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Recorder Thread!


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#3751 elemimele

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Posted 04 November 2019 - 12:48

ooh, yes, I see what you mean. It's a bit odd that Wikipedia specifically mentions it as being used in the making of recorders - it's not a wood that's advertised by anyone who makes recorders, so if the statement is true, it must refer to generic wooden recorders of the paint-with-orange-glaze era. Does anyone know what the cheap hohner recorders are made of? From memory, they look darker than lime.

I think whoever mentioned finger-nails was probably right. It's a beautifully easy wood to cut with great accuracy, even for small details, but it's not very hard.


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#3752 Zixi

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Posted 04 November 2019 - 17:24

I hadn't thought of the 'generic' as an explanation! I like that one!

 

As an aside, thanks for the desert island music suggestions, elemimele and oag!


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#3753 elemimele

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 23:18

Sarah Jeffery has very bravely posted a bit of flute-reminiscence. She spent her teenage years progressing through flute to become quite a decent player before breaking her thumb, changing course, and never looking back at it. It was interesting to hear her thoughts about flute and recorder, and it made me think. I'd imagine every flute player in the world began with a recorder, so there must be plenty who can compare the two. And yet there are not many who excel at both. There are quite a few who can play both at a professional level (Annabel Knight for example) but most seem to excel on one or the other. It's a bit like my favourite ocarina player, Vera Unfried, who I know can also play a recorder very well, and yet on ocarina she excites me - on recorder she's pretty decent but doesn't make my blood fizz like she can on an ocarina. There are exceptions who genuinely excel; Francois Lazarevitch overflows with terrifying skill and taste on both.

Is it really hard to be good at flute and recorder? Are they so different that being good on one makes it hard to be good at the other? Do they need different personalities? Do their techniques get in the way of each other?


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#3754 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 10:23

I used to swim a lot, and was doing so when Michael Phelps got his first big haul of olympic medals.  I remember that at the time there were people who virtually accused him of cheating because he had incredibly big feet which worked like flippers and gave him an "unfair" advantage.  Of course nobody really thought it was cheating, but it did give an advantage, and all other things being equal, no amount of training would ever result in growing bigger feet.

I mention the swimming thing just because it's simple and clear cut - I've just looked up Michael Phelps and he apparently has size 14 feet plus an arm span of 2 metres and it's easy to measure these things, if less easy to quantify their exact benefit.

When it comes to someone like Mozart, nothing can be measured, yet most people would agree that he had some sort of very special talent that no amount of study or training would ever bring most people anywhere near.

In a rather roundabout way, that brings me to my point: I think you have to have real talent to excel on an instrument (I will never be a Bosgraaf or a Petri no matter how much I might try).  Some people seem to be fortunate enough that they can excel on more than one instrument, but maybe that is simply a rarer talent than being able to excel on just the one. 


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#3755 elemimele

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 11:45

yup, Annabel Knight is quite special too on a flute. It was quite funny to see Sarah Jeffery's reassessment of the flute from the point of view of a recorder player - what's all that keywork for, and why are you scared of open finger holes? 


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#3756 Maizie

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 11:47

Lesson next Tuesday (26th).

Flap, flap, flap, panic, panic, panic, I guess I'd better choose something to have done some work on before I go but I have no idea what!  That's 90% of the reason I need a teacher.  Ah, well, can take a couple of big books with me and a list of all my music, and fall back on an old faithful piece or two in the meantime (Bigaglia sonata in a minor will almost certainly be one!)


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#3757 elemimele

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 13:58

... this is why it's so useful to be good at sight-reading. Maximises the chance of getting away with things that are suboptimally prepared... (though - I hate to say it - likely to fail with any decent teacher, who will pretty soon diagnose what's going on).

Hey, look on the bright side; struggling to choose must mean that you're good at lots of things, rather than just a set piece!

 

Irrelevant question: anyone know what Irish whistle players did before plastic? They all have those icky-looking plastic head thingies now, but surely a culture routed in beautiful country craft must have had something that isn't based on modern polymer chemistry? (I'm not going over to the dark-side and becoming a penny-whistle player; I'm just curious. Good players do amazing things with them, and given that they have neither flexibility of embouchure nor a thumbhole, I can't see how it's possible).


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#3758 Gran'piano

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 14:20

Tin whistle in my youth. You can still get them. When I looked up 'tin whistle' to make sure they were still available, the ad actually showed an  'Irish tin whistle'. They were also called 'Penny whistles'.


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#3759 elemimele

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 17:14

thanks for that - yes, on being less lazy I did find a picture of one that looks like the labium is formed by denting the metal of the tube, and the windway seemed to be made by a wooden block in the metal tube; there was another picture where the whole thing was clearly made from a metal tube, with dented labium, but I couldnt see what was making the windway. They must have required a bit of skill to get the lip and windway right.

Maizie, do let us know what you've chosen!


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#3760 kenm

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 00:48

[...]

When it comes to someone like Mozart, nothing can be measured, yet most people would agree that he had some sort of very special talent that no amount of study or training would ever bring most people anywhere near.[...]

 

 

I don't think you need to argue that Mozart (b. Jan.1756) was unusually talented genetically.  What made him different was that he was born into a musical family and spent his early years listening to professional performers playing the music of his time.  Every new-born learns at an incredible rate, unless they are very unlucky with their genes or their environment.  One can argue also that he was not unique as a precocious composer.  What he wrote as he entered his teens is less surprising than what Mendelssohn and Korngold were writing at the same age.  He wrote nothing as amazing as Mendelsson's string octet until he was in his mid-twenties, The works by which we now judge him as exceptional followed early ones of lesser quality on which he learnt his craft: the operas with Idomeneo (1781); the piano concertos with the "little A major" (1782); mixed chamber music with the piano and wind quintet (1784), and the piano trios (1785 and 86); string chamber music with the "Haydn" (dedicated) quartets (1783) and the C major quintet (1783); the three great wind "Serenades" probably with K 375 (1781)* the orchestral works with the Sinfonia Concertante (1779).  The earlier works were "correct" and conformed to the conventions of the time.  His musical imagination came to fruition later,

* K388, the C minor is formally more like a symphony than a serenade and is now thought to have been the last composed.

He travelled widely, continued learning about music styles and new instruments wherever he went, and composed quickly and copiously, so that the sophistication of his works kept increasing.


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#3761 elemimele

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 13:00

who's this Mozart chap anyway?


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#3762 Maizie

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 18:05

Maizie, do let us know what you've chosen!

 

Van Eyck - Doen Daphne (Amadeus volume 1, number 3).  I've clearly played it before as I have pencil marks all over, I can just about manage a wobbly modo 3 and haven't looked at modo 4 yet.  So a balance of familiar but needs work.

Bach - Sonata in F, BVW 1031.  I think I did one movement of this for grade 5 (either the exam itself, or if I chose something else in the end, this was a serious contender at some stage).  I remember my teacher at the time letting/making me have a go at the other movements, which were way ahead of my capabilities [this was his modus operandi - we used the syllabus as an idea of things to work on, but if the syllabus piece was part of a larger work [be it a movement of a sonata or a whole piece in a 'book of many pieces'], then all of it had to be bashed through at least once!)  Not sure how far ahead of my capabilities it will turn out to be.  But again, a bit familiar but a bit different.

 

So in both cases, a bit of comfort but a bit of pushing forward.  I am intending tomorrow or Thursday to write down some of the thoughts I have and try to have something vaguely comprehensible to say to my teacher (knowing that she is a teacher, not a therapist, but also knowing that if it's to work, I need to be able to explain what I need and to some extent why I find it so hard to go it alone).


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#3763 elemimele

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 23:00

Oh, nice choices. I feel so sorry for that Daphne, because no one ever seems to play it - and yet it's lovely. If the third set didn't exist, it would probably be one of the highlights of the Lust-Hof. It was the thing that made me fall for van Eyck (I played the tune from it, and the tune of the Lord's Prayer before it, and nothing else from that volume for a loooong time, if I remember), but it also gave me a massive panic, because when I listened to Daphne on YouTube, I couldn't work out why what people were playing wasn't what I was reading. I only had volume 1 at that stage, and anacrusis kindly explained the fact there are three Daphnes.

I don't know the Bach - had to go and find it on YouTube, but it's gorgeous. Nice!

Hey, a teacher can be a therapist too; their job is to diagnose what we find hard in music and help us with it. Being honest with our thoughts is a vital part of communication, and nothing works without communication.

I have messed up massively. I decided that it was time to meet Quantz first hand. I do speak some German, so having found a cheap Amazon version I got it without worrying too much about language. Turns out it's a facsimile of an original edition all in Pointy Gothic script that I find soooo hard to read (made worse by archaic spellings) so it's going to take me about two decades to read. Ah well, maybe it will become more familiar with practice.

edit: off-topic - falling in love with Daphne also made me find this, a set of variations on the same tune for organ. This, to my mind, is the organ near its best. It's so lovely enjoying a tune in different contexts. Hope you like it too.


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#3764 Maizie

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 10:53

Decided to remind myself how 1031 should sound.  Soon remembered how hard it'd been to find a recorder version back in the day (as opposed to the flute version), and was reacquainted with this astonishing work: https://baroquenow.bandcamp.com/

 

Also, I'm taking the 'Baroque Solos' book along with me to the lesson, because there's a lifetime's worth in there.  And I have an up to date list of all the music I own.  I'm guessing there will be some overlap between 'what I own' and 'what teacher has on hand' if we strike off in a totally different direction :D


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#3765 elemimele

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 17:34

Wendy Carlos meets recorder? That's quite a remarkable version - I am not sure quite what to think about it, but I'm very glad it exists and enjoyed listening to it. Yes, when I went looking for it, I couldn't find anything by anyone I knew, but found a thoroughly decent student-recital video.


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