Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Duct.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.221.12
Region: South Europe & Mediterranean.
Description: The zuffolo [also chiufolo, ciufolo] it is a fipple flute found in Italy. First described in the 14th century. The zuffolo has a range of over two octaves, from B3 to C6 [Marcuse 1975]. A larger instrument of the same name, with a lowest note of C5 appeared in the early 17th century [Fuller-Maitland, Baines, and Térey-Smith 2001].
Relatives: In Northern Europe there is a very similar instrument that is known by various names from the 14th to at least the 17th century. The earliest documented source is a 14th century Flemish manuscript copy of De Planctu Naturae by Alain De Lille. This manuscript documents 11 types of instruments two duct flutes. One of these is a single handed flute with three front finger-holes and one thumb-hole.
It is labeled, together with another instrument, with the generic Latin term “fistuli” and with the Middle Dutch word “floyt” [Lasocki 2011, 18–19]. In the early 16th century, a woodcut showing this same type of instrument is identified as “Russpfeiff” [from MHGer Rusch, “rush”] in Virdung . This name is spelled “Rüspfeiff” in Agricola [1529, fol. 5r], where the same instrument is also referred to as a “klein Flötlein mit 4 löchern” small little flute with four holes [Marcuse 1975b; Wasielewski 1878, 83].
At the beginning of the next century, Michael Praetorius depicted this instrument once again in the supplement [Theatrum Instrumentorum] to the second volume of his Syntagma Musicum, where he uses the expressions “gar kleine Plockflötlein” describing a very small little recorder, “garklein Flötlein” very small little flute, and “klein Flötlein” small little flute.
He gives the size of this instrument as about three or four Brunswick inches, its range as nearly two octaves, and its playing technique as involving “unten zum Ausgang darneben mit eim Finger regiret werden” regulated by means of a finger under the outlet.
The lowest open tone is shown in the woodcut as C6, but Praetorius does not say how much lower the instrument can be made to speak by using the finger to shade the bell opening [Praetorius 1619, 34, supplement Plate IX].
Construction: The zuffolo has a rear thumb-hole, two front finger-holes, and a conical bore. It is approximately 8 cm in length.
Citations: Bibliography: Marcuse 1975, Fuller-Maitland, Baines, and Térey-Smith, 2001 ; Agricola, Martin. 1529 Musica instrumẽtalis deudsch ynn welcher begriffen ist / wie man nach dem gesange auff mancherley Pfeifen lernen sol / Auch wie auff die Orgel / Harffen / Lauten / Geigen / vnd allerley Instrument vnd Seytenspiel/ nach der rechtgegründten Tabelthur sey abzusetzen ; Wittemberg: Georg Rhaw “ciufolo”. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers ; George Grove, “Picco”, A Dictionary of Music and Musicians [A.D. 1450–1880], by Eminent Writers, English and Foreign, vol. 2, edited by George Grove, D. C. L., 340–43. London: Macmillan and Co.: 750 ; Lasocki, David. 2001. “Flautino [I]”. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers ;