Military-style, historical, traditional… Fifes for fife & drum corps, for folk music, for historical dance.
Traditional and Historical Models
The fife dates back, as far as we have been able to ascertain, to Europe around the 12th century. That is not very clear, for it is a form of flute and flutes of varying forms are much, much older. But the fife as distinct from the transverse (or horizontally held) flute certainly comes about around that time. It is, in essence, what might be termed a “tabor pipe with benefits”; it consisted of a tube, almost always of wood, with a very tight bore meant to sacrifice the tone and volume of the lowest register to favour the second and third registers which, when played, carry quite the distance and could be heard over other, loud instruments such as its traditional association with the side or field drum. Its obvious application was for martial use in providing recognizable tunes in company with the drum for military “camp duties” and specific “calls” during battle wherein troops could hear the commands without necessarily seeing the commander… Serving the purpose of radio communication, as it were. But it also was known for folk dance music as well as work accompaniment music much like the pipe and tabor and can actually still be found in this capacity in some remote villages throughout western Europe. As the transverse flute began to evolve, so too the fife which eventually became the piccolo, the instrument of choice in fife and drum music cultures such as for the Swiss Fasnacht. In fact when performing on any fife one might benefit from regarding it more as a piccolo than a flute.
For your amusement, although copyrighted and not for general public re-use. – YE ART OF YE FYFE
The traditional fife is an example of an instrument still reflecting the varying pitches of the 18th and 19th centuries… You might do yourself a service to read this.
Corps Discount for sets purchased – Please inquire!
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<< Je viens de recevoir le fifre aujourd’hui. Comme ceux-là, c’est vraiment génial et ça sonne très bien !! Vous devez dire sur votre site que je suis vraiment fan de votre travail !! >> Gilles Graimont, Paris, France
Cloos Crosby/Penzel Muller two-piece Fife
When I was young – the ’70s – pretty much ALL the old fifers swore by this design or model of fife. It was the standard for some time “back in their day” but it was no longer being made and therefore damned near impossible to get one without inheriting one from a buddy. It was designed by the Cloos Company in the late 19th century and when Penzel Muller bought them out, they continued the model with minor aesthetic alterations. I have six or seven in my collection, all just a little different but essentially the same; some made by the Cloos Company while some made later by Penzel Muller. Recently I was commissioned by someone to replicate this and when I placed photos of the progress I was encouraged by some fifers to offer this as a regular choice. Unfortunately today labour is what we judge the cost of things while in the 19th century the price of materials was the greater affector of price. So this isn’t cheap but every bit as good as an original. Head is made of Ebony and the body of Rosewood. Metal work is German Silver and brass. Pitched for trad Bb.
These are made to order to expect 6 to 8 weeks lead time.
The Dillon/Cahusac Model Fife