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(Potsdam, 1697-1773) Ebony two-keyed flute of the type described in the Versuch (1752), now in the Miller Collection, Washington D.C. a=392, 398, 404, 410, 415. Two keys, for D# and Eb. With screw-cork, tuning slide in the head-joint.

Quantz flute by Folkers & Powell

The Instrument

Quantz is of course most famous as author of the Essay of a Method of Playing the Flute traverisere (1752), published in English as On Playing the Flute, and as flute teacher to Frederick the Great of Prussia. Many of the instruments he made for that monarch have survived, to be listed in an article by Mary Oleskiewicz in the 1998 Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society (Vol. XXIV, 107-45). The flutes, while not perfectly identical, are made to the same design: ours is based primarily on the Miller Collection example but also on information from several others we have studied. Most of the Quantz flutes have five middle joints for various pitches as well as a tuning slide in the head-joint. When pulled out about 5mm, this slide makes the longest and shortest of the set play at a=392 and 415. Clearly the lowest pitch was most favored by Quantz and the Prussian court. The Quantz flute plays with a magnificent golden tone, particularly strong and clear in the lower part of the first octave. Its excellent intonation makes playing pure 3rds and low leading-tones easy, just as Quantz's rational tuning scheme dictated. Mary Oleskiewicz recently published another essay highlighting the musical qualities of the Quantz flute in repertoire composed for it, "The Trio Sonate in Bach's Musical Offering: A Salute to Frederick's Tastes and Quantz's Flutes?" in Bach Perspectives, vol. 4: The Music of J.S. Bach, Analysis and Interpretation (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999), 79-110.

The Foot-register

Quantz disapproved of the foot-register, since it "serves no other purpose than to make it possible for somebody with thriftiness in mind to manage upon a single badly tuned flute what would otherwise require two flutes, that is, a low one and a high one [Quantz is referring to instruments at unspecified pitches a whole tone apart.]" (Essay, I.14). Nevertheless, he provided his own flutes with 5 middle joints so that they could be played at different pitches, but without supplying a register to mitigate the compromises involved.

You can of course order separate flutes at different pitches. But if you wish to play a single Quantz flute at more than one pitch the course we recommend is to order it with a register. If you prefer not to, simply uncheck the "register" box in the form below.

The Music

The Quantz flute is a great all-round instrument for a serious player, though its strength of character is perhaps not best suited to soft and tender music such as the French petits airs. It is most convincing in serious, craftsmanlike music such as that of the Dresden and Berlin composers, and in much of Bach's flute chamber music, especially the E major and Musical Offering sonatas.

Audio sample Audio sample

Wilbert Hazelzet, solo flute
From: Suite for cello No. 1 (G major), BWV 1007. Transcription: Wilbert Hazelzet. Glossa Music CGD 920804
Time: c2 mins. Size: 1,307,749 bytes 16 bit stereo 44.1 KHz sampling

Get Real Player

The sample is also available for download as an MP3 file (5 MB), with better sound quality.

Fingering Chart

A fingering chart for the Quantz flute can be found in Quantz's Essay (1752)

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392 398 404 410 415




Total Price (includes headjoint tuning slide)

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PO Box 148, Hillsdale NY 12529-0148 USA
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