Hill’s “Bird Fancyer’s Delight”

The Bird Fancyer’s Delight is one of the more famous works for the flageolet. Published in 1717, it consists of pieces of music for different song-birds which could be used to teach them to sing. It is probably the most famous work for the bird flageolet: the smallest member of the flageolet family and one of the highest pitched wind instruments ever made.

In the 20th and 21st Century, the work became popular with recorder players and a number of modern editions were produced.

The Bird Fancyer’s Delight
Or Choice Observations,
And Directions Concerning the Teaching of all Sorts of Singing-birds, after the Flagelet & Flute,
if rightly made as to Size & tone, with a Method of fixing the wett Air, in a Spung or Cotton,
with Lessons properly Composed, within the Compass & faculty of each Bird,
Viz. for the Wood-lark, Black-bird, Throustill, House-Sparrow, Canary-bird, Black-thorn-Linnet, Garden-Bull-finch, and Starling.
Printed & Sold by Richard Meares Musical-Instrument-marker at the Golden Violl in St. Pauls Church-yard.
Price 1s.

To the reader: I Come with great Willingness, though under the Obligation likewise of a Duty of printing this Book, out of Respect to the Composer, the one being my perticular Freind, & the other my Singular Entartainment & Delight to teach & hear these little Animalls Warble out their Celestial Harmony, to the great Surprise of all that now & have Studied the nature of Each bird, what Compass they are Capable of Learning & for Certain the nearer you Come to nature, the longer they Retain it & are not so Subject to Flash[?]. Having new thoroughly & Carefully, preused this Book, I should recokon my Self a little wanting to the publick, if I Acquaint not the world, that is the Best & only Extent for the Flagelet Lesson, being markt, what movement is most propoer for the Bird, you Intend to teach; I hope it will be Grateful to all Lovers of this Instrument, the Improvement of this, is Owing to Mr. Hills, who has Studied these Lessons on purpose, & is a fine performer on the Flagelet, & to Incourage any, that Desires to advance father, then this book Contains, Mr. Hills may be Spoke with at my shop, giving a days notice.

Example of all the plain Notes Gradually Ascending.

The Gamut is perfectly to be learnt backwards & forwards. You must observe how the Notes stand upon the lines and in the space with the proper name to each Note

 Gsolreut Alamire Bsabemi Csolfault DlasolreEla Fsaut Gsolreut in alt Alamire in alt Bsabemi in alt Csolfault in alt Dlasolre in alt Ela in alt Fsaut in alt
Left handThumb++++++
1st Finger
2nd Finger
Right handThumb
1st Finger
2nd Finger

Beneath those 5 lines observe these 6 answer every number of holes[?] on the Flagelet & thus directs you how to play the Gamut reck’ning the upper line the first of Thumb hole, & so on these lines on which dots are set, those holes must be stopt. for Example Gsolreut has a dot on every line & consequently every hole must be stopt & so where there are no dots the holes must be open: on the upper line of these 6 you see a Cross on every Note after Gsolreut in alt. which directs you to stop but half the upper hole, pinching it with the end of your Thumb and makes a Note Sound 8 Notes higher than it wou’d with the hole quite stopt.

But in order to play the Notes, hole the Flagelet thus, place the middle Finger of the left hand on the third hole, and the third Finger of your right hand, on the lowest hole of the Flagelet then the rest of your Fingers will stop the other holes in course.

Example of all the Notes both Flat and Sharp

A Flat is mark’d thus ♭ & a Sharp thus ♯ & they are easily distinguisht for a Flat sounds half a Note lower, & a Sharp half a Note higher than the Note it self, as you’ll find by the Example. Not , the Crosses under G♯ & A♭, signifies that hole to be half stopt.

G Proper G sharp A flat A sharp B flat B sharp C flat C sharp D proper D sharp E flat E sharp F flat F sharp G proper G sharp A flat A sharp B flatB sharp C flat C sharp D proper D sharp E flat E sharp F
+ + + + + + + + +

Where you see those marks of Rests many Tune, you are to cease playing the length of time of the notes over them. From these Notes they take their names: a Repeat is mark’d thus: & shews the Strain must be play’d twice over: a Bar is mark’d thus A Double bar thus & shews the strain ends there. The Treble Clif is mark’d thus to know what Key a Tune is in observe the last Note or close of they Tyne for by that Note the Key is names: Note: That all Roudeaus end with the first Strain.

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