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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:52 am 
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There were a number of flute-makers and/or sellers in the New York City area in the mid-19th century (Firth, Hall, Pond—in various combinations, Edward Riley, Asa Hopkins and Jabez Camp from CT who sold thru NY shops, etc.).

How much, if any, linkage is there between these makers and Irish music?

Little question, potentially expansive answers, but that would be good.

Thanks and best wishes.

Steve

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"[Some flutists] place the flute between the upper lip and the nose, blowing the instrument from below. This position does not prevent good playing, but it does not look graceful."
~ Antoine Mahaut, 1759 in a tutor for playing the transverse flute ~


Last edited by Steve Bliven on Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:43 am 
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If I may add on another question, was a fair amount of what
we now called old time music played on flutes? I have always
thought it likely that it was. Wooden flute sounds fine in OT ensembles,
for much the same reasons flute sounds fine in ITM. And
flutes were widespread, or how were these makers (and also importers)
making a living? And lots of people had chops, having played fife in the
Civil War. The spirit of what we now call OT music was that
people picked up the instruments they had around and played
currently popular tunes. One of the reasons I'm interested is that
sometimes there is serious resistance to my playing flute in OT
ensembles, though it dissipates after people hear me play.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 2:22 pm 
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There is a photo on page 479 or Francis O'Neill's "Irish Minstrels and Musicians" showing the members of the Irish Music Club of Chicago in (I think) 1901. In the photo, there are 8 fiddlers, 7 flute players, and 11 Uilleann pipers. The photo isn't clear enough to tell for sure, but it looks like most if not all of the flutes are keyed, wooden flutes. Two of the flutes have ivory head joints on a dark wood body.

So there is a question about whether they were playing flutes brought over from the Old Country, or flutes circulating in the American market by American makers. Especially at a time when metal Boehm flutes were displacing the older conical wooden models in orchestras, and there might have been many of these flutes circulating in the used market on both sides of the Atlantic.

One clue might be those ivory flute heads. Wilson's historical flutes page mentions that the combination of ivory heads on wood bodies is seen on American flutes of the period, and not common on English flutes (which would have been all ivory). Some are shown on this page:

http://www.oldflutes.com/american.htm

So at least two of the flutes in that O'Neill group photo might have been American-made. Possibly more, if they were easier to obtain in Chicago. On the other hand, flutes passed down as heirlooms or owned by recent immigrants might have been UK models. Hard to say from that one photo. Maybe someone else here knows more about the instruments used in the Irish Music Club of Chicago? It's certainly an important link in the chain of Irish music, even if it was outside Ireland.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:02 pm 
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I have just taken over the custodianship of a Rudall and Rose 8 key flute made around 1842. It is also stamped three times with the mark of "T.P.Monzani, New York". I am guessing it came across the pond when new, but was it to be sold or was it there for Monzani to measure and make copies? I think it would have been an expensive purchase and export.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:13 pm 
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There is an article by Wendell Dobbs that discusses both the interrelationships between several of the early American flute makers (E. Riley, J. Pfaff, J. Appel, G. Catlin, J & H Meacham, W. Whitely, F. Riley, J. Firth, W. Hall, S. Pond, A. Hopkins, J. Camp, etc) and the music they published. The article mentions that Riley's four volume collection of flute melodies contained "all manner of music" including "English, Irish and Scottish folk melodies (dances and slow airs) ... American melodies ...". The article goes on to mention that Riley composed tunes of his own, and included in his books various Celtic melodies ("The Priest in his Boots", "The Mason's Apron" and "Haste to the Wedding") that are still favorites among Irish fiddlers and fluters. His first two volumes of flute melodies were published in 1814 and 1817.

Here is a link to the full article. Its not long, and I found it very interesting:

An Early American Family of Flutists


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:23 pm 
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Oh, and to address Jim's question, the article's conclusion has the following decisive statement:

"But the American flute heritage extends back to the early years of our nation's history."


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:54 pm 
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I've always assumed that most of the 19th Century 8-key flutes went to classical (orchestral) musicians, and the 1 and 4 key flutes were meant for the casual market. I figure that the keyed flutes would be much more expensive and therefore of greater interest to professionals. But, I don't have any references to support that.

Steven Foster played a Firth, Pond & Co, and he would be in the genre of professional, popular-but-not-classical musicians. I don't know whether the US had the same salon culture as high-society England, but in the absence of TV, Radio, Record Players, I'm sure people played music at home. I can easily see family and friends gathered around the piano playing Stephen Foster popular music. Again, I have no references, but surely there are historical accounts of music at home.

The original question asks about irish (folk) musicians. The other side of the coin would to ask what was going on with the classical/orchestral tradition. Does anyone have references to the instrumentation of a typical 19C orchestra? Were orchestras common in cities around the country? If we look at modern demographics, classical flutists are is 10 or 100 times greater than folk flutists.

A bunch of ignorant questions rather than answers...


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:38 pm 
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I have a Rudallish flute, plausibly made by an apprentice in the Rudall factory, that
was sold at Atwill's Music Salon in NYC in about 1840. It has an eight-keyed body.
It's cocus, and it looks like a Rudall, especially the keys.

The body is fine but the headjoint and embouchure
aren't much good--rough and clumsily made, IMO, hence the opinion (expressed by some others
who know Rudalls) that the flute was made by an apprentice. I would hate to have to play it in a symphony orchestra. So, unless it was a freak,
it lends plausibility to the ideas that British flutes were being imported
and sold to the public and at least some of them had eight-keys.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:54 am 
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tstermitz wrote:
I've always assumed that most of the 19th Century 8-key flutes went to classical (orchestral) musicians, and the 1 and 4 key flutes were meant for the casual market. I figure that the keyed flutes would be much more expensive and therefore of greater interest to professionals. But, I don't have any references to support that.

Steven Foster played a Firth, Pond & Co, and he would be in the genre of professional, popular-but-not-classical musicians. I don't know whether the US had the same salon culture as high-society England, but in the absence of TV, Radio, Record Players, I'm sure people played music at home.

Or in amateur clubs, like the Irish Music Club of Chicago, previously mentioned (the source of much of the material in O'Neill's collections of Irish music). By the turn of the century, those conical/wooden "orchestra" flutes weren't as popular in Classical music, so it's assumed by many authors that they were picked up by Irish musicians. And not necessarily stripped of their keys, either.

Here's a link to that photo I referenced from the 1901-1909 club, and it looks like almost all of the flutes are 6 or 8 keyed. Note the two with ivory heads on wood bodies:
http://ptjams.com/mb/img/flutes/Irish-M ... o-1901.jpg


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:24 am 
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Flutesoftheforest wrote:
I have just taken over the custodianship of a Rudall and Rose 8 key flute made around 1842. It is also stamped three times with the mark of "T.P.Monzani, New York". I am guessing it came across the pond when new, but was it to be sold or was it there for Monzani to measure and make copies? I think it would have been an expensive purchase and export.


So this flute is stamped by both Rudall & Rose and by T.P. Monzani? That would suggest Monzani was acting as an importer. Is there a serial number?

Theobold P. Monzani (believed to be a son of the well-known London maker Tebaldo Monzani, 1807-1829) is listed in New York from 1835-1866.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 5:36 am 
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The Rudall and Rose is #4721 which would date it around 1842-44.
T. P. Monzani seemed to operate in his own name to around 1848.
My theory is he imported it to measure and copy and then put it up for sale.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:20 am 
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Yes Martin an import, or maybe an English or American owner of the flute had Monzani make the silver embouchure sleeve, and Monzani then stamped the flute to show that he had worked on it? Just speculation I know. Also Martin I wonder when your flute made it's way back to London? Perhaps the original owner, an English woman or man, returned to England with the flute. I bought R&R 4871 in Richmond, Surrey from a lady and it had spent time in Donegal before returning to London/Richmond to live in a wardrobe before being offered for sale. It came complete with two head joints in the original case. If only these instruments could talk. Mind you that would be weird I suppose if your flute suddenly spoke out aloud after you assembled it. No one would believe you.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:31 am 
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jim stone wrote:
If I may add on another question, was a fair amount of what
we now called old time music played on flutes? I have always
thought it likely that it was. Wooden flute sounds fine in OT ensembles,
for much the same reasons flute sounds fine in ITM. And
flutes were widespread, or how were these makers (and also importers)
making a living? And lots of people had chops, having played fife in the
Civil War. The spirit of what we now call OT music was that
people picked up the instruments they had around and played
currently popular tunes. One of the reasons I'm interested is that
sometimes there is serious resistance to my playing flute in OT
ensembles, though it dissipates after people hear me play.


Jim and I have discussed this before, so I hope he won't mind me reposting some of the info I found (less than I'd have liked). Here are a couple of posts from the fiddle-L listserv:

https://listserv.brown.edu/archives/cgi ... E-L&P=R700

https://listserv.brown.edu/archives/cgi ... -L&P=R4633

https://listserv.brown.edu/archives/cgi ... 4bf9.0603A

With a caveat from Tom Paley, which explains the reluctance of some OT players to move away from the string band set up:

https://listserv.brown.edu/archives/cgi ... 116d.0603A

I'm really annoyed with myself for not buying the reasonably priced copy of this I saw years back: http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/0-271-00299-9.html

Cheers!

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"Furthermore he gave up coffee, and naturally his brain stopped working." -- Orhan Pamuk


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:49 am 
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I've been doubly hijacked—by the old-timey gang and the Rudall-Monzani group.... :really:

As the OP, perhaps I should rephrase my question:

Was there an Irish musical contingent in or around NYC in the mid-1800s (or in contact via catalogue purchases) which might have been a market for the Firth-Hall-Pond, E. Riley, Asa Hopkins, Jabez Camp makers/sellers? (And the input from paddler and conical bore is much appreciated.)

Thanks and best wishes.

Steve

_________________
"[Some flutists] place the flute between the upper lip and the nose, blowing the instrument from below. This position does not prevent good playing, but it does not look graceful."
~ Antoine Mahaut, 1759 in a tutor for playing the transverse flute ~


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:57 am 
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Steve Bliven wrote:
I've been doubly hijacked—by the old-timey gang and the Rudall-Monzani group.... :really:
Steve


Apologies, Steve. And my thanks too to paddler for that article.

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"Furthermore he gave up coffee, and naturally his brain stopped working." -- Orhan Pamuk


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