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Recorder Thread!


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#5056 Dotty old crotchet

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 12:16

Re books and what we are playing.

I think the Pitts book is pretty good, although its not one of my collection of 6 (!) different method books. All of them have strengths and weaknesses. These things tend to go out of print, become ridiculously expensive, or go digital-only and the Bonsor method seems to have suffered all of these fates. If you have a teacher they might have a favourite they want you to use anyway.

I am currently learning the Schubert from Time Pieces because, as the recorder thread members have heard me say many times, I love Schubert, but for some reason I find it trickier than even some of the higher grade pieces. I think I am trying too hard to make it lovely because it's Schubert.
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#5057 Norway

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 12:47

Re the Yamaha coloured recorders: They are transparent and show all the condensation. I've ordered one Percussion Plus one (solid orange) and one Recorder Workshop one (solid green) - will report back on intonation and playability etc. A good price at £5 each - we'll see....


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#5058 elemimele

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 05:48

I won't be surprised if they're quite decent. Both seemed to be supplied with schools in mind, from reasonably decent places. And if you're producing in bulk, there's no reason why plastic recorders should be expensive. Early learning centre used to do one which was really quite good and in that sort of price range too. But it was rather a dull near-black colour, not exciting ranges of blues, purples and red!


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#5059 Largissimo

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 23:03

The Schubert Entr'acte: I'm also struggling with that one. The F to top C leap keeps going wrong, then I start losing the A too. Meanwhile, I'm happily playing a Grade 3 -rated Renaissance piece called "Wilson's Love," which has several trills and the dreaded first-octave C#.


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#5060 elemimele

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 08:51

It must be very hard to grade pieces. We are all so different. It's interesting how something that one person finds very hard, another will find very easy, and vice versa. I think maybe we are each somehow sympathetic to particular styles, that suit us. And of course there are those tricky technical things. There are always those pieces that ought not to be too difficult, that are mostly perfectly playable, except for one wretched bar where something happens that I can never get right, and which in my view suddenly change that piece, for me personally, from grade two to grade nine-and-a-half.

 

But isn't it satisfying having a go at these things, and enjoying working on each challenge they present!


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#5061 Norway

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 14:09

Here goes my cheap colourful recorder review!

Percussion Plus - no - not in tune, foot joint is fixed (and not a a good angle), low notes hard to get.

Recorder Workshop - yes - pretty good intonation, free blowing, sweet tone, in 3 sections, good solid feeling, easy low notes.


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#5062 elemimele

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 18:15

ooh, that's well worth knowing. Thanks for that. Being able to turn the bottom joint to the correct angle is quite important, and there's no excuse for being out of tune. Is it really badly out of tune? It's not German fingering or anything daft like that is it?


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#5063 Norway

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 19:16

Oh that sounds a bit technical! There was a fingering chart enclosed - I think it said Baroque/English fingering - it's what I normally do...

 

There is another Percussion Plus model available with 3 sections which might be better, but I'm happy with the Recorder Workshop one for that price - great sound. :) (And pretty and green!) 


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#5064 elemimele

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 09:12

Oh, it's not too technical. For those who are interested, it's a nice little story. Peter Harlan, who was a sort of German Arnold Dolmetsch, a maker of early-music instruments in the 1920's, decided to simplify the recorder by getting rid of the forked F, and making the scale play by removing each finger in turn. It meant kids could play little German folk tunes with few accidentals, in simple keys, very easily. But it made almost all the sharps and flats really hard to play, so overall it wasn't a great improvement; it just means that any kid who learnt the German fingering was faced with a massive extra task if they wanted to move beyond folk-tunes.

Unfortunately it didn't fall by the wayside as a historical curiosity, and you still find them today. Weirdly, they're not just things you get if you deliberately choose to buy them; they crop up by accident in low-end recorders, presumably copied from a German-fingered model by a company that didn't know what it was making, or made as such deliberately but then imported by someone who had no idea it's not normal here. The last one I found was a translucent blue one on sale in The Works.

 

They can be recognised because hole 5 is very small, and when you play a scale with normal fingering, you get two very-nearly-E's instead of an E and an F, which is most disconcerting!

 

Nice to know the Recorder Workshop one is good. There is a need for bulk purchase cheap recorders that look pretty for small kids, and it's sort of nice if they actually work well too!


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#5065 Norway

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 16:41

Thanks for the explanation. It is definitely a normal recorder. I've been playing it again today and comparing it with the normal Aulos school recorder (£14). The top C is a bit hit and miss and the Aulos is a bit smoother, but apart from that there's not much difference. Will be getting some festive green and red ones for Christmas presents methinks!  :xmasWreath:


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#5066 old_and_grumpy

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Posted Yesterday, 12:17

Just to add a note to the German fingering saga:

 

I have Edgar Hunt's book The Recorder And Its Music (quite an interesting read).  Hunt of course was deeply involved in the "resurrection" of the modern recorder, and knew the Dolmetsches personally, and he says Peter Harlan bought a set of very early Dolmetsch recorders soon after the family started making them and took them back to Germany without having been either given a fingering chart or told about the pitch of the instruments.  Harlan assumed that the fingering would be "regular" and that 01234--- would give Bb, but of course it didn't, so he further assumed that Dolmetsch didn't have a good sense of pitch, had got the instrument wrong, and went on to change it so the Bb was in tune when played with what he thought was the correct fingering!  The instruments were pitched in some sort of baroque pitch, a semitone lower than normal, so Harlan further assumed the alto and soprano were, respectively, in E and B which he found to be awkward keys, and set about making new instruments pitched in D and A as these lent themselves better to playing Handel.  The book does not record what happened to those, but obviously recorders in F and C were the ones that became popular in Germany, but with Harlan's fingering.  Hunt says that he was the person who gave the name English fingering and German fingering to the different systems, and also decided to stop importing the latter into the UK.

 

I have a single German fingering soprano - it's not a bad instrument, it is actually wooden and has a reasonably good tone.  I bought it on holiday in Poland a few years ago, not even realising till later that it didn't have baroque fingering.  It's not much use of course, but it's fun to play with from time to time.

 

Some time in the 1920s, I think, Hunt was given a Bressan consort by someone who had found it and didn't use it!!!  I should be so lucky as to know people who happened to have Bressan recorders lying around they didn't want.  You can now see his collection of instruments in the Bate Collection in Oxford - I went there once and it is magical, I recommend it highly to anyone who happens to be in Oxford with a few hours to spare.


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#5067 Norway

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Posted Today, 11:54

I remember a college group trip to the Bate Collection (students aged 16 - 18). Our rather conceited Head of Music decided to pick an argument with the chap showing us round about whether there were 7 or 8 notes in an octave. Cringe!


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#5068 Misterioso

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Posted Today, 17:04

Glowing praise from my recorder teacher today! :woot: :woot: :woot: :woot:

 

We have just begun work on 150 Classical Studies for Alto Recorder. The first study was fine....until we reached the small print underneath which read: "Also play in: F major / Eb major / Bb major / D major / E major / G major /Ab major / A major.

 

I hate transposing at sight. :(


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#5069 Largissimo

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Posted Today, 17:49

I've washed the head joint of my new tenor with washing-up liquid, which has vastly improved how long I can play it without clogging. Got hold of the soprano Time Pieces 1 book so I've got some actual pieces to play on it. It seems to help to practice the alto and the tenor in seperate sessions at this stage.


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