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Panpipes, Flutes, and Whistles

  • The MFA’s Musical Instruments collection has grown to nearly 1,200 instruments from around the world, and includes numerous examples of all the basic musical instrument types, or classifications. Explore a selection of panpipes, end-blown flutes, vessel flutes, and whistles from across the Museum’s collection.

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  • Panpipes

    19th century

    Object Place: Possibly Spain

    Description

    Reed. Nineteen pieces of reed closed at the bottom, placed side by side; held together by four narrow strips of reed tied with string. Compass: c”-f””; diatonic scale.

    Provenance

    Francis W. Galpin (1858-1945), Hatfield Regis, England; 1916, sold by Francis W. Galpin to William Lindsey (1858-1922), Boston, Massachusetts; 1916, gift of William Lindsey, in memory of his daughter, Leslie Lindsey Mason, to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 5, 1916)

    Credit Line

    Leslie Lindsey Mason Collection

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 17 cm, width 23 cm, thickness 1.8 cm (Length 6 11/16 in., width 9 1/16 in., thickness 11/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1842

    Medium or Technique

    Cane

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • Panpipes (castrapuercas)

    19th century

    Object Place: Spain

    Description

    Iron, tinplated. Nine tubes. Wire loop for a cord. Compass: e”’-f””; diatonic scale.

    Provenance

    Francis W. Galpin (1858-1945), Hatfield Regis, England; 1916, sold by Francis W. Galpin to William Lindsey (1858-1922), Boston, Massachusetts; 1916, gift of William Lindsey, in memory of his daughter, Leslie Lindsey Mason, to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 5, 1916)

    Credit Line

    Leslie Lindsey Mason Collection

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 7 cm, width 7 cm, thickness 1 cm (Length 2 3/4 in., width 2 3/4 in., thickness 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1844

    Medium or Technique

    Tinplated iron

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • Panpipes (fieould)

    19th century

    Object Place: Southern France

    Description

    Trapezoidal flat piece of boxwood with an ear having a small hole by which it is hung. Eleven tubes bored into the piece. Unvarnished. Compass: c”’-f””; diatonic scale. Used by itinerant Basque dealers.

    Provenance

    Francis W. Galpin (1858-1945), Hatfield Regis, England; 1916, sold by Francis W. Galpin to William Lindsey (1858-1922), Boston, Massachusetts; 1916, gift of William Lindsey, in memory of his daughter, Leslie Lindsey Mason, to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 5, 1916)

    Credit Line

    Leslie Lindsey Mason Collection

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 10.5 cm, width 7.5 cm, thickness 1 cm (Length 4 1/8 in., width 2 15/16 in., thickness 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1843

    Medium or Technique

    Boxwood

    On View

    Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • End-blown flute

    mid-19th century

    Object Place: Greece

    Description

    Cylindrical reed tube with six finger-holes in the front and one thumb-hole in the rear; the joint membrane, located about 8 mm. from the lowest finger-hole, is pierced through; chamfered upper edge. The outside surface is almost completely covered with an engraving of the battle of Navarino (1827).

    Provenance

    Francis W. Galpin (1858-1945), Hatfield Regis, England; 1916, sold by Francis W. Galpin to William Lindsey (1858-1922), Boston, Massachusetts; 1916, gift of William Lindsey, in memory of his daughter, Leslie Lindsey Mason, to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 5, 1916)

    Credit Line

    Leslie Lindsey Mason Collection

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 31.5 cm (12 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1828

    Medium or Technique

    Cane

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • End-blown flute

    19th century

    Object Place: Greece

    Description

    Cylindrical brass tube with six finger-holes in the front and one thumb-hole in the rear; chamfered upper edge.

    Provenance

    Francis W. Galpin (1858-1945), Hatfield Regis, England; 1916, sold by Francis W. Galpin to William Lindsey (1858-1922), Boston, Massachusetts; 1916, gift of William Lindsey, in memory of his daughter, Leslie Lindsey Mason, to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 5, 1916)

    Credit Line

    Leslie Lindsey Mason Collection

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 25.5 cm (10 1/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1829

    Medium or Technique

    Brass

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • End-blown fute (caval)

    1950–70

    Object Place: Romania

    Description

    Provenance

    1984, sold by Douglas Deihl, Northampton, Massachusetts, to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 13, 1984)

    Credit Line

    Helen and Alice Colburn Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 85.7 cm (33 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    1984.305

    Medium or Technique

    Boxwood, bone, horn

    On View

    Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)

    Collections

    Contemporary Art, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
    Multimedia
    • audio

      MIAudio122.mp3

  • Sopranino ocarina

    about 1870
    Giuseppe Donati (Italian, 1835–1925 Italian)

    Object Place: Bologna, Italy

    Description

    Sopranino in G. The lowest tone is g”. Brown earthenware, painted black, with traces of gilt ornament. Brass mouthpiece. Tuning cork with wooden button. Eight finger-holes in front, two thumb-holes in the rear. Two gilt labels (not legible, but similar to 1917.1836).

    Inscription

    Stamped? on body: G. Donati Budrio / Bologna

    Provenance

    Francis W. Galpin (1858-1945), Hatfield Regis, England; 1916, sold by Francis W. Galpin to William Lindsey (1858-1922), Boston, Massachusetts; 1916, gift of William Lindsey, in memory of his daughter, Leslie Lindsey Mason, to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 5, 1916)

    Credit Line

    Leslie Lindsey Mason Collection

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 14.2 cm, diameter 4.5 cm (Length 5 9/16 in., diameter 1 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1835

    Medium or Technique

    Earthenware

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • Vessel flute (bass ocarina)

    about 1870
    Giuseppe Donati (Italian, 1835–1925 Italian)

    Object Place: Bologna, Italy

    Description

    Bass in G. The lowest tone is g. Brown earthenware, painted black. Seven finger-holes in front, one thumb-hole in the rear. Two gilt labels.

    Inscription

    Stamped? on body: G. Donati Budrio / Bologna

    Provenance

    Francis W. Galpin (1858-1945), Hatfield Regis, England; 1916, sold by Francis W. Galpin to William Lindsey (1858-1922), Boston, Massachusetts; 1916, gift of William Lindsey, in memory of his daughter, Leslie Lindsey Mason, to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 5, 1916)

    Credit Line

    Leslie Lindsey Mason Collection

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 37 cm, diameter 11 cm (Length 14 9/16 in., diameter 4 5/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1836

    Medium or Technique

    Earthenware

    On View

    Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)

    Collections

    Europe, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • Soprano ocarina (in the shape of a fish)

    1912

    Object Place: Staffordshire, England

    Description

    Sopranino in E-flat. The lowest tone is e”-flat. In the shape of a fish; of pottery, gilded. Eight holes in front, one thumb-hole in the rear.

    Inscription

    Stamped: [registration mark of Staffordshire]

    Provenance

    Francis W. Galpin (1858-1945), Hatfield Regis, England; 1916, sold by Francis W. Galpin to William Lindsey (1858-1922), Boston, Massachusetts; 1916, gift of William Lindsey, in memory of his daughter, Leslie Lindsey Mason, to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 5, 1916)

    Credit Line

    Leslie Lindsey Mason Collection

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 17.5 cm, width 6.3 cm, thickness 4.4 cm (Length 6 7/8 in., width 2 1/2 in., thickness 1 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1837

    Medium or Technique

    Earthenware

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • Soprano ocarina

    early 20th century

    Object Place: Probably Germany

    Description

    Provenance

    1984, sold by Douglas Deihl, Northampton, Massachusetts, to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 13, 1984)

    Credit Line

    Helen and Alice Colburn Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 18 cm, diameter 3.9 cm (Length 7 1/16 in., diameter 1 9/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    1984.309

    Medium or Technique

    Porcelain

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • Whistle (in the shape of a bird)

    19th century

    Object Place: Switzerland

    Description

    In the shape of a bird. Made of pine with eyes, wings, and feathers burnt into the wood. One finger-hole.

    Inscription

    Marked: In___on___: Interlaken

    Provenance

    Francis W. Galpin (1858-1945), Hatfield Regis, England; 1916, sold by Francis W. Galpin to William Lindsey (1858-1922), Boston, Massachusetts; 1916, gift of William Lindsey, in memory of his daughter, Leslie Lindsey Mason, to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 5, 1916)

    Credit Line

    Leslie Lindsey Mason Collection

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 15 cm, diameter 3.6 cm (Length 5 7/8 in., diameter 1 7/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1831

    Medium or Technique

    Pine

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • Boatswain's whistle

    19th century

    Object Place: England

    Description

    German silver. Consists of a small spherical receptacle with a circular opening at the top, thin curved pipe, reinforcing plate, and rib; a copper ring attach it to a cord. The pitch is indefinite, as it depends upon the strength of the blower.

    Provenance

    Francis W. Galpin (1858-1945), Hatfield Regis, England; 1916, sold by Francis W. Galpin to William Lindsey (1858-1922), Boston, Massachusetts; 1916, gift of William Lindsey, in memory of his daughter, Leslie Lindsey Mason, to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 5, 1916)

    Credit Line

    Leslie Lindsey Mason Collection

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 11.3 cm, thickness 1.9 cm (Length 4 7/16 in., thickness 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1830

    Medium or Technique

    Nickel silver

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info

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