Boehm, Theobald, famous German flutist and flute manufacturer; b. Munich, April 9, 1794; d. there, Nov. 25, 1881. He was the son of a goldsmith and learned mechanics in his father’s workshop. He also studied flute, and eventually established himself as one of the greatest flute virtuoso of his era. In 1818 he became a court musician in Munich. He opened a factory in Munich in 1828 and introduced his first flute in 1832. His system of construction marked a new departure in the making of woodwind instruments. To render the flute acoustically perfect, he fixed the position and size of the holes so as to obtain, not convenience in fingering, but purity and fullness of tone; all holes are covered by keys, whereby prompt and accurate “speaking” is assured; and the bore is modified, rendering the tone much fuller and mellower. He publ. Über den Flötenbau und die neuesten Verbesserungen desselben (Mainz, 1847; ed. by K. Ventzke as On the Construction of Flutes/Über den Flötenbau, Baren, the Netherlands, 1982) and Die Flöte und das Flötenspiel (Munich, 1871).
C. Welch, History of the B. Flute (London, 1883).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire
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