Bull’s “Railway to Music”

Written in around 1845, Bull’s tutor was, like many written at the time, produced as part of a series of tutors for popular amateur instruments. Although, by the 1840s, the expressions “improved” and “patent” were used loosely with regards to English Flageolets, Bull’s tutor is aimed squarely at William Bainbridge’s invention.

The two main differences between this instrument and the standard English flageolet is that it is the fingering ○○○○○○ produces an C rather than an C♯ (i.e. the instrument tuned to the key of G major, rather than D major) and the highest finger hole is half-filled with wood, which means that, for playing notes in the top octave, one can lift the first finger of the right hand and utilise the half-filled hole as a pinched thumb-hole.

As with many authors writing about the English flageolet, Bull states that the thumb-hole, if present, was useless and should be “stopped with a piece of Cork”

His Gamut (fingering chart) gives a fully chromatic range of 2 octaves and a minor third, from the C♯ below the bottom D, up to E'' for both instruments with no keys and with 5 keys. Both charts include some unusual suggestions. For example, the highest D usually is easier to play as ○○●●○●; on most of my instruments his suggested ○○○●○● with the D♯ key produces a C♯ and his fingering for the high E produces a D♯.

Finally, his suggestions of articulation are again, slightly strange. The syllable “too” is satisfactory for single tonguing, but “tootle” seems to be little more than a repetition of “too” and incapable of the speeds of repetition which is possible with the more modern “tu ka”. “Tu o tu” is a possible pattern for triple tonguing, but the central syllable lacks precision as it is guttural rather than being made with the tongue.


The Tutor

Correct Instructions for the Violin, Flageolet, Flute and Accordion, price 1s. each
Bull’s Railway To Music
For The
Improved Flageolet,
With Or Without The Additional Keys.
Containing correct Information of the Lines, Spaces, and Time Table, clearly explained and adapted to those who wish to instruct themselves
And may be able in a short time to perform the most favorite and popular Airs,
WITHOUT THE AID OF A MASTER
together with a selection of favorite Airs, arranged in a pleasing style as progressive lessons.
PRICE ONE SHILLING
LONDON
Published by T. BULL, 34 Windmill Street, Finsbury-square
And may be had of all Music Sellers.

New and Improved Instructions For The Flageolet

Examine your Flageolet and you will perceive on the side of each hole, there is a letter which refers to the name of the Note that it represents: The Instrument is held by placing the thumb of the left hand exactly beneath the hole marked B, and the thumb of the right hand must be placed under the hole marked F; then proceed to the first Scale, blow very soft and pronounce the syllable “Too” for each note, cover the holes with the firm part of the fingers, but not quite the ends, and should you not succeed in covering them at first persevere and a little practice will soon enable you to cover them correctly; To keep the Flageolet in good order, you must frequently take off the Top Cap and wipe out the moisture, and blow strongly down the Plug to clear away the wet, and with a feather put a little scented oil through the inside of your Instrument which will greatly improve the tone.

Sacred Music has a very fine effect when played on the Flageolet, particularly if accompanied by the Voice.

Scale For The Patent Flageolet With One Key

D E F[♯] G A B C D E F[♯] G A B C D E
Left Hand 1
2
3
Right Hand 4
5
6
Little Finger, C♯
D Sharp Key.

The above Scale represents the Notes of the Flageolet with one Key, the Letters are the names of the Notes, the Figures , the number of Holes on the Instrument; the Black dots denote the holes that are stopped, the White those that are open. The Learner will observe in the above, Scale, that the Hole at the back of the Flageolet which is stopped with the Thumb of the Left Hand, is omitted, it being of little use, and detrimental to the Learner in stopping, the Instrument being perfect without, and should recommend the hole to be stopped with a piece of Cork.

Scale Of Sharps And Flats, For The Flageolet With 1 Key

C♯.D♭ D♯.E♭ E♯.F G♯.A♭ A♯.B♭ C♯.D♭ D♯E♭ F. G♯A♭ A♯B♭ C♯.D♭ Eb.
Left Hand 1
2
3
Right Hand 4
5
6
Little Finger, C♯
D Sharp Key.

The above Scale represents the best method of making the Sharps and Flats on a Flageolet with one Key, the black dots mean the holes are stopped, the white w○ those that are open; Observe, for all the Notes above B on the third line, marked No. 1. which is nearly closed, the first finger of the left hand must be off the hole, and blowing stronger you produce the upper notes correctly; having become master of the scales, proceed to the following Exercise, if you forget the fingering of an note; refer to the first scale: Practice slow at first, and blow every note distinctly and pronounce the syllable “too”.

Scale Of Sharps And Flats, For The Patent Flageolet With Additional Keys

C♯D♭ D♯E♭ E♯F G♯A♭ A♯B♭ C♯D♭ D♯E♭ F G♯A♭ A♯B♭ B C♮ C♯D♭ Eb.
New C. Key.
1
2
B♭ Key.
3
G♯ Key.
4
5
F♮ Key.
6
D♯ Key
C♯ Key

Explanation of the above Scale.

The Improved Flageolet has Six Keys, the New C Key is placed on the Plug Joint, which is used with the first finger of the left hand; the A♯ or B♭ Key is used with the Thumb; the G♯ or A♭ Key on the same joint, is used with the little finger: the E♯ or F Key on the next joint, is used with the third finger of the right and; the D♯ or E♭ Key, with the little finger; and the C♯ or D♭ is made by pressing down the Key, with the little finger.

OF The Breath, And Articulation

The management of the breath is of the greatest importance to the Learner; Breath should be taken when a Rest occurs, or at the end of the parts of a sentence, which generally happens on the accented parts of the bar, viz: the 1st. and 2nd. In Common Time; and the 1st. part in Triple Time. In determining the nature of Time, where the figures marked after the Clef are odd, it is Triple Time; if the figures are even it is Common Time. viz: 2/4 or 6/8 is Common Time. 3/2, 3/4 or 3/8 is Triple Time.

Articulation is effected by the action of the Tongue, which is done by pronouncing the syllable “Too” making the tongue and fingers go exactly together.

[Here follows three examples which suggest the use of the syllable "Too" for single tonguing, "Tootle" for double tonguing and "Tu o tu" for triple tonguing]

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