bach will in turn seem dated and limited.

Ed Myskowski wrote (April 20, 2008):
Whittaker, 1924 / BWV 166

Francis Browne wrote:
>...even though we may feel that our own generation is well placed to appreciate the best of the past and the present, nevertheless in 80 years time our views of Bach will in turn seem dated and limited.<
As Tom Dent has pointed out, some of them seem quite limited, even now. I am a great admirer of Whittakers later text (I did not mean to imply otherwise), although I have not yet encountered the 1924 Fugitive Notes. I expect that present workers would be well pleased if their efforts turn out to be anywhere near as durable as Whitttakers have.

The WGBH-FM (www.wgbh.org) choice for today, Fourth Sunday after Easter, was the Gardiner version of BWV 166, including the following quotation from the performance notes (JEG), as part of the presentation:

<It is in moments like these [BWV 166/5] that we glimpse Bach refusing to be cowed by the solemnity of the liturgy, willing to look behind the curtain of religion and, like any practiced man of the theater, ready to use humor when it helps open his listeners to the realities of life, to the world and its ways. Yet he also knows exactly when to restore order [166/6].> end quote

Both the thought and the enthusiasm seem very much in keeping with Whittaker, as cited by Francis. Thanks for raisng this topic, very stimulating.

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 20, 2008):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< As Tom Dent has pointed out, some of them seem quite limited, even now. I am a great admirer of Whittakers later text (I did not mean to imply otherwise), although I have not yet encountered the 1924 Fugitive Notes. I expect that present workers would be well pleased if their efforts turn out to be anywhere near as durable as Whitttakers have. >
It's interesting to see how well Terry's analyses have stood up in comparison with Schweitzer's. Terry always pointed out the obvious in a very lucid non-polemical way. Quite different from Schweitzer's attempts to impose a motivic system on Bach's vocal works. Terry's introduction to the Massin B Minor has some historical errors which scholarship has corrected, but the musical analysis is still sound. I remember as a teenager being amazed at the ease with which he offered his conjectural sketch of the concerto movement on which many still think the "Et Resurrexit" was based.

Uri Golomb wrote (April 20, 2008):
Doug Cowling wrote:
< Terry's introduction to the Mass in B Minor has some historical errors which scholarship has corrected, but the musical analysis is still sound. I remember as a teenager being amazed at the ease with which he offered his conjectural sketch of the concerto movement on which many still think the "Et Resurrexit" was based. >
Surely you mean Donald Francis Tovey, rather than Charles Sanford Terry? They both wrote introductions to the Mass, but as I recall, it's Tovey's that contains the "Et resurrexit" sketch.

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 20, 2008):
Uri Golomb wrote:
< Surely you mean Donald Francis Tovey, rather than Charles Sanford Terry? They both wrote introductions to the Mass, but as I recall, it's Tovey's that contains the "Et resurrexit" sketch. >
Yes, you're right. It was Tovey.

Thanks,

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (April 22, 2008):
John Pike wrote:
< A brilliant summary of Bach's genius and appeal.
Thanks for this, Francis. >
I would like to add that when performing Bach
A)---we should regard Whitaker as contaminated by Romantic values as others were of the period and research since then has often shown that they were not exactly correct in all matters but nevertheless made valuable contributions. An example of this is Wanda Landowska's Pleyel Harpsichord which is little more than a plucked Piano.

(1) almost NEVER NEVER use the harpsichord except that no REAL organ is available or it is specifically called for---what is a NOT a real Organ?---- any electronic instrument that pretends to be a PIPE ORGAN but is not. An Organ must have pipes that are sounded by compressed air flowing through them controled by a console which activates pallets and sliders controlled either mechanically, pneumatically or electrically to allow air to sound the pipes or ranks of pipes.

(2) NEVER NEVER substitute an English Horn for an Oboe d'amore; a bassoon, bass oboe or other such instrument for an Oboe da caccia. Oboe da caccias are being built today so there is not excuse not to use them.

(3) Never use a Viola for a Viola d'amore. These are made also and there are players who are proficient playing them and the sound is not the same as one does not get the sympathetic vibrations with a viola as one does with the d'more.

(4) Never use a Contrabasse for a Violone, a Cello for a Viola da Gamba---they all sound differently and are not the same instrument and the true instruments can be purchased or have made today copied from historic models.

(5) It is preferable to Never use a Violone as this makes the sound of works rather lugubrious and darkens the ensemble.

(6) Never Never use a regular flute to play the Blockflute parts. (this is the correct ENGLISH TERM as 'recorder' obnubliates what is intended). Blockflutes are very common these days and while some purists might object---plastic is perfectly acceptable.

(7) Bach Cantatas should never never be performed with huge choruses or choirs. The ideal Bach Choral group should consists of 4 basses 4 tenors 4 contraltos (boys preferred but not required) 4 Sopranos (boys preferred but not required). Soloists drawn from chorus with occaisionally extra soloist as a female Soprano.

(8) The ideal Bach Instrumental group for choral works should consist of
8-12 Violins
4-6 Violas ( and any d'amores)
2-3 Gambas
1 if absolutely necessary Violone.

2 Blockflutes
2-4 Oboes including Oboe d'amore
2-4 Oboe da caccia
1 if absolutely necessary Bassoon.

2-4 Trumpets in D or E
2 Horns (rarely needed)
2 Trombones (rarely needed)

1 Timpanist on two drums generally G and D.

Organ of at least 12-16 ranks and preferably with one 32' pedal rank that is either a Principal or Posaune although both ranks would be ideal.

(9) Finally Conducting as we know it today was virtually unknown in Bach's day and with small groups a conductor can just about eliminated by relying on the first violin or Keyboard player. However, license can be granted here to have a conductor.

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 22, 2008):
Ludwig wrote:
< 1) NEVER NEVER
2) NEVER NEVER

(3) Never
(4) Never
(6) Never Never .
(7) never never
(9) Finally Conducting as we know it today was virtually unknown in Bach's day and with small groups a conductor can just about eliminated by relying on the first violin or Keyboard player. However, license can be granted here to have a conductor. >
I don't know where to begin with this posting, with its factual errors or with its dogmatic prescriptions. I will restrain myself to two points.

95% of modern performances of Bach choral works are done on modern instruments, with classically-trained soloists, medium-sized mixed amateur choirs, 19th century style organs or harpsichord, and a conductor with a baton. The number of competent period ensembles is so small that Bach performnces are special occasions and most people will never hear a live HIP performance. Those are the parameters most of us deal with in performing Bach today. Otherwise his music would be relegated to CDs.

And of course I can't resist saying that no English-speaking person ever uses "blockflöte" when "recorder" is the term that has been in constant use for 600 years. I do, however, like the word "obnubliate" and plan to impress my friends and amaze my foes with its regular use.

Peter Moncure wrote (April 22, 2008):
OT: obnubilate

[To Douglas Cowling] Careful Doug, it won't be so impressive if someone corrects you. :)

The discussion on the variety and subtle differences in both performance practice and recorded versions has been a revelation to this list newbie, and I am very grateful to be able to read about them, thank you all.

Peter Bright wrote (April 22, 2008):
[To Douglas Cowling] I agree with nearly everything you say here, but I take issue with your '95% of performances... are done on modern instruments...' statement. I have seen countless period (or replica) instrument and historically informaed performances of Bach's choral works and they seem to be at least as common as the modern instrument variety (at least in London and Cambridge). These include venues such as the Royal Albert Hall and Royal Festival Hall (although the size of such venues can sometimes stretch period instruments), as well as less well known venues. The quality of the performances themselves has sometimes been breathtaking...

I must say, after being away from the list for so long, it was somewhat comforting (in an odd kind of way) to know that lvb was still insisting on the term 'blockflote'!

John Pike wrote (April 22, 2008):
[To Peter Bright] I agree with Peter. I suspect Doug's impression has been coloured by experience on his side of the pond. My impression is that period instrument performance of high quality is commonplace in Britain, and not just in Bristol, where I live, and which has a very healthy musical life. I know of baroque groups playing period instruments in other parts of the country. For example, the aptly named Margaret Faultless (baroque violinist of national repute) leads Devon Baroque (Devon is 200 miles from London, which is a long way in UK terms), as well as playing in some of the finest London-based groups.

Brdaley Lehman wrote (April 22, 2008):
(not anymore) Whittaker on Bach Cantatas 1924

Ludwig wrote:
< (8) The ideal Bach Instrumental group for choral works should consist of (...) Organ of at least 12-16 ranks and preferably with one 32' pedal rank that is either a Principal or Posaune although both ranks would be ideal. >
Holy cow! A 32' Posaune? A 32' [open?] Principal? Can you please name a Bach vocal piece that would call for either of those? How much and where would it be used in the piece? Sure, it might be cool to throw one of those on ad lib at (say) the earthquake recitative of the St Matthew Passion (BWV 244), but where's your evidence thaBach would have had his player do so, or at a spot in any other vocal piece of his?

I notice in passing that the McCreesh recording of the St Matthew (BWV 244) uses a 15-stop organ, but none of those are 32'.

Several weeks ago I played a service as guest organist on this instrument that has 11 complete stops, plus two half stops: http://www.taylorandboody.com/opuses/opus_46.htm
Its pedal has *only* a single 16' Subbass (stopped pipes, half-length) and there wouldn't be room available to build an open 16' Principal, let alone an open 32'. And it's a fairly high ceiling already. The congregation doesn't yet have the money to finish the pedal's Octave 8 or Posaune 16. For music that doesn't need any independent pedal, coupling a manual down to it works very well. The instrument is plenty loud for its main function of supporting congregational singing of 200-300 people every Sunday, and it doesn't need any open 16, let alone any open 32. I honestly don't see the point of your recommendation that an "ideal" organ for Bach's vocal music needs any 32. Where would it play, and why, and how loudly should it be voiced to do so?

One of your other prescriptions was:
< (7) Bach Cantatas should never never be performed with huge choruses or choirs. The ideal Bach Choral group should consists of 4 basses 4 tenors 4 contraltos (boys preferred but not required) 4 Sopranos (boys preferred but not required). Soloists drawn from chorus with occaisionally extra soloist as a female Soprano. >
Setting aside for the moment my conviction that 16 is probably about 12 too many already, historically: again, where is your 32' Principal and/or Posaune going to play (supported all the way up, presumably) such that it doesn't pretty much overwhelm the sound of all 16 of your singers?

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 22, 2008):
[To John Pike] Yes. I was referring primarily to North America and including church choirs which overall account for most of the Bach performances worldwide. In Canada at least, it is difficult to put togeher a period band outside of major cities such as Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Most church and community choirs have to rely on contracting individual players in their areas and rarely are these Baroque specialists. In the worldwide total of cantata performances, you would also find many with organ accompaniment alone. I won't mention the performance of "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring" in which I gave the first violin part to a clarinet!

In the UK and on the continent it is much easier to find period players. 200 miles is around the corner in Canada! I'll never forget going to a Proms concert which recreated the original orchestral forces for the Fireworks music. The sound of 14 period oboes tuning up and then playing the Oboe part tutti was alternately exhilarating and hair-raising.

James Atkins Pritchard wrote (April 22, 2008):
[To Douglas Cowling] I think he meant "obnubilate".

Neil Mason wrote (April 23, 2008):
You wrote:
< Oboe da caccias are being built today so there is not excuse not to use them. >
Not in Australia.

Neil Mason wrote (April 23, 2008):
You wrote:
< However, license can be granted here to have a conductor. >
That's very kind of you.

Neil Mason wrote (April 23, 2008):
You wrote:
< (3) Never use a Viola for a Viola d'amore. These are made also and there are players who are proficient playing them and the sound is not the same as one does not get the sympathetic vibrations with a viola as one does with the d'more. >
Only one player in queensland (bigger than texas)

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (April 23, 2008):
[To John Pike] As I stated many years ago many of us who do play the Blockflute got together way back in the 1990s and decided that the proper English word for this instrument is 'BLOCKFLUTE' because the other term obnubilates the semantics. However,we have renegades among us who insist on not communicating by using the other term. When they say 'recorder'----that to us means an electronic machine that is used in an orchestra to do things like play the Nightingale in Resphigi's Pines of Rome or a legal Office or person who records court actons et al.

The obstinate ones are now becoming a minority voice and while it has taken about 17 years for people to use the correct terminology--we still have a long ways to go especially with the Dolmetsch folks. Literate people do not use sloppy language and semantics that makes them appear illiterate.

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 23, 2008):
Ludwig wrote:
< Literate people do not use sloppy language and semantics that makes them appear illiterate. >
Poor Shakespeare!

He was so illterate that he wrote:

"He hath played on his prologue like a child on a recorder"
Midsummer's Night's Dream, V.I

and ...

Enter the Players with recorders
"O, the recorders. Let me see one."
Hamlet, III,II

But perhaps I obnubilate.

James Atkins Pritchard wrote (April 23, 2008):
[To Ludwig] "Recorder" has been the English word for many centuries:
http://phonoarchive.org/grove/Entries/S23022.htm

"Blockflute" is a neologism.

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (April 23, 2008):
[To Douglas Cowling] You are refering to a different language. We no longer live in the 16-17th century period and we certainly do not go around speaking Saxon or Angles. You are comparing Apples and Oranges and assuming that all apples are oranges.

Language changes over time and one should update ones self,accordingly. It is good however to understand the older use of language in order to read material from that time. but most people do not understand Shakespearean English although it sounds familiar things like "lief" (I ask one of my students once what this meant and he told me "leaf"), methinks,cocksquean,abrook,APPLE-JOHN,ACCITE,CONY-CATCH,CUSTARD-COFFIN are just a few Elizabethian words whose meanings fly over the heads of those who have not specialized in Elizabethian English---also many of Shakespeare's risque jokes fly over the heads of most people these days. All of these are out of date and arcane in meaning for most people.

I do not hear people using the above words today even in the most erudite elite literate circles. One as lief say nothing than to noise the world with language which obnubilates. Nor do I hear people speaking Norman English these days which was heavily imbued with Old French.

à bientôt

James Atkins Pritchard wrote (April 23, 2008):
[To Ludwig] I rarely post on this list because I know so much less about the Bach Cantatas than many who post here, but I do have what I expect will seem to be a very simple-minded question that I hope you'll forgive me for asking: why exactly is it a bad thing to perform music in a manner that the composer did not envision?

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (April 23, 2008):
[To James Atkins Pritchard] WE do not speak Chaucerian or Elizabethan Language today and I dare say that you really understand this old form of English unless you are an English medievalist with a Masters or Doctorate in English linguistics and semantics and are gifted in textual criticism. I dare say that you fully understand Shakespeare completely the way it was understood in his day when you read it. Words change meaning over time and one should keep their language current. However, there is no objection in knowing past usage in order to read and understand documents from that time. This problem comes up over and over with religious fundamentalists and literalists in reading the KJ Bible because the fallacious expectation is that all words in use today had the same meaning thousands of years ago. We do good these days to have a word mean the same thing after 60 years let alone the 11th century. An example is in the 1940s it was perfectly acceptable to say: 'We had a gay ole time". Today, say that and people might get the wrong impression/meaning. In the United States --say certain phrases and no one gets alarmed and thinks nothing of it---but say it in Australia and you have a fight on your hands because it is regarded as ainsult. If I said to you in Elizabethan English "He is a well paid cockney". Many people would think today that I am saying that this fellow is from a certain section of London in the environs Mary-le-Bow Bells Church. That would not be the case. I would be interested in what most people on this list think that this example means WITHOUT doing research. What about this sentence: "I dig you man" which is US English ofrom the 1950s (Elizabethan II).

We can see the same kinds changes in the English Language when we compare the writings of D.H. Lawrence with current usage or for that matter James Joyce.

We have been through these arguments many times before and it is rather trite to continue them. IF you wish
to speak Elizabethan I English then fine but you are not communicating in a manner that is appropriate for today. I would also expect that you would go about dressed in Elizabethan fashions, walk everywhere you go unless you can afford to have a horse drawn Coach and a bevy of coachmen.

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (April 23, 2008):
[To James Atkins Pritchard] No need to apologize. I am open minded and open to discussion. Do not put yourself down because you do not know much about Bach's Cantatas, Bach etc. You can learn much from members on this list here many of whom as, Dr. Ledbetter, have a wealth of knowledge to share. We all have to start somewhere. So this is a good starting place in addition to reading, videos and other material on Bach. We have had the pleasure of having new found works of Bach announced on this list during its existence. I do wish to warn you there are many of us who are very passionate about Bach on this list so if things get a little heated (we try to keep the lid on) just over look it--- we all gotta cool down sometime.

Now to your question: Well that is like wearing socks that do not match your tie or wearing flip flops or a garish tie to a white tie dinner. There is NO law that says you can't it is not considered in good taste and may offend some people. Of course you could if you wanted to but my mom use to tell me when I was a kid--"just because you can does not mean you should".

The rationale behind this is that music does not sound like the composer intended when the sounds wanted are not present. It is like in creating a painting on canvass and painting grass red when it should be painted green.

For instance: if you substitute a Piano for a Harpischord in a piece for Harpsichord and Strings---the result does not blend well as it should. There is something about a Harpsichord that blends well with strings as well as stands out when it is desired. A piano substituted in this case will stick out like a sore thumb rather than blend. J.S. Bach never wrote for the Piano (contrary to the fans of one noted deceased Canadian Pianist) and never heard one or saw one until about the time of his death at Postdam and by then he was nearly blind and not composing except for his last work which he dictated as he was dyng. If you are going to use Piano for a work for strings by a Bach ---you would be better to do so for one of the sons of JS who did write for the Piano.

James Atkins Pritchard wrote (April 23, 2008):
[To Ludwig] I'm afraid I don't see why you think that the word "recorder" is obsolete. Is it just because it's been in use for a long time? So have many English words in frequent use. Is it because "recorder" can mean many things? It is a characteristic of English that homonyms are exceedingly common.

In contemporary English the standard word for the instrument is "recorder", and it's easy to confirm this by referring to printed sources.

James Atkins Pritchard wrote (April 23, 2008):
[To Ludwig] One further point. I just checked on Amazon and found 4 CDs of music played on the "blockflute". There are hundreds of recorder CDs.

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (April 23, 2008):
[To James Atkins Pritchard] Again there are people who are obstinate, obtuse and do not speak clear English and can not give you good directions if their life depended on it let alone say what they really mean even if it is very polite. They are the ones who if you ask directions to 114 Augusta Avenue from 12 Charles Street will tell you ---"you see that sign over there? Well you turn there and go over there then turn on that street there and follow til you get to the white house (FYI you do not know this but there are 10 white houses on this street ) and Suzy lives up there").

Please learn to think clearly and speak clearly. Don't expect you to be a great writer but if you do think clearly and speak clearly you will be on your way to being a Hemingway or maybe even a Shakespeare or Tennessee Williams.

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (April 23, 2008):
[To James Atkins Pritchard] Do you understand lexicography and how English words are founded and their orgins? Most are based on Latin and Greek origins and carry with them those meanings; others are borrowed from other languages. Some languages have words that precisely express what the meaning is. For instance ---the Inuit of Alaska have 25 words for kinds of snow which English does not have. IF you wanted to describe snow as accurately as they do--you would have to borrow those words and while these words have been adopted into English in Alaska --they have yet to gain wide currency since most Enlish speakers have no need to use such accurate descriptions. Greek has about 10 words meaning Love---but English only has about one-two so this leads to some misunderstandings in English when say a man says about another man that he loves him. Does he love him as a gay situation or he loves him as a brother et al?

The right precise word is always the correct word to use NEVER sloppy vague language. ''Blockflute' is the correct and right word for an musical instrument of the flute family and is so called because of the way it is built--exactly like an Organ pipe which is constructed on a block with a lip so that air hits the it causing sound.

The word 'recorder' is not obsolete with the proper semantics but if you are using it for a member of the flute family then it is obsolete as well as generates confusion. IT never was a proper term but gained some currency in the 11th century slang by illiterate folks who knew almost no Latin at a time when Latin was dying out and was not used correctly. People back then were not as well educated as they are today. Very few people read or were able to write. The word comes from Latin verb "recordare" meaning to write something down, to practice something, to remember something and as a blockflute does none of these things especially by itself--hence it is an ilegitimate word to use for a member of the flute family.

A recorder in the musical sense is an electronic instrument used in an Orchestra to supply electronic repeatable sounds even computer generated sounds such as from a moog synthesizer or just a device to playback tape of a Nightingale, Whale singing. It is used in Resphigi's PInes of Rome (originally a phonograph was), and in Alan Hovahnes's 'And God Created Whales. I have in my recordings library---a Concerto for Recorder and Orchestra---but this is NOT a concerto for a member of the Flute family. It is a concerto for an electronic device in which the sounds are recorded on a tape and spliced together creating at times some rather weird sounds obtainable no other way.

A Recorder is a computer program which notates music and can produce the sounds of a complete orchestra and other exotic instruments and can play what is recorded back.

A Recorder is a job and legal profession---a kind of specialized secretarial work in which legal documents are recorded (written down ----the orignal meaning of this word--from Latin recordare).

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 23, 2008):
Ludwig wrote:
< The word comes from Latin verb "recordare" meaning to write something down, to practice something, to remember something and as a blockflute does none of these things especially by itself--hence it is an ilegitimate word to use for a member of the flute family. >
Recordare, Jesu pie,
Quod sum causa tuae viae,
Ne me perdas ilia die

I wish 'that da" would come on this string.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (April 23, 2008):
Some weeks ago I referred to what I labeled as "idiosyncratic comments" that conductor Kurt Masur had made prior to the radio broadcast of his Matthäus-Passion (BWV 244). I have only had it gradually dawn on me since reading Francis Browne's original post with the present subject line that Masur was simply plagiarizing (no ascription at all). What Masur said about Bach's loving men of all denominations and all religions, etc., was a verbatim quote.

He ascribed to Bach a totally modern universal love and acceptance of all (well at least) human beings, not however going as far as to say that bach loved all creatures and all life.

I found Masur's words so off-putting that I simply at that time shut the radio (with the admission that big band Bach is not my cup of tea anyway).

Had he said that Bach's music can move all men of whatever belief, that would have been a totally different matter.

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (April 23, 2008):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman] As one who formerly had their own radio show it is commnon for everyone to have scripts. IF a person is a good reader --you may not notice it but Masur is not a good reader. He would have had to have permission to quoted this from some author legally---if not he needs to get a lawyer quick.

Ed Myskowski wrote (April 24, 2008):
>I must say, after being away from the list for so long, it was somewhat comforting (in an odd kind of way) to know that lvb was still insisting on the term 'blockflote'!<
Lift or elevator, truck or lorry, humor or humour, language is an ongoing negotiation among the users and the conservators.

My suggestion of two years ago, to adopt the technically and historicaly acccurate <flute a bec>, or simply <bec> for the hurried, was so widely ignored, I nearly forgot it. Dare I raise it again? See, for example, the first instance: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV106-D5.htm

When necessary, I will continue to use <flute a bec> for the first instance, <bec> subsequently, because:
(1) It is universally understood
(2) It has an acceptable etymology
(3) Minimal keystrokes (for repeat usage)

Thanks for the smile. Too late to change the thread subject, at this point.

Jean Laaninen wrote (April 24, 2008):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
> I must say, after being away from the list for so long, it was somewhat comforting (in an odd kind of way) to know that lvb was still insisting on the term 'blockflote'!<
I am totally curious about how Bill (alias lvb) formed his strong opinions. Not that I have anything against strong opinions because sometimes I have them myself. But in the case of the term 'recorder' I think we need a little bit of flexibility. Just back from an evening of Baroque Music that spanned 150 years and about ten genres within that time, the program had a regular flute, and it had a recorder...but no blockflote unless that was the recorder. Some instruments were period, and others were not. Bill's insistence on using Baroque instruments completely is a little far-fetched in today's economy in the arts. I was discussing a Baroque violin that our school owns with a grad student, and guessing about the cost of restoration - imagining about five thousand for the job. She said that was about right. So today's program used contemporary violins, but to accommodate the period instruments in the ensemble had to use a very light bowing technique on some Dowland pieces.

Is there some group or organization with which these extremely traditionalist views regarding what instruments may or may not be used? I'd be interested in a name.

Common sense is probably the most uncommon thing in the world. But common sense dictates in my view that the scores should be played, and we should feast upon the resulting glory without being too driven on the matter of period instruments. For one thing, it would be interesting to know how many of these wonders are actually available in the US for playing; how many are in need of repair; and perhaps even how many replications are being made and whether or not traditionalists consider quality contemporary reproductions worthy of being used in a so-called authentic performance. I imagine such instruments exist???

On another note, I spoke with the ASU head of the School of Music - Kimberly Marshall, internationally known organist, regarding the ASU Organ Hall and the instruments now in place. I've known Kimberly now for about eight or nine years and she is going to give me some time at some point to fill me in on the history of the Organ Hall and instruments. One organ we have in place now is from the 1700s, and today was the first time I ever heard it--now that's something that should interest Bill. The sound was just great.

When I get to visit with Kimberly and perhaps one other person I will share the details--they are quite interesting. I have heard about them in bits and pieces for years. Assembling all in the context of Bach performances (2 today ) will be an adventure.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (April 24, 2008):
Jean Laaninen wrote:
< Some instruments were period, and others were not. Bill's insistence on using Baroque instruments completely is a little far-fetched in today's economy in the arts. I was discussing a Baroque violin that our school owns with a grad student, and guessing about the cost of restoration - imagining about five thousand for the job. She said that was
about right. So today's program used contemporary violins, but to accommodate
the period instruments in the ensemble had to use a very light bowing technique on some Dowland pieces. >
Well you can have historical instruments, or copies of historical instruments. In fact there's a whole cottage industry of instrument makers that will craft you a baroque oboe or flute or trumpet to your exacting specs, at prices not any different than modern instruments. So no, it's not really a cost issue. You don't have to play Bach on a Strad ;)

< Is there some group or organization with which these extremely traditionalist views regarding what instruments may or may not be used? I'd be interested in a name.
Common sense is probably the most uncommon thing in the world. But common sense dictates in my view that the scores should be played, and we should feast upon the resulting glory without being too driven on the matter of period instruments. For one thing, it would be interesting to know how many of these wonders are actually available in the US for playing; how many are in need of repair; and perhaps even how many replications are being made and whether or not traditionalists consider quality contemporary reproductions worthy of being used in a so-called authentic performance. I imagine such instruments exist??? >
As noted above, yes, there are plenty of instrument makers that are more than able to provide you with anything you need, at very reasonable prices. I think http://www.earlymusic.net/home.html has plenty of links.

Period instruments or not? I don't draw lines in the sand about this, but last month, the New York Philharmonic did the St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244). It was pretty bad; and as a friend of mine wrote: " 'Music you feel,' the NY Philharmonic's tickets proclaim. Tonight's audience, I think it's safe to say, didn't feel Bach's St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244). (If they had, 2000 people might not have turned the page in their programs in the middle of Jesus expiring.)"

Jean Laaninen wrote (April 24, 2008):
[To Kim Patrick Clow] I knew about harpsichord kits, and while a different category - dulcimer kits, but wasn't really aware until this evening and a web search a few minutes ago how many Baroque instruments are readily available. Then whether or not on would purchase one ready made or go from a kit is really more of a pragmatic question of how much use one might get from a period instrument. I've seen some interesting collections of flutes in photos in the flute publicatiogoing back quite a way, but found new woodwind instruments in my web search that were entirely new to me--some not used in Bach cantatas, but period pieces none the less. Thanks, Kim.

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (April 24, 2008):
[To Jean Laaninen] Depending on your shop skills there are kits for just about every baroque instrument that you would like to own.

Zuckerman and Hubbard Harpsichords ofter kits in various states of completion ---from about 5,000 dollars all the way up to 20-40K. They are online if you care to look them up. Zuckerman is not the el cheapo poorly constructed instruments that they use to sell back in the 1960s but very nice instruments for home and for concert stage.

Sabathil Harpsichords are also a favorite of mine (see photo). They are individually handcrafted in Vancouver, British Columbia per order. Mr Sabathil or his son may offer kits but all I have seen and played were ready made. One feature I found is that is that the instrument I played had a real Orchestra Harp 8' stop on it. It sounded like a real harp. I like their 18th Century double manual harpsichords which are copies of Taskin. When I was in College; I played one of the el cheapo Zuckermans. When the College closed down for the summer; the dean closed it up on a humid day in a room by itself. When we returned; it looked like one of the twisted clocks in a Salvadore Dali painting. I was given the task of restoring it. It never completely was straightened out. You can have all these finished as you like them with very ornamental roses in the soundboard and lid paintings along with inlaid stone and gold leaf bandings. Sabahthil Harpsichords are difficult to find online. However their address is:729 Gardner Lane Bowen Island BC, V0N 1G0 Phone: 604-947-0440,Fax: 604-947-0440. Most of their instruments are sold by word of mouth as they have been for the past 40 years.

As far as Pipe Organs are concerned ---they come in kits too but this is rather complicated so you might want to have a firm construct you one for home use. Why put up with a fake electronic when you can have the real thing for about the same about of money. A real Organ is like a diamond when compared to an electronic imitative piece or worthless glass.

A suggested stop list tracker action:
Gt
Principal 16 (Haskell basses) 48 pipes
Principal 8 (Haskell basses) 61 pipes
Principal 4 61 pipes
Principal 2 61 pipes
Mixture III 183 pipes
Rhorflute 8 61 pipes

Man II
Salicional 8 61 pipes
Gambe 8 61 pipes
Gedackt 8 61 pipes
Rhorflote 4 61 pipes
Sifflote 2 61 pipes
Shalmei 8 (voiced with trumpet sound)61 pipes
Nazard 2 2/3 61 pipes
Tierce 1 3/5 61 pipes

Pedal
Posaune 16' (1/4 length) 32 pipes
Trumpet 8 (1/2 length) 32 pipes
Shalmei 4 (from Man II) 32 pipes
Principal 16 (from GT) 32 notes
Principal 8 (from Gt) 32 notes
Principal 4 (from Gt) 32 notes
Gedakt 16 32 pipes
Mixture III 93 pipes
Tremulant
MII to Ped
Man II to Gt.
Gt to Ped.
Combinations and midi.--only available with electric action

The above scheme will give a nice plenum for Bach's Toccata and Fuge in Dminor and be suitable for most of Bachs works. One can also play Franck particularly if a Sw is added. With Unifying the ranks we can reduce the costs and expand the varieties of tones available.

IF you need an Oboe d'amore they are easy to come by at most musical instrument stores. Now for an Oboe da caccia--this will have to be constructed---and there are people in the Boston, Mass area who do this.

Want to play Mozart and Beethoven as they were originally intended on the Glass Harmonica?---Finkbeiner scientific glass works makes these. Beethoven has a part for it in one of the Leonore Overtures he wrote.

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (April 24, 2008):
[To Kim Patrick Clow] I do not insist on having actual instruments from the Baroque age---most of us are not wealthy enough or have a wealthy patron to allow us to play a Strad, Guaneri, Schnitger etc. However, it is within our reach to play good copies. I do no know if the list does allow photos but I did send Jean photos of some nice Harpischords of the late Roccoco age that are also suitable for Baroque Literature but these folks also make copies of instruments that existed from the time of Bach.

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (April 24, 2008):
[To Jean Laaninen] First as a Universty Conservatory student in the 1960s; I came through a great ferment and passionate age of love of the Baroque---it was the focus of musical fashion and also of serious study. At the same time a great age of contemporary music was taking place. I was at the premiere of John Cage's silent piece and also the first premier and broadcast of Penderiki's 'Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima', Allan Hovahness's 'and God Created Whales'. Bernsteins "West Side Story" et al. So I cut my teeth on the Baroque age under some very passionate and deeply knowledgeable folks whose knowledge of Baroque Music seemed to know no bounds or limits in depth and breath even in microscopic details. So you might say I caught the "disease" from them.

Next of all I grew up under the tutledge of some major household name writers who taught me the intricacies of the English language and sloppy, sloven communication was not tolerated by them---in some cases it would get your ears boxed. When I hear Russians and other foreigners speak English better than native speakers ---it puts native speakers to shame and makes them look illiterate. It should be that native speakers whose mother tongue is English should be experts in communicating in the language but alas that is not true. I am twice as hard on myself about communication than I am on other people. When writing I may spend 30 minutes to an hour to find the correct word for the meaning I wish to convey.

Words have meanings and if we wish to convey what we mean to say we need to choose the precise right words to do so. Words are tools of communication. You would not use milk for eggs in making scrambled eggs in cooking would you ?? The major components in Scrambled eggs are eggs not milk. Like wise you do not use words of ignorant confusing words for something that does not communicate what you really mean to say. So why should we use 'recorder' when we really mean a kind of flute whose proper English name is Blockflute because of the way it is made and adapted from German "Blockflöte". It you take an Organ pipe and a Blockflute and put them side by side and compare ---you will find that they are construced exactly alike except the blockflute has holes in it to shorten or lengthen the air column and to sound more than one note on the organ--we need one pipe for every note where as on the blockflute we simply stop and open holes on it.

The word 'recorder' comes from the Latin verb "recordare" meaning to remember something, to write down something or to practice something. The woodwind instrument of the Flute family does none of these things and should not be used for this instrument in English nor should it ever be.

How did it come to be used? You have to study the history of the Latin language to understand this fully. Latin after the fall of the Roman Empire began a steady decline in which it became less and less a living language. Soon only Monks in Irish Monasteries were the only ones still literate in Latin and as Latin died out their knowledge of Latin became more and more impure and contaminated. Norse invasions and German invasions help bring Latin's near death rather quickly. IN those days most people were illiterate. The knowledge of people who were literate were about what today would be American junior high school and first year high school level--and that was college level back then. Illiterate people attached incorrrect meanings to Latin words and what was slang came into early English.

Most of these words by the late 19th century had disappeared and were known only by folks who studied early English and its origins. Enter the 19th century snobs who began to study Latin as part of the fashion of the Greek and Roman classics revival and other such folks who wanted to pretend that they knew more than they did and had romantic notions about the past---as Walter Dolmetsch. In all fair honesty and credibility---Walter and his group made some valuable contributions to understanding the music of the past and in reconstructing period instruments. When you read about the harpsichord from these people ----they describe something that never existed and in their snobby ways proclaimed the Piano as superior to the Harpsichord. (the harpsichord survived only by the skin of its teeth in Spain after the French Revolution). However, their views were colored by their romantic notions. Walter loved to use obsolete and inapproprate words---a charter member of the Society for Anachronisms. That was ok just for play but for serious communication ---the word meanings of many of these words still in use had changed since 1150 and thus inappropriate in modern communication.

When you use an ancient word inappropriately you are just as wrong as the criminal who deliberately ran over and killed someone with their automobile.

So once more---why do you want to insist on using an inappropriate word that does not mean what you want it to mean according to the rules of lexicography and semantics? A study of Latin and Greek would serve you well in speaking and learning the intricacies of your mother tongue---and it would expand your vocabulary so that if you came across a word you never heard of before and did nto know the meaning ---all you had to do is analyse it and learn the meaning from there---for instance antidisestablishmentarianism can be broken down into anti-= Latin --against+dis= to undo+establishment+ ism=a condition or profession of. This is quiet a sesquipedalianism= ses= Latin 7+qui=who
which+ped=Grk=foot+ism or a 7 footed word meaning simply a long word.

Now where is this Organ---I knwo a whole bevy of folks who would love to see and hear and possibly play this collection of instruments.

Neil Mason wrote (April 24, 2008):
You wrote:
< When you use an ancient word inappropriately you are just as wrong as the criminal who deliberately ran over and killed someone with their automobile. >
What a load of cobblers!

I'm afraid you are in a minority of one in such matters.

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 24, 2008):
Ludwig wrote:
< When you use an ancient word inappropriately you are just as wrong as the criminal who deliberately ran over and killed someone with their automobile. >
Actually, I would say that an awkward neologism like "blockflöte" which 95% of English speakers would not know how to pronounce is a greater crime against the language than "recorder" which has 600 years of established usage behind it.

Man, this string is weird and wonderful.

John Pike wrote (April 24, 2008):
[To Douglas Cowling] Please can we put an end to this thread NOW.

Ludwig is welcome to continue using this term "Blockfloete". The rest of us will continue to use the term "recorder" because he is clearly not going to change anyone else's mind, and it does no-one any good to continually use words such as "illiterate".

Thank you

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (April 24, 2008):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Actually, I would say that an awkward neologism like "blockflöte" which 95% of English speakers would not know how to pronounce is a greater crime against the language than "recorder" which has 600 years of
established usage behind it. >
Oh I disagree, I think President Bush's use of English is a vastly worse crime :) Grove's did say that "Blockflutes" is used by English speakers, and in fact here is what else they have to say about Recorders:

"The verb `to record', meaning `to remember for oneself, to recall to another', derives from the Latin recordari, `to remember'; thus a recorder was a rememberer or relater, such as a minstrel or, by extension, his instrument (E. Partridge: Origins: A Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English, New York, 1958). The first known use of the word to refer to a musical instrument was in 1388, when the household accounts of the Earl of Derby (later King Henry IV) listed `i. fistula nomine Recordour mpta London pro domino' (the name of the instrument was misreported as `Ricordo' by Trowell, D 1957). In English literature the term recorder first appeared in the poem The Fall of Princes by John Lydgate (written 1431-8) where it apparently referred to the pan pipes: `Pan, god off Kynde, with his pipes sevene / Off recorderis fond first the melodies'. A Latin-English dictionary from 1440, Promptorium parvulorum, gave `recorder or lytyll pipe' as the translation of canula (the Campus florum cited as the authority for the term has not been traced).

In most European languages, the first term for the recorder was the word for flute alone: in German `Fleite' (von Aich, LXXV-hubscher Lieder, 1519) or `Flöte' (Virdung, 1511, rendered as `flute' and `fluyte' respectively in the French and Dutch translations of 1529 and 1568); in Italian, `flauto' (letter from G.A. Testagrossa, 1518) or `fiauto' (Verona, list of city musicians, 1484); in Spanish, `flauta' (testament of Antón Ancóriz of Saragossa, 1472). Beginning in the 1530s, an appropriate adjective was often added, describing either the nine holes of the medieval and Renaissance recorder (fleute a neufte trous; see J. Palsgrave: Les clarissement de la langue francoyse, 1530), the eight holes of the Baroque recorder (flauto da 8 fori, `Tutto il bisognevole', ?1630), the vertical orientation (flauto diritto, letter from Giovanni Alvise, 1505), the soft or sweet tone (fluste douce, Mersenne, 1636; flauto dolce, Küsser, Erindo, 1694; flauta dulce, Pedro Rabassa, Miserere, 1715), the supposed association with England (fluste d'Angleterre, Mersenne, 1636; litui anglicani, rector of the English Jesuit College in St Omer, France, first decade of the 17th century) or with Italy (flauto italiano, Bismantova, 1677, rev. 1694), the block (Blockflöte, Praetorius, 1619), the `beak' of the Baroque recorder (flûte à bec, Hotteterre, Pièces, 1708; flauta bocca, Reynvaan, 1795), or the ability of the recorder in c'' to fit well into the hand (handfluit, Matthysz, Bc1649).

When the Baroque recorder was introduced to England by a group of French professionals in 1673, they brought with it the French names, `flute douce' or simply `flute', which overlapped with the traditional name until at least 1695. From 1673 to the late 1720s in England, therefore, the word `flute', hitherto reserved for the transverse instrument, always meant recorder - a switch of terminology that has caused endless confusion among modern writers and editors. When the transverse flute overtook the recorder in popularity in England in the 1720s, the latter began to be distinguished further by the terms `common flute' (John Loeillet, Sonata's for Variety of Instruments, 1722) or `common English-flute' (Stanesby, c1732), later contracted to `English flute' (The Compleat Tutor for the Flute, c1765). John Grano used `German flute' and `flute' interchangeably for the transverse instrument by 1728-9, although a few writers were still using `flute' to mean recorder until at least 1765. Standard 20th-century names for the recorder include: flûte à bec or flûte douce (Fr.), Blockflöte (Ger.), flauto dolce, flauto a becco or flauto diritto (It.), blokfluit (Dutch), furulya or egyenesfuvola (Hung.), flauta de pico (Sp.) or flauta dulce (Latin-American Sp.) and tatebue or r&#299;k&#333;da (Jap.). The neologism blockflute, derived from the German Blockflöte, goes back at least to F.J. Giesbert's recorder tutor (Mainz, 1936). The German terms Längsflöte and Schnabelflöte have long since gone out of fashion."

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (April 25, 2008):
Whittaker on Bach Cantatas 1924 last word

[To John Pike] One last word re-Doug Cowling---if you can say 'block" and can say 'flute' you can say 'blockflute'. (the only logical excuse NOT to be able to say this is if one has had a stroke or other brain impairment which makes speech difficult or severly impairs it such as the great Cambridge scientist--Stephen Hawking). Let's give people on this list a little more intelligence than Doug's saying that they can not learn to say 'blockflute'. This like other such statements obstinancy is fallacious logic. (Since Doug lives in Canada this is like saying that English speaking folks in Canada can not pronounce French words correctly (which they are taught in school or folks in Quebec can not learn correct English pronounciation) when French is one of the National Legal languages of Canada que je parlasse aussi.)

After all we have musical folks here and that means that they are sensitive to sounds and can learn accents and languages better than the average non-musical person. However, the English spelling is incorrect---it is not the Dutch or Frisan or German word although the English is derived from there. Please excuse but not meaning to be rude John: The correct English spelling is 'Blockflute' or broken up 'Block'+'flute'. Of course if you wish to use the Dutch, Frisan, or German form you are welcome to as it still conveys the same clearly.

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Last update: ưApril 25, 2008 ư10:10:30