Sheet Music For Flageolets

Compared to more popular instruments, no member of the flageolet family had a large quantity of music written for it and, unfortunately, due to the relative obscurity of the instrument throughout the 20th Century, less music has survived than might be hoped.

For this reason, an important project for this site is to upload as much out-of-copyright music, for flageolets, as possible. If you have any, please do contact me as I would be delighted to digitalise any scans of music offered.

Rather than offer scans of the original prints, my preferred way of digitalising music is to re-engrave, usually using Lilypond, so as to produce clean PDFs, suitable for playing. Some of the earlier music on the site was engraved with Sibelius which produced less satisfactory results. Whilst I am confident that most scores are accurate, some of the earlier ones (from 2007 or 2008) contain engraving inelegances, for which I apologise.

A small number of flageolet music has also been re-published by others and is discussed separately.

Table of Sheet Music

TitleComposerDateInstrumentation
French Flageolet
Break of Morn in the Forest: PolkaFrédéric Bonnisseauc.1870Flageolet and Piano
Keel RowFrédéric Bonnisseau1877Flageolet and Piano
SérenadesEdmé Collinetc.1810Flageolet and Piano or Violin
Caprices 1, 2 and 3 (From “12 Grand Caprices”)Narcisse Bousquetc.1851Solo Flageolet
Méthod Compléte de FlageoletJules Gardc.1800Solo and Duo Flageolets
Les Chasseurs ÉcossaisLouis Levasseurc.1840Quadrille Band
VaudervilleMarin Mersenne1636Flageolet Consort
The English & French Flageolet PreceptorBainbridgec.1800Solo Flageolet
English Flageolet
National Melodies, Volume 1James Bondc.1815Solo Flageolet
The Parisian DivertimentoJohn Parryc.1830Flageolet and Piano
March, March, Etrick and Tevoit DaleBraham arr. John Simpsonc.1830Solo Flageolet
The Bird In Yonder Cage ConfinedDomenico Corri and Thomas Dibdin1802Flageolet, Voice and Piano
Ah! Little Blind BoyMichael Kellyc.1809Flageolet, Voice and Piano
The English & French Flageolet PreceptorBainbridgec.1800Solo Flageolet
Double Flageolet
A Choice Collection of 20 AirsBernard Leec.1821Solo Flageolet
The Parisian DivertimentoJohn Parryc.1830Flageolet and Piano
The Bullfinch & I answered “Ho, Ho, Ho.”Anonymous19th CenturySolo Flageolet
StudyJohn Eganc.1830Solo Flageolet
DivertimentoJohn Parryc.1830Solo Flageolet

French Flageolet

“Break of Morn in the Forest” by Bonnisseau

Click for the score and parts as a pdf or listen to the piece as a midi file.

Break of Morn in the Forest is a introduction and polka for French flageolet and piano by the bandleader Frédéric Bonnisseau. It uses the entire range of the instrument (down to low G played with a finger in the bell) and is quite challenging, with its repeated, staccato triplets.

Sérenades for French Flageolet, Piano or Violin by Edmé Collinet

The first serenade is available as a score and parts and midi file; the remaining serenades are fragmentary with the flageolet part being available as a pdf score and midi file.

Although the Collinet family were prolific composers and publishers of music for the French flageolet, very little of it survives. The Sérenades were published in Paris, probably at the start of the 19th by the elder Collinet, Edmé who I assume also composed them.

As with many virtuosic pieces from the same period, the themes appear to be a mixture of popular and original tunes, followed by increasingly fast and difficult solo elaborations.

This edition is prepared from printed set of parts for the first serenade. Whilst the title page and music is not entirely clear, it seems likely that the violin part is intended as an alternative to the piano since there are passages where it either redundantly duplicates the piano or diverges slightly from it.

The music has only been lightly edited to correct obvious mistakes and to copy across articulations that are present in one part but not another. The flageolet part in the original is transposed and so I have also provided a second part in C to allow the piece to be played on the piccolo or other instruments.

With the set of parts I bought, I found a single sheet which contained an additional sheet which reprinted the flageolet part for the third and fourth variations for the first serenade and the second to fifth serenades, ended half-way through the second variation for the fifth.

The purpose of this additional part is not clear to me: whilst it reprints the music for the third and fourth variations of the first serenade, it does not do identically. It omits a few bars towards the end of each variation where the accompanying instruments have the tune and the articulation is more detailed than in the full part. It is possible that it was meant for playing unaccompanied but some of the variations played without the accompaniment would not make very satisfying music. Nevertheless, I have reprinted the available music for the second to fifth serenades as an indication of how the work continued. Again, it has only been lightly edited, with the exception of bars 11-12 of the second serenade where the original contains too few beats.

“Keel Row” by Bonnisseau

Click for the score or flageolet part as a pdf or download the whole score as a Sibelius file.

The Keel Row is a set variations for the French flageolet by the bandleader Frédéric Bonnisseau. The later variations are extremely difficult and require a brilliant technique.

“Caprices 1, 2 and 3” from the 12 Grand Studies or Caprices by Narcisse Bousquet

Click for the Sheet Music (as a .pdf file).

The “12 Grand Studies or Caprices” are a set of virtuosic works for the French Flageolet by the French band–leader Narcisse Bousquet. They are slowly being digitalised. Until complete, please regard this as a work in progress!

“Méthod Compléte de Flageolet” for French Flageolet by Jules Gard

Click for the Sheet Music (as a .pdf file). If you would like you may also download the full document (with the introduction and fingering charts), although please beware that this is a little over 3 Megabytes in size.

This tutor consists of nine Exercises, four Preludes, 36 Solos and six Duets for the French flageolet, presented in a transposed form. The introductions, in French and English, are also available on this site.

“Les Chasseurs Écossais” by Louis Levasseur

Click for the score and parts as a pdf.

“Les Chasseurs Écossais” is a Quadrille set for a small Quadrille Band (Flageolet, Flute, Cornet, Violin and Piano).

“Vaudeville Pour Les Flageolets” quoted by Mersenne

Click for the Sheet Music (as a .gif file) or to hear a midi recording of the piece.

This piece was quoted by Mersenne in his “Harmonie Universelle” which would date the piece at around 1630. It is not quite clear how many of the four parts were for flageolets and how many were for other instruments. I think it is likely since, in this period, flageolets were made in a number of different sizes, that the top two or three were for the flageolet (with a more conventional bass instrument).

English Flageolet

“The Parisian Divertimento” by John Parry

Click for the score or parts for single or double English flageolets in pdf format; a midi file of the piece for double or single flageolet or the full score as a Sibelius file.

The “Parisian Divertimento” is a substantial piece in two movements by one of the great double-flageolet players, John Parry. Two flageolet parts exist; one for the single English flageolet and the other for the double flageolet. The piece requires quite a high level of technical skill to perform and gives an insight into the music which John Parry played to popularise the instrument.

“March, March, Etrick and Tevoit Dale” as sung by Mr. Braham

Click for the Sheet Music (as a .pdf file).

Taken from a tutor for John Simpson’s Improved English Flageolet, this is one of many examples of a popular song reworked into a flageolet solo.

“The Bird In Yonder Cage Confined” by Corri and Bibdin, as sung by Storace

Click for the Sheet Music (as a .pdf file).

This is one of a number of short songs which include a flageolet obbligato to impersonate the sound of birds. The aria comes from the Corri’s opera “The Cabinet”, although as the song was left out of the published score for the opera, this edition has been prepared from a 1802 song-sheet, published by Corri himself. The work obviously enjoyed a certain amount of popularity, as it was republished by Musical Bouquet in 1874. (The 1874 edition is almost identical to the 1802 version, except that it has been transposed down a semi-tone, from F to E Major). The flageolet part, which is otherwise missing, has been roughly realised from piano accompaniment. It is reasonably challenging work for the flageolet player, which coupled between the quick interplay between the vocalist and instrumentalists, suggests that the flageolet part might have been played off-stage.

This song is mentioned in Westmacott’s satirical work “The English Spy” (Volume 1, page 183) where the composer (renamed “Tori”) is depicted dejectedly following the opera patron:

‘Ye rude “canaille”, make way, make way,
The Countess and the Count ——————,
Who play “de prettee” flute,
Who charm “une petit” English ninnie,
Till all the Joueur J————’s guinea
Him “pochée en culotte”.
Who follows? ’tis the Signor Tori,
’Bout whom the gossips tell a story,
With “some” who’ve gone “before”:
“The bird in yonder cage confined
Can sing of lovers young and kind,”
But there, he'll sing no more.’

Westmacott thankfully provides a lengthy explanation which might elucidate the satire:

There are various tales circulated in the fashionable world relative to the origin and family of the count, who has certainly been a most fortunate man: he is chiefly indebted for success with the countess to his skill as an amateur on the flute, rather than to his paternal estates. The patron of foreigners, he takes an active part in the affairs of the Opera-house.—Poor Tori having given some offence in this quarter, was by his influence kept out of an engagement; but it would appear he received some amends, by the following extract from a fashionable paper of the day.

A certain fashionable———l, who was thought to be “au comble de bonheur”, has lately been much tormented with that green-eyed monster, Jealousy, in the shape of an opera singer. “Plutôt mourir que changer”, was thought to be the motto of the pretty round-faced English——————s; but, alas! like the original, it was written on the sands of disappointment, and was scarcely read by the admiring husband, before his joy was dashed by the prophetic wave, and the inscription erased by a favoured son of Apollo. “L'oreille est le chemin du cour”: so thought the ———l, and forbade the —————s to hold converse with Monsieur T.; but “les femmes peuvent tout, parce-qu'elles gouvernent ceux qui gouvernent tous”. A meeting took place in Grosvenor-square, and, amid the interchange of doux yeux, the ————-l arrived: a desperate scuffle ensued; the intruder was banished the house, and, as he left the door, is said to have whistled the old French proverb of “Le bon temps viendra”. This affair has created no little amusement among the “beau monde”. All the dowagers are fully agreed on one point, that “l'amour est une passion qui vient souvent sans qu'on s'en apperçoîve, et, qui s'en va aussi de même”.”

“Ah! Little Blind Boy” by Kelly, sung with great applause in the 40 ieves by Miss De Camp.

Click for the Sheet Music (as a .pdf file).

This is another early 19th song with flageolet obbligato, although very little information is now available about Michael Kelly or his opera, “40 Thieves”, from which it comes. It appears that it was reprinted a number of times during the 19th Century. However, judging by the style of engraving, this arrangement for voice and piano with flageolet obbligato was made soon after the opera’s publication (c. 1809). This edition was prepared from a scan of the original made available by the JScholarship site of Johns Hopkins University.

Double Flageolet

“A Choice Collection of 20 Airs” for Double Flageolet by Bernard Lee

Click for the Sheet Music (as a .pdf file).

This work is a small collection of short, unaccompanied pieces for the Double Flageolet. Bernard Lee’s name appears on a number of tutors, collections of music and flutes. It is therefore likely that he was a music and musical instrument dealer who probably published his collection to appeal to those who purchased double flageolets in his shop.

Assortment for Double Flageolet

This work contains three small pieces for double flageolet: “The Bullfinch”, “I answered: ‘Ho, Ho, Ho’”, and “Study for Double Flageolet”. The first two are anonymous and the last is by John Egan.

Click for the Sheet Music (as a .pdf file) or to hear a midi recording of the piece by Egan.

“The Bullfinch” & “I answered: ‘Ho, Ho, Ho.’”

These two short works were found on handwritten manuscript paper inside a copy of John Simpson’s “Complete Preceptor for the Improved Patent Single and Double Flageolet”. The composer is not given.

The first, “The Bullfinch” is a rather attractive Waltz with an A section written for a single pipe and a B section for both. The second, “I answered: ‘Ho, Ho, Ho.’”, is a little simpler and reminiscent of works from other tutors. Its most interesting feature is the way in which it switches, quickly between solo and duet.

“Study for Double Flageolet” by Egan

Taken from “Egan's Preceptor of the Double Flageolet”, c.1820 this little piece demonstrates the standard music played on the instrument. Apart from the slightly flamboyant ornamentation in the second section of the piece, its conservative use of harmony and the rather predictable tune, shows the difficulty of composing interesting pieces for the instrument. It is worth comparing this to the Parry “Divertimento”, which shows what could be achieved in the hands of a master.

“Divertimento” by John Parry

Click for the Sheet Music (as a .gif file) or to hear a midi recording of the piece.

This piece was written for a double-flageolet with the intention of showing off how many different keys in which the instrument could play. This was in response to criticism that the double-flageolet was very much limited to D and G majors and their relative minors. Parry not only explores more tricky keys, such as F and A major but also delves into the minor, with passages in B♭ and G minor. The writing is virtuosic, with interesting counterpoint contrasting with passages in parallel major thirds (the latter being the easiest form of harmony to play in the instrument). This piece easily achieves its aim of showing that the double-flageolet could be played as a serious art instrument and was not limited to trite tunes such as Egan's Study.

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