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930

Clair Godfroy ainé

Paris, France

Stamp: Stamped on head and body: (head of Medusa) / (in oval cartouche) CLAIR / (script) Godfroy ainé / A PARIS / (monogram) CG. Additionally on headjoint: 751

Comments: This flute will surely be among the finest of playing examples for this system once restored and repadded.

Material: This beautiful flute is made of "Portuguese Grenadilla", we presume, with Maillechort keys and silver trim. The needle springs (all but the Dorus G# after-market) are of steel. The original flat springs are of brass. Some replacement flat springs are steel. The cork screw arrangement is of threaded wood. The three exquisitely made tuning rings are a sandwich of silver and wood.

System: This lovely 1832 system was called "Flute Boehm a anneau" by Godfroy and Lot. This is the ring keyed 1832 system of Boehm, of course with the Godfroy shop's development of this system. This instrument was made at the high-point of the conical Boehm, just as the cylinder bore was being introduced. The footjoint and clutches are all made without the influence of the mechanism Godfroy and Lot designed for the cylinder flute, thus ensuring that this instrument was made before 1850 at the latest. Thus we have a conical bore ring keyed 1832 system flute with C foot and Dorus G#. Trill key to thumb for B-C trill.

Condition: This flute has been carefully played by a professional flutist for many years. Furthermore, he was a fairly big man, moderate in his habits, probably with a nasty cough in his later years. We can tell this because there is so much wear in specific places that only a large hand would reach, the flute has been used enough to generate this wear yet is in nearly perfect mechanical condition, and the metal is stained yellow, probably from playing for years in a smoke-filled room. No one has ever sat on this flute, no repairman has butchered it, and no handmade repairs were done late at night by a drunken musician, making this flute somewhat unusual. The embouchure is also worn but unaltered. The principle wear is seen on the hinge tubing by the F key (first finger right hand). The metal is actually worn through, exposing the steel rod inside. Thanks to constant use and expert maintenance, almost all of the flat brass springs have been replaced very nicely with steel needle springs. The headjoint has two very minor cracks at the socket, and there is a silver repair on the A hole rim.

Pitch: This flute was made at A=448, and plays very nicely with the tuning rings to a tad below A=440.

Sounding Length: Sounding length without rings: 585.mm; with all three rings: 594 mm. Rings actually measure 7.3 mm in total.

Measurements: Embouchure 9.5 x 11.2. Scale length 224 mm (C# to E).

Weight: 334 g.

Case: In apparently original case.

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Photographs (click to enlarge):

Godfroy flute #751 was made around 1847, assuming 73 of this model per year.  These flutes were numbered differently than the keyed flutes, and the later cylindrical flutes.
Godfroy flute #751 was made around 1847, assuming 73 of this model per year. These flutes were numbered differently than the keyed flutes, and the later cylindrical flutes.
The case contains three tuning rings of silver and wood, a screwdriver, and a fairly recently missing cork grease container.  With the rings this flute plays from A=448 down to A=438 or so.
The case contains three tuning rings of silver and wood, a screwdriver, and a fairly recently missing cork grease container. With the rings this flute plays from A=448 down to A=438 or so.
This action-packed photo shows the new steel needle spring on top, which replaced a missing brass flat spring under the Bb key arm.  The C# touch is clearly worn from use on the upper side, as is the ring.  The thumb key has no Bb connection (invented c. 1849), but does have a trill lever for B-C trilling.  The flat brass spring can be seen under the thumb.
The use of two little holes for C was started, we believe, by Boehm, and gave the wood more strength than another large hole at this place would have done.
This action-packed photo shows the new steel needle spring on top, which replaced a missing brass flat spring under the Bb key arm. The C# touch is clearly worn from use on the upper side, as is the ring. The thumb key has no Bb connection (invented c. 1849), but does have a trill lever for B-C trilling. The flat brass spring can be seen under the thumb. The use of two little holes for C was started, we believe, by Boehm, and gave the wood more strength than another large hole at this place would have done.
This is the advanced footjoint of the Godfroy era.  The beautiful teardrop D#, the very lovely C# water-drop touch, and the streamlined C roller touch combine with the simple yet effective lever-action clutch for closing the C# with the C shank.  Note that the French style cups are by now well established.
This is the advanced footjoint of the Godfroy era. The beautiful teardrop D#, the very lovely C# water-drop touch, and the streamlined C roller touch combine with the simple yet effective lever-action clutch for closing the C# with the C shank. Note that the French style cups are by now well established.
The silver footjoint socket lining gives strength for the corked tenon.  Above, we see the original flat spring with raised receiver.  These receivers show that the whole flute was originally made with flat springs, except the Dorus G#.
The silver footjoint socket lining gives strength for the corked tenon. Above, we see the original flat spring with raised receiver. These receivers show that the whole flute was originally made with flat springs, except the Dorus G#.
Here is the stunning key made by Lot, Godfroy, and Villette in the late 1830's to accommodate Dorus' preference for a closed G#.
Here is the stunning key made by Lot, Godfroy, and Villette in the late 1830's to accommodate Dorus' preference for a closed G#.
This fascinating flute is worn not just at the rings, but also at the highly unusual spot just before the F ring.  The player must have had a large and heavy finger.  The hollow outer rod is worn right through to the steel trill key rod inside.  The rings are also worn from considerable and regular use.  This flute is one of the most regularly used of these instruments we have seen, especially to remain in such clean condition.
This fascinating flute is worn not just at the rings, but also at the highly unusual spot just before the F ring. The player must have had a large and heavy finger. The hollow outer rod is worn right through to the steel trill key rod inside. The rings are also worn from considerable and regular use. This flute is one of the most regularly used of these instruments we have seen, especially to remain in such clean condition.
The tuning rings are very beautifully made, with a silver outer ring and a cocus(?) wood inner ring.  The rings measure most clearly in inches!  They are 1/16
The tuning rings are very beautifully made, with a silver outer ring and a cocus(?) wood inner ring. The rings measure most clearly in inches! They are 1/16", 3/32", and 1/8".
The vaulted clutch at the F cup was Boehm and Greve's innovation.  The Frenchmen at Godfroy and Lot's shop refined the design to have curves and shape, and the threaded in-and-out device is made curvaceous and lovely, and especially slippery once inserted, for ease of movement due to the contrary arcs of motion.
The vaulted clutch at the F cup was Boehm and Greve's innovation. The Frenchmen at Godfroy and Lot's shop refined the design to have curves and shape, and the threaded in-and-out device is made curvaceous and lovely, and especially slippery once inserted, for ease of movement due to the contrary arcs of motion.