Principles of the Flute, Recorder and Oboe by Jacques-Martin Hotteterre

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Principles of the Flute, Recorder and Oboe by Jacques-Martin Hotteterre

Principles of the Flute, Recorder and Oboe by Jacques-Martin Hotteterre

Publisher: Dover Publications


Jacques-Martin Hotteterre, recognized as the preeminent flautist during his era and honoured as the “Flûte de la Chambre du Roi” at Louis XIV’s court, penned this instructional manual for the transverse flute, recorder, and oboe. Originally titled “Principes de la Flûte,” this treatise played a significant role in the rivalry between the flute and recorder, ultimately hastening the recorder’s virtual disappearance as both an ensemble and solo instrument.

Today, Hotteterre’s Principles hold substantial practical value and remain a pivotal work in the historical evolution of the flute. Of particular importance is the comprehensive exploration of key ornaments and embellishments from the period, including appoggiaturas, springers, terminated trills, vibrato, and mordents, along with guidance on their proper and tasteful application. This information proves invaluable not only to modern wind instrumentalists but also to musicians of various disciplines and musicologists. Additionally, the extensive section devoted to the technique of the 7-hole transverse flute, an ancestor of the contemporary instrument, retains relevance in the present day.

Although the 7-hole flute is considerably more primitive, it shares essential characteristics with its modern counterpart. The section dedicated to the recorder, an instrument that has undergone little change since the time of the Principles, serves as a vital period guidebook, as pertinent to contemporary recorder players as it was to their eighteenth-century counterparts.

Interestingly, despite its historical and practical significance, Hotteterre’s treatise had not previously been accessible to the English-speaking world. This edition marks the first modern English translation, expertly provided by Paul Marshall Douglas from the University of British Columbia. Douglas also includes an introduction outlining the known details of Hotteterre’s life, discussing the eighteenth-century contest between the flute and recorder, and shedding light on the prevailing usage of wind instruments during that era.

This edition is a Dover Original and is translated from the 1728 Amsterdam edition published by Etienne Roger.

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