Trumpet built or adapted to play in ‘flat’, i.e. minor, keys. The term, and presumably the instrument, was used in England only for a brief period, between about 1690 and 1720. No original flat trumpets survive, nor are there any reliable iconographical sources; the best evidence is James Talbot's description (transcribed in Baines and Smithers). Unlike the continental Slide trumpet, which itself glided up and down the mouthpipe, the flat trumpet he examined had a J-shaped double slide that pulled out backwards past the player's left ear; to allow this, the trumpet was held at a slant, bell pointing to the right, and the mouthpiece plugged into a cranked mouthpipe. The shorter arm moved inside the trumpet's bell-yard (the straight section of tube ending in the bell) reaching as far as the boss (ornamental ball) when the slide was shut up tight. The longer arm fitted over the middle yard, sliding outside it and in closed position covering it completely.
Talbot does not mention any sort of mechanism for moving the slide. The overall length of the flat trumpet ‘with the yards shutt’ was the same as the ‘common trumpet’ (the trumpet in E). Yet Talbot's chart of slide positions ascends chromatically from c to c''', and the notes of the C major arpeggio (e apart) are all played with the slide fully pushed in. The chart may have been obtained from John Shore, as were the ordinary trumpet scale and the cornett fingerings; either Shore used a crook to bring his instrument down to C or else transposed the results for easier reading. As a guide to flat trumpet playing technique the chart must be interpreted cautiously.
Shore, according to Roger North, invented a ‘screw or worme’ to control the movement of the slide on his concert instrument. He used this device instead of lipping ‘to aid the tuning [of] some notes’, and to play a number of ‘exotick’ (i.e. non-harmonic) notes otherwise beyond reach. How the screw worked, and whether Shore's special model counted as a flat trumpet too, are issues which remain unclear.
Only a very few late 17th-century scores call for flat trumpets explicitly. ‘Flat’ pieces like the March and Canzona of Henry Purcell's music for the funeral of Queen Mary are brief and mostly slow-moving, practicable on instruments of the Talbot type, however ungainly. But North's comments seem to suggest that shorter slides (slides with fewer positions) were also tried ‘to adapt [the trumpet] to consort’ rather than with the aim of achieving full chromaticism. Slide experiments of which Talbot knew only a little, and of which modern scholars know even less, might help to explain many apparent anomalies in English trumpet writing around the time of Purcell. The 19th-century English slide trumpet is clearly related to the flat trumpet, but whether it was independently re-invented or a conscious attempt to improve the earlier design is unknown.
A.Baines: ‘James Talbot's Manuscript, i: Wind Instruments (Christ Church Library Music MS 1187)’, GSJ, i (1948), 9–26
J.Webb: ‘The Flat Trumpet in Perspective’, GSJ, xlvi (1993), 154–60
P.Downey: ‘Performing Mr. Purcell's “Exotick” Trumpet Notes’, Performing the Music of Henry Purcell, ed. M. Burden (Oxford, 1996), 49–60
See underOrgan stop.
An instruction to produce a soft flute-like tone. It requires string players to draw the bow lightly and fairly rapidly across the string with a point of contact near to or over the fingerboard. A more precise term for such an effect is sul tasto, also referred to as sulla tastiera (It.; Fr. sur la touche; Ger. am Griffbrett), as in Paganini's Caprice no.9 which contains the direction sulla tastiera imitando il flauto (‘over the fingerboard imitating the flute’). (See also Bow, §II, 3(xii).)
To a harpist (but not to a violinist), flautando or flautato might suggest the use of harmonics to achieve a flute-like tone, but composers normally indicate harmonic effects with more precise terminology (e.g. armonici, sons harmoniques).
DAVID D. BOYDEN/ROBIN STOWELL
(It.: ‘little flute’).
Diminutive of flauto. In early 17th-century Italian music a synonym for flauto (treble recorder, lowest note g'); in late 17th- and early 18th-century Italian practice (as in Vivaldi), probably a small Flageolet (see alsoZuffolo); in German practice of the second half of the 18th century, generally a piccolo, occasionally (as in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail) a small flageolet. Since the early 19th century it has not been used for the piccolo, which in Italian is called flauto piccolo, or more commonly ottavino. The flautino alla vigesima seconda (small recorder at the 22nd, or third octave) listed in the first print of Monteverdi’s Orfeo (1609) is probably a sopranino recorder in g''.