Cavanagh’s “Complete Flageolet Preceptor”

Published in around 1840, Cavanagh’s Complete Flageolet Preceptor is perhaps one of the few tutors for flageolets which made a serious effort to be be “complete”. It includes instructions for the three main single instruments of the time: the French flageolet, the "normal" English flageolet and the “Improved” English flageolet, patented by William Bainbridge in 1803. There is also a mention of Bainbridge’s “Flute” flageolet: a transversely blown flageolet, patented in 1807. The only instruments missing are the double and triple flageolets.

The fingering charts for the instruments are quite interesting. Cavanagh gives the French flageolet, usually considered to be the most sophisticated flageolet, the smallest range of exactly two octaves and suggests that it is incapable of playing beyond the highest D. For the English flageolet, he gives a range of two octaves and a tone, from a bottom C to D''. Except for lacking a low C♯, the instrument is fully chromatic. It is also worth noting that he suggests the use of a thumb-hole for the English flageolet: something which had become reasonably unfashionable at the time.

According to Cavanagh, the “Improved” English flageolet has the greatest range and versatility. He gives it a range of two octaves and a major third, from the bottom C# to a high F. He also suggests that it is fully chromatic, except for a lack of a top D♯.


COMPLETE
FLAGEOLET PRECEPTOR,
WITH A
SELECTION OF POPULAR AIRS, WALTZES, &c.
ADAPTED FOR THE INSTRUMENT BY
G. CAVANAGH.
LONDON
PUBLISHED BY ZENAS T. PURDAY, 45, HIGH HOLBORN.
PRICE TWO SHILLINGS.

Introduction

MR. CAVANGH, having very considerably improved the Scale of the French and English Flageolets, they have now become Instruments in high estimation with the Lovers of Music, their peculiar sweetness of Tone rendering it a pleasing accompaniment to the Voice or Piano Forte.*

* The best Collection of popular Airs, Songs, Marches, Dances, Waltzes &c. for beginners is DIETHER’S Pocket Companion for the Flageolet, published at No. 29. Lisle Street, Leicester Square, in Number at Sixpence each, each Number containing 16 Pages.

[French Flageolet]

The French Flageolet has only Six Holes, Four before and two behind, the two First Fingers of the Right Hand and Left Hand, must cover the four front Holes, the left Hand above and the Right below, the two Thumbs cover the holes behind. Be careful to keep the Holes of the left Hand shut after the E, thus The Note ‘E’, top space of the treble clef. to play the remaining Notes the The Note ‘A’ ‘B’ and ‘C’, starting on the second space of the treble clef. as they require more exertion than the other Notes.

The Thumb hole being more than half shut to make them sound clear.

See the following Scale

Gamut for the French Flageolet.

  NATURAL NOTESSHARPS and FLATS.
DEFG A B C D E F G A B C D F♯ G♯ B♭ C♯ E♭ F♯ G♯ B♭ C♯
Left HandT T T T T T T T T T T T
11111 11111 1111111
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Right Hand 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
T T T T T T T T T T T T
44 4 4 4 4 4

[English Flageolet]

The ENGLISH FLAGEOLET has Eight Holes, one behind, and seven before, the Left Hand must cover the three Top holes, and with the Thumb cover the one behind, and with the Right Hand cover the Four below. The black dots mean the holes that must be stopt, and the open dots are those which must remain open, the open dots which are mark’d thus ◧ mean the thumb to cover half the hole which must be done by the Nail and is only used above the upper E. You must be careful to cover the thumb hole below the D and be particular to cover on half the thumb hole for all notes above E. See Scale.

GAMUT for the ENGLISH FLAGEOLET.

 NATURAL NOTESHARPS and FLATS.
C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D D♯ E♭ F♯ G♯ A♭ A♯ B♭ C♯ D♯ E♭ F♯ G♯ A♭ B♭ C♯
Left Hand T T T T T T T T T T T T T
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Right Hand4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6
Little Finger7+

[Patent Flageolet]

The Patent Flageolet has one or two Keys and eight Holes, one behind which is covered by the thumb of the Left hand, and seven before, the three first holes are cover’d with the Left hand, & the remaining four are covered with the Right. The figures in the following Scale 1.2.3.4.5.6.7. represent the seven holes in the front of the Flageolet, this mark 0’ shews which are to remain open; when a figure occurs that hole must be stopt. This mark ○ above the figures means the thumb must be on the hole behind, and this 0 the thumb off. The + under the figures means the keys must remain shut, this 0 0 the keys must be lifted up by the little finger of the Right hand. In sounding all notes up to B The note B, middle line of the treble clef be careful to have the first finger of the left hand, on the small top hole which is half closed with Ebony, and all the notes above B The note B, middle line of the treble clef the first finger of the left hand must be off the hole. as by the finger being off & blowing a little stronger the upper notes sound proper.

SCALE of BAINBRIDGE and WOOD’S PATENT FLAGEOLET.

  Different ways of making these Notes
C♯ D E F♯ F♮ G A B C♯ C D E F♯ F♮ G A B C♮ D E F♮ F♮ C D C D
Left Hand
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Right Hand 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6
7+○1○+○+7+○+○+○+7+○+○+○+○+7+○+○+○+○+7+○+○○7+○+○+○○7+
Keys  ⇑The smallest key only ⇑One Key up ⇑Both Keys up⇑Both Keys up

Scale of Flats and Sharps.

 D♯E♭F♯G♯A♭ A♯ B♭ C♯ D♯ E♭ F♯ G♯ A♭ A♯ B♭ C♯ E♭ C♯
Left Handmade the same as A♯made the same as A♯
111111
22222222222
333333333
Right Hand4444444444444
5555555
6666666
○○○+○+○+○+○+○○○○○+○+○+○+○○○+○+
 ⇑Both Keys up for D♯ ⇑Both Keys up for D♯ ⇑Both Keys up for C♯

NB: These Scales are calculated for all Single Flageolets at present made, exception of the FLUTE Flageolet, which must vary from any others, the Scale of which being precisely the same as the German Flute.

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