Wednesday, January 1, 8217

Der Wilde Alexander (c. 1217-1291) - Flute

Meister [Der Wilde] Alexander (c. 1217-1291) -
Minnesinger Melody "Owe daz nach liebe gat" (Tranverse Flute)

[Meister] Der Wilde Alexander is the name attributed to a Middle High German poet of the late 13th c. He was of South German or more probably Swiss origin, and has usually been taken for a commoner, though some hold him to be of minor nobility. He was clearly, like Walther von der Vogelweide, a wandering singer, who depended on his reception at courts and castles.

Der wilde Alexander sets a high value upon poetic art, insisting upon its descent from kings. The majority of his poems are Sprüche, and some of them deplore the decadence of the age, of which the disaster of the fall of Acre (to which one poem alludes) is a symptom. Though some of his poetry is obscure, Alexander can also write with great simplicity and apparent feeling. Yet even his most homely and direct poems are given a spiritual interpretation, as in the attractive poem beginning ‘Hie vor, dô wir kinder waren’, with its picture of the strawberry-picking children, which turns into a warning against sensual pleasures.

Der wilde Alexander also wrote a noble Christmas poem and a minneleich.

Leich, a complex Middle High German poetic form, derives from the Latin sequentia. It was originally choral, consisting of an opening section sung by all the voices, which was succeeded by passages sung alternately by the two sections of the divided choir; finally the choir united again to sing a concluding passage. The intermediary passages for divided choir were not limited in number, but each was sung twice, half-choir B repeating what half-choir A had sung. Occasionally a passage for undivided choir was inserted in the middle. The leich could be religious or secular; the secular examples were either dance songs (tanzleich) or love songs (minneleich). One or more examples are found in the work of many Middle High German poets (including Walther von der Vogelweide). Those whose preserved leiche are the most numerous are Der Tannhäuser (6), Rudolf von Rotenburg (5), and Ulrich von Winterstetten (5), who developed the form into new complexities.


The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. Unlike other woodwind instruments, a flute is a reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air against an edge.

A musician that plays the flute can be referred to as a flute player, a flautist, a flutist, or a fluter.

The flute has been dated to prehistoric times. It has appeared in different forms and locations around the world. A three-holed flute made from a mammoth tusk (from the Geißenklösterle cave in the German Swabian Alb and dated to 30,000 to 37,000 years ago was discovered in 2004, and two flutes made from swans' bones excavated a decade earlier (from the same cave in Germany, dated to circa 36,000 years ago) are among the oldest known musical instruments. A fragment of the femur of a juvenile cave bear, with two to four holes, found at Divje Babe in Slovenia and dated to about 43,100 years ago, may also be an early flute.

The Bible, in Genesis 4:21, cites Jubal as being the "father of all those who play the ugab and the kinnor". The former Hebrew term refers to some wind instrument, or wind instruments in general, the latter to a stringed instrument, or stringed instruments in general. As such, Jubal is traditionally regarded as the inventor of the flute (a word used in some translations of this biblical passage).

Some early flutes were made out of tibias (shin bones). Playable 9000-year-old Gudi (literally, "bone flute"), made from the wing bones of red-crowned cranes, with five to eight holes each, were excavated from a tomb in Jiahu in the Central Chinese province of Henan.

The earliest extant transverse flute is a chiflute discovered in the Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng at the Suizhou site, Hubei province, China. It dates from 433 BC, of the later Zhou Dynasty. It is fashioned of lacquered bamboo with closed ends and has five stops that are at the flute's side instead of the top. Chi flutes are mentioned in Shi Jing, compiled and edited by Confucius.

The pan flute was used in Greece from the 7th century BC, and spread to other parts of Europe.

Throughout the 10th, 12th and 13th centuries, transverse flutes were very uncommon in Europe, with the various fipple flutes being more prominent. The tin whistle (an Irish flute) first appeared in the 12th century, and the recorder in the 14th century. The first literary appearance of the transverse flute was made in 1285, but early on the instrument was only used in Germany and France.

[8220 Ars Antiqua Motets / 8217 Wilde Alexander / 8210 Thomas of Celano]