Music Cataloging at Yale Music cataloging resources

When is a "flute" not a flute?

Provisional Version 5/20/97
By David Lasocki   Indiana University

England France England France
1390-1673 recorder flûte
flûte douce
flûte d'Angleterre
flûte à neuf trous
flute flûte d'Allemagne
flûte traversière
1673-1700 flute
flute douce
flûte douce
flûte à bec
1700-1750 flute
English flute
common flute
German flute
flute d'Allemagne
flauto traverso
1750-1800 German flute flute

Where does the English name "recorder" come from?
from the New Harvard Dictionary of Music: Recorder (French: flûte à bec, flute douce; German: Blockflöte, Schnabel flote, Italian: diretto, flauto dolce; Spanish: flauta de pico) The English name perhaps derives from the Italian ricordo (a keepsake)

from the New Grove Dictionary of Music Instruments: The derivation of the name recorder is uncertain. (To "record," in the sense of "to sing like a bird" may well derive from the name of the instrument, and not the other way round.) The name is probably derived from the Latin recordari: to think over, call to mind, "remember," or the Italian ricordo: a souvenir or memento.

E-mail from D. Lasocki, May 17, 1997: Provisional version. This document is to be updated to include other countries.
Comments to Mickey Koth Yale University Music Library
Last revised July 2, 2012.