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The Flute in Scotland from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Century


Elizabeth C. Ford

It is a generally accepted truth that the flute was unknown in Scotland prior to 1725, and that it was played exclusively by wealthy men. Upon examination, these beliefs are demonstrably false. This book explores the role of the flute in Scottish musical life, primarily in the long eighteenth century, including players, repertoire, manuscripts, and instruments. Evidence for ladies having played the flute is also examined, as are possible connections between flute playing and bagpipe playing. Reasons for the flute’s disappearance from the pantheon of Scottish instruments are considered, and interviews with contemporary flute players in Scotland depict flute playing in contemporary Scotland. This work fills a major gap in knowledge of Scottish musical life and flute history.

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Chapter 5 Repertoire in manuscript sources


Chapter 5

Repertoire in manuscript sources


Music manuscripts with origins in eighteenth-century Scotland provide insight into the musical tastes, pedagogy, ability levels, and transmission of music among amateur flute players. Although the precise origins of the manuscripts surveyed here are unknown, all have ties to Scotland.1 The list below provides a general survey of music manuscripts that were the personal possessions of flute players in eighteenth-century Scotland, comparable to contemporary manuscripts for violin.2

Several manuscripts previously identified as being for the flute can now be re-identified as having been intended for either the recorder or another instrument entirely. Some of these are victims of the flute/recorder terminology problem, such as two manuscripts in the Montagu Music Collection3←131 | 132→ which could be for flute or recorder and may or may not be of Scottish origin, although a connection to Scotland is likely because they were once the property of the Scottish antiquarian Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe. For example, GB-KETmmc MS 8, ‘Hundriwood’, dates from the first half of the eighteenth century.4 The contents range from a transcription of a flute solo version of The Beggar’s Opera to minuets by McGibbon, along with Scottish tunes and sonatas by Corelli and Robert Valentine. While playable on either flute or recorder, the key signatures – especially for the transpositions of the Corelli and Valentine – indicate recorder. GB-KETmmc MS 353 is an earlier volume, most likely dating from the 1710s. The contents are predominantly Scottish,5 along...

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