Wooden Simple-System Flute in Eb
Gilles (Jil) Lehart
Kernigen, Trezelan, 22140 Begard, FRANCE
Tel: +33 296 453603

The wooden flute, along with the uilleann bagpipes, pennywhistle, fiddle and button accordion, is one of the five main melody instruments in Irish dance music today. Though it was introduced into traditional Irish music after the fiddle and pipes, all these instruments are historically new to Ireland. The pipes were introduced around 1800 and the fiddle, as it is known today, not long before that. The heavily ornamented style of Irish music was developed from the natural fingering of the pipes. While fiddles and especially accordions have successfully imitated pipe ornamentation, it comes more naturally on the flute.

A number of Irish flute masters of the last few decades have elevated Irish music from a folk art to an art in its own right. Players such as Matt Molloy (the Bothy Band, Planxty, The Chieftains), Kevin Crawford (Lúnasa, Moving Cloud), Grey Larsen, Michael McGoldrick, Seamus Tansey, Seamus Eagan (Solas), and the two flute players in Flook! (Brian Finnegan and Sarah Allen) have expanded the repertoire and technique of the Irish flute far beyond its humble beginnings. The Irish flute has been adopted by most other Celtic musical cultures as well. Jean-Michel Veillon introduced the Irish flute to Breton music and players such as and Jean-Luc Thomas and Stephane Morvan are as accomplished as the best Irish players. Llan de Cubel have integrated it into the Celtic musical culture of Galicia and Asturias (Northwestern Spain). And Scottish band The Tannahill Weavers are well known for their flute and bagpipe driven melodies.

I use this particular flute in duet with the Scottish highland and lowland pipes as it fits the flat key of those instruments, though the volume of the pipes necessitates the flute be amplified. I commissioned it from Gilles Lehart in 2001 from African blackwood. As Celtic music rarely uses accidentals, It is similar to most modern Irish flutes made today as it has no keys and is completely diatonic.

Larry Rone

Links: Irish Flute Pages, What is an Irish Flute?





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