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Recorder Thread!


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#5101 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 10:35

Compensating for that takes a lot of skill and ingenuity ... I suspect a really top-notch recorder player like Michaela Petri is constantly adjusting her playing technique on the fly to produce the best tone for each situation.

 

I take your point, but it still seems to me to be a situation where MP is able to compensate for situations that would cause degradation of her tone quality (forked notes etc) and thus maintain a standard that I can't attain even in the most ideal circumstances.  If you take one of the recorder's "good" notes, say something like lower G on a tenor, and you're not aiming for anything other than standard volume, then most of the "distractions" are absent and you could concentrate on getting the best tone quality you possibly can.  With a recorder, there doesn't seem to be much that can be done, yet MP still gets a better tone than I do.

 

 

So, since she says relax throat and mouth, I infer that changes in the shape of your throat and mouth are supposed to affect tone.

Do you do that on the clarinet too, OAG?

 

 

Yes, you can change the way you are blowing, and change the sound.  And I take the point about being relaxed but believe me, I am a pretty relaxed player - any more relaxed and I'd fall asleep.

 

It all seems like one of those mystery wrapped in an enigma situations.  There is that ongoing debate about whether the type of wood makes a difference to the sound, and there are standard tropes along the lines of "harder woods give a clearer and more projecting sound" that I'm not sure I believe at all.  There is a Sarah Jefferey video on which she tries a whole lot of alto recorders (sent to her by EMS I think) and she gets quite excited about the tonal differences between them which, quite honestly, I can't hear.  Maybe that's just my ears, yet I can hear that MP gets a tone I can hardly aspire to.  I feel that the way a recorder is made should mean that it could be played mechanically via an air pump that produced an optimised air stream that always gave the best tone, but it probably wouldn't.  So what is it that she is doing???
 


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#5102 Dotty old crotchet

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 11:40

  So what is it that she is doing???

Maybe the answer is she is playing a very expensive, handmade recorder.
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#5103 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 15:17

 

Maybe the answer is she is playing a very expensive, handmade recorder.

 

 

I have a CD of MP playing with Lars Hannibal, possibly not the exact same piece I heard them playing on the radio, but on it she plays:

- a Moeck (Rotty I think)

- a Ralph Ehlert tenor

- a Mollenhauer modern alto

 

I have never tried the last of these.  I no longer own a Rottenburgh but when I did, it didn't sound the same.  I actually do own an Ehlert tenor, and it doesn't sound like it does when MP plays it.

 

Excuses, excuses... maybe she is playing in a room with a better acoustic than I am?


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#5104 elemimele

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 22:41

I'm quite sure that a good player can play better, but to clear up the other factors: (1) good players are likely to have well-engineered recordings; our instrument is quite difficult to record well, and sounds horrible when recorded badly; (2) good players have expensive instruments, which definitely sound better; (3) and they're probably not playing in a tiny kitchen with a terrible acoustic; and (4) they quite often have gorgeous, well-chosen accompaniments being played by musicians as good as themselves.

But I've been thinking about what makes recorders sound terrible, and listening to my own examples. I make the most horrible noises when I'm trying to play something that's too difficult. Michala Petri got asked in an interview, I think, what she thinks about when playing. She admitted that sometimes it's her shopping list. The point is, she's so good, she doesn't need to use all her brain-cells just to get the notes right. She can play extremely well on autopilot. If you're playing something you find easy, either because it is easy, or because you're Michala Petri and everything is easy, then your tone will be beautiful because nothing is forced.


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#5105 AdLibitum

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Posted 17 July 2022 - 07:55

That still wouldn't explain the differences between different (good) recorder players, though, would it? Listening to MP and Kristine West, for example, they sound quite different to my inexpert ears. It could of course be due to the recorders they choose, but I cannot imagine it would be just that.
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#5106 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 17 July 2022 - 08:51

elemimele: I agree with your point about not being forced, as I often sound terrible when I'm trying to play something difficult.  But I don't get the sort of tone I'd like even when I'm not -  not bad, and (a little) better on some recorders, but not exactly up there with the greats.  Maybe it is partly down to things like the acoustic and the quality of the accompaniment, but I don't think it can be entirely.  I'm not a very good clarinet player but sometimes I can get what I think is a really good tone out of it, better than I ever really get out of a recorder.

 

adlibitum: also agree that different players sound different.  I'm listening to Tabea Debus as I type this and her sound is also amazing - so much so that Mrs G, who is not a particular fan of the recorder, actually noticed it and said she likes it - best recorder music I have.  The CD is Ohrwurm and I highly recommend it if you are not familiar with it.  It ticks all the boxes in terms of making things as good as they can possibly be: she plays an impressive list of recorders, accompaniment a varied mix of viola da gamba, theorbo and guitar, great recording quality, but I doubt if I could achieve her sound quality if I were dropped into the same situation.

 

The MP I heard is available here https://www.rte.ie/r...y-15-july-2022/ if anyone wants to check it out (and you might not think it sounds anywhere near as good as I do).  It starts just after 1hr 12mins.

 

My favourite players are MP, Kristine West and Tabea Debus; maybe I just lack a woman's touch.


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#5107 Largissimo

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Posted 20 July 2022 - 21:10

I'll say one thing for the weather. I've not had to warm my mouthpiece up lately....


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#5108 Dotty old crotchet

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Posted 21 July 2022 - 09:05

My (plastic) recorders quite liked the weather too. High notes were wonderfully effortless and I played longer than usual without detriment as I was nicely warmed up too. But such advantages come with costs... high notes were irremediably sharp (very sharp!) and my fingers were sticking to the holes.
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#5109 AdLibitum

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Posted 21 July 2022 - 20:16

OaG, thanks so much for introducing me to Tabea Debus! I'm a big fan of Kristine West too so it's great to find someone similar. (Similar isn't the word I'm after, I don’t mean to imply that they're copies of each other, butI can't think of a better one.)

I've thoroughly enjoyed Tabea's video for children (some virtuoso playing there and a lovely explanation of recorders). https://m.youtube.co...h?v=XpHTgDb2yVA
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#5110 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 22 July 2022 - 09:51

AdLibitum: glad you liked Tabea Debus, and thank you for the link - I hadn't seen that video before.


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#5111 Norway

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Posted 26 July 2022 - 08:55

Bumping down the spam.


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#5112 Dotty old crotchet

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Posted 01 August 2022 - 06:40

How fast do you move your fingers and how is this related to the speed of the music?

I seem to move at the tempo of the music. So when the music is slow my movements tend to be slow.

Clearly, gaps between notes don't have to be long, just because the music is slow. So I can't see why, when I'm playing slow music, I shouldn't be able to move at the same speed I can manage for faster tempo music. But I don't seem to be able to get my head/fingers to actually do it.

How could I go about practising this?

No doubt the above statements apply to tongue as well as fingers....
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#5113 AdLibitum

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Posted 01 August 2022 - 07:08

In harp playing you need to first place a finger on a string and then pluck it - two separate movements. My teacher sometimes gets me to place as quickly as I can when playing slowly and then play in time, "later". (This is to help play faster in the end.) So maybe it eould work on recorder too, mentally separating the two actions? (I know this isn't very clear, but hopefully you get the gist despite my incoherence!)
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#5114 Dotty old crotchet

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Posted 02 August 2022 - 09:54

Thanks for that AdLibitum. It's not at all incoherent and gives me encouragement that this is something I should and can tackle.
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