The Medieval flute I make is a result of collaboration with Claudio Santambrogio, who has done a great deal of research about the transverse flute in the middle ages, both in iconography as well as in literature. Claudio is also an inspiring player who is active in several groups performing music of the late middle ages. The idea of experimenting with constructing a mediaeval flute came from Claudio's search for an instrument suitable for the performance of this music. We were looking for an instrument that would be more flexible and open in the lower register than the renaissance flute, as well as being tuned in d Dorian in Pythagorean tuning. Inspiration for the design came from a very unusual original in the Musikinstrumenten Museum in Berlin, made in maple, with two horn rings. The instrument, which at first glance looked like a renaissance flute, has several features which are not found on originals made in the sixteenth century.
The most striking is its wide bore and thicker walls - more than on any surviving tenor renaissance flute. Another interesting feature is the grouping of its holes, not two groups of three holes, but a single group of six holes, more or less equally spaced. The first reconstruction of this original showed another difference, namely that the fingering for B and C# (1----- and ------) gave sounding B flat and a C natural. We found the sound of the instrument very appealing, it had a wonderful low register and was capable of a large range of colors and dynamics. We decided to base my medieval flute on this original, but to alter the hole positions, so that it would play with in D Dorian in Pythagorean tuning with renaissance fingerings.
Watch Norbert Rodenkirchen play this model here
Copies are available in two sizes: a tenor in d and a descant in g, at A=440 and 465.