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III. Wind instruments

1. Instruments with side holes.

2. Valve instruments.


Fingering, §III: Wind instruments

1. Instruments with side holes.

Just as the vibrating length of a string is shortened by pressing down a finger, the vibrating air column in the bore of a woodwind instrument is shortened by opening a side hole (or tone hole). In both cases with keyboards a higher note is produced. The analogy stops there, however, because in string instruments the wind player's fingers operate only one hole each, and there is no way to alter the position of fingers (except by reversing hands) or holes. The concept of fingering on a woodwind instrument is thus concerned with the action of opening and closing the tone holes, and includes the specific combinations of closed and open holes required by any given instrument to give particular pitches, as well as the sequence of finger placements associated with a given scale or melody.

(i) Theory.

(ii) History.

Fingering, §III, 1: Wind instruments: Instruments with side holes

(i) Theory.

An open tone hole functions as the end of the instrument's bore, thereby – in theory – diminishing or cancelling the acoustic effect of the holes below it. In practice, however, the air column below the first open hole never entirely loses its acoustic effectiveness; indeed, it is a major factor in determining the specific tone quality of the instrument.

In the European and Mediterranean parts of the world, three basic concepts have influenced the development of the system of tone holes since the Middle Ages: (1) establishing a basic sounding scale through a careful placement of tone holes; (2) modifying the intervals of this scale by special fingerings or (from the end of the 18th century) by supplementary holes operated by closed-standing keys; (3) extending the range upwards or downwards by means of extra holes (for the high notes, thumb-holes or octave holes to induce harmonics; for the low notes, holes placed beyond the reach of the fingers operated by extension keys).

On a woodwind instrument the normal disposition is a row of three or six tone holes usually placed on the upper surface of the shaft (the lower surface generally taking holes destined only to be closed by thumbs). With the exception of the three-holed tabor pipe (see Pipe and tabor, which obtains its notes through harmonics, Western woodwind instruments have developed on the principle of six holes, three for the upper hand and three for the lower. The holes are placed for the comfort of the first three fingers of each hand, and in the optimum acoustical position for the production of the instrument's basic scale. On the smallest instruments the six holes are equidistant from each other, while on larger instruments, and those divided into two sections or more, the six holes form two separate groups each comprising three equidistant holes.

On most instruments these six basic holes are supplemented by others which allow for increased range, both lower (a seventh and eighth hole, closed by keys when they are beyond the reach of the little finger of the lower hand) and higher (a thumb-hole or octave hole that encourages a break to the upper register). The most common hand position was evidently left above and right below, although the reverse was used until the end of the 18th century. The addition of keys that required the use of the little finger of the upper hand, and the introduction of key systems in the 19th century, obliged makers to limit the hand positions to left above right.

On an air column provided with six to eight tone holes, the easiest and most obvious fingering sequence is to open holes successively, starting with all holes closed and ending with all holes open. This produces a series of notes progressing from low to high that correspond to a recognizable scale. This sequence is known as the ‘natural scale’ of the instrument, and the fingerings can be termed ‘simple fingerings’.

The precise positioning of the holes varies from instrument to instrument according to the modes characteristic of the music that it is made to play. Thus many bagpipes, for example, are made to play modes different from the diatonic major scale common to woodwind instruments of the Western art music tradition from the late 17th century onwards (see Bagpipe). Indeed, it was not until about 1650 that the natural scale of certain woodwind instruments became to be standardized to conform to the diatonic scale. This standardization of tuning was made necessary by the development of the orchestra and ensembles of unlike instruments (as compared with earlier whole consorts or families of instruments), and is one of the basic elements that gradually separated the instruments and performing practices of art music in Europe from those of traditional music. This article will deal with the tuning and fingerings of the woodwinds used in art music.

Starting with the six-finger d' as the reference or base note, the natural scale on a hypothetical instrument with six holes and no keys is shown in fig.5 The resulting scale is nominally that of D major. In practice the interval between the second and third steps of the natural scale is ambiguous on many instruments: on bagpipes and most oboes used in European traditional music it is a semitone, whereas on the early flutes and oboes used in art music it is usually closer to a whole tone. Assuming that the six-finger note is d', the third step will be f' in the former case, and a rather flat f' on the flute, recorder and hautboy. Since the seventh step, played all-open, is a flat f' the simple-fingered scale on the latter three instruments gives a diatonic major scale in the key of D in mean-tone temperament.

If a seventh, lower hole exists (as on a recorder or hautboy), a further note can be played, which is usually a whole tone below the base note d'. On many early oboes (‘hautboys’: for explanation of this terminology, see Oboe, §II, 1 and 2) and bagpipe chanters, however, the seven-finger note is only a semitone below the base d', thereby functioning as a leading tone to the base note of the instrument. The simple fingerings shown in fig.5 produce notes which have a remarkable uniformity of sound within the base mode or key, but the system does not provide for semitones.

Early and traditional fingering techniques use ‘resistance fingerings’ to obtain chromatic notes, and consequently increase the range of usable tonalities. On instruments that lack supplementary tone holes, two kinds of resistance fingerings can be used: half-holing and cross-fingering (the latter also called forked-fingering). Half-holing lowers a fingered note a semitone by half-closing the next lowest hole. For example the note a', produced by closing holes 1 and 2 (fig.5), is lowered to a' by half-closing hole 3. Likewise, g' fingered 1 2 3, becomes f' by closing half of hole 4. It is possible to obtain e' by half-holing the sixth hole; on some recorders and hautboys this hole (and the seventh) is doubled (i.e. divided into two smaller holes) to facilitate half-holing. Half-holing is only effective on holes of relatively large diameter, which means that it works poorly on instruments with small tone holes, and on the smaller tone holes of any instrument.

Cross-fingering involves lowering a simple fingering a semitone by closing one or more holes below the first open hole. For instance the b' produced by closing the first hole can be lowered to a b' by closing holes 1 and 3. Cross-fingerings may also be used to produce f', e', and g' (fig.6). The g' cross-fingering is effective on the simple flute and recorder but not on the hautboy, which uses a half-hole instead. In contrast to half-holing, cross-fingering is more acoustically effective with smaller tone holes, since unless the first open hole is of relatively small diameter in relation to the bore, the pitch is not altered enough to be usable. This is because closing a hole below the first open hole acts on the residual vibrations of the air column (i.e. those below the first open hole), and small holes are less effective at cancelling residual vibrations than large ones.

On this instrument with six tone holes, using only simple fingerings and resistance fingerings, it is therefore possible to modulate to a dozen neighbouring tonalities. Modulating to more remote tonalities (i.e. those involving more than three sharps or flats) requires an increasing number of resistance fingerings, however, and thus multiplies the technical difficulties. But remote tonalities were normally avoided in European music involving woodwind instruments until the end of the 18th century. The concern of instrument makers until that time was thus to make the resistance fingerings function as efficiently as possible. Cross-fingerings are relatively easy to use and offer greater control of intonation and sonority. To half-close a hole, however, requires absolute precision in the position of the fingers, and the sound produced by these fingerings remains uncertain in both pitch and timbre. Whenever possible, then, holes that had to be half-closed were doubled (on the hautboy holes 3 and 4, and, on the earliest instruments, 6; on some recorders, holes 3, 6 and 7) or made redundant by the addition of a supplementary tone hole with a closed-standing key (e.g. the E key on the flute and hautboy. The primary purpose of the addition of supplementary keys and the development of complex key systems in the 19th century (see Keywork) was to eliminate the need for resistance fingerings, but their adoption radically changed both the acoustics of woodwind instruments and their fingering technique (see (ii), below). As late as 1800 the woodwind instrument maker Heinrich Grenser wrote of the flute.

Not in the number of its keys; no, it is in striving for utter simplicity, with no sacrifice to elegance, that the true perfection of this beautiful instrument lies. To improve this or any note by adding a key is neither difficult nor clever. The keys are after all nothing new …. The real art … consists in making flutes on which everything can be achieved without keys. We must remove the deficiencies that still afflict such flutes in a way that is just as effective as a key.

The hypothetical instrument with six tone holes described above sounds only within an interval of a 7th. Extending the range upwards is accomplished by Overblowing to obtain overtones. These are activated by opening an octave hole operated by the thumb of the upper hand (either directly or with a Speaker key), by augmenting the air pressure, and (on flutes) by adjusting the embouchure and the angle at which the air stream strikes the far edge of the mouth-hole; reed instruments require the adjustment of the pressure and position of the lips on the reed blade. In this way the grid of simple fingerings in the lower octave (fig.6), as well as the resistance fingerings, can theoretically be replicated in the upper octave. Up to the g'' this works well, but beyond that point the acoustic behaviour of the instruments makes it impractical. Thus most so-called Renaissance instruments played no more than three or four steps above the basic scale; the music they played did not require a larger range, and often the shape of the bore and the dimensions of the tone holes did not allow higher notes. That said, Ganassi (Fontegara, 1535) expected his recorders to be able to produce scales of up to two octaves and one note (a 16th) above the base (see Recorder, §I, 2(ii); also §III, 1(ii), below). By the beginning of the 18th century the normal range of the woodwinds used in art music was at least two octaves, but it was occasionally found necessary to modify the lower-octave fingerings to obtain the notes above g''. The highest notes were sometimes obtained with ‘harmonic fingerings’ or ‘long fingerings’, which closely resembled cross-fingerings (fig.7). By closing holes in the middle and lower parts of the sounding column, the uneven overtones of the series were masked, thus facilitating the ‘speaking’ of the octave.

The principle of repeating fingerings an octave higher does not apply to reed instruments with cylindrical bores such as the clarinet. On these instruments overblowing the fundamental notes does not produce the harmonics in even numbers (2, 4, 6 etc.). In practical terms this means the first overblown harmonic is not the octave (2nd harmonic) but 3, a 12th (the 3rd harmonic). The octaves are obtained by means of supplementary tone holes operated by closed-standing keys placed in the vicinity of the embouchure.

The downward extension of the range of the hypothetical instrument poses a technical problem for the lower hand. Tone holes that will give notes below the six-fingered note usually have to be placed beyond the reach of the little finger; such holes must be operated by open-standing keys. (Only on some recorders is it possible to place a seventh hole that gives a convincing note; the hole can be offset to put it within reach of the little finger by turning the foot-joint.) Adding notes to the lower range implies lengthening the bore, which can only be done to a limited extent without lowering the pitch of the base note of the instrument. On the hautboy the extension amounts to a whole tone; on the modern oboe it is a major 3rd. On a bass instrument like the bassoon the extension of the sounding column allows the range to be augmented by a 6th, to B'B''.

Fingering, §III, 1: Wind instruments: Instruments with side holes

(ii) History.

The fingering charts that formed a regular part of tutors and instruction books from the beginning of the 16th century offer insight into how finger technique evolved in conjunction with the evolution of the acoustic behaviour of the various instruments. In addition to giving a fairly clear picture of the tendencies and habits of musicians in tuning the scale (what we now call temperament), they reflect shifts of taste on questions of tone quality and interval placement.

In general, certain concerns were common to all periods:

(1) The attempt to achieve the widest possible range, particularly in the upward direction, given the physical limits of each instrument.

(2) Attention to the sizes of intervals, manifested in a scale that corresponded to the general tendencies of the period.

(3) The production of a quality of sound that conformed to contemporary tastes, by manipulation of acoustical options and choice of fingering.

(4) Consistency in the use of fingerings throughout Europe within any period.

Against these constants two great historical ruptures are discernible, each corresponding to a revolution in instrument design. The first is located in the 17th century and has to do with the introduction of wind instruments in the new concerted style. This change is documented by many new instruction books and fingering charts for woodwinds that began to appear in the last decades of the century. The second radical change in woodwind design took place in the 19th century, and is symbolized by the Boehm system, which introduced elaborate key systems (see Keywork, §§3 and 4) and radically altered the relation between bore and toneholes. Each of these historical breaks was preceded by a gradual evolution in fingerings. Although in practice fingerings were probably more sophisticated and subtle than what is found in the stereotyped fingering charts (which through the 18th century were never more than directions for beginners), these charts are still essential landmarks in the development of fingerings.

The first codification of prevailing practices in art music occurred in the early 16th century in the context of large court chapels that were being formed in northern Italy, in the Holy Roman Empire and in Flanders, and the growing numbers of different kinds of instruments that were used. Virdung was apparently the first to publish a self-help instruction book, Musica getutscht (1511), which dealt with the organ, lute and recorder. Other tutors included woodwind fingering charts, such as those of Ganassi (Fontegara, 1535) and Jambe de Fer (Epitome musical, 1556). These were followed in the early 17th century by the encyclopedic works of Praetorius (Syntagma musicum, 1618) and Mersenne (Harmonicorum instrumentum, 1635–6, and Harmonie universelle, 1636–7).

Fingering charts in this period show a gradual extension of the upper register, especially on flutes, and an increasingly systematic use of resistance fingerings. Whereas Virdung’s recorder goes no higher than the seventh degree of the second octave, Jambe de Fer’s includes two octaves, as does Mersenne’s. This extension upwards reflects a physical evolution (the transition from cylindrical to conical bore and changes in the diameters of the tone holes), and demonstrates the discovery and use of harmonic (or long) fingerings. Virdung’s chart presents a striking illustration of the hypothetical fingerings discussed in §III, 1(i) above. Starting with the seven-fingered note (C or F), it shows the natural scale of the recorder played with simple fingerings, equivalent to a D or G major scale, including fourth degree (F or B natural), seventh (C or F played by closing only the thumb-hole), and octave (D or G, played all open). Cross-fingerings were produced with a single closed hole beyond the first open hole, and the same simple scale was reproduced at the octave, stopping on the seventh degree. No harmonic fingerings were employed.

Later changes of fingering, as seen in Jambe de Fer and Mersenne, are an indication not only of the physical evolution of the instrument, but also of changes in the conception of intervals of the scale. A cross-fingering was used to replace the simple fingering on the fourth degree; and, significantly, the all-open fingerings were avoided. Jambe de Fer supplemented the cross-fingerings on A/E and F/B with additional half-holes for tuning refinement. Besides the recorder chart, he also introduced one of the first charts for the flute, offering a chromatic scale of two octaves on d' (although the e' was missing, along with the close-standing key to obtain it). The chart regularly alternated simple and cross-fingerings without employing any half-holes. Above a'', harmonic fingerings were used to reach d'''. The cornett of this period offered a similar range and fingerings.

Nothing like the instruction books devoted to flutes and cornetts (the instruments used in art music) appeared for the double-reed instruments in the 16th century. During this period bagpipes and all types of shawm were primarily used in popular music or were played by professionals; in neither case was there a need for tutors or fingering charts (which were aimed at musically literate amateurs). The usable range, especially on the bag and wind-cap instruments (the bagpipes, crumhorns, and hautbois de Poitou), remained limited to one octave and a 4th or 5th; only on shawms and bagpipe chanters played without bag or cap, on which the player had direct lip control of the reed, was it possible to extend the range upwards. On the double-reed instruments, unlike the recorders and flutes, no evidence survives of the use of harmonic fingerings for high notes. At the beginning of the 17th century Mersenne indicated that the shawm had a range of two octaves, but the simple fingerings of the lower octave were duplicated without change in the upper register:

As for the range of the Hautbois [i.e.‘shawm’], each size, as for instance the treble, plays a 15th. When the player has produced as many natural notes as there are holes, he begins over again, stronger and higher, by blowing harder; (1636; p.297).

Although cross-fingerings were clearly used, Mersenne did not mention them on these instruments. They were applied less consistently than on recorders and flutes, since shawms (playing mostly popular music) had less occasion to modulate or change modes.

The radical changes that woodwind instruments underwent in the 17th century inspired the appearance of a number of instrument tutors that included fingering charts. The changes in basic fingering were relatively minor on the recorder and flute, even though they (like the hautboys and bassoons) underwent major redesign and revision of technique at the hands of musicians at the court of France. The hautboy changed most radically in its physical form, altering not only its technique but its function and status. It became the most important treble wind instrument in the new orchestra (a formation that for the first time systematically combined wind and string consorts, groups that had traditionally been separate).

By the end of the 17th century the new French hautboy had inspired treatises in Italy (Bismantova, 1688), England (Banister, 1695; The Second Book of Theatre Musick, Anon, 1699) and France (Freillon Poncein, 1700). From the beginning, fingering charts included a range of two octaves and a note (c'd'''), with a complete chromatic scale, including suggestions for producing c' (a note that could not be played without drastic changes of embouchure or an impractical finger combination). The high-note fingerings above a'' remained ‘natural’, usually identical to the octave below, with a c''' played ‘all-open’. There is evidence of the use of e''' in the early 18th century (Hotteterre, 1707; Dreyer, ?1727). J.S. Bach occasionally called for fingered e'''s and f'''s, especially in oboe d’amour parts; f''' appeared in Bissoli’s oboe sonata (c1750). Harmonic fingerings for the high notes (using the fingers of both hands) originated in the latter part of the 18th century, although they had commonly been used on flutes since the mid-16th century. When keys were added to the oboes the ‘short’ fingerings (the same as those of the lower octave) were reinstated.

At the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th, the recorder in its Baroque form enjoyed an intense but brief vogue, generating a number of tutors, including those of Loulié (c1685–90), Hotteterre and Freillon Poncein. Although Loulié described the notes above e''' as little used, Hotteterre in 1707 included notes up to g'''. The flute, an instrument played by both amateurs and virtuoso soloists, became extremely popular after the turn of the century; its career was accompanied by a series of tutors, of which the most famous and remarkable was that of Quantz, published in 1752.

The fingerings of the flute and hautboy were essentially identical in the early 18th century. Hotteterre, having already provided a chart of fingerings for the flute, saw no need to include another for the hautboy. He commented: ‘All the natural notes [on the hautboy] are done as in the fingering chart in the flute tutor… except for the low and high Cs’. There were other differences, however; already at the end of the 17th century the flute went up to g''', and De lusse in 1761 included a'''. The 18th- century flute normally went no lower than d'. (Jacob Denner’s addition of c' to the instrument, operated by a key exactly like that of the hautboy, is an isolated instance.)

The fingering charts show that players of woodwind instruments in the 18th century were concerned with the distinction in pitch between enharmonic pairs (such as G/A, C/D, D/E and F/G, accomplished by the use of different fingerings. Quantz added an extra key to the flute to distinguish D from E. Generally speaking, the different fingerings caused the flats to sound somewhat higher (normally a comma, or about 22 cents) than their corresponding sharps. As a result of these fingerings, the intonation of certain notes sounds strange to modern ears accustomed to a tuning model closer to equal temperament.

The wind instrument treatises of the 18th century also devoted considerable space to fingerings for trills and other ornaments. Special combinations were necessary, since ornaments that involved cross-fingered notes were ineffective without the use of alternate (or ‘false’) fingerings. These trill charts underline the basic importance given by musicians of the time to the technique and style of ornamentation.

In addition to the standard keys – E on flutes, C and E on hautboys – other keys gradually appeared after the middle of the 18th century: on flutes starting in the 1750s, on hautboys only rarely until the end of the 18th century. Garnier’s hautboy method, appearing in the first years of the 19th century, made no mention, either in the exercises or the fingering charts, of extra keys beyond the usual two. The first added keys had no basic effect on fingerings until after 1810; they remained normally closed, covering supplemental holes. Their purpose was to replace cross-fingerings that interrupted the easy flow of scale passages, especially in extreme tonalities. They were meant to facilitate the slurring of large intervals, to give secure response in the upper register, and to equalize the timbre of all the notes (which had been impossible to achieve with resistance fingerings).

The new keys were superimposed on instruments that, from an acoustical point of view, were already highly sophisticated (see the passage by Grenser cited in §III, 1(i) above). The finger technique required by the new keys was thus both complementary to and concurrent with the established techniques that had been inherited from Baroque instruments. The oboe described in Vogt’s tutor of 1816–25 (MS, F-Pc) included two additional keys, but his fingerings were still essentially those of the two-keyed hautboy. The new techniques were not accepted by everyone, and there is documentation of considerable reluctance to the addition of keys by many musicians and instrument makers.

Certain keys were essential to the instrument in order to achieve its basic scale, while others were optional, offering alternative possibilities that were seen as preferable. The first keys on the clarinet of this period, for instance, were essential to the production of the notes of the natural scale: closed keys for the upper notes, and (as on the bassoon) open-standing keys for those of the low register.

Key systems, originating in the 19th century primarily in France, were complex mechanisms that integrated the use of simple fingerings with the functions of the optional keywork developed in the Classical period. They were perfected on the oboe by the Triébert family, using metal rings and plates that not only closed tone holes but were connected to pivoting axles that controlled the simultaneous opening and closing of further holes. Key systems led to very different solutions of sound projection, equality of tone, and temperament from those of the 18th century. By 1850 Theobald Boehm had produced a flute that used a key system combined with radically changed acoustical proportions. The bore of the instrument was made cylindrical once again, while the principal tone holes were enlarged; this increased the instrument’s volume, and tone production was made more direct through the application of a key system that eliminated resistance fingerings. This new approach to the acoustics of woodwind instruments (and, as a result, their technique) was soon applied to the saxophone, then to the clarinet and (briefly) to the oboe; it has been the guiding principle in the making of woodwind instruments ever since. Paradoxically, the very sophistication of the key mechanisms that were adapted to these instruments led to bores that were acoustically much simpler, and consequently to simplified fingering patterns for scales, similar to the succession of natural fingerings used on Renaissance and folk instruments.

20th-century experiments on woodwinds again brought into question the balance of timbre and tuning painstakingly perfected by recent generations of makers. Micro-intervals, for instance, produced by the use of cross-fingerings and harmonic fingerings, represent a return to the enharmonic fingerings systematically used on the woodwinds of the 18th century. The same is true of Multiphonics, obtained by the use of harmonic fingerings combined with modifications of embouchure. It appears that the homogeneous scale and evenness of tone quality that have been the ideal on woodwinds for well over a century are once again being challenged by new aesthetic inclinations.

Fingering, §III: Wind instruments

2. Valve instruments.

On the whole, the fingering of valve brass instruments is independent of the type of mechanism; the techniques used for piston valves can, for example, be applied without modification to rotary valves. The basic arrangement used almost universally is for the valve operated by the first finger to lower the pitch by two semitones, the second finger by one semitone, and the third finger by three. The right hand is used for these three valves except on the french horn, where the right hand is positioned in the bell for hand-stopping and the left hand operates the valves.

In an alternative arrangement, used in the past mainly in Germany, the roles of the first and second fingers were reversed, and an arrangement known as doigté ministériel was widely used in France whereby the third valve gave a pitch lowering of four semitones. The valve passages can also be arranged so that operating the valve cuts out the extra tubing of the valve loop rather than adding it. This ‘ascending valve’ was for many years used on french horns in France for the third valve: operating the ascending third valve raised the pitch by two semitones. Many early valve instruments had only two valves; separately they lowered the pitch by one or two semitones, and together by three. With the longer tube length of the early 19th-century trumpet (typically 6' F or 7' D), two valves were sufficient for the repertory. Used together with hand-stopping, two valves allowed french horn players a complete chromatic compass.

Modern four-valve french horns generally have the fourth valve ascending, which raises the pitch of the instrument from 12' in F to 9' B or from 9' B to 6' F, and arranged to be operated by the left thumb. Orchestral tubas, in order to have a chromatic compass down to the lowest notes required, have at least four valves; usually the fourth valve lowers by five semitones and is fingered by the first finger of the left hand or the fourth of the right.

Using valves in combination can bring intonation problems: if a valve adds the correct amount of tubing to lower the pitch by a number of semitones, it will not add quite enough tubing to lower the pitch by the same interval when another valve is in use at the same time. With small instruments it is often enough to tune the third valve to lower the pitch by slightly more than three semitones and to avoid using it on its own; the player can then ‘lip’ any wayward notes up or down sufficiently for reasonably good intonation. Fitting the third valve tuning slide (and sometimes the first as well) with a finger-ring or sprung lever so that it can be moved by the player at least in slow-moving passages is common for trumpets and cornets. Some tubas are designed so that a tuning slide can be manipulated in performance. Some models of tuba have five or six valves, allowing the player some flexibility of fingering; there might, for instance, be two valves nominally giving a semitone but with one adding more tubing than the other.

The basic fingering of brass instruments as taught to beginners uses the open notes (no valves operated), the other notes being obtained with the least possible number of valves operated (except that 1 and 2 are preferred to 3 alone). The basic (descending) scale for a trumpet in C is c'' open; b' 2; a' 1 + 2; g' open; f' 1; e' 1 + 2; d' 1 + 3; c' open.

The chromatic notes and notes in other octaves are obtained by appropriate use of the least number of valves. Advanced players use alternative fingerings for better intonation or greater facility. The ‘compensating’ valve system used on some french horns and many euphoniums and tubas gives improved intonation with the basic fingerings.

The most radically different fingering system was the ‘independent pistons’ system of Adolphe Sax whereby six valves (together with the open notes) gave the seven basic tube lengths, removing the need to use valves in combination and the consequent intonation problems. The fingering (which uses the first three fingers of each hand) has much in common with the seven basic trombone slide positions. This system was used for valve trombones in France and Belgium, more rarely for other valve brass.

In some instances the fingering is complicated by an extra valve for changing the tone colour by diverting the windway to an alternative bell (e.g. the echo cornet or the double-bell euphonium), or to correct the intonation when using a mute (the ‘stopping valve’ on a french horn). However, the additional valve for transposition on some instruments (e.g. the ‘quick-change valve’ on cornets and trumpets) is not sprung; it is set in advance of playing a passage, and its use is not part of the fingering technique of the instrument.

Fingering, §III: Wind instruments



S. Virdung: Musica getutscht (Basle, 1511/R); ed. C. Meyer (Paris, 1980)

P. Jambe de Fer: Epitome musical (Lyon, 1556); repr. F. Lesure: ‘L'epitone musical de Philiberte Jambe de Fer’, AnnM, vi (1958–63), 341–86

E. Loulié: Méthode pour apprendre à jouer de la flûte douce (Paris, 1694); ed. N. Stroesser (Strasbourg, 1994)

J. Hotteterre: Principes de la flûte traversière (Paris, 1707, 7/1741; repr. Paris c1765 as Méthode pour apprendre à jouer en très peu de tems de la flûte traversière; Eng. trans., 1968) [incl. fingering charts for cl and bn]

P. Prelleur: The Modern Musick-Master, or The Universal Musician (London, 1730–31/R)

J.J. Quantz: Essai d’une méthode pour apprendre a jouer de la flûte traversiére (Berlin, 1752); ed. A. Zurfluh (Paris, 1975)

C. de Lusse: L’art de la flûte traversière (Paris, 1761/R, 2/?1763/R); ed. D. Lasocki (London, 1979)

L.-J. Francoeur: Diapason général de tous les instruments à vent (Paris, 1772, 2/1781/R)

F.J. Garnier: Méthode raisonnée pour le haut-bois (Paris, 1806/R)

A. Lavignac and L. de La Laurencie: Encyclopédie de la musique et Dictionnaire du Conservatoire (Paris, 1925)

A. Baines: Woodwind Instruments and their History (London, 1957, 3/1967/R)

R. Morley-Pegge: The French Horn (London, 1960, 2/1973)

T.E. Warner: Indications of Performance Practices in Woodwind Instruction Books of the 17th and 18th Centuries (diss., New York U., 1964)

B. Bartolozzi: New Sounds for Woodwind (London, 1967, 2/1982; 16. orig., Milan, 1974)

T.E. Warner: An Annotated Bibliography of Woodwind Instruction Books, 1600–1830 (Detroit, 1967)

C.J. Nederveen: Acoustical Aspects of Woodwind Instruments (Amsterdam, 1969)

L. Singer: Metodo per oboe (Milan, 1969)

M. de La Barre: Mémoire sur les musettes et hautbois (MS, Paris, Archives Nationales 878 no.240); repr. In BenoitMC, 455 only

T. Howell: The Avant-garde Flute (Berkeley, 1974)

R. Dick: The Other Flute (London, 1975)

B. Haynes: ‘Oboe Fingering Charts, 1695–1816’, GSJ, xxxi (1978), 68–93

G. Joppig: Hautbois et bassons (Lausanne, 1981)

B. Haynes: ‘Beyond Temperament: Non-Keyboard Intonation in the 17th and 18th Centuries’, EMc, xix (1991), 357–81

B. Haynes: ‘The Addition of Keys to the Oboe, 1790–1830’, Journal of the International Double Reed Society, xxii (1994), 31–46

A. Myers: ‘The Development of Technology and Manufacture since 1800’, The Cambridge Companion to Brass Instruments, ed. T. Herbert and J. Wallace (1997), 115–30

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