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Recorder Thread!


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#3721 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 03 October 2019 - 12:52

That sounds like a really lovely day, and very good value too. The world is not a bad place, sometimes!

 

Absolutely correct - on all three counts!


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#3722 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 15:39

Famous People And The Recorder - Part (er.. One?)

 

Jonny Greenwood (to be absolutely honest, I had not heard of him, but his best known role is as Radiohead's guitarist, which is actually quite famous) reveals that the first instrument he learned, which he still loves and plays, was the recorder: https://www.theguard...classical-label

 

He sounds like a very talented musician.  Another person added to the long list of those I envy.


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#3723 Zixi

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 10:06

Nice! :-)

 

I've been listening to The High Road to Kilkenny - Les Musiciens de Saint-Julian. elemimele mentioned Francois Lazarevitch a few posts ago. Anyway, it's them without the recorders but if you like (17th & 18th C) Gaelic; then it is - with much joie de vivre. I do like Lazarevitch on the recorder though! He seems to have an easy infinity with it.

 

I hope everyone is well.


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#3724 elemimele

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 22:27

I'm not Gaelic, so I don't know if he does it right, but I personally think Lazarevitch plays Gaelic music in a way that makes me melt at the knees, it's really good.

So, my recorder discovery for the day - and kicking myself for not having realised this earlier - is from Telemann's 10th flute fantasie. The presto is definitely aspirational rather than achievable for me, but it's a wonderfully fun piece to play, completely unhinged, with its bouncing, mad melody and chromatic moves. It also has a top F# - in fact two, with a B in the middle. Given that the F# requires the blocking-of-end-with-knee thing, and the speed is presto, this is not a happy situation. The B in the middle should be played as half-thumb, 123-5, but an alternative fingering for B is half-thumb, 1234 and block-the-end. So there is no need for a rapid unblocking-and-reblocking, just keep the end blocked with knee for three successive notes and play the B in the middle with this alternative. I never thought I'd be playing a perfectly respectable normal note with an alternative fingering that requires a knee...

Since Lazarevitch has come up again, I'm reminded of traverso. I've been listening to quite a bit of traverso lately, especially Hotteterre, and although it's very beautiful, after a while I've found some of the recordings rather hard to bear; all the ornaments, so carefully written, so carefully explained, start to feel very laboured, and the tune disappears under a morass of squiggles. It feels like listening to someone's PhD thesis on French Baroque ornamentation, rather than simply enjoying good music. Recorder seems to me to have an advantage over traverso of being able to sustain a line better with less breathing; when Hotteterre's already heavily-articulated melodies get punctuated by a need to breathe, they feel very broken-up. Lazarevitch transcends all this. But here's someone else, Johanna Bartz, playing him with a beautiful freshness and lightness, completely un-Lazarevitch but very very beautiful in a different way. Her ornaments do what it says on the tin: ornament, without obscuring the line. Lovely. 


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#3725 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 09:31

Moeck's website (see https://www.moeck.co...g-diapason.html) seems to suggest (their English is almost as wobbly as my German) that pre-twentieth century recorders were often longer than modern instruments, and this feature allowed the playing of high F#/C# without having to block the end.  I have no idea how universally true that might be, but perhaps at least common enough that composers using those notes would have expected players to have such an instrument at their disposal.

 

All our local pubs have trad (Irish) music on in summer (it's what the tourists want).  I was in one a few Sundays ago that had a band on.  Coincidentally, one of the groups of tourists turned out to consist of 3 musicians from Brittany, and they had instruments with them.  One had a drum, one a sort of harp-like thing that was played horizontally on her lap, and one opened a box that turned out to contain 4 or 5 "folk oboes", and they treated us to an impromptu concert of trad Bretton music.  They were really excellent, and it was a great way to round off the evening.

 

Thanks for the Bartz link, it is lovely playing.


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#3726 elemimele

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 09:46

oooh, that sounds a lovely experience!

It'd be good to hear the Moeck recorder; my plastic aulos has on its fingering chart a fingering for top F# but it's maker's-optimism rather than reality; it's nowhere near F#, it's far too sharp (they suggest half-thumb, 1-34-67; the 7 makes slightly more difference on the aulos than my other cheap recorders, but nowhere near enough). I found once some software that suggests fingerings, rcdigits, and it suggests a fingering of half-thumb, all other holes blocked, but let 2 or (preferably) 5 leak slightly. This actually works!! I'm stunned. The tone is not as good as end-blocking, but it can be made very nearly in tune, and it's not totally awful. I have yet to see if I can make it work in real life rather than trying individual notes.


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#3727 Zixi

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 10:16

The impromptu concert sounds fun! There's a wonderful crossover between that and the Gaelic musicians and the Kabyle. Idir has worked with Karen Matheson for example... you should hear his A Vava Inouva sang by her - it's at once very different from the original and yet so right! There was also his Les Chasseurs de Lumières which fused traditional Kabyle music with the Breton. Alan Stivell sang on one of the tracks. I came across his work as a student and fell in love with the celtic harp. I must admit, I do like the fusion - it works very well and I end up thinking it must be very troubadour like... The Kabyle musicans also use something which is very recorder-sounding but isn't... I wonder if those are your 'folk oboes' OaG??? I've always wanted one!!!! :whistling:

 

Off to listen to Bartz... :)


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#3728 Flossie

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 13:14

oooh, that sounds a lovely experience!
It'd be good to hear the Moeck recorder; my plastic aulos has on its fingering chart a fingering for top F# but it's maker's-optimism rather than reality; it's nowhere near F#, it's far too sharp (they suggest half-thumb, 1-34-67; the 7 makes slightly more difference on the aulos than my other cheap recorders, but nowhere near enough).


Try half-holing 2 and 5 as well. This gives a reasonable top F# on my Denner (although it's not as good on my plastic 300 series Yamaha). That said, if you are going between F-F# then I find that a leg stop is often better as there are a lot of fingers which need to move for the alternative fingering.
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#3729 elemimele

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 13:58

yes, for the F#-B-F# thing my first effort at the half-holing approach was a bit of a disaster because like you said, Flossie, a lot of fingers are flying around all over the place, and at least one needs to be positioned quite carefully (it's fairly easy to block a hole - it's all or nothing - but delicately not quite blocking a hole is a lot more tricksy, for me at any rate). Nice to know about it though, and I'll keep trying. Who knows where else it will be useful? Top F# really is the one weakness of the recorder that I find hard to love - everything else can be embraced as part of its character.


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#3730 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 14:21

I've done a little bit of testing of the long diapason enables top C# business. 

 

I have 5 tenor recorders.  One of these is a Moeck Hotteterre, which is one of the tenors (the other is the Ehlert) that they describe as long diapason.  Measuring from the front of the block to the end of the foot, the Hotteterre is - give or take a mm - 580mm and does a C# quite comfortably with standard fingering.  My plastic Yamaha is virtually identical in size and hole spacings and also does C#, with the same fingering as the Moeck.

 

My Aulos (Robin keyless model) is 550mm and won't play C# with any fingering I have tried.  I can't find a fingering chart for it so don't know what, if anything, Aulos suggest for C#.  I don't have the more expensive Aulos tenor so can't say anything about that.  My Kobliczek renaissance tenor is also 550mm; it does give a fingering for C# but it's hopelessly sharp.  My home made Cranmore-ish tenor is shortest of all at 545mm.  No fingering chart for that but nothing I've tried gives a C#.

 

Thus my very small survey suggests Moeck are correct that you need the long diapason to get a good C# without recourse to knee action.  The only sub-tenor sizes Moeck offer with long diapason are the Ehlerts, alto and soprano, and presumably these are capable of top F# and C# respectively.  They are not cheap options though.


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#3731 Zixi

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 06:31

I wish I understood the physics of sound better than I do... But I do understand capitalism and I think that recorders are extremely economical if you compare them with a harp or a grand piano! :lol:

 

I came across a discussion of linden (lime, genus tilia) which suggested that it was a good wood for making recorders because of its acoustic properties. But I have never seen mention of it anywhere (that I remember) as something that recorders might be made of. Anyone???


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#3732 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 09:58

There is an excellent intro to flute acoustics online at https://newt.phys.un...eacoustics.html

 

The person is a flute player but a recorder is, after all, a duct flute.

 

There is a nice little video of him playing his flarinet and clute (really!) here: https://newt.phys.un....clarinets.html


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#3733 elemimele

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 15:45

I'm not 100% convinced that acoustic properties are of any huge relevance in recorder woods; ability to work accurately, resilience to humidity-cycling, and surface properties are really important, but the density/elasticity characteristics that make a xylophone don't matter to a recorder (ignoring avant-garde finger-tappers). It's very easy to make a truly ear-splitting whistle out of balsa-wood, which as a pathetic density, little elasticity and no strength. I don't know how well lime stands up to changing humidity? It's certainly good for carving; turners often don't like it much, not because it's hard to turn, but because they want interesting grainy patterns and twirly stuff, whereas it's usually very plain and dull (which might be perfect for a recorder).

 

Lovely link, o-a-g, thanks!


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#3734 Zixi

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 20:40

oag - I agree with elemimele. Thank you! Perfect! :-)

 

elemimele - it's not a wood I've ever thought about and in fact, I've just looked at pictures of it. It's a very straight grain! From descriptions, it sounds quite soft (nice colour though) so I bet anyone who was vigorous with the half-holing would quickly gouge it.


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#3735 elemimele

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 21:20

I hadn't considered fingernail resistance, but that's a very, very valid reason for selecting harder woods!


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