About the Site

About the Author

This website is maintained by Jacob Gifford Head, who also wrote most of the articles; took the photographs; and designed how it looks.

Like many of those interested in musical instruments, I am an amateur researcher rather than a professional academic. I studied ancient Near Eastern history at University (writing a dissertation on the development of chordophones) and now practice law as a barrister.

Whilst I do play the different flageolets, my main instrument is the double bass (so somewhat at the other end of the spectrum from the flageolet in all respects!) followed by the classical saxophone.

Why Flageolets?

There is no particularly good reason! I have always been interested in musical instruments and collected them since I was a child. When I was at school I bought a Generation tin whistle from my local music shop. It was advertised as being a “flageolet”. At about the same time, my mother was reading a copy of Samuel Pepys’ diary which made frequent references to the instrument. I was interested that the instrument I bought shared the same name with the one that Pepys’ played, despite clearly being from such a different period. Unlike other unusual instruments, there was very little information in the normal reference books, so I started to look in more detail in older and more obscure works. That investigation has continued ever since!


Disregarding the Generation tin whistle, the first “real” flageolet I bought was a nice mid-19th Century French flageolet which had been mis-labeled as a flute or piccolo. It was followed by a cheaper later-19th Century English instrument. Thankfully both instruments still played well: since only about half the flageolets I buy work, I might have given up had I had an early disappointment!

I now own about 30 70+ (!) flageolets (plus a handful of near-flageolets like csakans) which is probably too many. Most are antique but I have had a few made by willing makers. Today, I only tend to buy instruments if they are unusual or fill a gap in my collection.

Instruments I would like to own include: a complete single flageolet by Bainbridge (mine is in poor condition); a triple flageolet; and instruments made by Hastrick, Lot and Collinet. I am also interested in commissioning someone to make a renaissance-style French flageolet.

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Comments, suggestions and corrections are always welcome. Please use the form to add some! To avoid spam, all comments are moderated before being displayed so there may be a delay before they appear on the site.

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