Fingering Chart from Brysson's Compleat Tutor

This fingering chart was included in A Compleat Tutor for the German Flute... after the method of Tacet and Florio, Printed and Sold at J. Brysson's Music Shop, No. 16 Bank Street Edinburgh; National Library of Scotland Glen.153(1), watermarked 1807. The chart was also sold separately, price 4d.

It's for a one-key instrument; the fingerings suggested are sometimes so different from other charts of the time that it must have been meant for a different model of flute. The chart is written as if that E flat key is closed-standing.

There are two parts to the chart, which must be by two different engravers. The part I have reproduced here is graphically cruder but makes sense; the "table of shakes" on the lower part of the sheet looks neater but is mostly gibberish, with so many mistakes that the original meaning is often impossible to guess, and I have omitted it.

The intonation scheme Brysson had in mind was not equal temperament; presumably some version of meantone. Enharmonic alternatives are listed systematically; I've only listed them where they differ. A comment on the sheet reads:

There are a few false notes in the best German Flutes, which can only be remedied in the blowing, and is done by turning the Flute a little outward from the Lips, which makes the Tone sharper; or Inward, which has always the contrary effect. Such notes as are to be blown Sharp have a Sharp placed above them, and those to be Flat have a Flat.

This is used to correct the intonation of the F natural (or E sharp) and to make the flats of an enharmonic pair sharper than the sharps. I've reproduced these indications as a # or b at the right.

The tunes in the book are mostly Scottish, with some Irish ones (a personal interest of Brysson's; he had published an Irish tunebook and had copied others out in his commonplace books). It contains many of the same tunes as the Black Watch books. The chart goes much higher than any of the tunes do; also, the tunes need very few of the trills and not all of the accidentals. So the chart may not have been meant to relate closely to the music.

The note names are those of ABC, the numbers indicate holes to close.

 D  123 4567
_E  123 456-
 E  123 45-7
 F  123 4-67  b
^F  123 4---
_G  123 4---  b
 G  123 ----
^G  12- 45-7  b
_A  12- 45-7
 A  12- ----
_B  1-3 45-7
 B  1-- ----
 c  -23 ----
^c  --- 4567
 d  -23 4567
_e  123 456-
 e  123 45-7
 f  123 4-67  b
^f  123 4---
_g  123 4---  #
 g  123 ----
^g  12- 4---  b
_a  12- 4---
 a  12- ----
_b  1-3 ----
 b  1-- ----
^b  1-3 4-6-  b
 c' 1-3 4-6-
^c' -23 4---
 d' -23 ----
_e' 123 -56-
 e' 12- -56-
 f' 12- 4567
^f' 123 4--7
 g' 1-3 ---7
 a' -23 45-7

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Old Scottish Flute Music
Copyright © 2003, Jack Campin