Book Review: A Dictionary for the Modern Flutist (Second Edition)

A Dictionary for the Modern Flutist (Second Edition) by Susan J. Maclagan

by Barbara Siesel 

Have you ever wanted to know something right away about your flute, flute music, flute history, flutists, flute terms or flute technique? If you’re like me you’ve probably needed an answer more than once!  Now, you can have instant gratification using Susan J. Maclagan’s amazing and informative Dictionary.  Part of the series “Dictionaries for the Modern Musician” the “Dictionary for the Modern Flutist” is designed for both students and professionals to fully cover anything flutists might need to know about the flute as well as information about flute composers and performers. 

The contents include over 300 pages of dictionary plus 18 appendix’s on everything from Basic Modern Flute Parts, Anatomy of the Human Head and Neck, and even some additional essays, “Beatbox Flute” by Greg Patillo, listings of Orchestra and Opera excerpts and “Early Music on Modern Flute” by Barthold Kuijken, Flute Clutches by David Shorey and “An Easy Guide to Checking Your Flute’s Tuning and Scale” by Trevor Wye. 

Open any page of the Dictionary and you are sure to learn something new! For example, I closed my eyes and opened to page 228 – there I learned about ‘resistance rings’ a term coined by Albert Cooper to describe rings of clay that are placed in larger Boehm flutes (meaning Alto, Bass flutes etc.) that allow a player to blow harder into these flutes without cracking. Or on page 67 (again flipping pages with my eyes closed) a French word detimbre, meaning discolored or faded, and in flute language a sound with fewer overtones than usual, which flutists describe as a “hollow” sound. Further readings are included in this definition in case you want to go deeper. Most impressively Maclagan took the time to research biographies of all the people mentioned in the definitions themselves and further asked for critique and input from many flutists before finalizing a definition. She is a thorough and accurate researcher!

“A Dictionary for the Modern Flutist” is a must have for professional, amateur and student flutists, it truly is a valuable reference and imagination sparker for all who read it,  a great addition to music libraries worldwide. And it makes a great holiday gift for the flutists in your life!!!

Published by The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group. Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, 

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