The Pleasant Companion is dedicated to the family of instruments known as “flageolets”. Popular in Europe and America from the late 16th until the early 20th centuries, particularly amongst amateur musicians, flageolets are interesting instruments which deserve greater interest than they current receive.
Latest News (see also the Old News):
I recently came across a work by Jules Jannin called “L’Art d’Élever et de Multiplier les Serins, Canaris et Hollandais” which seems ot have been first published in the 1850s and remained in print until the 1950s. Interesting, it contains a short section on using a bird flageolet to teach captive song birds to sing, suggesting that the practice was still carried out until these dates.
I have transcribed the relevant sections and added them to the page on bird flageolets and am planning on seeing if I can find any further information about late use of these instruments.Published on: Sat, 25 Mar 2017 11:24:11 +0000
Following a very helpful comment by Rubens Küffer, I have re-worked the “listen” page, including many of the new videos that have been uploaded to YouTube in the years since I started this site.
A wide variety of recordings are now available, both professional and amateur, in the concert hall and recording studio, and including the full range of the family from the bird flageolet to the triple flageolet.
Do have a look and let me know if you think I have missed any of your favourites!Published on: Mon, 08 Aug 2016 14:11:35 +0100
About this Site: “The Pleasant Companion” is designed to be a resource for anyone interested in flageolets and their history and music. Transcriptions of Historical Flageolet Tutors from the 17th to 19th Centuries are available, along with free sheet music; biographies of famous flageolet–players, such as Samuel Pepys, Robert Louis Stevenson and John Parry; articles about flageolets (both new and historic); and a bibliography and discography for further listening and reading.
A short introduction: From simple beginnings in France as recorder–like instruments, over the centuries flageolets became increasing complicated and sophisticated instruments, used for personal enjoyment; making guest appearances in operas and even being used to teach birds to sing. In an attempt to smooth rough amateur breath control a distinctive arrangement of barrels and beaks was introduced in the early 18th Century and, soon, instrument makers were combining this unique profile with the simple 6–holed fingering system of recorders and transverse flutes to make a new instrument—the English flageolet. Both this and the traditional (“French”) flageolet continued to be popular in the 19th century, joined with the multiple–flageolets, invented at the turn–of–the–Century. However, despite a late revival as the solo instrument in Quadrille bands, the production of cheap tin or penny whistles took away the amateur market, resulting in a slow decline of the instruments into obscurity.