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Portrait of Dr  Michael Fleming (Senior Research Fellow) Dr Michael Fleming (Senior Research Fellow)

m.fleming@hud.ac.uk | 01484 47n/a



Biography

After graduating in PPP (Philosophy and Psychology) from the Queen’s College, Oxford (1974) Michael Fleming worked for Robert Goble & Son for five years, making early keyboard instruments. Since 1982 he has worked as an independent musical instrument maker, specialising in viols, pre-classical violins and bows. In 1986 he was joint recipient of the Best Maker prize at the Crafts Council Open Exhibition, London. He found that original research was necessary in order to develop his craft. Research became his main passion and in 2001 he was awarded a PhD by the Open University for his thesis “Viol-Making in England c1580-1660”.

As a performer on the viol, his first instruction was by Elizabeth Goble and Richard Nicholson in the mid-1970s; he is now a competent and enthusiastic treble, tenor and bass violist. However, as was normal in the early days of the instrument, this activity is principally for the entertainment of himself and his friends, rather than for a non-playing audience. His particular interests in music for performing resemble his organological and instrument-making interests; they reflect his curiosity about, and respect for, the original producers and users of that music. His greatest love is English music, and performing from facsimilies or at least original notation is preferred, as he finds this to be a major aid to understanding, realising and enjoying the music.

He was a member of an Expert Group drafting the Museums and Galleries Commission guidance: Standards in the Museum Care of Musical Instruments, (published 1995). He is an active member of the Viola da Gamba Society and has been its chairman since 1997. In 2004 he was appointed the editor of the Galpin Society Journal (international journal of organological research).

Research & Scholarship

  • Viols as material and cultural objects in early modern England.
  • Early modern organology and iconography.

The viol in early modern England continues to be his core interest, but broader organological issues are investigated, with particular focuses on the use of images to increase knowledge and understanding of instruments, the investigation of archival sources for what they can reveal about the social context of instrument-making and use, and biographical investigations of early modern instrument makers and users, in all of which areas he has published articles and spoken at conferences.

He is supervising doctoral research about the cello in England 1700-1850. Other significant projects in which he is currently involved include writing a new catalogue of the musical instruments in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and the Jaye Project, which addresses the work of the outstanding early seventeenth-century English instrument-maker, Henry Jaye.

Currently Michael's principal research activity is the Making the Tudor Viol project.

Publications and Other Research Outputs

2013

Fleming, M (2013) ‘John Evelyn on Musical Instrument WoodThe Galpin Society Journal , 66. ISSN 0072-0127

2012

Fleming, M (2012) ‘Woodwork Tools in Early Modern OxfordOxoniensia , 77, pp. 107-116. ISSN 0308–5562

Fleming, M (2012) ‘Robert Dow's viols: a lamentable lacuna’. In: Medieval and Renaissance Music seminar series , 8th November 2012, All Souls College, Oxford

Fleming, M (2012) ‘Early English viol makers' tools and resources ’. In: CordeFactum Festival 2012, 18th - 20th May 2012, Hingene, Belgium

2011

Fleming, M (2011) ‘Viols’. In: Musical Instruments in the Ashmolean Museum: The Complete Collection . Berkhamsted: Oxford Musical Instrument Publishing LLP. . ISBN 9780956767905

Fleming, M (2011) ‘Obfuscation or illumination: what ‘early English viols’ tell us about early English viols’. In: The American Musical Instrument Society Conference on Musical Instruments , 18th - 21st May 2011, Phoenix, AZ, USA

2010

Fleming, M (2010) ‘Woodworking Tools in Sixteenth-Century Oxford’. In: Technology and craft of early stringed instruments, c. 500-1550, 6th November 2010, University of London

2009

Fleming, M (2009) ‘The Identities of the Viols in the Ashmolean MuseumThe Viola da Gamba Society Journal , 3 (2), pp. 117-130. ISSN 0507-0252

Fleming, M (2009) ‘The viol displayed, the iconographer dismayed ’. In: Making the British Sound, Conference, 6 - 11 July 2009, London - Edinburgh

2008

Fleming, M (2008) ‘Phillippe Golledge: another Oxford musical instrument dealer?The Galpin Society Journal , 61, pp. 332-335. ISSN 0072-0127

2007

Fleming, M (2007) ‘Book review: Un corpo alla ricerca dell'anima...Andrea Amati e la nascita del violino/ Andrea Amati and the birth of the violin, Renato Meucci (ed.)The Galpin Society Journal , 60. ISSN 0072-0127

2006

Fleming, M (2006) ‘What we can and cannot learn from English images of viols’. In: CordeFactum 2006, June 2006, Belgium

Fleming, M (2006) ‘Book review: The Baroque cello revival: an oral history,Paul Laird, Lantham: Scarecrow Press, 2004The Galpin Society Journal , 59, pp. 276-277. ISSN 0072-0127

Fleming, M (2006) ‘Book review: A Viola da Gamba Miscellanea. Articles from and inspired by viol symposiums organized by the Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, France, Susan Orlando (ed.)The Galpin Society Journal , 59, pp. 279-280. ISSN 0072-0127

2005

Fleming, M (2005) ‘An 'old old viol' and 'other lumber': musical remains in Provincial, non-noble England c.1580-1660The Galpin Society Journal , 58, pp. 89-99. ISSN 0072-0127

Fleming, M (2005) ‘Book review: Diego Ortiz: Trattado de Glosas, (Rome 1553), Annette Otterstedt, Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2003 The Galpin Society Journal , 58, pp. 269-270. ISSN 0072-0127

2004

Fleming, M (2004) ‘Instrument-making in Oxford The Galpin Society Journal , 57, pp. 246-251. ISSN 0072-0127

Fleming, M (2004) ‘Henry Jaye Oxford Dictionary of National Biography .

2003

Fleming, M (2003) ‘Another juggler: instruments and instrumentalists in early modern Oxford ’. In: The American Musical Instrument Society Conference on Musical Instruments, 3 - 9 August 2003, Oxford - London - Edinburgh

Fleming, M (2003) ‘Book review: The Italian viola da gamba: Proceedings of the International Symposium on the Italian Viola da Gamba, Magnano, Italy, 29 April - 1 May 2000, ed. Susan Orlando (Solignac/Turin: Edition Ensemble Baroque de Iimoges/Edizioni Angolo Manzoni, 2002)Early Music , 31 (2), pp. 283-284. ISSN 0306-1078

Fleming, M (2003) ‘How long is a piece of string? Understanding seventeenth-century descriptions of violsChelys , 31, pp. 18-35. ISSN 0952-8407

Fleming, M (2003) ‘Book review: François-Xavier Tourte, Bow Maker, Stewart Pollens and Henryk Kaston, with M.E.D Laing, New York et al, 2001The Galpin Society Journal , 56, p. 271. ISSN 0072-0127

Fleming, M (2003) ‘Book review: The Viol: History of an Instrument, Annette Otterstedt, Kassel, 2002The Galpin Society Journal , 56, pp. 269-271. ISSN 0072-0127

2002

Fleming, M (2002) ‘Book review: Masterpieces of Italian Violin Making (1620-1850). Important stringed instruments from the collection at the Royal Academy of Music, 2nd edition, David Rattray, London, 2000The Galpin Society Journal , 55, pp. 353-354. ISSN 0072-0127

Fleming, M (2002) ‘Instrument-makers named Hill and Hunt in Pepys's London The Galpin Society Journal , 55, pp. 382-385. ISSN 0072-0127

2001

Fleming, M (2001) Viol-making in England c1580-1660 Doctoral thesis, Open University.

2000

Fleming, M (2000) ‘Who made the viols `by’ Henry Jaye ? ’. In: Symposium on Bowed String Musical Instruments, 2-3 June 2000, Faculty of Music, University of Edinburgh

Fleming, M (2000) ‘Unpacking the 'Chest of Viols'Chelys , 28, pp. 3-19. ISSN 0952-8407

Fleming, M (2000) ‘Some points arising from a survey of wills and inventories The Galpin Society Journal , 53, pp. 301-311. ISSN 0072-0127

1999

Fleming, M (1999) ‘Viols and other lumber ’. In: The Galpin Society Conference on Musical Instruments, 9-11 July 1999, University of Edinburgh

Fleming, M (1999) ‘A bridge to the past: Investigating an old viol bridge at Haddon Hall Early Music , XXVII (2), pp. 235-248. ISSN 0306-1078

Fleming, M (1999) ‘Viol design = painting by numbers?’. In: The British Society for the History of Mathematics Research in Progress Day, 27th February 1999, Wolfson College, Oxford, UK

Fleming, M (1999) ‘The violin explained. Components, mechanism, and soundThe Galpin Society Journal , 52, pp. 325-327. ISSN 0072-0127

1998

Fleming, M (1998) ‘Are English string instruments all they are not cracked up to be?’. In: 32nd RMA Research Students Conference, 14th December 1998, University of York, UK

Fleming, M (1998) ‘Book review: Edward Withers Ltd. 230 years of Violin Craft in Soho, Adam Whone. Mill Hill publications, 1996The Galpin Society Journal , 51, pp. 225-226. ISSN 0072-0127

Fleming, M (1998) ‘Book review: Research Papers in Violin Acoustics 1975-1993, Carleen Maley Hutchins. Woodbury, 1997The Galpin Society Journal , 51, pp. 221-223. ISSN 0072-0127

1997

Fleming, M (1997) ‘Book review: Arte Liutaria, Analysis of Antique Instruments and Restoration Techniques, Carlo Vettori. Florence: Arte Liutaria, 1996The Galpin Society Journal , 50, pp. 267-269. ISSN 0072-0127

Fleming, M (1997) ‘Book review: Un secolo di liuteria Italiana 1860-1960. Vol.1. Emilia Romagna, Eric Blot. Cremona, 1994The Galpin Society Journal , 50, pp. 269-270. ISSN 0072-0127

Fleming, M (1997) ‘Book review: Liuteria Musica e Cultura, 1996, Essays dedicated to John Henry van der Meer, Renato Meucci (ed.). Cremona, 1996The Galpin Society Journal , 50, pp. 276-277. ISSN 0072-0127

Fleming, M (1997) ‘Book review: Règles pour la construction des Violons Altis, Violoncelles et Basses de Viol, Antonio Bagatella. Turris, Cremona, 1995The Galpin Society Journal , 50, pp. 259-260. ISSN 0072-0127

Fleming, M (1997) ‘Book review: Antonio Stradivari: The Cremona Exhibition of 1987, Charles Beare. J.& A.Beare Ltd, 1994 The Galpin Society Journal , 50, pp. 259-260. ISSN 0072-0127

1996

Fleming, M (1996) ‘Book review: Violin Making Step by Step, Henry A. Strobel. Aumsville: Henry A. Strobel, 1994The Galpin Society Journal , 49, p. 244. ISSN 0072-0127

Fleming, M (1996) ‘Book review: Violin Family and its Makers in the British Isles: an Illustrated History and Directory, Brian W Harvey. Oxford: OUP, 1995 The Galpin Society Journal , 49, pp. 240-244. ISSN 0072-0127

Fleming, M (1996) ‘Paintings of viols in England c.1580-1660Chelys , 25, pp. 3-21. ISSN 0952-8407

1995

Fleming, M (1995) ‘The fantasy viol’. In: The Fantasia in England from Alfonso Ferrabosco II to Henry Purcell, 7th - 9th July 1995, University of York, UK

Fleming, M (1995) ‘Book review: The Health of the Violin and the Viola and Cello: Practical Advice on the Acquisition, Maintenance, Adjustment and Conservation of Bowed Instruments, Lucien Greilsamer. Translated from the original French by Henry A. Strobel Aumsville, Oregon: H.A. Strobel, 1991The Galpin Society Journal , 48, p. 233. ISSN 0072-0127

Fleming, M (1995) ‘Book review: The Complete Luthier's Library [Bibliography], Roberto Ragazzi. Bologna: Florenus Edizioni, 1990The Galpin Society Journal , 48, pp. 214-215. ISSN 0072-0127

Fleming, M (1995) ‘Book review: Violin Maker's Notebook: a Companion Volume to Useful Measurements for Violin Makers, a Reference for Shop Use, 2nd edition, Henry A. Strobel. Aumsville, Oregon: H.A. Strobel, 1991The Galpin Society Journal , 48, p. 232. ISSN 0072-0127

Fleming, M (1995) ‘Book review: Useful Measurements for Violin Makers, a Reference for Shop Use, 4th edition, Henry A Strobel. Aumsville, Oregon: H.A. Strobel, 1991The Galpin Society Journal , 48, p. 231. ISSN 0072-0127

Fleming, M (1995) ‘Book review: The History of the Viola, Maurice W. Riley. Ann Arbor: the author, 1993, 1991The Galpin Society Journal , 48, pp. 228-231. ISSN 0072-0127

Fleming, M (1995) ‘Book review: The Bassanos: Venetian Musicians and Instrument Makers in England, 1531-1665, David Lasocki with Roger Prior, (Aldershot, Scolar Press, 1995)Chelys , 24, pp. 62-64. ISSN 0952-8407

Fleming, M (1995) ‘Book review: Art and Method of the Violin Maker: Principles and Practice, 2nd edition, Henry A. Strobel. Aumsville: Henry A. Strobel, 1993The Galpin Society Journal , 48, p. 234. ISSN 0072-0127

1994

Fleming, M (1994) ‘Book review: La Lutherie Lorraine et Française depuis ses Origines jusqu'à nos Jours, Albert Jacquot, Paris: Fischbacher, 1912. Facsimile edition. Geneva: Minkoff, 1985The Galpin Society Journal: for the study of musical instruments , 47. ISSN 0072-0127

Fleming, M (1994) ‘Book review: The Shape of Stradivari Forms and Violins, David Woodrow, Taynton: Taynton Press, 1991The Galpin Society Journal: for the study of musical instruments , 47. ISSN 0072-0127

Fleming, M (1994) ‘Book review: La Chélonomie, ou le parfait luthier..., Paris, 1812, Abbé SÉBASTIEN-ANDRÉ SIBIRE, Reimpression de l'edition de Bruxelles, 1823. Facsimile edition. Geneva: Minkoff, 1984The Galpin Society Journal: for the study of musical instruments , 47. ISSN 0072-0127

Fleming, M (1994) ‘Book review: The Violin Forms of Antonio Stradivari, Stewart Pollens, London: Peter Biddulph, 1992The Galpin Society Journal: for the study of musical instruments , 47. ISSN 0072-0127

Fleming, M (1994) ‘Book review: Observations on the construction of stringed instruments and their adjustment, 1804, 1805, 1809, 1810, 1816, Count Ignazio Cozio di Salabue, translated from the original Italian by Andrew Dipper and David Woodrow Taynton, 1987The Galpin Society Journal: for the study of musical instruments , 47. ISSN 0072-0127

1992

Fleming, M (1992) ‘Book review: Violin Fraud, Brian W. Harvey, (Oxford, 1992)Chelys , 22, pp. 51-52. ISSN 0952-8407

Fleming, M (1992) ‘Book review: Geometry, Proportion and the Art of Lutherie, Kevn Coates, (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1991)Chelys , 21, pp. 90-91. ISSN 0952-8407

1989

Fleming, M (1989) ‘Viol drawingsChelys , 18, pp. 30-40. ISSN 0952-8407

Research Degree Supervision

He is supervising doctoral research about the cello in England 1700-1850.

Other areas for Postgraduate supervision are:

  • Musical instrument making, both as a craft and historical/social/cultural aspects.
  • The viol, particularly in England.
  • Organology, particularly bowed instruments.
  • Organological iconography.
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