Theobald Boehm - The Flute and Flute-PLaying in Acoustical, Technical and Artistic Aspects

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    936B671908

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    Cornell University LibraryML 936.B67 1908The flute and flute-playin

    IIin acoustica

    3 1924 021 743 848

    CORNELLUNIVERSITYLIBRARY

    Gift of. H. French

    MUSIC

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    The original of tliis book is intine Cornell University Library.

    There are no known copyright restrictions inthe United States on the use of the text.

    http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924021743848

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    Theobald BoehmAged 34

    At the time of the development of the conical bore, ring key, flute

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    THE FLUTEAND FLUTE-PLAYINGIN ACOUSTICAL, TECHNICAL, ANDARTISTIC ASPECTS

    THEOBALD BOEHMRoyal Bavarian Court-Musician

    ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN GERMAN IN 1871

    TRANSLATED AND ANNOTATED BY

    DAYTON C. MILLER, D. Sc.Professor of Physics in Case School of Applied Science

    PUBLISHED BYDAYTON C. MILLER

    Case School of Applied Science, Cleveland, Ohio

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    rat

    Copyright, 1908, byDAYTON C. MILLERALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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    Munich, August 6th, igo8Dear Mr. Miller:

    / wish to express my, and my sisters'great pleasure and satisfaction for your labor oflove, which you have undertaken in the goodintention to honor my grandfather. For this wecan be only very thankful to you; and I believeI express the sentiment of the whole family ofmy grandfather in giving you our approval ofthe publishing ofyour translation of his book:"Die Flbte und das Flotenspiel."

    Yours very trulyTheobald Bbhm,

    {The above is an extract from a personal letter; the originalis written in !nglish.]

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    TRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTIONTHEOBALD BoEHM, of Munich,bom in 1794,

    died in 1881,a celebrated Royal BavarianCourt-Musician, and inventor of the modem

    flute, described his inventions in a treatise on "DieFlote und das Flotenspiel" ; this work was read withgreat interest by the writer, and while upon a holidaysome years ago, it was translated; others havingexpressed a desire to read the work in English, itspublication has been undertaken.

    While much has been written about the Boehmflute, Boehm's own writings seem not to have receivedthe attention they deserve ; this is especially true of thework here presented; his earlier pamphlet, publishedin German in 1847, ^^ French in 1848, and in Englishin 1882, is better known. In the introduction to "DieFlote und das Flotenspiel," Boehm says : "My treatise,Ueber den Flotenbau und die neuesten Verbesserungendesselben (1847), seems to have had but little influ-ence. There is need, therefore, of this work in whichis given as complete a description as is possible of myflutes and instructions for handling them, and whichalso contains instructions upon the art of playing theflute with a pure tone and a good style."

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    VI TRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTIONIn a letter to Mr. Broadwood, dated November

    15, 1868, Boehm wrote: "I have at length finished it[this treatise]. There ought properly to be both aFrench and an English translation, but I cannot myselfundertake them * * * ^ My treatise will contain

    * * * ; and the history of all my work and allmy experience during a period of 60 years will becontained in one little book." In August, 1871, hewrites: "My work, 'Die Flote und das Flotenspiel,'is in the press."

    The preparation of the English edition of thislast work of Boehm's has been a labor of love, and thewriter hopes that its study will make still better knownBoehm's very careful and complete investigations, andwill lead to a full appreciation of his remarkableimprovements in the flute. His greatest desire was toelevate the art of music, but he was also possessed ofthe true scientific spirit, and has described his designsand practical constructions very explicitly. In 1847he wrote: "The surest proof of the authenticity ofmy inventions, I believe will consist in describing themotives I had in their development, and in explainingthe acoustical and mechanical principles which I madeuse of; for he alone is capable of carrying out arational work, who can give a complete account of thewhy and wherefore of every detail from the conceptionto the completion." Judged by this criterion, Boehmdeserves the highest credit, for he has given anaccount-^-almost beyond criticism, and p-haps the bestever given for any musical instrumentof the whyand wherefore of the flute.

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    TRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTION vilThe first part of the present work covers the same

    subjects as did the one of 1847, but the treatment ismore complete and practical. In addition to this thereis much of value about the mechanism, and the care ofthe flute, while the second part on flute-playing is ofgreat interest.

    In 1847 stress was put upon the so-called scientificconstruction of the flute; in this treatise the scientificportions appear in truer relations to the subject. Thisshould remove the slight cause for criticism which theearlier treatise seemed to present. To one who readsunderstandingly it is evident that, while the generaltreatment of the flute is a scientific one, the actualdimensions for construction are based upon experi-ment. No set of laws has yet been formulated whichwill enable one to calculate all the dimensions of a flute.This fact in no way lessens the value of Boehm's work ;his purposes were conceived and carried out accordingto scientific methods, and his finished work was thebest practical realization of his ideals. Boehm is morethan worthy of all the honor that he has received, notfor scientific discoveries, but for practical improve-ments and artistic successes.

    The full consideration of Boehm's contributionscannot be given here ; but to him we certainly owe thepresent system of fingering,an astonishingly perfectone,the cylinder bore, and much of the beautifulmechanism, which have completely revolutionized theinstrument and have made the Boehm flute one of themost perfect of musical instruments.

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    Vili TRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTIONThe text here given is a faithful, and usually a

    very literal, translation of the German^ Boehm'swritings possess both a historical and a scientificinterest, and his inventions have been the subject ofmuch controversy. It has seemed desirable, in givinghis descriptions and explanations, to retain as far aspossible, the forms of expression and even the wordingof the original. Some traces of the German construc-tions, no doubt remain. While a freler translationmight be preferred by some, it is believed the onegiven is always intelligible and explicit. There hasbeen a slight rearrangement of subject matter and ofparagraphing. The use of emphasis,indicated byitalics in English,which is very frequent in theoriginal, has been omitted.

    Eight errors in the original lithographed Tablesof Fingerings, and a few typographical errors in thetables of acoustical numbers have been corrected; noother corrections have been found necessary.

    All of the original illustrations are reproduced;the diagrams have been redrawn with only suchalterations as are noticed in the descriptive matter ; themusical illustrations have been copied photographicallyfrom the German edition and therefore appear exactlyas Boehm left them. In this edition there have beenadded several jliagrams (Fig. 4 and the note diagramsin square brackets), pictures of six flutes (Figs, i, 2,9, 10, II, and 18), and three portraits of Boehm. Thefirst portrait is copied from an old lithograph; thesecond is from the original photographic portrait byHanfstaengl of Munich, presented to the writer by

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    TRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTION ixMiss Anna

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