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musette

– cyclist's knapsack
– chic handbag
– small, raffiné bagpipe
– solo stop 5 on French harmonium or Harmonium d'Art
M/010

I have, personally, no interest either in professional cycling or in matching accessories. But I do have a great deal of interest in the musette de cour.

The long wait alluded to elsewhere was worth it: I now have a musette, and thanks to a recommendation from Bart Spanhove I have also found a musette tutor. So I have a lesson once a week during school terms, and what still surprises me is that I also practise pretty well every day just for fun. This has never happened to me before, with any of the instruments I've tried.

A few musette pieces were already familiar to me from modern editions for recorder duet; the more responsible editors thoughtfully reproduce the relevant information from the original printing. Playing these pieces on the instrument they were written for brings them to life, though. What is often merely pretty on recorders gains depth and colour from the discreet drone of the musette, and when we play duos on musette and hurdy-gurdy it's a whole new world. Effects are small, controlled and often poignant; subtlety is essential.

Oh, and thanks to the Harmonium Museum in Klein Willebroek I now know how different the Musette stop is from the real thing <g>


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