Audiences were always fascinated by the wide variety of instruments played by the Huggetts and often asked about their origins. All the Huggett's period instruments were authentic reproductions made by various European craftspeople. Primarily, the winds were made in Germany by Körber and Moeck. Over the years, the latter company has established itself as one of the world's leading recorder manufacturers.

Many of the Huggett's stringed instruments were made by young luthiers at the beginning of their careers. Leslie would commission several instruments at a time, which aided them in getting established. This also allowed the family to acquire the instruments they needed at an affordable cost. Over the years, the Huggetts invested significantly in many young makers who became world famous in their field. 

Robert Bailey, John Pringle, Bryan Maynard, and Philip MacLeod-coupe are some of the makers that the Huggetts supported. A complete list follows at the bottom of this page.

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Philip MacLeod-coupe, British luthier.


Robert Bailey, viol maker.  The Huggetts supported many period instrument makers early in their careers.


John Pringle, proud father,  surrounded by a group of his viols.  John also made many of the Huggett's instruments.



Viol and Viola da Gamba

The viol is a flat-backed, six-stringed, bowed, and fretted instrument. It first appeared in Spain in the mid-to-late 15th century and was popular throughout Europe during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. It is tuned in 4ths, with one interval of a major third, similar to the modern guitar. The bow is held "underhand," unlike modern bows, which are held "overhand." The instrument comes in various sizes and pitches, the most common being treble, tenor, and bass. All sizes are held between the legs, much like the modern cello. The viol family is used in consort work, with three to six viols of different sizes playing together. The bass viol, or viola da gamba (viol of the leg), is often used as a solo instrument and as bass support in continuo playing. The Huggetts owned 11 viols of various sizes.

The viols were played by all the Huggetts.

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Treble, tenor, and bass viol (also called viola da gamba)





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Modern and Baroque Violin, Viola and Cello

The Huggetts played both the Baroque and modern members of the violin family - the violin, viola, and cello. To the casual observer, the instruments look identical. Indeed, the most sought-after names in the modern world, Stradivarius, Amati, etc., started as baroque instruments that have since been modernized to suit contemporary ideals.


The primary differences between modern and period instruments are:

  • Steel for some of the modern instrument's strings, all gut strings on the old.

  • A thicker bass bar in the modern instrument, a lighter bass bar in the old.

  • A greater angle in the neck of the modern instrument, a shallow angle in the neck of the old; 

  • a difference in the shape and weight distribution of the bows used to play the instruments.


The tonal result of these differences is a louder sound from a modern instrument and a softer, sweeter sound from the old. The Huggetts owned 2 cellos, 2 violas, and 4 violins. All violin family members are played holding the bow "overhand."

Fiona played the violin, Ian and Andrew played the violin and viola, and Jennifer played the cello.


Fiona played the violin, Ian and Andrew played the violin, and viola and Jennifer played the cello. Fiona and Jennifer still play professionally today.

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Violin, viola and cello.


The modern bow.

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A Barouque Bow.

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The lute descends from the oud, which was introduced into Europe by knights returning from the Holy wars and was used to add harmony and texture to vocal and instrumental secular music from the Medieval to the late Baroque periods. It was also a favored solo instrument for which numerous works were written by famous composers like Holborn, Morley, and Dowland.

The bent neck of the lute makes the instrument more compact and suitable for playing in tight spaces. The lute's highest string is single. The rest of the instrument is double-strung in "courses," tuned in unisons or octaves. The early lute had four or five courses, but the number of courses grew over time. By the end of the Renaissance, the number of courses had grown to ten. During the Baroque era, the number continued to increase until it reached as many as 19. These instruments had up to 35 strings which made tuning a real challenge.

The lute presents several challenges to the player. The double strings and short wide neck often make complex chords physically challenging, and its soft sound is hard to hear in larger rooms. Though soft in its solo capacity, the lute adds fullness when used in conjunction with members of the viol family.

Andrew was the family lutenist and played a 15-string eight-course tenor lute.


A Renaissance eight course tenor lute.



The guitar is arguably the most successful instrument on the planet. Its affordability, easy initial learning curve, and extraordinary versatility have made it a popular choice in all genres of music, from classical and jazz to modern pop.

Though they are similar, the lute and guitar have different beginnings. Midway through the 16th century, the five-course guitar was popular in Spain. A literary source, Lope de Vega's Dorotea, credits Spanish poet and musician Vicente Espinel for its invention. For the next 200 years, the "Spanish" guitar went through many changes as various makers worked to improve its tone and playability. Around 1850, the proportions and structure of the modern classical guitar were established by Antonio Torres Jurado. He significantly improved the volume, tone, and projection of the instrument, which has remained essentially unchanged since.

The Huggett Family used nylon, steel, 12-string, and occasionally bass guitar in their folk songs. Margaret and Andrew both played the guitars.


Classical, steel 6-string, 12-string and bass guitars



Harpsichord, Virginal, Spinet & Piano

Before the Huggett Family, Margaret was a pianist and clarinetist. She did not play the clarinet in the Huggett Family but occasionally played the piano in some of their early folk songs. She played the virginal, harpsichord, and spinet in the Huggett Family ensemble. 

Pianos and harpsichords sound very different. A felt hammer is propelled upwards when a piano key is struck, striking and bouncing off the piano's string. A piano can produce a wide range of dynamics, from very soft to very loud. It has a sustaining pedal that allows the note to ring on after the finger releases the key. When a harpsichord key is struck, it levers up a wooden post with a small quill


Virginal, grand piano, harpsichord and spinet.

plectrum mounted to its side, plucking one or more strings. It can't play loud and soft and has no sustain pedal, so the note stops as soon as the finger is lifted. The spinet is a smaller version of the harpsichord and was a popular instrument in the courtiers' chambers. The more travelable viginal has stings that run parallel to the keyboard and are, therefore, struck at a different spot along the length of the string, giving it a rounder sound. All three instruments were used in Renaissance and Baroque music. During the Baroque era, the harpsichord and viola da gamba were a standard combination for the playing of basso continuo, which was the foundation for accompanying solo instruments. Much solo music also was written for the three members of the harpsichord family. During the late 18th century, following the development of the fortepiano, the harpsichord gradually disappeared from the music scene. 



Renaissance & Baroque Recorders, Gems Horn

The recorders are a family of instruments known as internal duct flutes, flutes with whistle mouthpieces. They are made in various sizes with names and compasses roughly corresponding to various vocal ranges, soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. They are traditionally constructed from wood or ivory. School recorders are commonly made of molded plastic. The recorders played by the Huggett Family fell into two categories: Renaissance and Baroque. Renaissance recorders have a somewhat cylindrical bore, giving them a richer sound but reduced range. Baroque recorders have an upside-down conical bore resulting in a thinner sound but more rage and chromatic capability. 

The recorder first appeared in Europe in the Middle Ages and enjoyed wide popularity in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. It was little used in the Classical and Romantic periods. However, it was revived in the 20th century as part of the Early Music movement and became a popular amateur and educational instrument. Monteverdi, Lully, Purcell, Handel, Vivaldi, Telemann, Bach, Hindemith, and Gordon Jacob wrote for the recorder. 

The Gems Horn is also a duct flute. It is made from a goat or other suitable horn and has a pleasing round, breathy sound but minimal range and chromatic flexibility.

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Gems Horn

Great bass, bass, tenor, alto, soprano, sopranino, and piccolo Renaissance recorders.

Sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, bass, and great bass Baroque recorders.

Many people are surprised by the size of some recorders, as can be seen here using this proportional picture of Jennifer.

Baroque Flute

During the Renaissance, the recorder, with its louder sound, was generally preferred over the early flute with its cylindrical bore. However, by the Baroque period the instrument had been significantly redesigned. It had three or four sections or "joints" and a conical bore, giving it a wider range and more penetrating sound without sacrificing its softer, expressive qualities. There is one key on the baroque flute on the foot joint.
Baroque composers also changed the role of the flute, and with the onset of the Baroque era, the flute began to take on a role as a solo instrument.
Praetorius, Schütz, Rebillé, Quantz, J.S Bach, Telemann, Blavet, Vivaldi, Hotteterre, Handel, and Frederick the Great all composed for the Baroque Flute.

Jennifer and Leslie played the Baroque flute.


Baroque flute.


The krummhorn is a wooden wind-capped reed instrument. A double reed is mounted inside a cap, and blowing through a slot in the cap produces a musical note. The instrument's origin is in the bladder pipe and the bagpipe chanter. One unusual feature of the krummhorn is its shape; the end is bent upwards in a curve resembling the letter 'J.' This curve makes for a more compact instrument but does not influence the sound.

Krummhorns have a cylindrical bore and are quieter than their conical-bore relatives, the rauschpfeife and shawm. They have a limited range, usually a ninth. Krummhorns have a characteristically sharp attack which is very effective in ensemble work. Depending on how their reeds are voiced, they range in tone from a gentle, somewhat nasal humming to a rich, resonant buzzing.

The name krummhorn comes from the German for bent horn. The instrument was popular in the 14th to17th centuries in Europe. King Henry the Eighth of England owned 25 Krummhorns, but they were most popular on the continent, from where a small repertoire of music specifically for krummhorns has been preserved.

All the Huggetts played the krummhorn.

There is a double reed under the cap of all "wind-capped" instruments.

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Bass, tenor, alto and soprano krummhorns..



Rauschpfeife is another member of the wind-capped family popular in 16th and 17th century Europe. It differs from the krummhorn in the shape of the bore, which is conical. This bore profile, combined with the free vibration of the reed within the wind cap, produced an exceedingly loud instrument, making it useful for outdoor performances.
Rauschpfeife is German for "rush (or reed) pipe."

Leslie and Andrew both played the rauschpfeife.

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Shawm, Baroque Modern Oboe.

The shawm was another instrument introduced into Europe in the 13th century by returning crusaders. It is a double reed instrument and is still played in many parts of North Africa, the Middle East, and the Far East. It comes in various sizes, though the Huggetts only used the tenor in their music.


In Europe, by the 17th century, the instrument had been modified into the hautbois, which is French for "high wood." Today it's more commonly called the Baroque oboe. As with all early woodwind instruments, keys have been gradually added over time to increase range and help the player play faster and with better tuning.


The standard Baroque oboe is generally made of boxwood. It has three keys: a "great" key and two side keys (the side key is often doubled to facilitate the use of either the right or left hand on the bottom holes). To produce higher pitches, the player has to "overblow" or increase the air stream to reach the next harmonic.

Purcell, Albinoni, Bach, Handel, Alessandro Marcello, Telemann (who played the instrument), and Vivaldi wrote music for the Baroque oboe.

Andrew played the shawm and oboes.


Shawm, Baroque oboe and modern oboe.

The Rackett

The first historical mention of the rackett is found in the 16thg century.


There were four sizes of rackett; soprano, tenor-alto, bass, and great bass. Relative to its pitch, the rankett is relatively small. The soprano is only 4½ inches long. This is achieved through ingenious construction. The body consists of a solid wooden cylinder into which nine parallel bores are drilled. These are connected alternately at the top and bottom, resulting in a long, cylindrical wind passage within a compact body.


The result is a pocket-sized instrument that will descend as low in pitch as a modern bassoon. This unique construction earned it the nickname "sausage bassoon."

To play the rackett, the hands are placed side by side. Additional holes are covered by the thumbs and the second joint of the index finger to extend the range.


Despite its quirks, the rankett is a versatile instrument with a wide range of notes and dynamics. With an appropriate reed, the baroque rankett has a similar chromatic range to the baroque bassoon and can perform most bass-instrument repertoire.

Leslie played the bass rackett


Bass Rackett

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The church teaches that humans, and the human voice, were created after God. For much of the Medieval and Renaissance periods, vocal music was the only form of music allowed in church. 


Outside the church, musicians strove to imitate the voice both compositionally and in their playing, irrespective of their chosen instruments' natural character. Over 300 years, instruments gradually started to appear in religious music. However, ill-suited to mimicking the human voice, the lute and guitar found themselves relegated to the secular domain.


Regardless of one's religious beliefs, the human voice, with its unequaled ability to communicate words, music, and emotion, remains the undisputed champion of the music world. Most "stars" in all genres of music are singers, and it's only natural that, as humans, we find singers the easiest of all musicians with whom to connect.


Renaissance and folk music were written to be sung by ordinary people. Though none of the Huggetts were blessed with an extraordinary voice, the group was able to perform in both genres with notable success. Their performances of madrigals and secular Christmas songs, often performed a cappella, drew praise from audiences and critics alike.


Jennifer, Ian, and Fiona had soprano voices. Margaret sang alto, Andrew tenor and Leslie bass.

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Treble Viol by Robert Bailey of Norwich, England. 1977. Attractive purfling. SL 34.5cm.
Tenor Viol by Robert Bailey of Norwich, England. 1977. Attractive purfling. SL 51 cm.
7-string Bass Viol by John Pringle of London, England, and North Carolina. 1976. Carved scroll, purfling, and decorative rose. SL 70.5 cm.
Baroque Violin by John Pringle after Nicola Amati, 1649. Made in 1979. Lion's head scroll.
Baroque cello by Bryan Maynard of Berwick, Scotland. First prize winner at Newark School for violin makers. Made in 1976 to partner copies of baroque violins and viola after Amati. This cello coveted by Anthony Pleeth, faculty, Guildhall Sch. Music. ( Son of William Pleeth)
Modern violin by Rex England of Towcester, Eng. 1981. Maker of violins and violas for LSO.
Modern violin by John Pringle. 1976. A highly esteemed maker of modern and baroque strings.
Viola (modern) by Thomas Watkins of Swansea. 1876.
Viola (modern). No label but judged by Heinl's to be Bohemian c. 1800.
12 course Baroque Lute by Philip MacLeod-Coupe of Rattlesden England. 1977. Very light and responsive, in superior Paxman case..
Discant Rebec by Michael Sprake. 1974. SL 27.5. (No case)
Treble Rebec by Barry Mason. 1976. SL 44.5. (No case)
Vielle by John Pringle after Hans Memling painting c. 1480. With handcrafted case. Made 1977

Baroque and renaissance winds — All at A 440 except the Flutes after Bressan

Oboe da Caccia after Denner by Otto Steinkopf / Moeck. Plumwood with 2 keys. f—g".
Baroque Bassoon after Denner by Otto Steinkopf / Moeck. Maple with 6 keys. B flat — g".
Baroque Racket (Sausage Bassoon!) after Denner by Steinkopf / Moeck. Maple. B flat — d'.
Renaissance Alto Recorder by Moeck. Maple. Wide bore, full dark sound.
Renaissance Tenor Recorder by Moeck. Maple. Designed after originals with "fontanelle".
Great Bass Recorder in C by Moeck. Maple. With 5 keys and bocal - (mouth pipe).
Soprano Renaissance Recorder by Willy Hopf, Germany. Pearwood.
Alto Renaissance Recorder by Willy Hopf, Germany. Pearwood.
Alto Kortholt by Moeck. Pearwood. 2 keys. B flat — b flat.
Tenor Kortholt by Moeck. Pearwood. 3 keys. F-f°.
Alto Cornamuse by Gunter Korber, Germany. Pearwood. f - b flat.
Alto Rauschpfeiffe by Gunter Korber. Pearwood.
Cornetto by Christopher Monk UK. After original. Black ebony resin, silver mouthpiece. g —d'",
Alto Krummhorn by Gunter Korber, Germany. Pearwood. f-—b flat.
Tenor Krummhorn by Richard Wood, England. Pearwood. Resin-lined bore. c—f "°.
4 matching Krummhorns by Moeck. Maple. S A T and B. Used on Huggett Family recordings.
2 matching Baroque Flutes by Brian Ackermann of London. After Bressan in V and A museum.
Grenadilla with 5 silver rings at joints and 1 silver key. A 409 with extra joint for A 415.
( These instruments were selected by Stephen Preston.)


David Newton, Potters Music, Croyden, UK: 'm™ 9 7b
Three Bass viol bows, Pernambuco, octagonal and fluted. Ivory frog and button. Weighing 70, 70 and 80g respectively.
Also similar bass viol or possibly baroque cello. 90g.
2 modern cello bows. Pernambuco. Both with ivory frog inlaid with mother-of-pearl, a gold ferrule, silver lapping and ivory button.
#1 has octagonal stick. The frog is 22 cm deep. 80 g.
#2 has a rounded stick. The frog is 24 cm deep. 85 g.
Philip Davis, Toronto, Canada.
Baroque violin bow. Snakewood, snakewood frog and ivory button. 49 g.
Transitional early classical violin bow. Pernambuco, with ivory frog and button. 48 g.
Treble viol bow. (English model). Octagonal and fluted. Snakewood, with snakewood frog and ivory button. 50 g.
Light tenor viol bow. (English model). Octagonal and fluted. Snakewood, with snakewood frog and ivory button. 57 g.
E and J Waterhouse, Oxford, UK (Bow makers to Marie Leonhardt) 97%
Bass viol bow. Octagonal and fluted. Snakewood with snakewood frog and ivory button. 90 g.
Bass viol bow, (or violone?) Octagonal and fluted. Snakewood, with ivory frog and button. 100 g.
E and J Waterhouse, Oxford, UK (Bow makers to Marie Leonhardt) Treble viol bow used by Margaret. Snakewood, fluted and octagonal, ivory button and frog of rounded shape. 65 g.
Tenor viol bow used by Margaret Snakewood, fluted and octagonal, ivory frog and button. 60 g.
Baroque viola bow - or tenor viol Snakewood, fluted and octagonal, ivory frog and button. 70 g.
Bass viol bow. Snakewood. Fluted and octagonal, snakewood frog and ivory button. 90 g.
Gerhard Landwehr. Came with Lu Mi viol Tenor or treble viol bow. "Bow and arrow design"'. Chosen by Alison Crum, professional quality.
Unnamed light bow for treble or tenor Pernambuco, fluted and octagonal, ivory frog and button. Used on Flora's tenor but seemed too light? 65 g.

Viols - all include hard cases

Treble Viol by Robert Bailey of Norwich, Eng. 1977. Attractive purfling, SL34 5 cm.
Tenor Viol after John Rose in the V and A. by John Pringle. 1977, SL 53 cm.
Tenor Viol by Robert Bailey of Norwich, Eng. 1977. Attractive Purfling, SL 51cm.
Tenor Viol by Rbt. Bailey. Pegheds, slight blemish to C hole. Set up by Zuchowicz
Consort Bass by John Pringle, after John Rose, c. 1580, in Victoria and Albert. Arresting carved Head. Made in 1977. SL 71cm reduced from original 74 cm.
Consort Bass Viol, Robert Bailey of Norwich, Eng. 1976. Repaired crack near tailpiece.
7 string Bass Viol, Darryl Williams of Schomberg, On. Big instrument. Beautiful sound.
7 string Bass viol, by John Pringle, after Henry Jaye Division Bass, 1624. Carved scroll, purfling and decorative rose. Made in 1976. SL 71

Baroque Strings - with hard cases

Baroque Violin after Nicola Amati in Ashmolean Museum dated 1649. by John Pringle Lion's Head Scroll, one piece back, golden varnish.
Baroque Cello by Bryan Maynard of Berwick, Scotland. (First prize winner at Newark School of violin making.) Made in 1976 to partner 2 baroque violins and a viola after Amati, which were sold to Oakland Un., Rochester, NY. This cello coveted by Anthony Pleeth - faculty, Guildhall School of Music, London, Eng. (Son of William Pleeth.)
Vielle by John Pringle after Hans Memling painting c. 1480. With handcrafted case.
Discant Rebec by Michael Sprake. 1974. SL 27.5 cm. (No case)
Treble Rebec with bow by Barry Mason. 1976. SL 44.5 cm. (No case)


8 course Renaissance Lute by Philip MacLeod-coupe of Rattlesden, England. 1973.
13 course Baroque Lute by Philip MacLeod-coupe of Rattlesden, England. 1977.
Citern by Philip MacLeod-coupe of Rattlesden, England. 1978.

Renaaissance Keyboards

Wittmayer Spinet, Germany. Bought from Morley Galleries, London.
Michael Thomas kit prototype of single manual harpsichord, London, Harpsichord Centre, London.
Italian Virginal by John Bright, Inersoll, Ontario.

Recorders - All 440 except Roessler alt

Alto at 415 in rosewood by Roessler after J. W. Oberlander 1681-1763. Nuremberg Museum. Rennaissance fingering - single holes at bottom. Baroque sound.
Soprano Renaissance Recorder by Wily Hopf in pearwood. Made in Germany.
Alto Renaissance Recorder by Wily Hopf in pearwood.
Alto Renaissance Recorder by Moeck in maple. Wide bore, full dark sound. Germany.
Tenor Renaissance Recorder by Moeck in maple. After original with "fontanelle".
Great Bass Recorder in C by Moeck in maple. 5 keys and bocal.

Low Pitch Flutes

2 matching Baroque Flutes by Brian Ackermann of London, UK. Made in 1980.Copies of Bressan Flute in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. African Blackwood with 5 hallmarked silver rings at joints and silver key.A 409, with extra joint for A 415. (These instruments selected by Stephen Preston, Guildhall School of Music.)

Double reeds - All A 440

Oboe da Caccia (Alto Oboe) after Denner by Steinkopf/ Moeck. Used 1690 onwards. Plumwood, with 2 keys. f—g" 
Baroque Bassoon after Denner by Otto Steinkopf / Moeck. Used 1665 onwards. Maple, with 6 keys. Bflat -g 
Baroque Racket (Sausage Bassoon!) after Denner by Steinkopf / Moeck. Maple. Bflat-d'

Capped reeds  - all 440

4 matching Crumhorns, SATB, by Moeck. Maple - used on Huggett Family recordings.
Alto Crumhorn by Gunter Korber, Germany. Pearwood. f-—b flat.
Tenor Crumhorn by Richard Wood, England. Pearwood. Resin-lined bore. C —f
Alto Rauschpfeiffe by Gunter Korber, Germany. Pearwood. An outdoor instrument.
Alto Cornamuse by Gunter Korber, Germany. Pearwood. F — b flat.
Alto Kortholt by Moeck, Germany. Pearwood. 2 keys. Bflat —b flat.
Tenor Kortholt by Moeck, Germany. Pearwood. 3 keys. F-f
Cornetto by Christopher Monk, England . Black ebony resin, silver mouthpiece. G-d™