A research project to determine how the eight key flutes manufactured by the various combinations of Rudall, Rose and Carte varied throughout the lifetime of the company.
Rudall, Rose, Carte and their companies made more than 7000 flutes working from nine different addresses over a period spanning more than 80 years. This was a time of great change in flutes and flute playing - the Boehm flute, for example, was introduced about half way through the period. Yet we know little of how the company's instruments changed over those 80 years. It is the purpose of this study to try to fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge.
Why do we care?
Rudall & Rose and the later variants of the company including Carte made some of the finest eight key flutes ever. Many modern makers base their work on examples of Rudall & Rose flutes they can get access to. But which flute to follow? Or are they pretty much alike? Clearly both makers and their customers want to make sure that the model they are following is a good one - hopefully the most appropriate one for their purposes.
No doubt, some old makers worked by gradual development. Small variations would be introduced into each flute produced and its performance compared to its predecessors. If the change produced an improvement, it became the standard and the work developed from there.
Other makers no doubt continued to make a standard model, but made radical changes from time to time. Some makers probably had several models on the go at the same time, perhaps all standardised, or perhaps some in a process of development. With over 7000 flutes built over a period of around 80 years, presumably all of these things happened with Rudall, Rose and their companies.
How much did their instruments owe to the earlier work of Willis or Rose? And where did former employees like Wylde and Ingram fit in? Were they just former employees, or did they continue as suppliers of finished instruments to the company? How did their own instruments compare to those they might have supplied to Rudall & Rose?
How will we find out?
I'm intending to contact every maker, player, collector or museum I can find who has information about a R & Co flute to gather information about their instrument. The information will be tabulated on a spreadsheet, so that easy comparisons will be possible. The information gathered will include the instrument's serial number and the maker's name and address, enabling us to date the instrument fairly accurately (see Rudall, Rose, Carte & Co - the eight key flute years for a table correlating addresses and dates).
As I gather enough data to be able to draw conclusions, these will appear at Conclusions. I'll also update the raw data. There is now rather a lot of raw data, so it doesn't fit on the screen anymore! But you can download it in spreadsheet form:
If neither format works for you, you can download an Excel viewer from: http://office.microsoft.com/Downloads/default.aspx
How can I help?
If you have, have access to or know
someone with a flute made by Rudall and colleagues, contact me
with the information on the questionnaire. I'll be very pleased to acknowledge
your support in this important study.
Many people have already contributed information or assistance to this project. I'd like to thank them for their support:
(If I've overlooked or made an error in acknowledging your support in the list above, please contact me to save my future embarrassment!)
Terry McGee, Flutemaker, Canberra Australia
The Study Questionnaire
Find out about my Flutes for Irish Music