Tuesday, August 25, 2009

F is For Flautist

It's time again For ABC Wednesday. If you aren't participating in ABC Wednesday, you are missing out on a lot of fun. This week the letter is "F". F is for Flautist. Or is it F is for Flutist? The choice of "flautist" versus "flutist" is the source of vicious dispute among players of the instrument. "Flutist" is the earlier term in the English language, dating from at least 1603, while "flautist" is not recorded before 1860.

Philip Kim

The first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary lists fluter as dating from circa 1400 and Fowler's Modern English Usage states that "there seems no good reason" why flautist should have prevailed over fluter or flutist. However, according to Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, flautist is the preferred term in British English, and while both terms are used in American English, flutist is "by far the more common choice."

James Galway summed up the way he feels about "flautist," saying, "I am a flute player not a flautist. I don't have a flaut and I've never flauted."

Philip Kim and Katherine Lin

I've never seen James Galway though I have a number of his CD's. Even though I have never seen James Galway perform, I have had the privilege of hearing top quality flute music. A few weeks ago we had a concert at our church by Philip Kim and Katherine Lin. Philip and his family attended our church a number of years ago. I hadn't seen him for some time. When he was a little boy he idolized my daughter and would follow her around wherever she would go. Philip graduated from the University of Southern California this year, and is spending some time this summer here in his old home town.

I asked Philip and Katherine if they would let me film them playing, and they graciously agreed. If you enjoy quality classical music be sure to check out these videos.

I'm sure that you will agree that Philip is an accomplished flutist. Or is he an accomplished flautist?


  1. What a delight! Perfect words for the day and the music is gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing the beauty!



  2. Delightful and he is defintely a flutist!

  3. In Norway it is "Fløyte" and "Fløytist", but all of them start with an F, so they can all be used here :-)

  4. Our daughter is a flautist. She picked up her first flute in 5th grade and she hasn't put one down since! She was 1st flute in the UCLA orchestra for 5 years and was also in the marching band, where she played piccolo. She got to march in the Rose Parade. Now she teaches middle school band and gives private flute lessons. Anyway, I've always heard it pronounced "flautist".

  5. Fantastic! My favorite instrument!
    Thanks for the clips.

  6. I always assumed that "flautist" was the original word - obviously I was wrong. Thanks for educating me.

    On behalf of the ABC Team, thanks for joining this week's FUN.

  7. I think that James is a wonderful FLUTIST. I'm not really into classical music but I do appreciate the greatness of it and your post was very educational. Perfect choice for today.

  8. I thought 'flautist' was the original, too, but I have heard that James Galway quote before! He's a funny man! And talented too.

    I love 'Traumerei', though I haven't heard it played with a flute before, but a violin. Philip is indeed talented.

  9. I love the effort put into this post, YouTube and all!