Cover image for The flute
The flute
Powell, Ardal.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven ; London : Yale University Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
x, 347 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm.
Subject Term:
Electronic Access:
Table of contents

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML935 .P69 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The story of the flute in the musical life of Europe and North America from the 12th century to the 21st. It seeks to illustrate the relationship that has bound the instrument, its music, and performance technique together through eight centuries of shifting musical tastes and practices.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

With these two volumes, the publisher launches its promising "Musical Instrument" series, in which noted scholars/ performers discuss instruments in light of the newest research. Forthcoming titles will cover the piano, the clarinet, the cello, the violin, and the trumpet. Montagu has played timpani and percussion professionally for more than 50 years and oversaw the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments at Oxford, and Powell is a noted solo flautist and president of Folkers & Powell, Makers of Historical Flutes, in Hudson, NY. Each has written an informative and authoritative guide for those with previous background in these instruments and a serious desire to understand their place in history. Taking a chronological approach, the authors trace the instruments from earliest known records and discuss the changes in construction, social context, and repertory, as well as notable performers and makers. Montagu's appendixes include information about playing techniques and the construction of percussion instruments, and Powell's reference section contains extremely valuable coverage of past and current scholarship on flutes. In addition to being well written, the books are sturdy and beautifully illustrated. Highly recommended for academic libraries, public libraries where an interest in music is strong, and upper-level music students generally. Timothy J. McGee, Univ. of Toronto (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Powell is a respected flute maker and performer. His premise is that performers must know the ideas and practices of the past and where and when conditions altered them in order to appropriately re-create the music of all periods. He offers this superb book as a progress report on the current state of knowledge about instruments, technique, and tuning to encourage players of historical instruments to learn the rules and the flutes of each period. Powell presents a social history of music as well as a history of the flute and flute-playing. He presents the complicated technical developments of the 19th century in sidebars. Excellent illustrations are well reproduced on heavy stock. Of special interest to US readers is the chapter on US instruments from the late 19th century to the present. The huge amount of research undertaken in the 1990s on early "baroque" flutes is especially well summarized. Excellent bibliographic essays precede each chapter's footnotes. A major contribution to the literature on the history of musical instruments and the best and most complete history of the flute and flute-playing available today. Recommended for all academic and public collections. J. P. Ambrose emerita, University of Vermont