Schweizerflöte German
Schweizerpfeife German
Swiss Flute English

In the late 15th and early 16 century, “Swiss Flute” meant a transverse (cross-blown) flute, and organ stops of the same name were intended to imitate or at least suggest the instrument (see Querflöte). According to Williams, early examples had a “gentle, slow-speaking, string-like” tone. Maclean writes: “The name has reference to a military Fife traditionally associated with the Swiss Guard Regiments.” In the 18th century, however, the name was used for a flute-string hybrid made from small-scale cylindrical or inverted conical metal pipes. It has also been used for a variety of Harmonic Flute, and as a synonym for Schweizergamba. This stop has been made at 8', 4', 2', and sometimes 1' pitch.

Wedgwood alone considers Feldflöte a synonym.




Osiris contains fifteen examples of Schweizerpfeife, all but one of which date from the 20th century. Nine are at 2' pitch, four are at 4', and two at 8'. The oldest examples are listed below. Osiris contains two examples of Schweizerflöte. No examples of Swiss Flute are known; that name is used only by Locher, and may be the result of overzealous translation.

Schweizerflöte 8', Manual I; Stadtkirche St. Peter & Paul, Weimar, Germany; Schulze 1820.

Schweizerflöte 1', Swell; Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Altoona, Pennsylvania, USA; Steinmeyer 1931.

Schweizerpfeife 4', Brustpositiv; St. Laurentius Kirche, Langwarden, Germany; Kroger? Hus? 1650. This is the oldest known example.

Schweizerpfeife 8', Prinzipalwerk; St. Michaelis, Hamburg, Germany; Walcker 1912 (destroyed).


Audsley[1]: Schweizerflöte; Audsley[2]: I.XIII Schweizerflöte. Grove[1]: Querflöte, Schweizerpfeife; Irwin[1]: Schweizerflote; Locher[1]: Swiss Flute; Maclean[1]: Schweizerflöte. Sumner[1]: Schweizerflöte Williams[1]: Glossary: Querflöte.
Copyright © 1999 Edward L. Stauff, all rights reserved.
Schweizerflote.html - Last updated 20 January 2003.
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