Voices from the 18th Century: Quantz on the Requirements to Play the Flute



Johann Joachim Quantz was one the 18th Century’s most renowned flutists who wrote On Playing the Flute, an important instruction manual for flutists and other musicians which covers nearly everything needed to achieve a professional standard. Quantz even describes the physical requirements to play the flute.

“…a wind instrument, and the flute in particular, requires a completely healthy body; strong and open lungs; prolonged breath; even teeth that are neither too long nor too short; lips that are thin, smooth, and delicate rather than puffed out and thick, which have neither too much nor too little flesh, and with which one may cover the mouth easily; a fluent and skillful tongue; well-formed fingers that are neither too long nor too short, too corpulent or too pointed, but are provided with good tendons; and an unobstructed nasal passage for inhaling and exhaling with ease.” (Translation: Edward R. Reilly)

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