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Subscriber: null; date: 15 November 2019

Triflauto (It.)locked

  • Martin Kirnbauer

A designation for an instrument, known only from a stage direction in Peri’s Euridice (Florence, 1600): ‘Tirsi Viene in scena sonando la presente Zinfonia con un Triflauto, e canta la seguente stanza’. The score at this point comprises a ritornello on three staves, all with soprano clefs. The top two parts (e′–e′′) are written predominantly in parallel thirds, while the lowest is a drone alternating between only four notes.

The direction may simply refer to a stage-prop, perhaps an instrument comparable to the flauto harmonico or armonia di flauto. The latter was a kind of recorder with five pipes (four of which served only as a drone) made by Manfredo Settala about 1650; the only surviving instrument is in the Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale, Bologna. The music could have been played on recorders, as prescribed by Francesca Caccini for a very similar ritornello in her opera La liberazione di Ruggiero (Florence, 1625). In another very similar scene, inscribed ‘al modo antico’, in Emilio de’ Cavalieri’s Rappresantatione di Anima, e di Corpo (Rome, 1600), recorders are expressly directed to be used solely as substitutes if sordelline are unavailable; the latter are meant to imitate ‘tibie all’antica’. Mersenne described the keyed sordellina (a complex bellows-blown Bagpipe ), and they are also listed in contemporary Medici inventories, so it is possible that the term triflauto is an abbreviation denoting ‘sordellina con tre flauti’.


  • G.L. Baldano: Libro per scriver l’intavolatura per sonare sopra le sordelline (Savona, 1600); ed. M. Tarrini, G. Farris and J.H. van der Meer (Savona, 1995)
  • H. Jung: Die Pastorale (Berne, 1980)
  • F. Puglisi: ‘Signior Settala’s “armonia di flauti”’, EMc , 9 (1981), 320–24
  • R. Weber: ‘Die Flauto harmonico: ein seltenes Instrument und sein Erbauer’, Tibia, 17 (1992), 20–26
Early Music