Bates’ “Complete Preceptor,” published in around 1840 (according to the British Library) is a straight-forward method for the Improved Flageolet. This is a variation of the English flageolet, invented by William Bainbridge and patented in 1803. The main differences between this instrument and a “normal” English flageolet is when the instrument is blow without any holes covered, the note sounded is a C♮ rather than a C♯ (i.e. the instrument tuned to the key of G major, rather than D major) and that 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.
Unusually, Bates recommends the use of the thumb-hole often present on the back of the instrument, instructing that:
“When you have got to the middle (D) the thumb hole must remain uncover’d” [page 3]
although, surprisingly, his Gamut (fingering chart) suggests that it remains covered for all notes.
Bates gives the range of the Improved flageolet as 2 octaves and a minor third, from a C♯ to E''. It is fully chromatic except for the lack of a top D♯''. His flageolet only possesses one key, used to produce a bottom D♯.
The above Scale exhibits the Natural Notes made use of on the Improved Octave flageolet, which has 9 holes, 8 in front and one behind, those in front must be stopt with the fingers of the Right and Left hand, the hole behind with the thumb of the Left hand, as marked in the Scale, the black dotes thus (●) means the holes that must be stopt, and the Cyphers thus (○) are those holes which must remain open, this mark (●) the Thumb; To make the 1st Note all the holes must be stopt, but the 4th finger of your Right Hand, blow gently, and you’ll sound the lowest note (D) to make the next note (E) take the third finger of your Right hand off. To make (F) take off the 2nd finger and put down the 3rd, and so on as per Scale for the rest.
When you have got to the middle (D) the thumb hole must remain uncover’d, and blow with more velocity into your Instrument to produce the upper and more acute tones.
[* In the original, the accidentals are omitted.]
A Sharp thus ♯ Placed before any Note, raises such Note half a tone above its natural situation, this is generally term’d a Semitone higher. A Flat thus ♭ has the reverse effect upon a Note and reduces it a half tone or Semitone lower. The learner will find these Signatures frequently placed at the beginning of the Stave of a lesson, and must be particular in observing on what lines and spaces such Sharps or Flats are placed, as all Notes of the same name as the line or space on which either of these characters appear, must be Flat or Sharp accordingly. The Pupil will also meet with a Flat or Sharp before a Note in the middle of a Lesson which signifies that the Note following, and all others of the same name throughout the bar in which it is placed, must be Sharp or flat, unless contradicted by a Natural. A Natural thus ♮ signifies the taking off the Flat or Sharp, and causing the Note to have its Natural tone.