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Collection Dayton C. Miller Collection

Music, Books, Tutors, and Patents

The Dayton C. Miller Flute Collection contains over 3,000 books and numerous tutors and patents related to wind instruments. These books are searchable in the Library’s online catalog. This presentation makes available one example of a tutor:

The Pleasant Companion: or New Lessons and Instructions for the Flagelet
by Thomas Greeting

One of the treasures from the Miller Collection Library is a rare 1680 edition of The Pleasant Companion: or New Lessons and Instructions for the Flagelet, by Thomas Greeting, a late seventeenth-century musician and teacher who is mentioned several times in the diaries of Samuel Pepys (1633-1703). The flageolet, variously spelled in this book as flagelet, flagilett, flagilet and flagelett, is an instrument rather similar to the recorder. Mr. Greeting's title, The Pleasant Companion, refers to the flageolet's portability.

In his introductory remarks, Greeting writes "the Flagelet is an Instrument that may very fitly be termed A Pleasant Companion, for it may be carried in the Pocket, and so without any trouble bear one company either by Land or by Water." Likewise, the size of this tutor (16cm x 5cm) made it a handy little pocket companion. Typical of early tutors prepared for amateur use, the music is written in a sort of fingering tablature, in this case using a six-line staff, each line representing one of the six finger-holes of the flageolet of that time. The rhythm is notated above the tablature.

Dr. Miller pasted several interesting items inside the newer outer leaves of the present binding. One, in Miller's hand, is an entry from Samuel Pepys's diary for February 28, 1666-67: "Up, there comes to me Drumbleby with a flageolet, made to suit my former and brings to me one (Mr.) Greeting, a master, to teach my wife. I agree by the whole with him to teach her to take out any lesson of herself for [pounds] 4." From other entries in Pepys's diary we learn that Mr. Drumbleby was "a maker of flageolets, the best in towne," or that Drumbleby is a "pipe-maker," which likely means that he made recorders, flageolets, and other wind instruments on order.