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#3526 elemimele

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 15:50

Jolly interesting one. It's certainly true that 99% (or more) of baroque and renaissance music appropriate for recorder is still available for you if you don't have a bottom C#, so I suppose the only question is whether you care very much about the remaining 1% (or less)? I have used it. For example, there's a gigue that I found in a Lonati violin sonata that's rather fun, and requires it (for a phrase that is played at one pitch and then echoed an octave below, so it'd be sad to substitute the note). But this isn't real recorder music. I also find that these notes tend to be weak (I play them mostly on a treble but using descant fingering, or sometimes on a keyless tenor). You are in the lucky situation that now you can make your own bits, you can try your own foot joint and enjoy it, and if you ever need a C#, you can re-fit the old foot!

 

Unrelated question: why is it that Barsanti's first collection of 12 recorder sonatas is so greatly loved, and performed widely on YouTube, but his second collection of 12 German flute sonatas barely features, even amongst the flute players? I found only one movement from one sonata on YouTube, played by an intrepid period flute player. They are accessible to recorder if desired, and I can't find anything horribly wrong with them compared to the true recorder sonatas (it's not like Barsanti suddenly mutated into a second-rate composer when he wrote them). They seem attractive to me.


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#3527 Zixi

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 19:59

It is an interesting question. I've played some low E-flat and C# recently because my teacher has chosen music requiring them (it wasn't 'proper' recorder music though) but hitherto I haven't played them much at all - I have a feeling some Scott Joplin required low C#). All of my recorders have double holes except for a German fingering treble. I find closing one side of a double hole quite awkward on the descant  (particularly for low E-flat) so I do wonder if a single hole would have been easier to manage. It's made me think. The single hole on the German fingering treble is quite easy to operate but I don't have a single hole descant to try that out on.

 

It'll be interesting to see what other people - with a lot more experience than I have - say! blink.png


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#3528 elemimele

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Posted 04 May 2019 - 07:18

yes, it'd be good to hear from someone with experience. The thing that goes wrong for me with the low half-holed/one-of-two-tiny-holes notes is the approach rather than the note itself. There are basically two ways to cover just one of the two notes: you can bend a knuckle so draw the finger-tip to the right, or you can turn the hand a bit so the finger is further from the instrument. Someone told me that it was better to turn the hand (I don't know if this is true??) so that's what I tend to do. The problem is that if I'm approaching a low C# (C-fingering) via other low notes, like E and F, then if I turn my hand early, in anticipation, then my fingers aren't in quite the right place for E (and F is even worse because of its weird forking), so these tend to get little leaks and don't sound properly. Low notes in any case are very vulnerable to such things.


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#3529 Zixi

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Posted 05 May 2019 - 11:02

elimimele - that's interesting. Dolmetsch certainly suggest the turning. Bonsor mentions 3 ways. Tipping (which sounds like your knuckle bend). Swivelling - which is your hand turn and a third method which is to straighten R3 which causes it to lay 'across the barrel at an angle so the right half-hole is completely covered and the other left open'. He says which method you choose will depend on the hand shape. He thinks 1 is easiest to learn. 2 is safer and quicker. 3 is difficult to learn but provides better control but it will only be useful if your hand shape is suitable.


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#3530 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 06 May 2019 - 09:51

The problem I have with moving my hand is that it then ends up in the wrong place, so I tend to get a better D# followed by a few squeaky notes while my hand gets back to the right place.  As I said though, I've only needed to do this for playing the C minor scale: like Zixi, I've met D# in a few pieces that were chosen to force me to play that note, but never in a piece of music I wanted to play.  Admittedly, that's quite a small selection.  I don't half hole 6 for G# either.  I'll never be comfortably able to play bottom C on some tenor recorders because I'd need an L-shaped little finger to get the lower joint across the holes at the correct angle, and I'm too old to start mutating now.


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#3531 Zixi

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Posted 07 May 2019 - 12:49

Surely, it comes down to what you want to play and why. We've just had that conversation with our (absolutely wonderful) music teacher. I think you give it all your best shot but if after that it doesn't get any easier and starts to be irksome then you play what is enjoyable and playable. When I told her once that I didn't like a piece she said that we'd choose something else as it wasn't meant to be a punishment and there was lots to choose from! Once it starts to be (long-term) tiresome then I don't see the point in revelling in failure. That doesn't mean I don't struggle at things - I do -  but I also know when to give up and concentrate on what I *can* do. In any case, just playing means that sometimes what is impossible today is possible n weeks ahead.

 

re mutating: My husband has developed a finger which definitely has a tendency to list to one side but it doesn't seem to help much. Interestingly his brain seems to have accommodated to it when he plays piano...

 

Anyway, oag, are you 1, 2 or 3 on Bonsor's list? I'm 1 though I'm trying 3...


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#3532 elemimele

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Posted 07 May 2019 - 20:32

yes, it's a balancing act. When I was a teenager having organ lessons, I actually liked the fact that my teacher threw stuff at me that didn't appeal, as well as things that did. It was a learning-process, not just of the technicalities of the playing the instrument, but also of getting to know its repertoire. That's particularly valuable to the organist because many of my generation basically learnt that Bach wrote the repertoire. Oh, and a few English composers did some much simpler stuff for manuals only that you can learn before you get onto proper music (Bach). Nothing against Bach, but actually quite a few other people wrote for Organ over the centuries, and some of them were none to shabby as composers go.

I must admit my teacher tended to move on from stuff I didn't like a bit faster than from stuff I did; I think it's like eating Brussels sprouts. We insist our children take a proper mouthful (you have to try it before you hate it), but if they've tried honestly, and still don't like the things, then there's no point in pushing it.

Once you're adult, with broader experience anyway, there's less point in trying things you don't like. I really don't like the sort of music where you lay on your back looking at the ceiling pretending to be a tree while flutter-tonguing down the wrong end of your instrument. And I wouldn't look as sophisticated trying it as Sarah Jeffery and the others who do it more professionally, so they can keep that one! If I ever have a teacher who insists I try, I'm afraid I shall move on...

 

Hey, has anyone been following the Piano scales update? I dream of the day when ABRSM realise that the recorder has so little repertoire in 5 sharps there's really no point in learning that scale, but on the other hand, it has a substantial repertoire in modal tonalities... (but that's history, that is, and we all know that the Examining Boards' History of Music only began with Beethoven. They admit the existence of Bach so that the organists are happy, and so the piano people can mutter darkly that they don't like Baroque, before returning to the safety of Chopin).


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#3533 elemimele

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Posted 07 May 2019 - 20:41

By the way, talking of things that we can and can't do: there's a lovely Sarah Jeffery comment on the Bach partita that everyone loves, which ends on a stupidly high note. She has a whole video on that particular piece, and makes some very sensible remarks that I hadn't thought about: that the final note isn't actually desperately high in the range of the traverso/Germal flute, for which the piece was composed. On a flute, the final phrase can be played quite gently and in an unforced manner, so if, by going for that high note on a recorder, we end up sounding forced, we may be missing the point, and being less true to the piece's character than if we alter the final phrase so it doesn't end at such outrageous altitude. It's a nice example of where sometimes, doing something merely because we can (just about) isn't necessarily a good idea, and the player who admits frankly that they can't (or only on a good day, with the wind behind them) and simplifies, may end up with a more appropriate and musical result. 

I remember hearing that piece played very beautifully by a professional, and hearing how he managed to play the high note, and being impressed he could get up there. The fact I was impressed, and heard the strain, actually means Sarah's quite right. If it had been played correctly, I'd have been carried away by the beauty, not the technical feat.


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#3534 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 11:51

Anyway, oag, are you 1, 2 or 3 on Bonsor's list? I'm 1 though I'm trying 3...

 

I'm 1 if anything, though I had to try it just now to work out which I was doing.  That's only the case for D# (maybe that's all he refers to), and only with the caveat that I never actually play that note.  I only (very occasionally) play C# on an instrument with a key.

 

doing something merely because we can (just about) isn't necessarily a good idea, and the player who admits frankly that they can't (or only on a good day, with the wind behind them) and simplifies, may end up with a more appropriate and musical result.

 

That's a very good point (I must watch Sarah's video).  It's easy to get a bit carried away with notions of accuracy.  I've been transcribing Paul's Steeple from alto version to tenor.  I've got 2 slightly different versions - the differences maybe reflect an editor's choice, or maybe are just errors.  Out of interest, I looked at the violin version to see which it agreed with, but it had other differences, some of which probably reflect the different capabilities of the instrument.  Given that a lot of pre-baroque music wasn't very specific about instrumentation, the composers would probably have simply assumed that players would adapt according to their needs.  The Paul's Steeple I have in the complete Division Flute has 2 versions of the final division, one an octave below the other, but with some other minor changes that improve the "shape" of the line.

Bach certainly adapted his own music to suit different settings, so it's hard to believe he'd have been terribly upset by the idea of playing the partita as Sarah suggests.


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#3535 elemimele

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 06:11

I get a lot of fun in meeting lovely familiar tunes in new contexts, and it's amazing how varied they are. In IMSLP there is a printing of "The Quaker's opera", a sort of cheap knock-off of Beggar's opera, including the various popular tunes that were used to accompany it; playing through them, I realised one of them is "In a country garden", but it's greatly changed from Percy Grainger's version (Grainger's is prettier, more accomplished, but it's lovely to see its roots). The Miller of Dee is there too, more recognisably.

Here, meanwhile, is someone else's take on Daphne (clearly Van Eyck wasn't the only person who saw the possibility of variation; I think Sweelinck also did some but I don't know his). I particularly like anther version, this one, sung with recorder and theorbo: 

(I have a soft spot for this group, who have quietly produced some very tasteful and beautiful music in their corner of Germany). (Sorry, I think I've posted both of these links before; does anyone know how to do two hyperlinks in one post without resorting to pasting in complete links so they appear in full video form? On my browser it won't do it)


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#3536 Zixi

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 09:27

oag - Bonsor is very clear - you use the method that suits your hand. I do like people like that!

 

C# hasn't figured hugely for me either but b-flat has and I loathed it with a passion until this week when I realised I was playing it without thinking about it. I had to check that I really was fingering b-flat and not b-natural. It's taken me 2 years to reach that stage and I have played b-flat so much that even if I was given 10p for every time I played it I would still be a multi-millionaire and I'd buy a theorbo and a room to keep it in. Does it come apart somehow or do you need to hire a bus to transport it?  It's wonderful. It reminds me of Peter Gammond's comment about the French Horn that if it was straightened out it would be too long to take on a bus but one shouldn't try to prove this as they are expensive...


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#3537 elemimele

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 12:05

Anacrusis once commented that you send small kids to climb up them for the purpose of tuning.

They are certainly a very attractive instrument and highly appropriate with recorder; I would marry a theorbo player quite happily. High ceilings required. No, I believe they have to be transported full-size.


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#3538 Gran'piano

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 12:16

That's the advantage of an alphorn. It can be taken apart. I sometimes come across someone playing one in the fields or woods when I am out on my bike. Lovely sound and c a r r i e s well.
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#3539 Zixi

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 15:04

@Gran'piano smile.png

 

@elemimele - I hadn't thought about tuning!!! I do like the combination of recorder, theorbo and human voice though - beautifully matched. They don't seem to have released any CDs though - had a quick look at their site.


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#3540 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 15:28

Sorry, I think I've posted both of these links before; does anyone know how to do two hyperlinks in one post without resorting to pasting in complete links so they appear in full video form? On my browser it won't do it

 

Firstly, not a problem if you have posted the links before, it's lovely music and I for one always like it when people post links to music because it's usually something I don't know well or at all, and it's good to listen to something new.

 

Secondly, out of interest I tried posting a link to a youtube video and it came up just as a link, not an embedded video like yours.  Maybe it is just a browser issue though I'd have thought the software powering the forum would override that sort of consideration.  I can't see an option for posting an embedded video so there is something arbitrary going on.

 

Finally, on the subject of "can you post like this", is there any way of putting a flat sign in a post?  It doesn't strike me an an unreasonable requirement on a music forum, but I can't do it.  I can't remember if I've ever seen one.


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