Medieval transverse flutesTransverse flutes can be found in Western poetry and art at least as early as the 11th century. This relatively loud instrument with its large fingerholes is practically identical with flutes used in North Indian classical music. The fingering techniques of the Indian flute are also perfectly applicable to similar medieval instruments.
What kind of transverse flutes were played in medieval Europe and what they sounded like can only be intuited by piecing together a kaleidoscope of information preserved in the graphic arts, in literary and poetic works touching on the performance practice of medieval instrumental music, in folk music traditions using similar instruments and Â— there is no hiding that anyway! Â— adding a certain measure of personal imagination to the mix. No doubt the medieval transverse flute was similar in its construction to the oldest flutes, reports of which have been recorded in Asia, a part of the world where the instrument has enjoyed continued popular use from ancient times until the present. The flutes in question are more or less cylindrical in shape, with six or seven finger holes in addition to the blowing hole. As regards the material used to make flutes, it is highly probable that flutes were made chiefly of wood and bone, yet graphic arts fragments clearly point also to bamboo. In addition, magnificent-sounding transverse flutes can also be made of clay. Two clay flutes, in g and in c, were made in 2006/7 by Raho Langsepp in cooperation with ceramist Anneli Lupp. When thinking of other possible materials which could be used for making flutes in Europe, Raho Langsepp worked out special models made of clay and covered with birch bark; these can be heard in this program as well as a bass flute in C made by Raho Langsepp in 2007.