The recorders collection of the Philharmonic Academy of Bologna

Extract from the report by the prof.M.Tiella at “International Recorder Symposium” - Utrecht 2003

The Collection of Musical Instruments preserved in The Accademia Filarmonica in Bologna consists of 65 pieces. The Accademia was founded by the count Vincenzo Maria Carrati (Bologna, 1634-1675) who provided 35 instruments for the musical "essercizi" by Accademia members. Most of those instruments have been lost during the 19th century in still unknown circumstances. Now the collection includes also a number of instruments as well as items which were presented to the Accademia from the half of the 19th century to the half of the 20th. All the surviving recorders are mentioned in a document written in 1737 among “the musical instruments gived by Mr Vincenzo in order that the Accademia continue to live”. The Accademia founder Vincenzo Maria Carrati in his will had ordered that at his death the instruments were to be registered by a notary, who carried this out on 25 June 1675. Precise historical “bolognese” pitches are not known. The tuning of the organ  may be the only information about what pitch was in use in the Accademia in the 18th century. It is documented that the pitch of the organ as it was stated in 1673 was subsequently considered too high. In 1721 the trackers were connected to the pallets of the keys 1/2 tone lower. The A-pitch of the organ is now of about 445 Hz + 40 cts (about 480 Hz). Neither the lenght of the pipes on the façade nor the weights on the bellows appears to have been modified. Therefore the present A-pitch corresponds to that of the 1721 and that of the 1673 should have been a semitone higher (about 508 Hz.). As regards the fingering, Li Virghi assigns the recorders signed C.RAFI and P.GRECE to the “non-Ganassi”, and states that their effective range could not be greater than an octave and a sixth. Subsequently, C. Rafi would have made recorders whose design was modified to have a range of more than two octaves, as described after P.J.De Fer. Therefore, Li Virghi gives credit for the C.Rafi recorders at the Accademia of Bologna of an earlier production by Claude Rafi. If it is true, then the entire consort at the Accademia could have been made in the early decades of the 16th century. Regarding the unusual wind duct of the two basses, Li Virghi believes that this particular structure dates back to  the original construction  of the basses. Such a duct, is known only in these bass recorders.