The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Theobald Boehm

Theobald Boehm (April 9, 1794- November 25, 1881) was a Bavarian inventor and musician, who perfected the modern flute and its improved fingering system, which has not changed since his time. In addition, he was a virtuoso flautist and was a Bavarian Court Musician as well as a celebrated composer for the flute.

Born in Munich in Bavaria, Boehm learned his father's trade of goldsmithing. After making his own flute, he quickly became proficent enough to play in an orchestra at the age of eighteen and at twenty-one he was first flute in the Royal Bavarian Orchestra. Meanwhile, he experimented with constructing flutes out of many different materials such as tropical hardwoods (usually Grenadilla wood), silver, gold, nickel and copper as well as experimenting with changing the positions of the flute's tone holes. After a study of acoustics at the University of Munich, he began experimenting on improving the flute in 1832, first patented his new fingering system in 1847 and his new flute was first displayed in 1851 at the London Exhibition. In 1871 Boehm published "Die Flöte und das Flötenspiel" (The Flute and Flute-Playing), a treatise on the acoustical, technical and artistic aspects of the Boehm system flute.

Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04