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Flute in Bach's Vocal Works
Part 4

Continue from Part 3

Recorder or flute

Nicholas Johnson wrote (March 20, 2006):
How does one tell whether the part requires a flute or recorder ? Sometimes the music is written in F or B minor but in other cases it seems less clear.

Thomas Braatz wrote (March 20, 2007):
Nicholas Johnson wrote:
>>How does one tell whether the part requires a flute or recorder? Sometimes the music is written in F or B minor but in other cases it seems less clear.<<
Based upon the research contained in the book "J.S. Bachs Instrumentarium" by Ulrich Prinz (Stuttgart/Kassel, 2005), the following seems to be true:

Recorder range in Bach's music: f1 to g3, fully chromatic, Bach does not avoid notes which are more difficult to play than others.

Bach does not differentiate between the transverse flute and the recorder in regard to the key/tonality selected. However, with recorders, his key preferences are F major, B major, G minor, C major, D minor and G major, in that order. But he will ask recorder players to play in D major in BWV 71 and Eb major in BWV 161 (this was caused by the necessary adjustment needed between Chorton and Kammerton).

BWV 243a/9 (1st version of the Eb major Magnificat) had the recorders in F major, but for the 2nd version
in D major, Bach used transverse flutes playing in E major.

Similar changes took place with BWV 127/1 which was originally scored for 2 recorders playing in F major (their 'favorite' key, their lowest note being an F); however, for a later performance of this mvt. 1733 (or later, but certainly not before this date), Bach transposed this mvt. to Eb major with 2 flauti traversi replacing the previous recorder parts.

There is evidence that Bach used the recorder from 1707 (BWV 106) until 1738 (BWV 1057) to 1739 (a single recorder part: St. 129).

In contrast, the 1st use of the transverse flute occurred in BWV 173a (1719-1722), BWV 184a (1722-1723) and BWV 194a (before 1723; its latest use was in the trio sonata for the Musical Offering (BWV 1079 (1747) and in parts 2 and 4 of the B minor mass (BWV 232) (1748-1749).

The general rule of thumb to use with Bach's music is to assume that any form of the word "flauto" without "traverso" following it, means that Bach wanted a recorder instead of a transverse flute. [Variant forms of "flauto" are: "flaute, flaut:, flauti, fiauti, flutti".]

My guess is that using these general rules, it should be possible to determine correctly which instrument Bach wanted 90% to 95% of the time.

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (March 21, 2007):
[To Nicholas Johnson] Permettez-moi avant tout de vous donner une leçon anglaise nécessaire. Aussi vous les gens sont offensés par le français de Collège d'amerique - il trouble et fait de la peine de trouver quelqu'un qui imite ceux dont la langue mative peut-être l'anglais mais le parle pauvrement et induit d'autres en erreur.

Le terme anglais nécessaire juste pour la flûte don’t vous parlez est "Blockflute" ou la "Fipple FLute". Celui-là est le Célibataire de terme lui-même utilisé bien que la différente orthographe et pronounciation. La flûte standard de l'âge Baroque jusqu'à environt

Le terme anglais nécessaire juste pour la flûte don’t vous parlez est Blockflute ou la Flûte Fipple. Celui-là est le Célibataire de terme lui-même utilisé bien que la différente orthographe et pronounciation. La flûte standard de l'âge Baroque jusqu'au premier Rococo était le Blockflute ou dans la française st la "flûte douce". Si Bach a voulu la flûte d'Orchestre moderne il l'a spécifié comme 'flauto traverso" ou "flauto dolce" ainsi à moins que ne spécifié TOUJOURS TOUJOURS la flûte été en question pour être utilisée est le Blockflute.

Permettez-moi maintenant de vous expliquer l'erreur que je suis sûr que vous avez copié de quelqu'un qui utilise le très pauvre anglais trop liquide. L'instrument que vous appelez 'le greffier' n'en fait aucun pas même dans votre imagination la plus sauvage et est une bâtardise de Blockflute ou la flûte Fipple Now let me explain to you the error which I am sure you copied from someone who uses very poor sloppy English. The instrument that you call 'recorder' does none of this not even in your wildest imagination and is a bastardy of Blockflute or Fipple flute. Permettez-moi maintenant de vous expliquer l'erreur que je suis sûr que vous avez copié de quelqu'un qui utilise le très pauvre anglais trop liquide. L'instrument que vous appelez 'le greffier' n'en fait aucun pas même dans votre imagination la plus sauvage et est une bâtardise de Blockflute ou la flûte Fipple.

Le mot est tiré du verbe latin 'recordare' qui veut dire dans---anglais de se souvenir, mettre par écrit (c'est-à-dire le record), et d'autres. Le Blockflute n'en fait aucun. Les moyens 'de greffier' de mot anglais (1) un artifice électronique qui enregistre le son (2) quelqu'un qui dans une cour de justice enregistre des actes et al (3) un artifice scientifique pour enregistrer des températures et d'autres renseignements scientifiques (4) plusieurs autres sens mais ne signifient JAMAIS JAMAIS une flûte dont le nom anglais nécessaire est la flûte Fipple ou Blockflute.

First of all allow me to give you a proper English lesson. I am aware tht many native speakers speak sloppy inaccurate English but please do not imitate them. Just as you folks are offended by High School French--it is confusing and distressing to find someone who is imitating those whose mative tongue maybe English but speak it poorly and mislead others.

The correct proper English term for the flute you are speaking of is Blockflute or Fipple Flute. The former is the term Bach himself used although different spelling and pronoounciation.

The standard flute of the Baroque age up to about the middle period of Haydn was the Blockflute of fipple flute. If Bach wants the modern type Orchestra flute ---he calls it Flauto traverso which became the flute of the Roccoco age and has been ever since.

Now let me explain to you the error which I am sure you copied from someone who uses very poor sloppy English. The instrument that you call 'recorder' does none of this not even in your wildest imagination and is a bastardy of Blockflute or Fipple flute.

The word is derived from the Latin verb 'recordare' which means in English---to remember, to write down (i.e. record), et al. The Blockflute does none of this.

The English word 'recorder' means (1) an electronic device which records sound (2) someone who in a court of law records deeds et al (3) a scientific device for recording temperatures and other scientific information (4) several other meanings but NEVER NEVER means a flute whose proper English name is the Fipple flute or Blockflute.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 21, 2007):
Ludwig wrote:
< Permettez-moi >
Permission denied, if it were up to me.

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 21, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Based upon the research contained in the book "J.S. Bachs Instrumentarium" by Ulrich Prinz (Stuttgart/Kassel, 2005), the following seems to be true:
Recorder range in Bach’s music: f1 to g3, fully chromatic, Bach does not avoid notes which are more difficult to play than others.
Bach does not differentiate between the transverse flute and the recorder in regard to the key/tonality selected. However, with recorders, his key preferences are F major, B major, G minor, C major, D minor and G major, in that order. >
Well, somebody's confused, then, about what "seems to be" true. First of all, there are no extant Bach vocal pieces that have any movements in B major (five sharps) as their home key.

And, if that's not Bach's practical avoidance of keys/notes/scales that are more difficult for orchestral musicians to play than other keys/notes/scales,what is it?

Obviously some incidental bits of B major do come up anyway, especially as short sections within pieces in E minor or E major -- and those tend to be for transverse flutes rather than recorders! This suggests that Bach does differentiate between flute and recorder in regard to the key/tonality selected.... B major and its nearby keys go better on flutes than recorders.

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 21, 2007):
Ludwig wrote:
< Now let me explain to you the error which I am sure you copied from someone who uses very poor sloppy English. The instrument that you call 'recorder' does none of this not even in your wildest imagination and is a bastardy of Blockflute or Fipple flute.
The word is derived from the Latin verb 'recordare' which means in English---to remember, to write down (i.e. record), et al. The Blockflute does none of this.
The English word 'recorder' means (1) an electronic device which records sound (2) someone who in a court of law records deeds et al (3) a scientific device for recording temperatures and other scientific information (4) several other meanings but NEVER NEVER means a flute whose proper English name is the Fipple flute or Blockflute. >
Ah, mon Dieu .. Pas encore!

The Oxford English Dictionary (which "records" the earliest documented use of English words) lists "recorder" as a standard English term since 1430.

When Hamlet exclaims, "Ah, the recorders. Let me see one", it's unlikely that Shakespeare expected to see a dictaphone on stage.

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 21, 2007):
< When Hamlet exclaims, "Ah, the recorders. Let me see one", it's unlikely that Shakespeare expected to see a dictaphone on stage. >
At least not like the big one that Fred MacMurray's character used in "Double Indemnity". Cool.

Leonardo Pena wrote (March 21, 2007):
[To Nicholas Johnson] If in the score is writed ·flauto", you must to use the recorder, but if is writed "flauto traverso" must to use the flute.
PD: excuse me for my poor english

ik ben der koning van het heelal

Chris Kern wrote (March 21, 2007):
Ludwig wrote:
< The word is derived from the Latin verb 'recordare' which means in English---to remember, to write down (i.e. record), et al. The Blockflute does none of this.
The English word 'recorder' means (1) an electronic device which records sound (2) someone who in a court of law records deeds et al (3) a scientific device for recording temperatures and other scientific information (4) several other meanings but NEVER NEVER means a flute whose proper English name is the Fipple flute or Blockflute. >
I don't know why you persist in your absurd insistence that people use these nonstandard terms for the recorder. The term "recorder" to refer to the musical instrument has been used in English for centuries (at least back to the 15th century) -- Shakespeare uses the term in Hamlet, for instance, and it can be found in other literature works as well. It is used in contemporary musical writings as well.

You are also ignorant of the etymology of the word -- it comes from an obsolete sense of the verb "record" which meant "to play a tune". "Recordare" in Latin does not mean "write down", but means "recall" or "remember" (think of the Recordare movement of the Dies Irae).

Standard dictionaries do not contain the terms you suggest, or at least not with the meanings you claim. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate has "recorder", does not have "blockflute", and has "fipple flute" as being a category of musical instruments to which the recorder belongs. The Random-House Unabridged dictionary has "blockflute" with the definition "A recorder", and agrees with M-W that "fipple flute" is a category to which the recorder belongs.

Thomas Braatz wrote (March 21, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>Well, somebody's confused, then, about what "seems to be" true. First of all, there are no extant Bach vocal pieces that have any movements in B major (five sharps) as their home key.<<
Thanks for the correction! In my listing (translating carelessly and thoughtlessly from the German {the old 'BACH' as actual notes problem!} and having played recorders for most of my life) should read Bb (flat) major and not B major. There are no mvts. whatsoever that Bach composed for recorder or transverse flute in B major! (There are two mvts. for transverse flute, BWV 244/41b,45b, where there is a shift from E minor to B major and A minor to B major in the latter part of each mvt.)

Joel Figen wrote (March 21, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< Obviously some incidental bits of B major do come up anyway, especially as short sections within pieces in E minor or E major -- and those tend to be for transverse flutes rather than recorders! This suggests that Bach does differentiate between flute and recorder in regard to the key/tonality selected.... B major and its nearby keys go better on flutes than recorders. >
I'm not convinced, Brad. The fingerings of both instruments are quite similar. And I know that Telemann wrote in some rather odd keys for recorder. For instance, there's a sonata in F minor that sits under the fingers beautifully. But sharps are more difficult, to be sure, even though the baroque recorder has a marvelously supple set of alternative fingerings for odd keys. I can't speak for the baroque traversa, since I've never played one, but it has fewer holes, and therefore fewer alternate fingerings, I would surmise. though any transverse flute can be turned slightly in the hands to make a note sharper or flatter. This might make otherwise unusable fingerings usable.

Then there's the issue of transposition. if the recorders were built to tief kammerton, that would be equivalent to a clarinet in A, subtracting three sharps. On the other hand, if they were only 2 steps down, that would ADD 2 sharps... clearly a killer for the key of B major. Of course, these considerations apply to the traversa as well.

However, come to think of it, since the natural scale of the baroque flute was in D, while the recorder's was in F, that in itself would be enough to provide the A-Clarinet effect, removing three sharps' worth of fingering complexity. So maybe you're right after all.

(Oops, I just looked at a fingering chart for a one-key baroque flute. And even though the lowest note is D, the fingerings appear to be more akin to those of a modern tenor recorder in C, so it might be more realistic to say the natural scale is that of C rather than D. confusing. confusing. )

Since you know impressively arcane facts like the fact that bach wrote nothing for voice in B Major, even though I'm supposed to be the singer :) Perhaps you know whether there's a correlation between bach's use of oboi d'amore with transverse flutes rather than recorders? If there is, it's evidence for your surmise that bach was aware of such matters and wrote to spare the nerves of the pipers.

----
on a separate tack, responding to someone else's claim that "flauto" always means "recorder," didn't we establish during the last time this question came up that it's not always so for Bach but that the semantics were starting to change in his time?

Joel Figen wrote (March 21, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< There are no mvts. whatsoever that Bach composed for recorder or transverse flute in B major! (There are two mvts. for transverse flute, BWV 244/41b,45b, where there is a shift from E minor to B major and A minor to B major in the latter part of each mvt.) >
How do you guys do this? Is there some search engine that lets you look stuff like this up? If so, I want a copy, bad.

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 21, 2007):
Joel Figen wrote:
< How do you guys do this? Is there some search engine that lets you look stuff like this up? If so, I want a copy, bad >
I paged through the BWV, which has a thematic index for every single movement of every piece by Bach. This book: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bpl/bwv-review.htm

Thomas has purchased the complete Neue Bach-Ausgabe (which takes up a very large shelf, many dozenof hardback books for scores and all the critical reports)...although that still doesn't justify his mistaken assertion that the second most-used key for recorders was B major.

Fortunately, he has offered a correction of that:
"Thanks for the correction! In my listing (translating carelessly and thoughtlessly from the German {the old 'BACH' as actual notes problem!} and having played recorders for most of my life) should read Bb (flat) major and not B major. There are no mvts. whatsoever that Bach composed for recorder or transverse flute in B major! (There are two mvts. for transverse flute, BWV 244/41b,45b, where there is a shift from E minor to B major and A minor to B major in the latter part of each mvt.)"

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (March 21, 2007):
[To Joel Figen] Anything that can be played on the Traverse flute can also be played on one of the members of the Blockflute Family. IF you do not believe this then listen to Ms. Petrie's recordings and read along the music as she plays---perhaps one of the world's great Blockflute Soloists.

IF the work does not fit comfortably under the fingers or results in too much overblowing ---then what is needed is a different higher pitched (or lower pitched)instrument or perhaps two of them. Again if the flute is not specified then the flute hic ergo required is the Blockflute ---as far as fitting comfortably under the fingers---if the work does not then another member of the Blockflute family is required. I also happen to play this instrument with at least some modest skill(such as required in the Telemann Concerti and Handel's works for it) so I think I know at least a little about the technique of playing it beyond treating it as if it were a toy. I own a sextet of them: Grand Bass in C, Bass in F, Tenor in C, Alto in F, Soprano in C, Soprinino in F. The last two instruments tend to be unpleasantly shrill in the hands of poor players but in the hands of an expert player as Michella Petrie, who is perhaps the world's greatest living Blockflute player--- great acrobatic technical feats of skilled playing can be achieved. I strongly recommend you listen to her recordings.

When Bach and most Baroque and early Rococo players wanted the traverse flute they specified: "Flauto traverso" or "Querflöte". It was just a little after the time of Haydn's birth that the Traverse Flute began to take the place of the Blockflute in the Orchestra and this was further aided by Boehm's key invention making it much easier to play in all keys as to achieve sharps and flats on the blockflute one must often result in half holing which can be difficult for less skilled players especially in getting accurate pitches..

There is probably some good reasons for this taking place and and at least one is is that in the lower ranges the Blockflute is weak----it takes many basses to be heard in a an ensemble of mixed instruments to be heard compared to one or two required in the upper range of these instruments. However, the Modern Flute while an improvement in being heard in the lower range---if too suffers from insufficient volume of sound produced in it's lower pitches. However, the Blockflute in the bass range still has some advantages over the modern Bass traverse flute in that it is held like one plays a bassoon thus making it easier to play while the bass traverse flute is an almost an unwieldy instrument requiring much breath to sound---but oh what gorgeous sounds result when it is played.

Kim Patric Clow wrote (March 21, 2007):
Ludwig wrote:
< There is probably some good reasons for this taking place and and at least one is is that in the lower ranges the Blockflute is weak----it takes many basses to be heard in a an ensemble of mixed instruments to be heard compared to one or two required in the upper range of these instruments. However, the Modern Flute while an improvement in being heard in the lower range---if too suffers from insufficient volume of sound produced in it's lower pitches. However, the Blockflute in the bass range still has some advantages over the modern Bass traverse flute in that it is held like one plays a bassoon thus making it easier to play while the bass traverse flute is an almost an unwieldy instrument requiring much breath to sound---but oh what gorgeous sounds result when it is played. >
I'm curious why during the baroque period, there wasn't that much music composed for tenor or bass flutes (the tenor would be the flute d'amore). Maybe this weakness of sound you speak of is the reasaon.

I know Bach wrote at least one cantata with a part for flute d'amore. Graupner definitely wrote a lot more for it, but I'm unclear if Telemann included this in any of his cantatas.

Great post, thanks for sharing!

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 21, 2007):
< Since you know impressively arcane facts like the fact that bach wrote nothing for voice in B Major, even though I'm supposed to be the singer :) Perhaps you know whether there's a correlation between bach's use of oboi d'amore with transverse flutes rather than recorders? If there is, it's evidence for your surmise that bach was aware of such matters and wrote to spare the nerves of the pipers. >
There's a very good article about such things (and I've mentioned it several times before), by Bruce Haynes: "Questions of Tonality in Bach's Cantatas: The Woodwind Perspective".
http://homepages.bw.edu/bachbib/script/bach2.pl?22=11689
Among other things, in there he pointed out that part of the distinction between regular oboe and oboe d'amore is the expectation of which keys they normally play in. He tabulated flute music/keys there also.

The nonexistence of B-major music for vocal ensembles, by Bach, is not an "arcane" fact if one has to tune keyboards. We have to know which keys/scales are used (or not used) to do our job well. And Bach's music favors the extreme flats more than it favors the extreme sharps, especially when we take into account the original keys for all those keyboard-continuo parts (reading/playing two flats further than everybody else, for the transposition of a whole tone). For example, G minor movements for ensemble are F minor for the keyboard -- across most of Bach's career writing church music; and E-flat major for the ensemble puts the keyboardist playing in D-flat major. The last half hour of the St Matthew Passion (BWV 244) is in very deep flat keys, for the keyboardist playing from original parts.

Or give the ensemble some piece in E major, and the keyboardist is only playing in D (example, cantata 49 in E, which has some of the same music of the E-major harpsichord concerto, but here the organist is only playing it in D from his perspective). This type of thing is why I'm surprised that there aren't any movements in B or F# for the ensemble, which would have the organist only playing in A or E...and that's why I looked it up to confirm.

Bach didn't write for the rest of the ensemble to play in extreme sharp keys (other than modulated bits within other movements, of course). Either it's directly hard for them to play (which it is -- I've been in some professional Baroque ensembles where extreme sharp music was hard to get in tune, among the strings and woodwinds!), or those were the least-friendly major keys in the organ's tuning (which I believe is also true -- A, E, and B majors having the sharpest thirds in them), or both. These are good practical reasons not to write much music up that high into the sharps, unless it's for specially expressive effects: to illustrate tough or tense things in the sung texts, accompanied by the ensemble playing "on edge" into the high-sharp sounds. Example: the second time that "Lass ihn kreuzigen" comes up in the St Matthew, it's in B minor rather than the A minor of the first time round. Lots of F# major and C# major chords happening in there (E majorand B major from the keyboardist's original part), considerably on edge with the brightness, and supporting the violent emotions of the crowd.

More about my keyboard perspective on all this: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bpl/larips/vocal.html
(a transposed version where the organist can play from modern transposed parts, having transposed the temperament in the opposite direction.)

Un-transposed, to play from original parts, where indeed the keys of A, E, and B majors are the least used from the keyboardist's perspective: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bpl/larips/math.html

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 21, 2007):
< I know Bach wrote at least one cantata with a part for flute d'amore. Graupner definitely wrote a lot more for it, but I'm unclear if Telemann included this in any of his cantatas. >
Isn't the flute d'amore (flute-o-love) somewhere also ...a pastry? Maybe I'm confusing it with the Mexican food "flautas".

Anyway, here's somebody's FAQ about the instrument:
http://www.berneyflutes.com/baroque/mori_info.html
http://www.tootlingted.co.uk/Flute%20article.htm

Kim Patric Clow wrote (March 21, 2007):
Brad Lehman wrote:
< Anyway, here's somebody's FAQ about the instrument:
http://www.berneyflutes.com/baroque/mori_info.html
http://www.tootlingted.co.uk/Flute%20article.htm >

Thanks Brad!

I'm preparing a Graupner cantata that features the flute d'amore. Beautiful instrument, I just wished Bach had written more for it (and the viola d'amore too!)

Thomas Braatz wrote (March 21, 2007):
Joel Figen wrote:
>>on a separate tack, responding to someone else's claim that "flauto" always means "recorder," didn't we establish during the last time this question came up that it's not always so for Bach but that the semantics were starting to change in his time?<<
In regard to "that it's not always so for Bach", it should be remembered that there are exceptions, but only a few of them which contradict the general rule of thumb: "Bach uses a form of the word 'flauto' without the extension "traverso" or any of its variant forms to designate a 'recorder' (alto - the only kind which Bach ever used other than the 'flauto piccolo', and various types of sopranino recorders). Even as late as c. 1738, Bach arranged/transcribed BWV 1049 (the 4th Brandenburg) as BWV 1057 with 2 recorders. From the set of original parts still extant are the recorder parts: "Flauto I" and "Flauto II". There is no semantic change to be noted in these examples which are among the latest examples of a "recorder" being called for in Bach's instrumentation. ("Flauto à bec" or "Flöte à bec" "Flauti d'Echo" are extremely rare forms, each one used only once in Bach's entire oeuvre.)

In some cases, it is not clear whether Bach wanted recorders used or not: BWV 34a, BWV 195, and BWV 198. For the repeat performance of the Weimar cantata, BWV 161, the newly created parts for a Leipzig performance, "Flauto Primo" and "Flauto Secondo" are notated with a regular treble clef and not the usual French treble clef (the latter encircles the 'E' rather than the usual 'G' - BWV 127/1 has the recorder parts notated this way and does not have a Bb in the key signature). Mainly because of the clef used and the fact that the parts of BWV 161 now go down below the range of the recorder, forcing it awkardly at times to jump up an octave ("Oktavbrechung" or "Stimmknickung"), Alfred Dürr concludes tentatively that "it is highly probable that these parts were not played by recorder, but rather by flauti traversi."

Nevertheless, the general rule of thumb holds: a form of "Flauto" without a form of the descriptive extension "traverso" following it means that a recorder is the intended instrument, not the wooden transverse flute nor the metal Böhm flute.

Coming back to the matter of semantic change (such changes are going on at all times and in various places/cultures), the only reasonable approach here is to examine what Bach actually did with the term that designates that he wanted a recorder and not a transverse flute to perform a certain part. This task has been admirably accomplished by Ulrich Prinz in his "J.S. Bachs Instrumentarium" (Kassel/Stuttgart,
2005).

JF: >>.whether there's a correlation between bach's use of oboi d'amore with transverse flutes rather than recorders?<<
The oboi d'amore players often had to switch to recorders and vice versa within the same cantata. The parts were copied in such a way to indicate this switching (and saving paper). However, there is no instance where a transverse flute player was ever asked to switch to another instrument. The original parts for transverse flute never contain a part for a different wind instrument.

Thomas Braatz wrote (March 21, 2007):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
>>I'm preparing a Graupner cantata that features the flute d'amore. Beautiful instrument, I just wished Bach had written more for it (and the viola d'amore too!)<<
According to the very thorough research conducted into this matter by Prinz, Bach never once composed anything for the flute d'amore, nor did he even hint that he would have desired it potentially for any of his compositions. This does not, however, prevent anyone from playing Bach on any instrument available to us today. It only specifies clearly that those who wish to link Bach with Graupner or other composers from that place and time have gone beyond wild speculation and have reached the point of erroneous speculation since no direct evidence or reasonable conjectures are involved.

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 21, 2007):
[To Thomas Braatz] So, your Prinz-fundamentalism has to win.

Thomas Braatz wrote (March 21, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>So, your Prinz-fundamentalism has to win.<<
And your fundamentalistic pointing out the difference between "B" and "Bb" is just as important to this list as my correcting the erroneous notion that Bach ever composed anything for a 'flute d'amore'. At first I had assumed that your helping to maintain a certain level of correctness was based upon something else than 'having the need to win'. But now I am beginning to doubt whether you view these lists as a cooperative enterprise in bringing the best scholarship to these lists as much as this can be possible under the present circumstances. By calling my statements based upon Prinz or the scholarship of the NBA, for example 'fundamentalistic', you reveal that your agenda on this list may not really be to promote fruitful discussions based upon reliable information. Instead of attacking my sharing of such information with the term 'fundamentalism' (which in this case means based upon solid scholarship which Brad and others are incapable of contradicting with any solid evidence of their own), would it not be better to withhold such comments which simply poison the atmosphere on these lists?

Alain Bruguieres wrote (March 21, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< Thomas has purchased the complete Neue Bach-Ausgabe (which takes up a very large shelf, many dozens of hardback books for scores and all the critical reports)...although that still doesn't justify his mistaken assertion that the second most-used key for recorders was B major. >
May I hazard a tentative explanation? Thomas is human... errare humanum est.

< Fortunately, he has offered a correction of that:
"Thanks for the c! In my listing (translating carelessly and thoughtlessly from the German {the old 'BACH' as actual notes problem!} and having played recorders for most of my life) should read Bb (flat) major and not B major. There are no mvts. whatsoever that Bach composed for recorder or transverse flute in B major! (There are two mvts. for transverse flute,
BWV 244/41b,45b, where there is a shift from E minor to B major and A minor to B major in the latter part of each mvt.)" >
Thank you for giving us a second opportunity of reading Thomas' gracious ackowlegement of his error, just in case the post had escaped our attention in the first place. Very considerate of you!

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 22, 2007):
[To Thomas Braatz] Dude, I'm quite willing to collaborate with people who respect the work (and normal working processes!) of serious musicians.

And with people who understand the profound differences between the Bb major scale and the B major scale, well enough that they couldn't possibly confuse the two in writing.

And with people who can think outside the rigid principles they've strapped themselves into.

And with people who are willing to let experts disagree with one another in all seriousness; not merely kowtowing to one arbitrarily chosen source that they happen to have purchased, or that can be forced to explain their own opinion with some weight of authority behind it.

And with people who are gracious enough to admit, at least to themselves, that they don't know everything or have the only correct way to do things.

And with people who value musical education: learning musicianship by actually taking lessons and playing/singing the stuff. Book-learning and paper speculation go only so far, especially when they're only self-guided and have little resemblance to real practices.

Nicholas Johnson wrote (March 22, 2006):
Flute d'amore/ viola d'amore

Bradley Lehman wrote:
< So, your Prinz-fundamentalism has to win. >
But doesn't he use these beautiful instruments in the most wonderful way ?

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (March 22, 2006):
Quintes de violons (was: bach flutes)

Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< I'm preparing a Graupner cantata that features the flute d'amore. Beautiful instrument, I just wished Bach had written more for it (and the viola d'amore too!) >
Be grateful, Kim, that you don't have quintes de violons to deal with! I posted this elsewhere yesterday.

How can the same man be both soloist taille and a member of the choir in the basses-tailles category? I just picked up Christie's marvellous recording of some Desmarest Grands Motets Lorrains and Laurent Slaars is the soloist taille and one of the group of the choir basses-tailles. Since Paul Agnew is haute-contre here, I an assuming that the tenor solo I hear in one section is Laurent Slaars and, if so, he is quite impressive. Did I tell you that, in additions to violons1 and violons2, they have hautres-contre de violons and tailles de violons and quintes de violons, and I think that's it. I also think that Laurent is the tenor and that Agnew is somewhat falsefying his tessitura. If this keeps up, the French will be a world, the world power again:-)

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (March 22, 2007):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman] You have confused me and perhaps others on the list who specialize in Baroque music. Taille usually means and particularly in Bach's scores---the Oboe da caccia.

An instrument which we only within the past 20 years have found out what it was,what it looked like, how it was held and played. It was once assumed that this was something like the normal Oboe perhaps cruder sounding----not so.

The Oboe da caccia was Bach's invention as far as is known. If you know differently please let us know.

Kim Patric Clow wrote (March 22, 2007):
Ludwig wrote:
< You have confused me and perhaps others on the list who specialize in Baroque music. >
I wasn't confused at all. I knew immediately what Yoel meant.

< Taille usually means and particularly in Bach's scores---the Oboe da caccia. >
No, it can mean tenor in other languages, which is probably why Bach used the word for the instrument.

Reference: http://www.library.yale.edu/cataloging/music/instname.htm

Have a great day!

Russell Telfer wrote (March 22, 2007):
Key: Previously Recorder or Flute

Joel Figen wrote [in reply to Thomas Braatz's statement:
<< There are no mvts. whatsoever that Bach composed for recorder or transverse flute in B major! (There are two mvts. for transverse flute, BWV 244/41b,45b, where there is a shift from E minor to B major and A minor to B major in the latter part of each mvt.) ]
< How do you guys do this? Is there some search engine that lets you look stuff like this up? If so, I want a copy, bad >
As to finding sections of movements in remote keys, especially sharp keys, you might always hope to find passages in the dominant major ( B major in an E minor movement, F# major in a B minor movement, and so on) so all you need to know is the key. Not too difficult if you look through sheet music catalogues.

Joel's point prompts this question: I gratefully received a copy of the BWV works database from Chris O'Loughlin, on this list. What I would find very useful is a list of the keys of all the cantatas, and for that matter all of the BWV. Is that information available?

Eventually I could provide a key list for the cantatas myself, but it would take time.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 22, 2007):
Russell Telfer wrote:
< Joel's point prompts this question: I gratefully received a copy of the BWV works database from Chris O'Loughlin, on this list. What I would find very useful is a list of the keys of all the cantatas, and for that matter all of the BWV. Is that information available? >
Alfred Dürr's essential reference includes this information for the cantatas, along with the cantata texts and translations. It is not in list format, so not especially easy to search or scan, but it is there.

Russell Telfer wrote (March 22, 2007):
Earlier I wrote:
< Joel's point prompts this question: I gratefully received a copy of the BWV works database from Chris O'Loughlin, on this list. What I would find very useful is a list of the keys of all the cantatas, and for that matter all of the BWV. Is that information available? >
Ed Myskowski replied:
< Alfred Dürr's essential reference includes this information for the cantatas, along with the cantata texts and translations. It is not in list format, so not especially easy to search or scan, but it is there.>
Thanks Ed.

This is worth a public reply, because although Aryeh has posted all manner of good things on the main website, it is easy to forget what is available. There is an incentive for any of us, if we have the means to do so, to add a bit more to the resources of the group.

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (March 23, 2007):
[To Kim Patrick Clow] There was much music that could be written for bass flute as an organ stop that could be heard. Yes, it is the weakness of the lower register in both blockflutes and the traverse flute. However, in a small ensemble of blockflutes---nothing can add such beauty as having a bass particularly a grand bass added to the ensemble. IN the case of the modern flute---there are several disadvantages that must be dealt with the most obvious is that these flutes are bulky and difficult to hold. Then they take an almost mpossible amount of wind to make them play but oh once they do what gorgeous sound comes forth but unfortunately the physical demands silence this sound very soon.

 

flute d'amore/traverso d'amore

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 2, 2009):
Since the discussion on the BCML has brought up the possibility that Bach may have used the flute/flauto d'amour/d'amore, I believe that the following quotations/entries may be of help in clarifying what might be fanciful theories and what might be based upon the evidence provided by a very thorough investigation of this subject matter.

Entry from Grove Music Online, Oxford UniversiPress, 2009:

»Flûte d'amour
(Ger. Liebesflöte; It. flauto d'amore). Flute usually pitched in A, a minor 3rd below the concert flute. J.M. Molter (1696-1765) wrote a concerto in B for flûte d'amour and Christoph Graupner (1683-1760) included the instrument in five cantatas and a triple concerto in G for flûte d'amour, oboe d'amour and viola d'amour. However, the repertory of the 18th and 19th centuries is small compared with the number of surviving instruments; perhaps they were used as transposing instruments, employing the same fingerings as concert flutes. Music written at concert pitch could be played on the flute in A by reading it as though written in French violin clef (g' on the bottom line), a procedure recommended by Quantz. Verdi scored for three flûtes d'amour in Aida; by then the instrument was so uncommon that some had to be specially made. The derivation of the instrument's name is not clear; it may have come from the soulful tone quality of the deeper pitched instrument, or it may merely be by analogy with the oboe d'amore in A.«

This article was written by Jeremy Montagu, Howard Mayer Brown/Jaap Frank, Ardal Powell.

From Ulrich Prinz "J. S. Bachs Instrumentarium", Stuttgart, 2005, p. 242:
»Im Gegensatz zur Ansicht Terrys, Bach habe mehrere Querflötentypen benötigt, zeigen unsere Untersuchungen, daß nur der Flauto traverso in dą, notiert im normalen Violinschlüssel, mit dem Umfang dą - g3 (a3), von Bach verwendet wird

("In contrast to Terry's opinion that Bach used several types/ranges of transverse flutes, our research reveals that Bach only used the flauto traverso in dą notated in a normal treble clef with the range from dą to g3 (possibly even to a3).")

The book to which Prinz refers is Charles Sanford Terry's "Bach's Orchestra", London, 1932, p. 78.Prinz's exhaustive treatment of the instruments that J. S. Bach used, based upon the designations that Bach used over his entire career and the ranges of these instruments in the scores and parts, seems to exclude the possibility that he ever used such an instrument as specified in the dictionary entry above.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (April 2, 2009):
< The book to which Prinz refers is Charles Sanford Terry's "Bach's Orchestra", London, 1932, p. 78.
Prinz's exhaustive treatment of the instruments that J. S. Bach used, based upon the designations that Bach used over his entire career and the ranges of these instruments in the scores and parts, seems to exclude the possibility that he ever used such an instrument as specified in the dictionary entry above. >
No offense, but a book dating to 1932 seems a bit limited in Bach scholarship now. There has to have been a lot of research done with new sources made available since then?

Well the list cited earlier left out the big Graupner Ouverture in A major for the oboe/viola/traverso d'amore, and doesn't even mention Telemann's contributions for the instrument. From what I've read the surving number of traverso flutes compared to the music written specifically for it suggests the d'amore flute was used for normal notated flute parts.

I don't have the information handy but I have seen it written that some Bach cantata movements MAY have been performed on the traverso d'amore and that the opening Sinfonia to the Christmas cantata may have as well (makes sense if that's in A major because that's the normal key for the flute and oboe d'amore.

Finally, please remember I was only offering was a possible suggestion to Doug's question asked about the strange flute part in the Kuhnau piece; it was only a suggestion.

 

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