A Flageolet for you

What is it?

The flageolet is a French instrument first shown in 1581 by Sieur Juvigny during the “Le Ballet Comique de la Royne” in France.

Here’s how it looks and sounds

Not to be confused with

Pronounced /ˈflæʒəleɪ/, from the old French meaning “pipe” and called octavin in Spanish. A person that plays the flageolet is just called a flageolet player.

Category

The instrument is from the Wind family meaning the sound comes by blowing air in a mouthpiece into a tube(resonator). 

Variants

The types of flageolet are determined by their country:

  • French flageolet: 4 holes in front and 2 behind.
  • English flageolet: 6 holes in front and 2 behind.

There’s also the double and triple flageolet that have 2-3 bodies, so you can play them at the same time to get the effect of countermelody.

This can be confusing, just know that the most common variant is the french and its range is around C#4 to E6.

In terms of materials, the options are usually wood. This particular one is commonly made of ivory. The material has no effect on the sound (our article here) but it does in price and durability.

Before you buy 

Getting a flageolet for sale? as a gift? If you do, here’s all you need to know.

The price of the instrument is around $26 $599 USD, the cheapest we found was a used non functional flageolet and the most expensive was a functional french flageolet.

In the middle we have something like an English flageolet for $240 USD, the instrument is hard to find since it was replaced by the tin whistle in the XIX century.

The size goes around 14.5 x 2.6 x 1.2 In (37 x 6.8 x 3.2 Cm) – 13 x 1.9 x 0.6  In (33 x 4.8 x 1.5 Cm) and has a weight from 1.59  Oz (45 g)  to 1.76 Oz (50 g).

Now that you know, you can check on eBay here.

Accessories

There are a lot of accessories, but for this one your going to need to get them for other similar instruments and adapt them:

  • Bag & Case: Bag for transportation and case for safety and transportation. If you don’t get one with your instrument check the sizes section to get a perfect one.
  • Stand: there are generic stands that work for a variety of instruments so you don’t necessarily need the specific one
  • Cleaning kit: a complete one should have brushes (short and extremely long), oil, microfiber, and germicide

Start playing   

To learn to play each note you need a finger chart (or position chart)

We recommend learning to read sheet music to get the basics. We review resources to help you choose how you want to learn. Now that you know how to read them, you need to get some. 
Sheets come in different notations so we recommend checking various versions of the same sheets, searching for “scores” to get all instruments, and even the “song name for flageolet to save on translations. Sadly, since the instrument was replaced by the tin whistle you are gonna need to do the translation for most music sheets.

Don’t forget all the details that combined make a big difference like the way you hold it, efficient warmups, positions, and techniques.

Remember, the flageolet is easy to learn and fast, but you need to know music theory to adapt music for it. It’s also similar to the tin whistle and piccolo, so you can combine those resources to help you learn.

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