The chanters

The single chanter musette is described by Praetorius in his "Syntagma Musicum" of 1619 (5).
Praetorius states in chapter 19 of his "Syntagma Musicum" that this small bagpipe was a bellow-blown bagpipe from France. This instrument, which consists of a bellow, a shuttle-drone, a single chanter and a leather bag which is not covered by any material, is treated separately from other normal bagpipes in Praetorius's book.

from Praetorius
"Syntagma Musicum"

Mersenne, in his "Harmonie Universelle" of 1636 shows a single chanter musette with a bellow, a shuttle-drone and a material-covered leather bag with fringe. Mersenne mentions that soprano, alto and countertenor models were used for the chanter.[p.291].
Mersenne's chanter is obviously not close-ended chanter but it is an open-ended chanter, which became the most common design for the musette's chanter through the 17th and the 18th centuries.

The petit-chalumeau

36 years after Mersenne, there is yet another description of the single chanter which is called "Chalumeau simple" in Borjon's method of 1672. This is similar to the descriptions given by Praetorius and Mersenne except that Borjon shows a very developed system for the "grand-chalumeau" and also an additional "petit-chalumeau" (smaller chanter); both are covered with many keys. Borjon says that the musette is necessary in pastoral scenes of stage works. He also lays the "triumph" of the petit-chalumeau at the door of Hotteterre.

" Pastoral and rustic representations cannot do without it, and we see them almost every year in the King's Ballet. It is at this sort of assembly where the petit-chalumeau of Mr. Hotteterre triumphs...... " (p.33)(7)

66 Years after Borjon, Hotteterre le Romain also mentioned in his method that the addition of the petit-chalumeau was the work of Martin Hotteterre (ca.1640-1712), his father. (p.64)(1).

One feature of the petit-chalumeau which is portrayed both by Borjon and by Hotteterre le Romain is that it is cylindrical towards the top and pear-shaped below. Later however, is was somewhat flattened so that the keys could close the holes perfectly. Although the shape of the petit-chalumeau had already been flattened by about the time that Hotteterre le Romain published his method, he still shows a pear-shaped one in his book.

Diagrams of the chalumeaux.

This picture in the Hotteterre's method (right) is very similar to that of Borjon (left). Perhaps Hotteterre copied the picture of the chanters from Borjon's "Traité de la Musette" which was the only method for the musette known by Hotteterre.
Another possibility could be that Hotteterre and his family had been still making pear-shaped petit-chalumeau in 1730's. Because there is another picture of the instrument at the beginning of the main part of his method (which is used for explaining about the parts of the instrument), which also shows a pear-shaped petit-chalumeau.

By comparing these two pictures of the chanter in both Borjon and Hotteterre's method, we can discern small differences. Hotteterre shows 2 more keys on the grand-chalumeau than Borjon; one for "high a" and one for "low g sharp" .

Range of the Musette (red notes = with keys.)

The petit-chalumeau has 6 keys in total; 3 on each side. The keys on the right (player's side) are operated by the thumb of the right hand (the lower hand), and the keys on the other side are operated by the little finger of the left hand (the higher hand). This addition on the petit-chalumeau both extended the range of scales for the musette and introduced the possibility of double-stopping.

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Copyright : Naoki Ueo 2000