Wednesday, May 21, 2008


There's a beautiful photograph of vintage Tonettes, the ones with the closed bottoms, on the last page of the May/June issue of the Yale Alumni Magazine. The title head is "magic flutes." They have found a place in the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments. "Susan E. Thompson '79MusM, curator of the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments, is a proud defender of the tonette, a humble plastic flute that encouraged many a budding musical career. The tonette's heyday was in the 1940s and '50s, when schools used it to determine whether young students would be able to master a 'real' instrument." I think that "Tonette" is a trademark. The first Tonette that I knew was a khakhi-colored one (an example is shown in the photograph, available on line). I believe that it accompanied a family member into the combat zone in World War II, or perhaps it was included in a Red Cross package to prisoners of war. My personal plastic musical instrument was a Flutophone (see its photograph).


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