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Recorder Questions

Jack the Sailor 06 Jul 06 - 10:53 PM
JohnB 06 Jul 06 - 11:40 PM
Mo the caller 07 Jul 06 - 04:08 AM
Mo the caller 07 Jul 06 - 04:10 AM
Tootler 07 Jul 06 - 04:47 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 07 Jul 06 - 06:35 AM
Vixen 07 Jul 06 - 08:19 AM
CarolC 07 Jul 06 - 12:57 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 07 Jul 06 - 01:28 PM
CarolC 07 Jul 06 - 02:10 PM
Vixen 07 Jul 06 - 02:10 PM
CarolC 07 Jul 06 - 02:23 PM
Jack the Sailor 07 Jul 06 - 07:03 PM
CarolC 07 Jul 06 - 09:20 PM
catspaw49 07 Jul 06 - 09:42 PM
open mike 07 Jul 06 - 10:47 PM
CarolC 08 Jul 06 - 12:47 AM
Peace 08 Jul 06 - 01:02 AM
Jack the Sailor 08 Jul 06 - 01:08 AM
Jack the Sailor 08 Jul 06 - 01:13 AM
Jack the Sailor 08 Jul 06 - 01:14 AM
Peace 08 Jul 06 - 01:17 AM
CarolC 08 Jul 06 - 01:18 AM
Tootler 08 Jul 06 - 05:42 AM
Tootler 08 Jul 06 - 06:03 AM
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Subject: Recorder Questions
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 06 Jul 06 - 10:53 PM

Carol has a bunch of recorders.
But they are all Baroque.
Apparently, baroque is about a 1/2 step flat.
Are there recorders in standard tuning?
is the fingering different?
where can we get them?
How will we know what we are buying?


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: JohnB
Date: 06 Jul 06 - 11:40 PM

My recorder has Baroque fingering, but it is in standard concert pitch. It just means that things like an F has a split fingering, raising the middle finger on the right hand with all other fingers down. Rather than a single first finger only (same as a whistle) fingering. Also a few more which don't immediately spring to mind.
Good Luck, JohnB.


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: Mo the caller
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 04:08 AM

My recorder has that fingering too. Dont they all? Wouldn't it be a whistle otherwise? Mine is concert pitch.
I believe there is a problem with concertinas too over a certain age, as concert pitch was change x years ago.
I would ask a music shop, real or virtual.


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: Mo the caller
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 04:10 AM

As I clicked submit I noticed an ad for Aulos at the bottom of page, its gone now but that's the make of mine. You could Google it.


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: Tootler
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 04:47 AM

The vast majority of recorders made are pitched at A=440, standard concert pitch.

"Baroque" probably refers to the fingering system as most recorders conform to that fingering pattern. All my recorders, plastic and wooden use "Baroque" fingering and are all pitched at A=440.

You can get recorders pitched at A=415, the pitch normally used by those who go for historically informed performance of Baroque music. This pitch is a semitone flat compared with standard concert pitch. These are normally hand made recorders and hence, expensive.

BTW, the "Baroque" fingering and the "Baroque" pitch of 415 are 20th century notions as neither fingerings nor the pitch of instruments were standardised in the 17th/18th century in the way we expect today.

You can also get recorders at other pitches as well, but these are much less common and again would normally be hand made instruments.

It should be fairly easy, Jack the Sailor, to check the pitch of Carol's recorders with an inexpensive tuning meter. There is probably one on the web somewhere to save you having to buy one.

Geoff Walker
Secretary
Cleveland Recorder Society
Middlesbrough, UK


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 06:35 AM

You can also check pitch with the tuning reference on my website (I give up with trying to post URLs here - use http colon slash slash tinyurl dot com slash 9xvdp).

If they do turn out to be A=415 models hang on to them! (I have one of the very few cheaply made recorders at this pitch - it's bright purple transparent plastic with metallic glittery bits, so it's pretty obvious when I'm playing in a strange key).

Not all recorders have the "forked F" fingering. The ones that don't are "German fingering" models, made in Germany in the mid-20th century. These make the F easier to finger and everything else more difficult. I have one, in an unusual pitch (A) - unless you have a very special reason, you ought to avoid them.

The essential difference between recorders and whistles is the octave thumbhole.


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: Vixen
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 08:19 AM

All of what has been mentioned here is useful.

Two more possibilities:

1) If the recorders are consistently a half-tone flat, try blowing a bit harder to see if they will "come up" to pitch.

2) "Cold" recorders (below exhalation temperature) are often a bit flat until they "warm up" to pitch; playing the instruments for 15-20 minutes and then rechecking their pitch will reveal this.

Another difference between recorders and whistles is that the recorder has 7 holes in front (8 with the octave thumbhole) and the whistle has only 6 holes in front (and no octave thumbhole).

Just my $0.02, fwiw.

Good luck!

V (who tootles on both whistles and recorders)


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: CarolC
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 12:57 PM

Thanks.

My recorders have "Baroque" tuning. They are consistantly flat compared to other instruments (except if I overblow, which isn't really something I can do with the music I want to play, plus it might put me in an upper octave when I play some notes). They are made to be that way.

The fingering is as JohnB described.

We've already checked the tuning with an electronic tuning thingie. It is about a half step flat. I think this kind of recorder may be much more common in the US than in other countries. It seems to be pretty standard here with recorders bought in music stores. All of my recorders since the early 1970s have had that tuning except for the Renaissance recorders (which I no longer have, and don't know how they are tuned).

Can anybody give us make and model (or series number) information on their standard tuned recorders? The ones I have now are Aulos (sopranino and soprano) and Yamaha (alto, tenor), but I don't know what models or series numbers they are.


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 01:28 PM

An Aulos recorder will not be at A=415 pitch, they only made the modern pitch ones.

Yamaha have made a few very expensive hand-finished wooden models at A=415 pitch, and a transverse flute with interchangeable parts to allow both A=440 and A=415, but their ordinary plastic moulded stuff is all A=440. Both firms are reliable mass producers so everything they sold anywhere in the world will be the same.

I think the only mass-produced A=415 recorders of the last 40 years have been unbranded (my purple oddity is like that, though it looks like a Yamaha in basic shape).

You are warming them up properly before you play? - Aulos instruments are particularly prone to playing flat when cold. And you're blowing hard enough? If so, I would suspect your tuning reference rather than the recorders.

Have you tried the recorders and your tuner against the tuning reference on my website? - in effect this is checking them against your own computer, since it's done by MIDI and QuickTime rather than MP3, but it would provide another reference point. Tuners are OFTEN wrong - when I get to be dictator I'll have them all scrapped.

Which notes are you checking? The G on a soprano and the C on an alto (i.e. thumb and three left hand fingers down) are the easiest to get stable.


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: CarolC
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 02:10 PM

Hmmm...

Now I'm getting a headache.

I'll have a look at your site, Jack.


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: Vixen
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 02:10 PM

I have an alto and soprano AuLos (plastic), and they are both baroque fingered and standard pitch (A=440). I have an alto and tenor Rottenburgh (wood) and they also are baroque fingered and standard pitch.

All of them play flat (to varying degrees) until I get them "warmed up" with my breath flowing through them. The wooden ones take longer to warm up.

Be sure all the recorder joints (head and foot) are securely pushed together and fully seated. If they are slightly loose or a bit "pulled out" that will make the instruments flat.

Just another $0.02...

V


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: CarolC
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 02:23 PM

Thanks, Vixen.

One of the reasons I'm getting a headache now is because for many years, any time I have played music with people who were using "modern" instruments, they have consistantly told me that my recorders were playing flat, regardless of how warmed up they were. I have been blowing as hard as I was taught to do when I took lessons at the Washington DC capter of the American Recorder Society back in (I think) 1972. They were very careful to stress the importance of not overblowing, and they also showed us how much is enough and how much is too much.


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 07:03 PM

The recorders were in fact a quarter step flat when I had her blow an "A". From your information, I know see that it is impossible that the instruments were tuned that way. We retried, in 85 degree temperatures with other notes, especially "C" and found the tone to be spot on if not a nanometre sharp. I think now that the flat notes may have been a product of perhaps cold recorders or trying to register "A" which my tuner has a bit of trouble reading "A" from the recorder.

Thank you all for your help. We are glad to have cleared that matter up and are relieved not to have to buy new instruments or to have to tune the accordion down a quarter step. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: CarolC
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 09:20 PM

(Oh, my poor aching head... )

;-)


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: catspaw49
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 09:42 PM

I tell ya' Carol......and this is just my opinion......But if your recorders are all baroque then I don't now you can play them at all let alone in tune. What's all busticated on them anyway? If they're all flat like you say then something musta' smashed them pretty good! You could get splinters or plastic shards in your fingers or even your mouth trying to play them.

Just tell that cheap-ass Jack that you want some new ones that ain't all busted up and flat-like!!! Okay?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: open mike
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 10:47 PM

what happens if you saw them off? will they come up to pitch?

you might check this web site (you musn't have tried too hard jack campin, even i can use the blickifier)
http://www.purr.demon.co.uk/jack/Music/NoteReference/


or can i?
http colon slash slash tinyurl dot com slash 9xvdp


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: CarolC
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 12:47 AM

Yeah. Saw them off. I like that idea.

All of this helps me remember (one of the reasons) why I switched from recorder to accordion as my main instrument.

(It was the clown shoes, Spaw. I accidently stepped on them while wearing my clown shoes.)


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: Peace
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 01:02 AM

Neat site here that expands/adds a bit to the posts above.


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 01:08 AM

Not only are they flat busted but they got no holes


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 01:13 AM

We had to hire a guy to hold this one for her!


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 01:14 AM

Mine is bigger though.


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: Peace
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 01:17 AM

Showoff!


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: CarolC
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 01:18 AM

;-)


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: Tootler
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 05:42 AM

People often ask if I got my contrabass from IKEA

For those across the Pond, IKEA make aka flat pack furniture.


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Subject: RE: Recorder Questions
From: Tootler
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 06:03 AM

On a more serious note, many years ago, I had a similar experience to Carol of being told I was flat when playing my recorder with a folk group.

However, since I took up the recorder again about 20 years ago I have not come across this problem. It is rare for a reputable manufacturer to produce an out of tune recorder. What is remarkable, IMO is that plastic recorders costing only a few pounds are reliably in tune. I had experience of a few months ago in a workshop led by Joey Oliver of 422. His expensive Overton Whistle was clearly out of tune above top G, in fact he commented on it, while my recorder was fine at those pitches.

That said, there are some caveats.

The pitch of a recorder, especially of the smaller ones are very sensitive to breath pressure, much more so than modern orchestral woodwind, so it is easy play flat or sharp (more common) simply by varying breath pressure.

Recorders are noticeably flat when cold and need to be warmed up. I usually put mine, head joint first, under my armpit. Wooden instruments take more warming up than plastic ones and dense woods such as Blackwood, longer still.

It is often possible to make adjustments to specific notes by partly opening or closing holes. For this reason notes with open fingerings (top D on the soprano/tenor or top F on the alto) are most difficult in this respect.


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