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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 1:48 pm 
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Good evening all,

I know very little of the wonderful wind instruments you clever lot are so well-versed in, but have one in my possession which I hope someone may be able to help me get to know a little better.

It appears to be a flute of some description, made by Charles Mathieu of Paris, whom I'm led to believe was operating sometime around 1900. It may be made of pewter. I have seen Charles Mathieu mentioned on this forum in other places, but haven't seen anything my him that resembles my piece.

Asides from this, I know nothing about it. Any advice as to a better description of it, or somewhere I could find more information? Also, an indication as to value would be nice.

All the best,
Danny

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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 2:08 pm 
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Hi Danny ... Does it make any sound as-is? What does the narrow end look like? Is there a whistle-like fipple to blow into? Or is there a single hole that looks like it might accommodate an oboe-type double reed?

I'm guessing the latter, and that it's an unkeyed Valencian-style dolçaina/xirimita. Nowadays you can find beginner instruments in plastic, but metal would have been common back in the day.

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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 2:36 pm 
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My own first reaction was along similar lines as Mt's, something double reeded, possibly a bombarde like instrument.

Mathieu & co made a range of (mainly) metal instruments, I have seen walking stick flute/whistles and other strange contraptions listed in museum collections. A bit of googling will bring them up along with some info on the company.

They made whistles as well, both cylindrical and conical ones (a bit of a quickie, just as it is getting dark, but you'll get the idea):

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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 3:24 pm 
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Many thanks for your replies so far - I will have to look up the xirimita - initial peeks do bear a resemblance.

There is just a single hole at the top that looks as if it would accommodate a reed - a musician friend of mine had already suggested this theory, too.

Are these instruments of any significant value?

Thanks again for your advice, every little piece is appreciated!

Danny


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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 3:30 pm 
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There was someone looking for old French whistles recently on the Instrument exchange.

Price is really depending on what someone is willing to pay. Don't get your expectations up.

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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 5:44 pm 
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Here are vids of people playing what seem to be metal Breton-style bombardes similar to yours:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_WPgZWTXt8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwqdN9A00u8

Obviously, bombarde, dolçaina, gralla, xirimita etc. are all closely related equivalents in their respective musics. But I suppose bombarde may be more likely from a Parisian maker.

To make it playable, finding an appropriate reed may be a challenge. Here's a fellow who claims that a plastic GHB chanter reed may do the trick:

http://www.mochpryderi.com/Bombarde.html
http://www.hotpipes.com/clanrye.html

Be prepared to blow pretty hard. :wink:

As for value, the modern plastic equivalent may give some idea. As Mr. G says, yours may have some added vintage value, but perhaps not much. Valencian maker Paco Bessó offers plastic dolçainas/grallas starting at €40-50, and reeds for €10.

Here's a page of basic bombarde info: http://texcelt.org/BombardeFAQ.html

[ Mod Note: Moving/linking this thread to the World/Folk winds forum, so more knowledgeable people may chime in. ]

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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 7:20 pm 
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I believe it might be a musette, a French reed instrument, usually made of wood; not to be confused with the musette du cour, which is a bagpipe. It is sometimes called an oboe musette, piccolo oboe or piccaloboe and can be fully keyed, partially keyed or key-less. They can be played with an oboe reed that has had about 1/3 of the cork length of the reed sawed off and the cork diameter sanded down to fit the reed socket. I have a key-less wooden one.


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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 7:34 pm 
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I would place a value of about $100 US, maybe less on it. I bought my beautiful wooden one for $100. It is worth what someone is willing to pay.


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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 7:41 pm 
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Interesting, Ted. Does the oboe-musette have a thumb hole that might distinguish it from a bombarde? Is your bell flared or rounded?

I guess the date of the OP's instrument likely does correspond to the heyday of fin de siècle Parisian bal musette still played on musettes, before it transitioned to accordions.

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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 7:53 pm 
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It does have a thumb-hole and is no relation to the bombarde. You are correct as to its' former use. It is more in the oboe family and plays somewhere around E or F. Mine can play in F based on A440, which was not a standard when these were made. Mine has a flared bore, but rounded on the outside. I have seen others with the flared shape. Nothing Spanish or Breton about it.


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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 8:02 pm 
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Ted wrote:
It does have a thumb-hole

Ah, so. We can't see the back of the instrument in the photo. But that should give the OP a way to distinguish the two.

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PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 10:58 am 
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The other feature is that the taper of the bore of the instrument in the photo is obviously more slender than a bombarde, or a gralla. It is a soprano oboe.The musette has been made by Loree with full conservatory key-work. It is analogous to an Eb clarinet, rare, but not unknown. I don't know of any literature written for it, but it is classed as an orchestral instrument in the oboe family. Its' main use, as has been pointed out, has been as a folk instrument, usually with few or no keys.


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