One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The mouthpiece of a recorder or similar wind instrument which is blown endwise, in which a thin channel cut through a block directs a stream of air against a sharp edge. The term has been applied to various parts of this, including the block and the channel.
- ‘A flute employing a fipple type mouthpiece assembly permits the flute to be more easily mastered.’
- ‘The fipple is made from a piece of 5/16th hardwood dowel about one and a half inches long.’
- ‘The fipple block is formed from a solid mass of material having a substantially cylindrical exterior surface and configuration.’
- ‘Unfortunately part of the mouth-piece and the clay block or fipple were missing, and immediate conservation was needed.’
- ‘Place the point into the middle of the fipple opening and play a note on your instrument.’
Early 17th century: perhaps related to Icelandic flipi ‘horse's lip’.
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