The Pronomos Flute

Why call it Pronomos?

Pronomos was a star aulos player from ancient Greece. Living around 400BC he is best known from his depiction on the so-called Pronomos Vase (in the Archaeological Museum, Naples). He apparently made his own instruments, in particular one that would play in all the modes, instead of only one. Julian and I decided to celebrate this technical achievement by naming our own instrument after him. The aulos is commonly translated as “flute” but in fact seems to have been a double reed instrument.

It might be thought that such a complicated instrument would be heavy and unresponsive. On the contrary: thanks to the use of stainless steel with acrylic inlays on most keys, the weight is not an issue. The strength of steel allows key profiles to be kept low, the mechanism light and positive. Care has been taken to allow fingers to slide easily between the extra keys or to touch two or three at once when necessary. Like all my other flutes this one has a silver tube.

The Pronomos is similar to other types of quarter-tone flute but much more developed. It has more keys, effective independence of keys and, because all keywork is made of steel, almost certainly less weight.

View diagram in pop-up window


<< How is the Pronomos different from other quarter-tone flutes?

Photo of P flute foot joint

The strength of steel allows key profiles to be kept low, the mechanism light and positive.