The Pleasant Companion: The Flageolet Site

Welcome to The Pleasant Companion—The Flageolet Site!

The Pleasant Companion is dedicated to all aspects of the instruments within 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 Subscribe by RSS: Some Recordings:
Although they are not great, I decided it would be better than nothing to make some sound samples available on the site.

Another piece of music: Ah! Little Blind Boy:
Another small piece for voice and piano with flageolet obbligato is now available. “Ah! Little Blind Boy”, dates from around 1809 and was composed by Michael Kelly.

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.