flageolets & recorders

A bird flageolet after an anonymous instrument

(late eighteenth or early nineteenth century)

a bird flageolet

The bird flageolet is a tiny instrument used during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries for teaching cage birds to sing popular tunes in order to increase their market value.

This one is tuned in D at 435 Hz. Because of its very shrill sound quality it is difficult to use in ensemble music. The picture below shows how small it is compared to a fountain pen.

a bird flageolet compared to a pen

In this picture you can see it beside a "beak" flageolet in G.

a bird flageolet compared to a "beak" flageolet

You can listen to this instrument here

a tune for the skylark
a tune for the nightingale
Tunes for the skylark and nightingale from The Bird Fancyer's Delight (anon. ca 1730)

This bird flageolet can be heard in A Prelude for the Birds by Henry Purcell,
played by l'Ensemble La Rêveuse, with Sébastien Marq (the second part).

a bird flageolet