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No instrument emulates the twitting, floating, fluid songs of birds quite as well as the flute. While the human voice has difficulty replicating the delicacy with which birds and flutes undertake musical gymnastics, this is certainly not for lack of trying. In this “Twitter” section, images of The Country Choristers and Le Concert capture moments when twittering should have been left to birds and flutists, while Soo D’oude Songen Soo Pepen De Jongen (As the Old Sing, So the Young Twitter) presents a more harmonious interaction between voice and woodwind.  Of course, at the wrong time and place even the most melodious song may be unwelcome, as seen in the image of Gavarni’s flageolet player, who has no reason to expect a friendly greeting when his playing keeps his neighbor awake at 3 a.m.

In his unpublished history, Miller wrote that, while during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries composers favored solo vocal and instrumental music, the composition of pieces for ensembles with multiple instruments began to dominate around the year 1600. However, the instruments available for these works were still in very simple, almost crude forms. The development of more sophisticated woodwind instruments for orchestral use reached its peak during the eighteenth century, although simple, whistle-type instruments such as three-hole tabor pipes and flageolets (end-blown instruments with distinctive “beak” mouthpieces) remained popular for amateur performances, such as those portrayed in this section.

Soo D’oude Songen Soo Pepen De Jongen (As the Old Sing, So the Young Twitter)

“What the elders frequently sing with wide-open mouths, the cautious youngsters strive to re-echo on their pipes. Zeuxis depicted this well, and would have surpassed art if life were to come to the aged ones, and sound to the pipes.”—Translated from image

Soo D’oude Songen Soo Pepen De Jongen (As the Old Sing, So the Young Twitter). Cornelis Danckerts, the elder (Dutch, ca. 1603–1656), after Jacob Jordaens (Flemish, 1593–1678). Mid-seventeenth century. Etching and engraving. Dayton C. Miller Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress
[Digital ID # fl0001]

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The Flute-Playing Shepard

In his manuscript draft of the history of the flute and other wind instruments, Dayton C. Miller described this particular statue as indicating royal favor for the flute under Louis XIV’s Flûte de la Chambre du Roy (Flutist of the King’s Chamber), Jacques Hotteterre. “The statue,” he wrote, “represents a shepherd seated on a tree stump, playing a transverse flute patterned exactly on the model of the Hotteterre flute. The traditional pan-pipes are hanging on a projection from the stump. A young satyr is listening with delight to the music of the new flute.”

The Flute-Playing Shepherd. Marble original by Antoine Coysevox (French, 1640–1720), cast by Ferdinand Barbedienne, ca. 1850 (original 1709). Bronze. Dayton C. Miller Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (002.00.00)
[Digital ID # fl0002]

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Un tambourinaire (A pipe and tambourin player)

This folk musician from Provence is playing a tambourin (a Provencal version of the tabor, or portable small drum played with one hand), and tabor pipe (a simple three-holed pipe). The tabor pipe is also sometimes called a galoubet.

Un tambourinaire (A pipe and tambourin player). Unknown, Basse, Provence, ca. 1929. Postcard. Dayton C. Miller Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (003.01.00)
[Digital ID # fl0003]

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Whistle

Whistle. Unknown. Probably twentieth century. Staffordshire pottery. Dayton C. Miller Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (004.00.00)
[Digital ID # 1305f1]

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Tabor pipe (Galoubet)

The tabor pipe, or galoubet, is a simple, three-holed pipe played with one hand to accompany a small drum known as a “tabor.”

Tabor pipe (Galoubet). Long (French, active late-eighteenth to mid-nineteenth century), ca. 1780. Bone. Dayton C. Miller Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (005.00.00)
[Digital ID # 0787f1]

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English flageolet

The flageolet is an end-blown wind instrument that developed from a simple, recorder-type form to a more elaborate instrument with six finger-holes, a mouthpiece known as a beak, and sometimes two or three pipes.

English flageolet. John Parker (British, active 1770–1815). Unknown. Boxwood, with ivory beak and finger studs with brass keys. Dayton C. Miller Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (006.00.00)
[Digital ID # 0991f1]

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The Bird Fancyer’s Delight

The Bird Fancyer’s Delight is an English manual intended to help eager bird owners teach their caged nightingales or linnets how to sing. It provided species-specific tunes, which the owner would play on a recorder or flageolet until the bird learned to echo the notes. Miller commented that “This copy is complete and is the only known copy of this early edition. The British Museum Library possesses a copy of an edition of about 1730 which is described in Christopher Welch’s ‘Six Lectures on the Recorder.’”

Selection from For the Birds. Buffalo: New York: Fleur de Son Classics, Ltd, 2001. Courtesy of Fleur de Son Classics.

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The Pleasant Companion: or New Lessons and Instructions for the Flagelet [SIC]

The flageolet was a popular instrument from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries. Amateur musicians found it easy to keep in tune and easy to learn. Instruction books such as Bainbridge and Wood’s Flageolet Tutor (London, ca. 1805) advertised that the instrument was “so easy that those who wish to study Music can, without the assistance of a Master, learn to play scientifically.” Miller noted that his own copy of another flageolet tutor, The Pleasant Companion, “is a very rare edition and is not in the Library of the British Museum, that copy being dated 1682.”

The Pleasant Companion: or New Lessons and Instructions for the Flagelet [SIC]. Thomas Greeting (British, n.d.–1682). London: J. Playford, 1680. Page 2. Dayton C. Miller Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (008.00.00)
[Digital ID # fl0008]

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[Pan] on Cover of The New Yorker, March 14, 1925

[Pan] on Cover of The New Yorker, March 14, 1925. Rea Irvin. Color relief print. New York: H. Greeley & Co., 1925. Dayton C. Miller Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (009.01.00)
[Digital ID # fl0009]

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The Country Choristers

The Country Choristers. John Goldar (British, 1729–1795); after John Collet (British, 1725–1780). 1773. Etching and engraving. Dayton C. Miller Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (010.00.00)
[Digital ID # fl0010]

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Le Fluteur

Le Fluteur. Jacques-Philippe Le Bas (French, 1707–1783). 1746. Etching and engraving. Dayton C. Miller Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (011.01.00)
[Digital ID # fl0011]

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Untitled

“Here it is three in the morning, neighbor, three hours you’ve been playing for us on that flageolet, and if you will allow me to make an observation that . . .”

“. . . But how could I have guessed, sir, that you prefer the clarinet?”—Translated from image

Untitled. Paul Gavarni [Sulpice Guillaume Chevalier] (French, 1804–1866). Mid-nineteenth century. Lithograph. Dayton C. Miller Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (012.00.00)
[Digital ID # fl0012]

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Le Concert (The Concert)

Le Concert (The Concert). Louis-Léopold Boilly (French, 1761–1845). Nineteenth century. Etching and engraving. Dayton C. Miller Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (013.00.00)
[Digital ID # fl0013]

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Les Danseurs à la flûte et au tambourin (Dancers with flute and tambourine)

Les Danseurs à la flûte et au tambourin (Dancers with flute and tambourine). Unknown, after Jacques Callot (French, 1592–1635). Seventeenth century. Etching and engraving. Dayton C. Miller Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (014.01.00)
[Digital ID # fl0014]

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