Double Recorder

Guillaume de Machaut " Puis que ma dolour" - Pierre Hamon -2010 - Flauto doppio "Ars Nova" The  method for learning the technique of  the double recorder is available here 

The Double recorder

The double-flute quickly brings to mind the many representations by the ancient Greeks, Etruscans, Egyptians and Romans. Clearly, such instruments were common in ancient civilizations. Although in the European Middle Ages it was an instrument of minstrels and troubadours, it often appears in religious pictures.

The name double flute, comprises two separate pipes played simultaneously. In the zummara, still played in North Africa, the two pipes are joined together. In the Balkans  we find the dvojnice  in which both tubes are carved in a single block of wood. Similary, in Ukraina we find  the djolomyga  and in Sicily the frautu a paru.

The simplest type of double flute (like that of the Moldavian shepherds and some Indian flutes) consists of a drone with no finger holes and a canto with 5-6 finger holes. The next step is an instrument with an additional  2 or 3 holes in the drone to change its sounding note.

A double-flute of the fifteenth-sixteenth century, found in the vicinity of All Souls College, Oxford, is made of wood and has parallel pipes of different lengths, tuned in fifths. Instruments like this can also play melodies in parallel fourths and fifths or distribute the melody between both pipes. This is the case of our double-flute model “Ars Antiqua”, tuned in fourths.

 Virelai by Guillaume de Machaut - Pierre Hamon - double recorder "Ars Antiqua"

 front and rear views of the double flute"Ars Nova".

The right-hand pipe of our "Ars Nova" model is a drone with a range of a sixth. The left-hand pipe is the "canto", with a range of an octave and a sixth. This large range on a pipe with only five finger-holes is made possibly by virtue of its special bore and a unique fingering system without the use of higher harmonics which, if used, would have precluded the possibility of playing the two pipes simultaneously throughout their range.

Part 3 of the Engelskonzert in Aachen Cathedral on the occasion of the Chorhallenjubiläums 2014