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Update to my article, 'The Hotteterre Flute: Six Replicas in Search of a Myth',Journal of the American Musicological Society XLIX (1996), 225-63

by Ardal Powell

A RECENTLY-DISCOVERED flute can be added to the small tally of genuine early eighteenth-century woodwinds by members of the Hotteterre family. It had not yet come to light when I wrote my 1996 JAMS article on the Hotteterre flute or the Jacques Martin Hotteterre "le Romain" (1674-1763) page , but this page describes the instrument and compares it with the flutes I discussed in that essay.

The flute is in boxwood and ivory, and is stamped with a hitherto unrecorded maker's mark, which includes a monogram of the letters LR. All the other "Hotteterre" flutes I studied are either stamped HOTTETERRE/anchor or are unmarked. There is no definite indication at present of what the LR monogram might signify, though it seems possible that it stands for "Le Romain". However I suppose this interpretation would require the slightly far-fetched assumption that Jacques Hotteterre started a new workshop of his own rather than retaining the trademark of his father, Martin.

Hotteterre flute stamped LR The newly-discovered Hotteterre flute.

The Hotteterre/LR stamp The flute's stamp, a previously unrecorded form, contains a monogram of the letters "LR".

___Although it unfortunately lacks its foot-joint, I am convinced the instrument is unaltered in all other respects. [Note: I am not convinced of this any more: I think the headjoint has been shortened slightly, to raise the pitch, where it fits into the ivory connector.] It has moderate wear from use, including some bore shrinkage (see graph below), but its general condition is good enough that tool marks from manufacture are still in evidence. Its tenon ends, like those of G and S, are not faced flat but slanted outward, and like G its embouchure walls have some scraper marks. The center joint is quite noticeably warped: this is unusual enough in an original 3-joint flute that in my JAMS essay (p. 257) I found the warping of Bn and P471 to weigh against their authenticity. However the LR flute shows other signs besides the scraper marks that it was not made by the most careful of hands, including tool chatter in the sockets and tearing of the grain on the lowest tenon.

___Using a non-original footjoint, I played it at a pitch of about a=402, which is closer to S (about a=400) than G (about a=392). [I think the original pitch before shortening was closer to 392 though.]

Embouchure closeup Tool marks in the embouchure seem to be from manufacture, not later alteration. Ivory turnings The ivory turning of the connector between head and middle joints is in the typical "Hotteterre" style (JAMS article, footnote 4).


___Comparing the flute with the two other genuine Hotteterre-type flutes (G and S) shows that the main design differences are in the lower part of the center joint. Below is a revised version of Table 2 of my essay, now including data from the LR flute (on the line highlighted in yellow). This indicates the positions of toneholes 4, 5, and 6 (columns e, f, g) to be much higher on the tube than those of the other two flutes. The effect is easier to see in the bottom line of the table where the differences between maxima and minima for these values appear as numbers in red. Note also the similarity between average measurements for the "Group A" flutes (i.e. those based on X', the original I supposed lost from La Couture) and the LR flute. This means that, in a rough comparison of design, LR is more similar to X' than to G or S.

Abbr. Location a b c d e f g h i j k l
Measured values                          
Bn Berlin 2670 128.25 42.33 81.60 120.55 184.25 223.00 260.60 88.95 159.50 280.20 102.10 72.90
M Miller 428 127.25 42.70 81.35 120.33 185.30 223.90 261.55 90.80 159.50 281.09 102.30 72.65
Br Brussels 3131 127.85 42.75 81.75 120.40 185.65 224.35 261.55 90.12 159.07 281.59 102.45 73.00
P471 St Petersburg 471 128.60 42.60 81.80 120.60 185.70 224.70 262.30 88.65 160.80 281.60 101.86 73.58
C La Couture 127.30 42.60 81.60 120.35 185.60 224.17 261.55 89.02 160.55 280.95 101.95 73.04
P472 St Petersburg 472 128.10 42.85 82.00 120.90 185.90 224.45 262.20 89.39 161.14 281.10 102.13 71.90
LR Paris, Musée de la musique 128.17 44.15 82.90 124.08 182.65 222.36 260.54 26.42 171.14 281.84 N/A 64.98
S Stuttgart 131.20 44.00 83.75 122.40 187.15 227.30 264.25 39.60 158.80 282.30 99.20 65.90
G Graz 1384 137.00 49.00 87.00 127.00 191.00 229.50 266.00 57.20 166.50 284.00 110.80 65.90
Calculated values                          
  X (Avg. Group A) 127.89 42.64 81.68 120.52 185.40 224.10 261.63 89.49 160.09 281.09 102.13 72.85
  Range, Group A 1.35 0.52 0.65 0.57 1.65 1.70 1.70 2.15 2.07 1.40 0.59 1.68
  Range of G, S, X 9.11 6.36 5.32 6.48 5.60 5.40 4.38 49.89 7.70 2.91 11.60 6.95
  Range of G, S, X, LR 9.11 6.36 5.32 6.48 8.35 7.14 5.46 63.07 12.34 2.91 11.60 7.87

Note: Total sounding length, from the embouchure center to the end, is a + j + k + l. Group A, shown in the light brown color, comprises Bn, M, Br, P471, C, and P472.

a Embouchure center, measured from the lower headjoint tenon shoulder
b Center of tonehole 1, measured from center joint top tenon shoulder
c Center of tonehole 2, measured from center joint top tenon shoulder
d Center of tonehole 3, measured from center joint top tenon shoulder
e Center of tonehole 4, measured from center joint top tenon shoulder
f Center of tonehole 5, measured from center joint top tenon shoulder
g Center of tonehole 6, measured from center joint top tenon shoulder
h Total length of cap 
i Length of head, excluding tenons 
j Sounding length (total length excluding tenons) of center joint 
k Total length of footjoint 
l Total length of connector between head and center joints 

___The flute's bore is shown by the green trace on the graph below, alongside the bore of G in blue, that of Bn in purple, and that of S in red. The trace of LR shows some not unexpected shrinkage in the region of the top tenon, from c. 190-260 on the horizontal scale. Otherwise its most notable differences are, once again, in the lower half of the middle joint.

___I find more overall similarity of design between LR and S than between LR and G. I think the LR flute's parallels with S make it seem more likely that S, which is not signed, is the work of someone in the Hotteterre circles.

___Since LR's footjoint is missing, it is necessary to devise one with a suitable length and bore to supply the lack. In experiments in the Folkers & Powell workshop we found the footjoint of Bn to be more suitable than that of G or S.

Click here to view the bore graph in a separate window

©1997, Ardal Powell

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