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866

Clair Godfroy, ainé

Paris, France

Stamp: Stamped: (lion's head)/(in oval cartouche)Clair/Godfroy, ainé/A Paris(end of cartouche)/(monogram) "C" over "G", on head, body, and foot. Additionally on head and body, BREVETÉ. On headjoint alone the serial number "1393".

Comments: The Godfroy ring key flutes with the back clutch mechanism are far easier to play than the earlier flutes with vaulted clutches. This sweet flute is a fine instrument for players wanting the warm and wonderful tone of the conical bore, the lightness of the D foot, and the flexibility of the Boehm system. Although leaking at this moment, it is still clear that this flute has an excellent tone, quick response, and seems for all the world to play in tune right at A=440.

Material: Made of a beautifully grained cocus or palisander wood (called "Grenadille ou Ebène"), with Maillechort keys and trim. Embouchure has an oval surrounding Maillechort plate.

System: This is the number 14 in the Godfroy price list, but with D foot (not offered on the 1878 price list), namely a ring-keyed conical Boehm flute with Maillechort keys and trim, and a D foot. The 1878 price list gives this model, with C foot, at F 210. In the same price list an 8 keyed flute with silver keys costs F300. The key work is basically a modification of their cylinder flute mechanism, with five rings instead of perforated holes. The G# is Dorus, the thumb a full Briccialdi, with two holes. The trill is to the thumb key. There is a full backclutch, yet the rings make it unnecessary to decouple the reverse motion (as it is on the cylinder flutes). Thus the RH1 Bb closes all the rings but the Dorus A.

Condition: This flute has been well used, yet also well cared for. There is no damage to the mechanism, yet there are signs of use, wear, and the hands of technicians. The original finish is long gone. The headjoint sports a few socket cracks, one of which has been pinned. The embouchure was either unusually cut, or has had some minor internal adjustments.

Pitch: Pitched A=435-440.

Sounding Length: Sounding length 540 mm.

Measurements: Embouchure 10.17 x 11.91. Chimney height 4.44 mm.

Weight: 324 g.

Case: In old, possibly original case. The case is worn, and the hinges are missing, but it is fitted for this flute, and includes the little key.

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Photographs (click to enlarge):

The Godfroy stamp and serial number are clearly visible, although the gold leaf is long gone.  The lovely grain of the French flutewood is clear, even without the original clear and deep finish.
The Godfroy stamp and serial number are clearly visible, although the gold leaf is long gone. The lovely grain of the French flutewood is clear, even without the original clear and deep finish.
The silver-topped embouchure is perfect, although the interior looks a little unsymmetrical.  The tone of this flute is very sweetly powerful.
The silver-topped embouchure is perfect, although the interior looks a little unsymmetrical. The tone of this flute is very sweetly powerful.
The right-hand mechanism displays the elegant simplicity perfected by Godfroy.  Since the ring keys do not cover the holes at all, they do not need to be separated by the shoulder clutches used on the cylindrical flute mechanism.
The right-hand mechanism displays the elegant simplicity perfected by Godfroy. Since the ring keys do not cover the holes at all, they do not need to be separated by the shoulder clutches used on the cylindrical flute mechanism.
There is no shoulder clutch for the Bb, thanks to the ring key.  This flute has been well used, which is often a sign of a good player.
There is no shoulder clutch for the Bb, thanks to the ring key. This flute has been well used, which is often a sign of a good player.
Godfroy 1832 system flute in original(?) case.  This flute gives her player the beautiful conical wooden voice of times past.
Godfroy 1832 system flute in original(?) case. This flute gives her player the beautiful conical wooden voice of times past.
Godfroy used the two headed thumb key from the beginning, including the trill (seen at far right).  The Bb touch was invented after the cylindrical flute, showing that this instrument was made after 1850.
Godfroy used the two headed thumb key from the beginning, including the trill (seen at far right). The Bb touch was invented after the cylindrical flute, showing that this instrument was made after 1850.
The posts screw directly into the wood.  The mechanism is well preserved, even as the original finish was used up.
The posts screw directly into the wood. The mechanism is well preserved, even as the original finish was used up.
The metal sleeve in the headjoint is only a few inches long, leaving most of the sound in the wooden tube.  This tuning slide gives a latitude of pitch from A=440 to A=435.
The metal sleeve in the headjoint is only a few inches long, leaving most of the sound in the wooden tube. This tuning slide gives a latitude of pitch from A=440 to A=435.
The metal tuning slide also causes most of these flutes (especially well-used ones) to develop cracks around this socket.  Here we see them with prior pins.
The metal tuning slide also causes most of these flutes (especially well-used ones) to develop cracks around this socket. Here we see them with prior pins.