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'faking' music for an F recorder

GUEST,leeneia 26 Mar 12 - 04:01 PM
Leadfingers 26 Mar 12 - 04:17 PM
Jack Campin 26 Mar 12 - 04:30 PM
TheSnail 26 Mar 12 - 04:49 PM
Jack Campin 26 Mar 12 - 05:19 PM
GUEST,leeneia 26 Mar 12 - 05:49 PM
Phil Edwards 26 Mar 12 - 06:08 PM
Jack Campin 26 Mar 12 - 06:14 PM
GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler 26 Mar 12 - 06:46 PM
GUEST,Grishka 26 Mar 12 - 06:47 PM
Tootler 26 Mar 12 - 06:48 PM
Jack Campin 26 Mar 12 - 07:00 PM
Tootler 26 Mar 12 - 07:02 PM
Jack Campin 26 Mar 12 - 07:16 PM
Tootler 26 Mar 12 - 08:00 PM
Ole Juul 27 Mar 12 - 02:29 AM
GUEST,Tootler on mobile 27 Mar 12 - 03:58 AM
SteveMansfield 27 Mar 12 - 05:29 AM
TheSnail 27 Mar 12 - 07:35 AM
doc.tom 27 Mar 12 - 08:45 AM
John P 27 Mar 12 - 09:40 AM
Jack Campin 27 Mar 12 - 10:10 AM
Richard Bridge 27 Mar 12 - 10:35 AM
Jack Campin 27 Mar 12 - 10:48 AM
GUEST,leeneia 27 Mar 12 - 11:10 AM
Richard Bridge 27 Mar 12 - 02:19 PM
Jack Campin 27 Mar 12 - 02:54 PM
Artful Codger 27 Mar 12 - 03:14 PM
GUEST,leeneia 27 Mar 12 - 03:34 PM
Jack Campin 27 Mar 12 - 05:13 PM
Tootler 27 Mar 12 - 05:28 PM
Tootler 27 Mar 12 - 05:39 PM
Ole Juul 27 Mar 12 - 09:06 PM
GUEST,leeneia 27 Mar 12 - 09:18 PM
Jack Campin 28 Mar 12 - 06:32 AM
Mo the caller 28 Mar 12 - 08:50 AM
Jack Campin 28 Mar 12 - 09:29 AM
IvanB 28 Mar 12 - 05:45 PM
GUEST,leeneia 28 Mar 12 - 07:00 PM
Tootler 28 Mar 12 - 07:26 PM
JohnB 29 Mar 12 - 12:37 AM
SteveMansfield 29 Mar 12 - 03:44 AM
Geoff the Duck 29 Mar 12 - 07:13 AM
Geoff the Duck 29 Mar 12 - 07:15 AM
Phil Edwards 29 Mar 12 - 07:37 AM
Jack Campin 29 Mar 12 - 07:42 AM
IvanB 29 Mar 12 - 09:09 PM
Howard Jones 30 Mar 12 - 04:52 AM
Jack Campin 30 Mar 12 - 05:25 AM
SteveMansfield 30 Mar 12 - 05:43 AM
Jack Campin 30 Mar 12 - 07:21 AM
Geoff the Duck 30 Mar 12 - 08:30 AM
GUEST,leeneia 30 Mar 12 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,leeneia 30 Mar 12 - 09:05 AM
s&r 30 Mar 12 - 09:29 AM
GUEST,IanA 30 Mar 12 - 02:53 PM
Tootler 30 Mar 12 - 06:24 PM
Artful Codger 30 Mar 12 - 10:43 PM
IvanB 30 Mar 12 - 11:59 PM
GUEST,leeneia 31 Mar 12 - 12:02 PM
IvanB 31 Mar 12 - 01:05 PM
Ole Juul 01 Apr 12 - 04:15 AM
Tootler 01 Apr 12 - 05:22 PM
Jack Campin 01 Apr 12 - 06:34 PM
GUEST,leeneia 01 Apr 12 - 09:17 PM
IvanB 01 Apr 12 - 10:37 PM
GUEST,oggie 02 Apr 12 - 04:55 AM
Phil Edwards 02 Apr 12 - 07:36 AM
Jack Campin 02 Apr 12 - 07:37 AM
Jack Campin 02 Apr 12 - 07:50 AM
Jack Campin 02 Apr 12 - 07:53 AM
Phil Edwards 02 Apr 12 - 08:12 AM
Jack Campin 02 Apr 12 - 08:45 AM
Tootler 02 Apr 12 - 04:01 PM
Jack Campin 02 Apr 12 - 04:28 PM
IanA 02 Apr 12 - 05:31 PM
Jack Campin 02 Apr 12 - 05:51 PM
IanA 03 Apr 12 - 09:13 AM
GUEST,leeneia 25 Jun 12 - 11:30 AM
GUEST,leeneia 25 Jun 12 - 03:20 PM
Jack Campin 25 Jun 12 - 06:48 PM
Tootler 25 Jun 12 - 07:09 PM
Tootler 25 Jun 12 - 07:14 PM
GUEST,leeneia 26 Jun 12 - 09:49 AM
Jack Campin 27 Jun 12 - 05:18 AM
GUEST,leeneia 27 Jun 12 - 10:04 AM
GUEST 27 Jun 12 - 12:20 PM
IvanB 27 Jun 12 - 02:54 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 27 Jun 12 - 03:21 PM
Tootler 28 Jun 12 - 06:56 AM
Tootler 28 Jun 12 - 07:00 AM
Jack Campin 28 Jun 12 - 07:32 AM
GUEST 28 Jun 12 - 07:35 AM
GUEST,leeneia 28 Jun 12 - 11:10 AM
GUEST,crazy little woman 29 Jun 12 - 10:11 AM
Jack Campin 29 Jun 12 - 10:32 AM
Tootler 29 Jun 12 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,leeneia 23 Jul 12 - 10:39 PM
Manitas_at_home 24 Jul 12 - 03:59 AM
Richard Bridge 24 Jul 12 - 04:14 AM
Jack Campin 24 Jul 12 - 04:43 AM
GUEST,leeneia 24 Jul 12 - 08:40 AM
Jack Campin 24 Jul 12 - 09:02 AM
Tootler 24 Jul 12 - 10:26 AM
Tootler 24 Jul 12 - 11:27 AM
Jack Campin 24 Jul 12 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,Bart Brush 02 Jan 14 - 09:52 PM
Jack Campin 03 Jan 14 - 03:19 AM
GUEST,Grishka 03 Jan 14 - 06:57 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 03 Jan 14 - 08:25 AM
GUEST,ripov 03 Jan 14 - 06:56 PM
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Subject: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 04:01 PM

I'm asking for help from our trained musicians here.

I have a friend who has only played C recorders (soprano and tenor.) He would like to try a bass recorder, but a bass recorder is an F instrument. I have Noteworthy Composer, which should be able to produce 'fake' music for him, but I'm not sure how to do it.

We do music in C, D, F, G A and B-flat, mostly. I would like a rule which I can apply so that a musical line in one of those keys can easily be faked so that Michael can play C fingering on an F instrument.

It would help if it rhymed - you know, the kind of rule I can apply when they are all going to be in ten minutes, and meanwhile the tea kettle is starting to shriek.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Leadfingers
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 04:17 PM

Recorders are CHROMATIC !! You can play in ANY key on a recorder !

If I can 'fake' C , F , G , D and their relevant minors on a C whistle
it should be DEAD easy on a recorder


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 04:30 PM

The point isn't that recorders are chromatic, it's that unlike clarinets and saxophones, music for them is never written in transposed form. You just get used to using different fingerings for the same pitch.

And I mean NEVER. It's a very bad idea to use transposed music at all.

Music for F bass recorder is usually written on the bass clef an octave higher than it sounds.

There is another convention sometimes used for the F alto recorder of writing the music an octave lower than it sounds ("alto-up"). This never really took off outside Germany, but it's worth learning to read that way, since that's the notated range of a lot of fiddle music that sits on the bottom three strings, and if you can read at that pitch you can play a lot of fiddle music inaccessible to the soprano recorder. And using a bass recorder, if you read that way you'll be playing at sounding pitch.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: TheSnail
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 04:49 PM

Get the piece in the key you want it played in in a Noteworthy file. Click on "Tools" in the menu bar then "Transpose Staff..." in the drop down menu. Select either 7 or -5 as the number of semitones to transpose, whichever brings it into the soprano range. Leave "Update staff play back transposition" checked and it will play back in the original key but will look like the fingering for a soprano/tenor.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 05:19 PM

Please God, DON'T.

If you even start getting people to treat the alto recorder as a transposing instrument you will set them up for years of confusion.

Recorders DO NOT TRANSPOSE. Never have done. Take a part in a recorder group and you will never be offered transposed alto recorder music. Whether for mediaeval, baroque or contemporary music, you can't buy transposed alto recorder scores. Everything is published at pitch.

It takes most people about two weeks to learn to sightread using F alto fingerings if they're accustomed to doing it on the C descant. Just put the C recorder away and only play the F while you're making the transition. Another couple of weeks and you'll be able to switch between them fluently.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 05:49 PM

Clarinets, French horns, trumpets, have special music to make their lives easier. Why not my group? Especially when it's so easy to print the music, given today's technology.

I don't think what we are doing is transposing. Transposing is something else. For example, when we look at music and transpose it, we have to be aware of what we are doing every minute. With my scheme, Michael can forget he even has an F instrument in his hands.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 06:08 PM

Why not my group?

No reason, except that that's not how the rest of the world does it.

I learned to play the recorder at school, like everyone else; I now play D, G and C whistles. The fingering's exactly the same for all three, only different. Your fingers pick it up in no time.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 06:14 PM

You can't expect to "forget you have an F instrument in your hands" and also expect to ever play any of the music published for it. The range you will see on the page runs from F to the G two octaves and a tone above.

Using transposed music makes it FAR more difficult to learn the untransposed stuff, which is a great deal more useful. The whole point of having both C and F recorders is so you can play music that lies in ranges specific to each - it expands your possibilities enormously. Which is why almost all recorder players use both.

There is much more Baroque music for the F alto recorder than the C descant or tenor - it's the core of the instrument's repertoire. There are tens of thousands of pieces for it, and would be sheer pointless drudgery to enter it all into a computer for resetting (which would also lose any nonstandard details in the score like unusual ornaments, which recorder music has lots of). Figures are more equal for Renaissance and earlier music. But every recorder player needs to handle both, and it isn't hard to learn. The total time involved would be about the same as it would take to enter and proofread one Handel sonata into the computer.

How you go about it: learn a few "anchor notes" first, i.e. C, G and F in each octave. Other notes will be a bit higher or lower than those: so you interpolate. Think, that's a D, so I take one finger off the fingering for C and that'll get me a tone up. And so on. (I have done this process many times over for many different woodwind instruments - once you've cracked it for C and F recorders, reading at pitch with a G recorder or B flat clarinet comes very quickly).


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an Fa player recorder
From: GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 06:46 PM

There is really no logical reason why the would-be "new" bass player cannot be given dots to make his/her life easier. S(he does not have to accept them or even use them if (s)he does not wish to so do. We are discussing grownups here, I hope.
The Recorder Police really have no authority on how a player plays, either legally or morally. No doubt, they would like some of my friends who play "killer" treble at sessions to play like the Dolmetches in every place they go.
So leeneia old pal - go for it kiddo!


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 06:47 PM

TheSnail got it right, except that instead of "whichever brings it into the soprano range" I would say "whichever brings it into the range of comfortable fingering". Applying +7 semitones preserves the sounding octave, -5 will lower the sound by one octave. (Remember that the bass recorder it is actually an alto instrument, "four-footed".) Hopefully, the NC will add a flat to the key signature; if not, do it yourself.

If the player plans to play the bass recorder regularly and with dedicated music, together with other "four-footed" recorder players, he may want to learn the suitable notation, as Jack rightly points out. (Four-footed: where soprano, tenor, and bass sound an octave higher than notated.) Playing from traditional notation is considered a cultural act in itself, which gives us better access to the ideas of early music.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Tootler
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 06:48 PM

Jack is absolutely right. DO NOT TRANSPOSE Music for C recorders so that F recorders can read as if they were transposing instruments. The recorder is never written as a transposing instrument and if he wants to learn an F instrument he must learn to read it at pitch. True it lets you get started quickly but your friend will pay the price for it in the long run. All recorder players need to learn to read and play both C and F instruments at pitch. It's not that difficult it just takes a bit of adjusting - and, of course, practice. The fingerings are actually the same, it's just that they produce different notes and you have to learn that.

If he wants to play Bass recorder, then he must, repeat, must learn to read in bass clef because bass recorder music is always written in bass clef.

When I started playing bass recorder, I got a selection of tunes that I knew well and transposed them to the bass clef, so I could read them at pitch but using the bass clef and then I worked through them. Because I knew the tunes well, it meant I could concentrate on reading in the bass clef and learning the fingerings. It took about a week to adapt. I find it easier to transfer between soprano or tenor and bass than I do to between soprano or tenor and alto.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 07:00 PM

It's not just useful for music specifically written for the recorder - I mainly use that skill to read Scottish fiddle tunes that don't fit a C recorder. It also lets you play song tunes written for alto voice, since these usually drop below C (read them using "alto-up").

You have to take folk tunes as they come - it's not like jazz, where just about anything you might want to play off paper has been packaged by the Hal Leonard Corporation for C, B flat and E flat instruments. Get a folk songbook or a traditional dance music collection and the pitch you see is the pitch you get. (With one exception: there aare ethnomusicological collections where everything has been transposed to a common tonal centre, usually G or C, with an editorial note saying what the original key was. You need to be really into this stuff before you'll encounter one of those).


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Tootler
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 07:02 PM

There is another convention sometimes used for the F alto recorder of writing the music an octave lower than it sounds ("alto-up"). This never really took off outside Germany

Actually, Jack, that's not entirely true. Written music containing alto up parts is quite common. It's mostly renaissance music and it most commonly occurs when there are two treble parts.

Having said what I did earlier I think most recorder players have treated alto recorders as transposing instruments from time to time, but if you are going to play music for recorders you really don't do yourself any favours by starting off by treating the F recorder as a transposing instrument in spite of what Ebor Fiddler and Grishka are saying. I know one or two people who did that and they regretted it later as it took a lot longer to "convert" than it would have done if they had started off as most people do by learning to associate the fingerings with an alternative set of pitches.

Of course, if you intend to play purely by ear, it doesn't matter a damn.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 07:16 PM

Of course, if you intend to play purely by ear, it doesn't matter a damn.

does help to know how get an A though...


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Tootler
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 08:00 PM

Unless you're tuning to a C or G, that is :-)


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Ole Juul
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 02:29 AM

I know they're expensive, but you could get a base in C. All the major makers have a variety of them.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,Tootler on mobile
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 03:58 AM

A C bass is about twice the price of an F bass. Also you can get a good plastic F bass for about quarter to a third the price of a wood one.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 05:29 AM

Bit late to the party on this one, but I wholeheartedly agree with Jack and Tootler.

It's not about 'The Recorder Police' or any such straw man - it's because that's the way it's been done for literally hundreds of years, and by failing to take the plunge the OP's friend is only storing up a problem for the future for the reasons that other people have already explained.

It'll only take a few weeks to get used to reading F parts, and then it's a skill that is learned for life.

I play every size from garklein to bass and find switching between the F and C notations very straightforward, and furthermore find that the experience / concept is very useful in other musical ways as well (particularly, in my case, writing saxophone parts).


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: TheSnail
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 07:35 AM

It's not about 'The Recorder Police' or any such straw man

For the record, because I am a fairly familiar with Noteworthy Composer, I gave Leeneia the technical answer to the question she had asked. I may have been reacting a little to the first two impassioned but not very constructive posts. It got worse.

I think the advice given is probably right and that, in the long term, Leeneia's friend will benefit from learning to play from the notes as written rather than a transposed score. It's just a matter of presentation. "DO NOT TRANSPOSE." "And I mean NEVER." "he must, repeat, must learn to read in bass clef" "Please God, DON'T."

Calm down chaps. How about offering helpful suggestions and friendly advice rather than issuing edicts?


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: doc.tom
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 08:45 AM

And then, of course, if you don't come to understand what a transposing indstrument does then you're going to be really f****d if you move to any of several other wind instruments.

Please don't be proscriptive. I agree it may be advantageous to learn what has gone on for centuries - but why not ALSO learn what a transposing instrument means, or do you want to stop those centuries of usage?


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: John P
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 09:40 AM

The question wasn't "how to play an F instrument?" it was "how to produce a score that a person who doesn't read in F can play?" Perhaps, before we tell people how to play an instrument, we should find out what their level of interest is. Someone who gets together with a recorder group twice a month may well not have any interest in putting in the work needed to learn a new fingering. Someone who wants to really dig into learning an instrument will likely learn the instrument regardless. And even they might find it beneficial to learn the feel and sound of a bass without having to take on a big music-reading learning curve at the same time.

I used to produce transposed recorder scores for my ex-music partner, who knows very well how the recorders work and who plays about a dozen instruments professionally. It doesn't really scar you for life.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 10:10 AM

I think we all do know what "transposing instrument" means.

The problem is that learning to play at pitch using different fingering systems (as recorder players do) is a SKILL, not a piece of factual knowledge, and you need to go the right way about learning it - which doesn't involve using transposed music as training wheels, that's counterproductive.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 10:35 AM

I don't see the problem with a shortcut as requested. I'm sure that Snail's answer to the question put was appreciated.

My late wife played three different recorder pitches - but played them as a folk music instrument that is to say by ear and indeed her fingering was in some cases not as fingering charts would have had it.

The recorder may very well be a chromatic instrument, but the accidentals don't fall to hand in the same way in different keys.

The heavy handed horror does come across rather like "REAL guitarists don't use capos".


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 10:48 AM

The person this thread started with was trying to read sheet music, not play by ear. So you aren't doing them any favours by making it much harder in the long term to read the music that's available for the instrument, and making it more difficult to play with other people.

The recorder may very well be a chromatic instrument, but the accidentals don't fall to hand in the same way in different keys.

I don't understand what you're getting at here - you play in G on a C recorder using the same fingerings you use when playing in C on an F recorder, and so on.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 11:10 AM

John P and Richard, you have hit it on the head.

1. We play music to have fun, not to become virtuosos. We play light-hearted early stuff, such as dances. There are chords to follow, percussion, and eventually a lot of improvising.

2. Michael has challenges and goals (teaching English to immigrants, for example) which are more important to him than mastering a new fingering.

3. That two-week learning figure is probably for somebody 14, not somebody who has been using C fingerings for 50 years. Me, I've been playing F and C fingerings for 40 years, and I still mix them up, to the amusement of my friends.

4. I'm already editing almost all the music we do. For one thing, much old music is in F, and the first thing I do is change it to G so I can play guitar with it. Sacrilege, eh? Another goal is to make it fit on one sheet of paper so I can make a transparency and project it. Amidst all this, producing a special line for the bass recorder is no big deal.

(Ah, how nice it is that after years of playing, we have three fat notebooks of transparencies. After we've played a piece, I say, "Somebody go over to the books and pick out the next one." What a load off my mind it is to know that I'm not always responsible for keeping everybody happy.)

I bought a bass recorder and decided that my hands were simply too small for it. I'm glad the TheSnail's instructions will let it come out of its box.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 02:19 PM

Accidentals.

Take an ordinary recorder. Play a tune on it in C. The twiddly decorations, the things that a folk musician who is not rigidly following dots do come from wiggling the fingers in a certain way. Ideally you want your twiddles to come from putting down or lifting up one finger at a time only.   Like the little bit everyone does on a D chord on the guitar, the top F sharp goes up to G, back down to F#, then to E than back to F#. Now do the same thing in A - still easy. Now E - not so easy because you have to get the little finger over to get the F# on the D string.

Now play your tune on the C recorder in (let's be brutal) F# or B major. All those little easy twiddles have become hard.

Same for a fiddle player - all the bits where they could double-stop with ease vanish when the key changes.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 02:54 PM

The guy will be playing the same notes using the same finger movements whether he's using transposed notation or not. So the difference in technique between different keys doesn't come into it. You can't make the music easier to play by writing it differently.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Artful Codger
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 03:14 PM

Transposing the music from F to G: why not just tune down your guitar a step, so the music can be played in the key it was written?


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 03:34 PM

strings get floppy and guitar loses resonance

harps like to lever up, not down

too much work

going from F to G raises the probable lowest note from C to D, and the flutes like that

autoharp (gasp!) has chords in the G family, not the F


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 05:13 PM

G is an easier key to play in on an F recorder than F is - particularly on a bass, where the bottom F is likely to be pretty weak and dependent on the key mechanism to reach at all. If a tune has its tonal centre at the bottom of its range (authentic rather than plagal mode) you'll probably want it in G or C, not F.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Tootler
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 05:28 PM

OK, so you transpose a tune from F to G because it is more convenient to play in G. That's a different matter than playing a recorder as a transposing instrument. I quite often do that with Playford tunes so they can be played on common folk instruments such as whistles and diatonic squeezeboxes. Not a problem.

You can then take the tune in G, transpose it down a fifth (seven semitones) (Tools>Transpose Staff in Noteworthy) so that you have it written out in C so your friend can play his F recorder as if it were a C instrument.

Fine. It will work and as a quick fix because, for example, you need him to play with you this coming Sunday on a instrument he is not familiar with but is similar to one he already knows it is useful.

However in the long term, should he meet music specifically written for Bass recorder in bass clef, he will have problems, so it is in his longer term interests to learn to play from music written for the bass recorder in bass clef. As I said earlier it does not take that long. I think I was the one who suggested two weeks and that was not for a 14 year old. I was in my late 40s when I took up bass recorder that's a long way from 14. If you know the fingerings for any recorder, then it's a matter of making different associations rather than learning new fingerings. I admit the two weeks was to get over the initial "hump" and you do make mistakes after that. I still do some 20 years later, especially when changing instruments for different pieces.

Learning all the different ways of reading music for the recorder gives you a lot of flexibility. I am currently playing the bottom line of an arrangement of a slow air which was originally written for four fiddles (the arrangement, that is). It means treating my bass as if it were a treble recorder reading up an octave. No problem if you learnt the F recorder relationships on written music. It's like a lot of things: Learn the rules properly then you will know when you can break them.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Tootler
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 05:39 PM

Accidentals.

Take an ordinary recorder. Play a tune on it in C. The twiddly decorations, the things that a folk musician who is not rigidly following dots do come from wiggling the fingers in a certain way. Ideally you want your twiddles to come from putting down or lifting up one finger at a time only.   Like the little bit everyone does on a D chord on the guitar, the top F sharp goes up to G, back down to F#, then to E than back to F#. Now do the same thing in A - still easy. Now E - not so easy because you have to get the little finger over to get the F# on the D string.

Now play your tune on the C recorder in (let's be brutal) F# or B major. All those little easy twiddles have become hard.

Same for a fiddle player - all the bits where they could double-stop with ease vanish when the key changes.


That's something of a red herring, Richard, in the context of the present thread which is about playing from written music.

However, there are some points that are worth addressing:

First; just because you are playing from dots doesn't mean you don't add twiddly bits. I certainly do whether I am playing from dots or not, but usually once I have the tune properly learnt.

Second; different instruments need different approaches to decoration so what you would do on a recorder is different from what you do on a fiddle. I have a wooden flute whose fingering is the same as on a whistle. Some decorations, or decorations in some places, I can do on both, but there are some things I can do on the flute I can't do on the recorder and some things I can do on the recorder I can't do on the flute, so it's horses for courses.

If playing a tune in a different key affects the way you decorate it, then so be it. You have to adapt. So what? It means you need to be thoroughly familiar with your instrument.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Ole Juul
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 09:06 PM

If playing a tune in a different key affects the way you decorate it, then so be it. You have to adapt. So what? It means you need to be thoroughly familiar with your instrument.

Exactly. A lot of instrumental music, particularly folk or traditional, is about what feels right to the player. There is a synergy between the player and the instrument. This music is not conceived as an abstract concept on paper such as some forms of art music. In most cases you don't "write" music. The dots are only a rough plan cf. Bach or jazz lead sheets.

It seems to me that an important aspect of this particular discussion is application. What a player should do has a lot to do with the purpose at hand. In this case I don't get the impression that the player's purpose is to progress into being a very skilled instrumentalist, but rather to enjoy music given the time and effort available. In such a case, I'd say do whatever you want to do.

Much of the advice here is quite correct assuming that the player plans to spend considerable time and has aspirations to a much higher level of playing. In such a case it is indeed best to be careful of how one proceeds and the advice give here is what is needed. Of course the recorder is completely chromatic and has immense potential but not everyone aspires to embrace that. Some people just want to play music now. Good on them, I say.

An amateur player is generally used to a relatively narrow range of fingerings, whether formally or intuitively learned. Typically this will be keys like C or F. That does indeed not mean that those keys are considerably easier, just that they are the ones that are first comfortable. One can just as well practice D flat all day and soon become comfortable there. As a serious player, I've done that, but I don't think there would be any payoff for most people. They just want to experience the fun of playing. Again - good on them.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 09:18 PM

Today I saw something which embodies my attitude toward playing music.

It is the magazine of the National Federation of Music Clubs, and on the glossy cover it invites me to attend the Fall Meeting in June, 2012.

The Fall meeting in June? They don't explain why. Did they forget to have the fall meeting last autumn? Or are they having it early, perhaps because they are taking a bus tour in Europe or are taking a granddaughter to college? They don't say. Whatever the reason, I applaud the laid-back attitude. Music is supposed to be a pleasure, not a chore.

I belong to the Kansas City chapter, and the chapter is more than 100 years old. I guess after your first hundred years you can let down your hair.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 06:32 AM

Much of the advice here is quite correct assuming that the player plans to spend considerable time and has aspirations to a much higher level of playing.

Learning how to read an ordinary alto-range song that goes down to A isn't a virtuoso achievement, is it?


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Mo the caller
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 08:50 AM

It does annoy me when people on here tell me what is or is not a hard.

And using a treble recorder as a transposing instrument can be an easy way of joining in when the chap with the Hurdy Gurdy plays Horses Brawl in C and my fingers know it in G.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 09:29 AM

Here is the sort of thing you can do if you know how to read treble recorder notation at pitch. Look at this one:

Fly Me To The Moon

That is in fact, sort of, playable on a C recorder. But it sits very low in the range and can't be very effective on it; there is also one rather icky fingering movement, the chromatic run up from low C. Play it on an F recorder and it sits right in the most effective part of the instrument's range - it will sound very much better and it's easier to play.

There is an even larger difference in playability with this one:

Softly as in a Morning Sunrise

Apart from the issue of acoustically effective range, you have to get round those low E flats. On a C recorder they're half-holed, which makes them hard to play accurately at the speed required (even though this isn't a particularly fast tune). On an F alto those passages fall under the fingers a lot better.

A rather small effort in learning to negotiate the notation means you can save yourself a lot of struggle later on with the actual playing, and you can just pick up a larger variety of scores and just play them. (Everything I've looked at on that French jazz tunes site works fine on an alto F recorder, even though the compilers can't have had it in mind).


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: IvanB
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 05:45 PM

But, Jack, if those songs were transposed so the F recorder player could play them as if they were C fingerings, but they would play at treble pitch, the fingerings wouldn't change, just the dots on the page. Actually, there was a movement back in the 1950's or 60's to make one of the sets of recorder a transposing instrument so all recorder players could move easily from one range of instrument to another without those pesky fingering issues. I'm glad it went nowhere but, OTOH, if leeneia wants to do the work to help out a friend, I see no harm in it. I suspect as time goes on, he'll learn to play the F fingerings just as most recorder players do. I always liked the idea that recorders weren't transposing, because it gave me a much greater body of music from which to choose.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 07:00 PM

Speaking merely as the kind of person who holds the fall meeting in June, I would like to say that instruments do not transpose, people transpose. Transposing is done by the brain, which sends instructions to the fingers.

If a person puts three fingers and the thumb on a C recorder, a G comes out, no matter which way the wind is blowing, whether you are driving on the right side of the road or the left, and whether it's Daylight Savings time or not.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Tootler
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 07:26 PM

IvanB, I think you miss Jack's point.

What you say is correct but that's not the point that was being made. The point is; because recorders are not treated as transposing instruments you can look at the dots for those tunes and easily decide that they are better played on the alto than the tenor (or soprano) recorder because they sit more comfortably in the range of the alto. If the F recorder were treated as a transposing instrument, most people would need to transpose the written music before they could make that judgement. My experience of seeing clarinettists struggling with written music for traditional dance tunes and having to "transpose" on the fly because you don't normally get Bb parts for such tunes so they have to cope with the music at pitch tends to bear that out.

leeneia, I have seen the argument in your most recent post used in another context and I am always suspicious of it.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: JohnB
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 12:37 AM

Correct me if I am wrong :) Every time I have tried to transpose something like this to make it "easier" I seem to end up with the part written on so many ledger lines that I can't read it quickly anyhow.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 03:44 AM

And if a person puts three fingers and the thumb on a F recorder, a C comes out, no matter which way the wind is blowing, whether you are driving on the right side of the road or the left, and whether it's Daylight Savings time or not.

Which is why it's written as a C.

But I suspect we're just not going to agree on this one ...


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 07:13 AM

Steve - That just about sums it up. Two camps with a different fundamental views.

I can appreciate Jack Campin's argument that music is written for Bass Clarinet "using bass clef but written an octave higher than it sounds", and that is what the recorder world play, so if you want to be part of the recorder world, you should take the time and effort to learn to do it that way.

I can also appreciate that someone may not have time to completely re-learn fingerings, let alone reading music in a new clef, when all that is needed is a way of producing the same note as the rest of the band.

My personal view is that ANY written music is simply a shorthand which allows you to play the same as another player. Lute players used Tablature which told them where to position fingers on strings - much more sensible than linear dots for a multi-stringed instrument. I know some people here on Mudcat can speed read from ABC notation. It doesn't matter what notation system you use as long as you can produce the correct notes.

I learned to read music in brass bands, where an E flat horn happily plays along with a B flat cornet. The written music is pre-transposed, so each instrument plays from sheet music with a different number of sharps or flats. The note that is actually played by either instrument is not the note that would come out if played on a piano, but it doesn't matter, as the band is a self-contained entity.
The recorder world do not do it that way, but it works! The intervals between a C and an F recorder are the same distance apart as a B flat and E flat brass band instrument, so music written for brass would work on recorders if the players used C recorder fingering.

I agree with Jack, (although using my own description) that learning to play an instrument "by the book" allows you to play what is "in the book", and as such can open out your options.
I also understand that, for a limited "fun" repertoire, a quick fix that allows you to get the correct "sound" from the instrument may be all you actually require, but means that you cannot play music which hasn't been deliberately arranged for you, and as such can limit your options.

At the end of the day, there are many ways to skin a cat - Actually I've never skinned one, so there may only be one...

Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 07:15 AM

Sorry - "music is written for Bass Clarinet "using bass clef but written an octave higher than it sounds", " should have read Bass Recorder.
Quack!
Geoff.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 07:37 AM

At the end of the day, there are many ways to skin a cat - Actually I've never skinned one, so there may only be one...

Right, that's it. The Campaign for Mudcat Usenet Sigging begins here.

Phil
--
"There are many ways to skin a cat. Actually I've never skinned one,
so there may only be one." - Geoff the Duck


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 07:42 AM

I had it backwards anyway - bass recorder music is written an octave lower than it sounds.

Once you've learned how to read for both C and F instruments, you can combine that with the "pretend you've got a different one" trick to auto-transpose. I actually checked those French jazz pieces on a descant, since I had one within arm's reach. Using F alto fingerings, "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise" came out in G minor instead of C minor. If you pretend the other way, you transpose a fifth down instead of a fifth up.

Since I also play G recorders (and read at pitch for them - something any bagpipe player would pick up immediately) I have a lot of auto-transpositions like that available. It's more complicated to describe it than it is to do it.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: IvanB
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 09:09 PM

Tootler, if music for F recorder was transposed to make it read with C fingerings, what problem would that create with deciding which range of recorder was best for the music? The fingerings wouldn't change one iota, only the sound that came out of the instrument. The biggest bugaboo I see with the practice is someone picking up a piece of music intended for an F recorder and playing it on a C. In a consort that could nicely mess up the works.

While I'm against treating the recorder as a transposing instrument, I'm also leery of naysayers who declare it must never be done. If leeneia wants to do so for a friend I figure that's her business. Frankly, I'd be willing to bet that he'd be reading the music at concert pitch and using the F fingerings in not all that long.

And, leeneia, you're correct that instruments don't transpose, people do. But "transposing instrument" is the musical classification assigned to those instruments for which music must be transposed for it to be heard at concert pitch.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Howard Jones
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 04:52 AM

I have skinned a cat. Only the one, though, so I can't comment whether there is another way.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 05:25 AM

Tootler, if music for F recorder was transposed to make it read with C fingerings, what problem would that create with deciding which range of recorder was best for the music?

None of the music on the French site has the music transposed in the way you want. Are you supposed to copy all of it out and transpose with a computer in order to tell which pieces you can play and which you can't? (It would take much longer than the practice time required to get fluent in reading F recorder music at pitch).

If you want to make your own choices about what to play rather than wait for somebody to feed it to you, you need to learn to read at pitch.


"transposing instrument" is the musical classification assigned to those instruments for which music must be transposed for it to be heard at concert pitch.

There are no such instruments. I read music for B flat clarinet at concert pitch. So will anybody who wants a repertoire that wasn't specially composed for it.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 05:43 AM

But "transposing instrument" is the musical classification assigned to those instruments for which music must be transposed for it to be heard at concert pitch.

Much though I dislike using Wikipedia for, well, anything really, the definition at the head of the 'transposing instruments' article puts it pretty well:

A transposing instrument is a musical instrument for which written notes are read at a pitch different from the corresponding concert pitch, which a non-transposing instrument, such as a piano, would play. Playing a written C on a transposing instrument will produce (sound) a note other than concert C. The concert pitch of that written C determines the key from which an instrument transposes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transposing_instrument


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 07:21 AM

The Wikipedia article is wrong. I read a C on the page with a B flat clarinet and play a C (fingering T 12-- ----). It's simply a convention that most orchestral and band players read the music differently and finger that note T 123- ---- to produce a B flat; nothing in the structure of the instrument requires it.

If they had said A transposing instrument is a musical instrument for which written notes are by convention read at a pitch different from the corresponding concert pitch, that would have been right.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 08:30 AM

Jack - You do seem to be deliberately playing the pedant.
Of course with any chromatic instrument, you can play a full range of notes within the even tempered scale.
Of course you can learn to play the same note as a piano whilst reading dots written to play with a band tuned to an open scale in B flat, but to what real purpose?
If a composer writes music for a clarinet and piano, they do not write it that way, they take into account the difference between the instruments and write parts with different key signatures.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 08:54 AM

"But "transposing instrument" is the musical classification assigned to those instruments for which music must be transposed for it to be heard at concert pitch."

Ah, Ivan. Thanks for explaining that. I knew there were instruments like that, but I didn't know what to call them.

Ivan, did you ever see the thread with the tune I wrote in your honor? (I don't believe you did.) I'll see if I can find it.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 09:05 AM

R!

Can't find it!


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: s&r
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 09:29 AM

Jack

All musical notation is a convention

Stu


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,IanA
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 02:53 PM

If you can play a recorder in C then there really is no excuse for not playing one in F correctly. Any difficulty is all in the mind - as someone who has taught recorder professionally for nearly 40 years, I would start someone off with 3 note exercises (tuneful ones!) but say: "I am only going to give you the fingering for the first note." They will play the first note, see that the second note drops a tone and automatically add a finger. By the second week they are very comfortable with 5 note tunes and the third week they are playing a full octave. This is for 10 year old kids. Easy peasy.

Someone mentioned ornamentation being tricky in outlandish keys - to a point, yes, but don't neglect alternative fingerings which you pick up as you need them. For example, say (on a C recorder) you want to play an upper mordent from D# to upper E - D# is what I call the 'mid 5' fingering while top E requires the first 5 fingers and pinched thumb and if you tried that it would be quite an effort and likely untidy. Try playing that D# 'mid 5' fingering and flipping the lowest finger off and on. Simple.

OK - probably too much info.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Tootler
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 06:24 PM

Jack, I agree with GtD. You are being unnecessarily pedantic. IMO, the Wikipedia definition is perfectly satisfactory and explains quite clearly what a transposing instrument is.

Of course, if you are unhappy with it you can sign up to Wikipedia, log in and edit the entry to add the bit about "by convention".


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Artful Codger
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 10:43 PM

Is that the key of R, leeneia? (I'll get my bags.)


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: IvanB
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 11:59 PM

Seems like lots of energy is being wasted here on a question which was properly answered in the 4th post of this thread by TheSnail. We can philosophize all we want about what should be, but, in the end, it comes down to what leeneia wants and is willing to do in her own group.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 31 Mar 12 - 12:02 PM

Not this time, Artful. That is "R" as it used to be growled by tough guys in P.G. Wodehouse novels.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: IvanB
Date: 31 Mar 12 - 01:05 PM

And, BTW, leeneia, I didn't see the thread. Would love to find it and try out the tune. I'll see what I can do.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Ole Juul
Date: 01 Apr 12 - 04:15 AM

Perhaps I missed it, but one mustn't forget that many recorders are made to A=435 so will have to transpose up a semitone in order to mix with those that use A=440. Hehe, you know one really needs to develop quite a skill to transpose all the flutes that one might reasonably encounter. Who can read can read tunes like Ornithology or similarly harmonically rich tunes on a baroque recorder with guitar accompaniment? Almost nobody. There's no end to it, and that's why I mention this theoretical and ridiculous, though quite possible, situation.

The bottom line is to stop dreaming about clearing the highest bar and just write it out the way you need to have it, so you can get the job done. High aspirations are fine, but let's play some music now.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Tootler
Date: 01 Apr 12 - 05:22 PM

I assume you mean A=415?


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Apr 12 - 06:34 PM

the Wikipedia definition is perfectly satisfactory and explains quite clearly what a transposing instrument is

Implicitly what that "definition" does is tell people that they can't use the clarinet, or other so-called "transposing" instruments, in any other way. Which is a huge waste of potential.

People do get unnecessarily discouraged by that misconception. I did.

It cost me a thousand pounds and years of lost time with the alto flute. I didn't think of reading at pitch with it - all published music for it transposes. So when I started playing Scottish music I didn't think of using it; no way was I going to transpose all of Kerr's Merry Melodies or O'Neill's 1001 Irish Tunes. So I sold it and got other instruments which were okay but not as useful for Scottish music as the alto flute would have been if I'd stuck with it and realized at the time that it covers exactly the same range as the fiddle and can play all the same music if you read it at pitch and don't bother looking for stuff pre-transposed for it. So I finally bought another one, no better than the one I started with and a thousand pounds more expensive. I have never even seen a published music sheet for the alto flute since I got that new one and don't particularly want to.

If that's pedantry, tough. Somebody is going to thank me for saying it, and their bank balance is going to laugh at you and Wikipedia.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 01 Apr 12 - 09:17 PM

Found it! Here's the thread with the MIDI in Ivan's honor, because he helped me out on my a MIDI contoller.

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=131807


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: IvanB
Date: 01 Apr 12 - 10:37 PM

Thanks, leeneia, I like it! I'm going to see if I can do it on mountain dulcimer and bowed psaltery as well as the recorder.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,oggie
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 04:55 AM

I'm with those who think it would be easier in the long run to learn to read bass clef and/or the fingerings to play the treble cleff parts at correct pitch on a bass. I'm currently in the process of doing both and it's not as hard as people seem to think.

Steve


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 07:36 AM

Jack - I'm curious as to how an alto flute scores over a C flute. Most tunes I know sit quite happily in a range from D to D''; I can only think of two offhand that go any lower, and they only do it once. Is there a lot of Scottish music in the lower range?


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 07:37 AM

many recorders are made to A=435 so will have to transpose up a semitone in order to mix with those that use A=440.

Not many.

Purpose-built A=415 recorders are uncommon, hand-made and very expensive. I have a cheap semitone-flat descant recorder made in purple glittery plastic, probably a design mistake in some Oriental toy factory 10 years ago; I use it on occasions when playing along with guitarists capoed up into silly places. I have never encountered another recorder at that pitch on the folk scene and have never got to handle a real A=415 recorder myself.


Hehe,

Is that out of Beavis and Butthead or what?


you know one really needs to develop quite a skill to transpose all the flutes that one might reasonably encounter.

No you don't. As I said, if you've done it for two different pitches others come very quickly. In practice almost all bagpipe players do it, since Highland bagpipe music is written with six-fingers-down making an A, Northumbrian bagpipe music with six-fingers-down making a G, and pipers almost invariably play the D whistle as well (six-fingers-down makes D). Lots of whistle players can read at pitch for a C whistle. This is not at all a rare and unusual skill.

Note that we haven't heard from anybody in this thread who's seriously tried to learn to read at pitch and failed. All the panic and naysaying is coming from people who are afraid to even start. (If only we could spread a similar amount of horror about learning to drive - a far more complex skill - the world would be a much better place).


Who can read can read tunes like Ornithology or similarly harmonically rich tunes on a baroque recorder with guitar accompaniment?

Tune like that are a bugger to get your fingers round. That's where the difficulty lies. If you can play them at all you won't have a problem with the notation.

One thing like that I play sometimes is Thelonious Monk's "Ask Me Now", on the F alto in the original key of D flat. Before I had it in my head I was using at-pitch notation - the notation never even registered as an issue, the unusual fingering patterns were what I had to get to terms with.

If I remember right, "Take Five" is at a convenient pitch for C recorder but I have never yet managed to play it properly with all of Paul Desmond's twiddles in - the fact that it only uses primary-school notational conventions doesn't help one little bit with actually playing the thing.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 07:50 AM

I'm curious as to how an alto flute scores over a C flute.

There are quite a few Scottish fiddle tunes that go down onto the G string - things like "King George IV". Currently one of my favourutes is Paul Cranford's The Graveyard of the Gulf, which ranges from the G below the staff up to the C above it - it was written for scordatura tuning. Scottish and Irish trad never needs the top end of a C flute's range, so an alto can do everything that turns up in practice, and it seems to fit better with voices.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 07:53 AM

(Bugger - edit:)

I'm curious as to how an alto flute scores over a C flute.

There are quite a few Scottish fiddle tunes that go down onto the G string - things like "King George IV". Currently one of my favourites is Paul Cranford's The Graveyard of the Gulf, which ranges from the G below the staff up to the C above it - it was written for scordatura tuning. Scottish and Irish trad never needs the top end of a C flute's range, so an alto can do everything that turns up in practice, and it seems to fit better with voices.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 08:12 AM

I love those A naturals! I haven't seen many tunes that sharp & reflat the fourth like that. (Even further off-topic, sorry.)


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 08:45 AM

I first got that tune from David Greenberg's CD - he does it with a B flat at the end of the first time through the second part (natural minor). I prefer it that way; the B-natural/G7 makes it sound too much like the tune is about to stop.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Tootler
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 04:01 PM

Northumbrian bagpipe music with six-fingers-down making a G

No it doesn't. Northumbrian pipes are actually a transposing instrument. When you play a written G, Northumbrian pipes in traditional tuning actually play an F. Well, actually, about 20cents sharp of F since we are in pedant mode. Many Northumbrian pipers these days will have a G chanter so they can play in sessions with the usual collection of instruments. I have been in a session led by pipers and I played a C whistle as a transposing instrument and the fiddler tuned down a tone. Mind much of the time I was playing bass on my F contrabass recorder and playing a bass line fell quite naturally under my fingers in C and F.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 04:28 PM

Many Northumbrian pipers these days will have a G chanter so they can play in sessions with the usual collection of instruments.

Those were the ones I was thinking of. The others with the F-off chanters generally stick together like a dating agency for people with herpes, so the rest of us don't really need to know about them.

In any case, the F-off types will still be producing a G with that fingering; the note corresponding to a blob on the second line. It just happens to be a G from the French Baroque. Highland pipers have the same issue, with their A for the same fingering sounding somewhere between B flat and B. But the note is written as an A and that's what they call it.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: IanA
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 05:31 PM

Merde! Et zut alors!!

Ow iz ze French Baroque any different from ze German Barock?

Answers on a carte postale to M. Campin svp.

(I 'ave many flutes a bec en A=415.)


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 05:51 PM

Yep - old-pitch Northumbrian pipes are A=405, more or less. Probably derived from the "musette de cour" as played by French aristos playing at peasants before the real peasants reduced their sounding length with the aid of Madame la Guillotine. The French often tended to go for lower pitch standards than everybody else.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: IanA
Date: 03 Apr 12 - 09:13 AM

A=405? I bet that herz...

And don't tell me about the low standards of the French.

Of course, 415 is just a handy number chosen because it is a semitone below modern pitch - there are many instruments made at 409 and even 460 pitches. In the good old days, the makers were only concerned with making instruments in tune with the other instruments they were producing - or, at best, with the pitch used in their area. String players must have been insufferably smug.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 25 Jun 12 - 11:30 AM

To get back to the original topic (playing of bass recorder), we finally did it! Last week I used TheSnail's directions as a starting point, and I finally managed to produce music which looked like a treble part with C fingering, but when played it produced the right notes on a bass recorder in F.

Everyone was tickled by the warm, mellow sound of it. It was very much a group effort as we figured out how Michael should hold it, how to cope with the weight, which bass to use, and which neck strap to use. I'm pleased with my friends, none of whom got impatient at not being able to play for a while.

Here's how you do it in Noteworthy Composer. It's probably the same for all programs.

1. Change the bass clef treble clef.

    a. highlight the notes
    b. jack them up two half-steps.
       (ctrl-shift- up arrow, up arrow again.)
    c.   delete the bass clef sign, insert a treble clef sign.
    d. you will not see a key change

2. Transpose the staff

    a. Tools menu - transpose staff (I hit alt-t-t on the keyboard)
    b. choose 7 or -5, whichever is handier.
    c. Leave box checked.
    d. you will see a key change

3. Label the staff and change the title to show this is special music with a line which will not sound right unless played on a particular instrument. I simply add "fake bass."


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 25 Jun 12 - 03:20 PM

That should be

1. Change the bass clef TO treble clef.

We're gonna work our way up to this:

colossal recorder


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Jun 12 - 06:48 PM

It's probably the same for all programs.

No it isn't.

It takes a lot less steps in BarFly. Probably even quicker in Sibelius.

It's just as bad an idea however easy the software makes it.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Tootler
Date: 25 Jun 12 - 07:09 PM

OK Jack, how would you do it in BarFly?

As to Sibelius, when I bought Noteworthy, it cost me $40 US - about £25GB at the then current exchange rate. I don't think it's much different now. I just checked Sibelius costs £460GB somewhat more. I should hope it will do it more easily.

Nevertheless there are two steps they all have to do

1. Change from bass to treble clef - Does your software automatically adjust the position of the notes on the stave? I would hope Sibelius does at that price and I admit that it is a weakness of Noteworthy.

2. Transpose - I would imagine all of them have a similar mechanism for transposing to different keys.

Finally how much does BarFly cost?


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Tootler
Date: 25 Jun 12 - 07:14 PM

OK having got that off my chest, I do rather agree with Jack's last point.

If you are going to play the bass recorder, it is better in the long run to learn to read from the bass clef because you don't then have to go through all the rigmarole you described.

I can, and do sometimes, play my bass (and contrabass) recorder from treble clef reading it as an F alto (including reading up an octave), but I am really much more comfortable playing from bass clef.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 26 Jun 12 - 09:49 AM

Let me tell you something about life.

The player is 65, not 18. Mastering a whole new set of reactions is much harder at that time of life. Actually, what Jack is suggesting would require two new sets of reactions - to bass clef and to F fingerings.

He has a wife on oxygen and a grandson with OCD. He's learning Spanish and he's teaching English. He has more important things to do with his life than master new fingerings.

I thought Mudcatters would be happy to see that a computer can be used to help friends make music, but I was wrong.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Jun 12 - 05:18 AM

BarFly is free unless you want some of the fancier features.

How to do this: remove the word "bass" from the key signature, and also remove the "middle=" directive if there is one. Transpose the tune up to some random key, then up again to the one you started with. (There is no facility for transposing tunes by an octave directly). Do another two transpositions up if you need the tune up two octaves. Done.

Leeneia, you are deliberately creating unnecessary anxiety about something that isn't at all difficult.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 Jun 12 - 10:04 AM

isn't all that difficult?

Of the 19 people who contributed to this thread, only the Snail said anything accurate, and the Snail's tips were incomplete.

It's essential to know what happens when you "jack up" the notes and when you tranpose, and I learned that by taking a familiar song with bass parts and modifying the bass parts different ways. Then we test-drove the results.

Maybe someday somebody will do what I did - buy a nice bass recorder on Ebay and then want to have fun with it. If so, the directions for instant play are just above.

My bass was found in a trunk in an empty house by a real-estate sales person. It had obviously never been played. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jun 12 - 12:20 PM

leeneia, I DO have to say that, although I thought there was far too much furor expressed over this subject, I learned one valuable thing: I had never been aware of the CTRL/SHIFT/ARROW combination for moving a selected set of notes in one direction or the other.

I'm continually having to do octave shifts on a few notes that fall out of the range of the instrument on which they're to be played and I'd always accomplished that by deleting the notes and entering them in the desired octave. You'd have thought I'd have looked up a quicker fix, but I didn't. Thanks for imparting your method.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: IvanB
Date: 27 Jun 12 - 02:54 PM

Sorry, Guest post previous was I, sans cookie.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 27 Jun 12 - 03:21 PM

The way I see it, it's like learning a foreign language. It's not really that difficult, but it requires time and effort. Learning the language and grammar is ultimately more rewarding, but if you're only visiting the place for a couple of weeks you might prefer to get by with a phrase-book.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Tootler
Date: 28 Jun 12 - 06:56 AM

As I understand it, BarFly is an ABC editor rather than a standard Notation editor. From your description, Jack, I would say that changing clef in noteworthy is no more complex. Essentially you replace the treble clef with a bass clef then move the notes to the correct position. It only seems more complex because leeneia gave a detailed "blow by blow" account which for someone who has not done it before, is very useful.

The transposition function in Noteworthy is a menu item and you simply select the the menu item and tell it how many semitones up or down you wish to go up to +/- one octave. Changing the clef automatically puts the notes in the right octave for midi playback, the adjustment of the notes after changing clef is to put them in the right position on the stave.

I would imagine top end notation editors such as Sibelius or Finale would take care of changing the note positions automatically but then you are paying almost twenty times as much for the full version.

I would say that as value for money, Noteworthy is almost unbeatable both for its capability for the price and for ease of use. I have tried open source editors such as MuseScore and NoteEdit and found both much more difficult to get started on, though I do know people who like them and they are free.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Tootler
Date: 28 Jun 12 - 07:00 AM

Back to the original subject of the thread, I think if leeneia's friend is playing bass recorder as a one off or only occasionally, then what she was doing makes sense. However, if it starts to become regular, it is worth spending the time to learn to play from bass clef - and it doesn't take all that long. It took me about two weeks to be comfortable and I was in my mid fifties at the time. It then opens a lot of possibilities. Bass recorder is my first choice these days with the recorder group I play with though I use others in other situations.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Jun 12 - 07:32 AM

isn't all that difficult?

No. It's much easier than learning the control layout for a different type of car (and unlike the car, you won't kill anybody if you make a slip-up). If you have problems switching fingering system like that, you aren't mentally capable of driving any more and should shred your licence.

Of the 19 people who contributed to this thread, only the Snail said anything accurate, and the Snail's tips were incomplete.

Mainly because he didn't address the more important issue at all - whether you should even be doing this.

It's essential to know what happens when you "jack up" the notes and when you transpose.

I can't interpret that. You just play what's written. Whatever "jacking up" is, you don't need to do it.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jun 12 - 07:35 AM

the Snail's tips were incomplete

Sorry about that, I forgot about the clef change. I once wrote a user tool to do change clef and move the notes accordingly but I can't get it to work under Windows 7.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 28 Jun 12 - 11:10 AM

Too bad about that. Wouldn't it be nice if music programs had a 'change clef' button?

Something else I wish I had - a little dealie that automatically uses an eighth note after I've put in a dotted quarter. A dotted quarter is followed by an eighth (I would estimate) 99% of the time.

A couple years ago, I got a little goofy and bought not one, but two bass recorders on Ebay. One of them, as I mentioned, was sold by a real-estate sales person. It's a Hopf. I guess Hopf is out of business now. I can't find them on the net.

The other recorder is a Moeck, and it came from Bulgaria. (Moeck has a very find reputation.) My banker trembled when I told him I wanted to send $500 to Bulgaria. But I figured, it's a gamble, and people down at the casino often gamble that much on one hand of blackjack. Why not gamble on a fine recorder, one probably $2000 or so today, instead?

It was obvious when they arrived that neither recorder had ever been played.

I like to picture some bloated Bulgarian communist buying that Moeck recorder for his kid, who screamed, "I don't want to play recorder! I want to play hot American jazz!" So it went back into its pretty little padded suitcase...

They've been sitting around, unplayed, till last Sunday, when my friend's long fingers plus the 'fake bass' parts made them easy to play.
==========
Guest, I'm glad you like the concept of 'jacking up'.

Here's another approach: sometimes when a part goes too high or two low, I enter both octaves in parallel (using the MIDI controller) and let my friends pick which version they want. Often flutes will go for the high, and harps for the low. Of course, at our casual sessions, I don't know ahead of time which instrument will be taking which line.

For people new to all this: 'MIDI controller' is the correct name for the thing that looks like a piano keyboard and plugs into a computer. It enters music.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,crazy little woman
Date: 29 Jun 12 - 10:11 AM

So what you're saying is, both recorders kind of fell off a truck. Isn't that right?


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Jun 12 - 10:32 AM

Holy moly, $500 for a Moeck? They don't make many models that expensive.

I see a lot of high-end instruments listed on EBay by a dealer in Bulgaria, he's been at it for a while and seems completely above board.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Tootler
Date: 29 Jun 12 - 03:32 PM

Holy moly, $500 for a Moeck? They don't make many models that expensive.

Absolutely and more. The cheapest Moeck bass in the Early Music Shop is £885GB. That comes to almost $1400US at current exchange rates.

I bought my current bass recorder (A Mollenhauer) six years ago and it was £650 then and that was cheap then by bass recorder standards. It's a long time since you could get a bass recorder for under £500 from a regular dealer even less $500. (plastic instruments excepted)


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 23 Jul 12 - 10:39 PM

Yes, Tootler, that's what I thought.   

The bass got played again yesterday, again with a specially edited part. Michael likes our new way to hold it. Put the strap on like a guitarist, place the bass against the outside of the right leg, and put a piece of grabby stuff on the trouser leg to keep it from slipping. (I had seen someone playing it that way at a concert and recently remembered it.)

Have you ever seen a new-fangled bass that's square in cross-section? They seem to play just as well and, I suppose they would be easier to fabricate. They do seem like something out of a work of science fiction.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 24 Jul 12 - 03:59 AM

Or just like an organ pipe?


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Jul 12 - 04:14 AM

100


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Jul 12 - 04:43 AM

Have you ever seen a new-fangled bass that's square in cross-section? They seem to play just as well and, I suppose they would be easier to fabricate.

They're not all that new. The first one was made by Alec Loretto in the 70s, written up in a recorder magazine at the time as a DIY project readers could try. Paetzold put them into production a bit later, probably independently.

I've heard one of the Paetzold ones. It was terrible. Turned the owner had assembled it wrong in some way, but i haven't heard her playing it since she figured that out.

For playing position - whatever works; there are pictures from the 18th century of players holding the bass recorder as you describe. I prefer vertical, since my Zen-On is so light I can take all the weight on my right thumb and not use the neckstrap, if it's for a short piece. For my greatbass, I usually play sitting down, balancing the bell between my feet.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 24 Jul 12 - 08:40 AM

Manitas - good observation. I had forgotten that some organ pipes are rectangular.

Jack - thanks for the tips on ways to hold a bass.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Jul 12 - 09:02 AM

I thought about making one of those square recorders when a church near me scrapped its pipe organ. I've got a bunch of eight-foot pipes. Whoop-de-doo, a next-to-free contrabass.

I soon discovered it wasn't quite that easy. Organ pipes are designed to work at just one frequency, and most of the ones I got were stopped. They would make narrow-range swannee whistles and that's about it. They also need VAST amounts of air. I've been thinking of hooking them up to a couple of mainframe computer cooling fans to act as drones.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Tootler
Date: 24 Jul 12 - 10:26 AM

I have a Paezold Contrabass. They are very good. They have a strong first octave which is what you need and a full two octave range. They are also very easy to play as the wooden keys have finger "pads" that are placed in comfortable reach. Although the larger ones are cheaper than their round equivalents, they are not cheap. The bass and great bass versions have a wooden rod at the bottom so they will stand on the floor. I agree they need plenty of air down them, but their demands are not excessive. I was asthmatic as a child and don't have huge lung capacity but I can manage mine fine.

I think I have a sound sample on my computer. If not I'll make one and post it online so you can hear.

I use a neck strap with my regular bass and hold it to one side rather in the same manner as a bassoon.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Tootler
Date: 24 Jul 12 - 11:27 AM

Found my recording. It's not particularly good. There's a lot of distortion - I suspect it overloaded the cheap mic I had at the time.

I will have to make another recording.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Jul 12 - 11:41 AM

Search YouTube for "paetzold square recorder" and you'll find quite a few good samples. (The video of the SubSubContrabass isn't one of them - makes it look utterly pointless).


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,Bart Brush
Date: 02 Jan 14 - 09:52 PM

Where can I find plans or measurements for making a square bass and tenor? I'm an elementary school music teacher in Arizona with extensive woodworking experience (but not with wind instruments) and would like to make a few tenors and basses that could be comfortable fingered by smaller hands (4-5-6th graders, ages 10-12).


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Jan 14 - 03:19 AM

Alec Loretto published some in a British recorder journal in the 1970s, before Paetzold started making them. The Recorder Homepage should give a reference to the article - I don't think it'll be online.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 03 Jan 14 - 06:57 AM

Bart, you sure are bold - sounds like nothing less than "squaring the circle"!

Pragmatic teachers will soon get a solution to the problem of bass wind instruments, affordable and playable by children: 3D printers! The Rackett principle will be resurrected, or rather brought to its full potential for the first time. Give it three more years. Here an example of the current state-of-the-art.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 03 Jan 14 - 08:25 AM

Loretto points out a neat feature of his design that a 3D printer can't match - because the holes are on the front panel, which is an easily replaceable sheet of plywood, you can experiment with hole placements for optimal tuning and throw your failures away without losing the whole instrument.

I think Loretto is still alive and contactable, if you can't trace the article.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,ripov
Date: 03 Jan 14 - 06:56 PM

Jack Campin is quite right (30 Mar 12 - 07:21 AM )about this. What we call the pitch of the note an instrument produces, and how it's represented in written music, is all a matter of convention. It's giving pitches names that causes problems. If music is read as a series of intervals, which in any case makes more sense harmonically, the problem sort of disappears, so long as the instrumentalist is familiar with their instrument. Singers do this as a matter of course. they (with apologies to those blessed, or cursed, with perfect pitch) don't sing, for example, a D followed by a (higher) A, simply two notes a fifth apart (although possibly with reference to a pitch provided by a fixed tuned instrument; and without going into complications caused by temperament).


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