Early flute tuning improvements by Quantz
Johann Joachim Quantz
Johann Joachim Quantz was a famous German flautist and music theorist who had a major influence on the evolution of his instrument during the transition from the Baroque to the Classical period. He spent most of his career at the court of the King of Prussia Frederick the Great holding the prestigious position of the court composer.
Quantz's rich heritage includes more than 700 compositions for flute in various genres, an influential treatise on Baroque music, and an autobiography revealing the state of music in Germany at the time.
As a flute designer, Quantz paid much attention to the correct tuning of the instrument in different orchestras, developing a system of rings that changed the length of the flute. This vital innovation helped obtain the correct flute tone—a rather significant step towards uniformity of sound since at the time the tuning forks were not quite accurate and it wasn't hard to encounter vastly different orchestra tunings even in neighbouring cities.
Listen to Quantz's Flute Concerto in G major - Allegro performed by Jean-Pierre Rampal with Antiqua Musica Orchestra:
During his extensive travels throughout Europe, Quantz made acquaintances with many prominent composers of his time, including Alessandro Scarlatti, C. P. E. Bach, and George Frideric Handel. There is evidence that J. S. Bach and Mozart admired his music.
Frederick the Great playing a flute concerto in Sanssouci, C. P. E. Bach at the harpsichord, Quantz is leaning on the wall to the right:
Curiously, at the very beginning of his career, Quantz was forced to hide in a closet during flute lessons with the young Crown Prince Frederick to avoid the wrath of Frederick's father who did not encourage his musical studies.