The Nightingale is my interpretation of the English Flageolet of around 1800, as sold by instrument makers such as William Bainbridge. Crucially, the Nightingale features a two-chamber design as still featured by the North American Flute. Beware: many so-called flageolets sold today are really just tin whistles! The Nightingale is in the key of G (the G above middle C) and is a tone higher than the modern alto-recorder in F. You can hear the Nightingale on YouTube here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kvrYvKlilA (Cut and paste in to your browser)
The Nightingale has seven holes: the lowest is offset to be played by your pinky and gives a G#, a semitone above the lowest note (G). The extra hole allows a good sounding G# that is in tune without having to half-hole the lowest hole and also improves the tone of the A, which is generally weak on tin whistles. To allow both left- and right-handed players to play the Nightingale, there are two G# holes, one of which is blocked with an adjustable clip. If you don't want to use the G# feature at all, the clip can be used to cover both holes, making the fingering the same as a tin whistle.
The Nightingale is intended for the key of G major and related keys, including C, D, G Dorian, G Phrygian, Am and Em. It is actually fully chromatic, with a fingering chart included, although is not really practical for keys that require a lot of half-holing and cross-fingering.
Other features include:
- A wooden mouthpiece (beak) with expanding windway.
- A removable barrel section that allows slight adjustment of the tone of the instrument. The barrel section greatly reduces problems caused by condensation.
- A bell that improves the volume of the lowest notes of each octave.
- Each instrument is hand-made to order, with all notes individually hand tuned to concert pitch (A=440Hz)