- Laurence Libin
Following the precedent of weapons, parasols, and other devices melded with walking-sticks, several types of instruments – especially violin, flageolet, flute, and clarinet – were built in this form, mainly in 19th-century Europe as an outgrowth of Romanticism. Seldom of high quality tonally, walking-stick instruments appealed to dilettantes who amused themselves with music outdoors. The practice of disguising instruments and incorporating them into other implements goes back at least to the Renaissance, but flourished in the 19th century, when increasing affluence, leisure time, and delight in novelty promoted manufacture of often impractical luxury goods. The Csakan or Stockflöte was most popular in Austria and Hungary. Walking-stick violins, with a removable cover protecting the fingerboard, strings, and bridge, and a grip that unscrews so a bow can be stored inside the hollow body, continued to be produced commercially in Mittenwald, Germany, until the turn of the 20th century. (E. Köhler: Schule zum Selbstunterricht für Flageolet, Czakan, Stockflöte und Blechflöte...