Return to home page
  ^ documents ^ instrument ^ music ^ people ^ resources ^ shop ^ the book  

Anthony of Dornstätt

Anthony seems to be the first military flutist, or fifer, we know by name, holding the position of personal fifer to the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian (1459-1519). In this picture he is shown carrying a banner, in which the following verse was meant to be inscribed:

I, Anthony of Dornstätt, have played my fife
For Maximilian, great in strife,
In many lands on countless journeys,
In battles fierce and knightly tourneys,
At grave times or in holiday,
And so in this Triumph with honour I play

The 'Triumph' he refers to is a book of 137 engravings by Hans Burgkmair of Augsburg (1473-1531) entitled Triumph of Maximilian I (1526). Anthony and his three fifers appear at the head of the procession, in Plate 3.

Fifes, or military flutes, were usually associated with the infantry in the 16th century, and this is a rare or even unique depiction of fifers on horseback. Each man carries a case at his belt to hold at least three instruments of different sizes. If this picture is reliable (as are most of the other details of instruments and costumes shown in the Triumph), the flutes had eight fingerholes, four for each hand.


  Go To Top Of Page Top of page



Copyright © 2000,