Playing high 'f' on alto

Home Forum Teaching and Learning Playing high 'f' on alto

This topic contains 7 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Mihaela Mack Mihaela Mack May 15, 2016 at 3:34 am.

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  • #268
    Profile photo of Ian Hayden
    Ian Hayden
    Participant

    I’m a fairly experienced amateur recorder player with a nagging problem. Although I can usually play a high ‘c’ cleanly on descant and tenor recorders, the similarly fingered ‘f’ note on my Moeck Rondo alto is problematic. Over the years I must’ve spent hours experimenting with various partial thumb/thumbnail positions in the thumb-hole along with tonguing adjustments without much progress.

    Some practical advice from players who have mastered this particular note would be appreciated. I’m also wondering if modifiying the recorder’s hole geometry might help solve the issue. Can anyone recommend an alto model that has a stable, clear high ‘f’ note?

    Thanks, Ian

    Alto & tenor recorders with Killcare Players
    #269
    Profile photo of recorderoz
    recorderoz
    Participant

    After 35 years, the high F remains a work in progress for me.

    One thing which has helped is simple exercises which uses this note frequently. For example, the first 6 notes of the C scale, starting from the high C. Also a steady breath will help. I find concern about not hitting the note affects my air flow at precisely the wrong time.

    Of course, it could always be an excuse to upgrade your instrument. The Moeck Rondo is a decent intermediate instrument, however a more expensive model will probably be easier to play. Assuming you can afford it of course.

    I see you’re in NSW Australia. So am I. If an instrument upgrade is feasible, perhaps a call to Zana Clarke at Orpheus Music would be the go.. Details at the Orpheus Music site

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 2 months ago by Profile photo of recorderoz recorderoz.
    Mostly alto, plays with Balmain Baroque
    #271
    Profile photo of Norman Waksler
    Norman Waksler
    Participant

    I have a Moeck Rondo and though the high F requires a little care, it definitely plays, so it may be that your particular Rondo is simply not made well. I play Mollenhauer Denners otherwise, and they’re fine up and down. Oddly, I have a Mollenhauer Soprano on which I have the inverse of your problem, in which the high C simply won’t play no matter what I do.Hope you find a nice high F somewhere.

    #272
    Profile photo of recorderoz
    recorderoz
    Participant

    Here’s another theory. Every day the recorder world is granted a given number of high F’s. Once they’ve been used up, any further attempts cause problems…

    Mostly alto, plays with Balmain Baroque
    #273
    Profile photo of Ian Hayden
    Ian Hayden
    Participant

    Yes, I’m definitely ready to upgrade my alto. Who else can suggest an alto that sounds a high F easily?

    I’d like to ask Norman how the tone of his Denner compares to the Moeck Rondo. My Rondo has a nice mellow tone but I think the low notes are a bit too quiet for ensemble playing.

    Alto & tenor recorders with Killcare Players
    #274
    Profile photo of Norman Waksler
    Norman Waksler
    Participant

    I have two Denners, an olive wood and a pallisander. The pallisander definitely has a fuller sound than the Olive; it also has a stronger low F. That said, I just compared the low notes of those two and the Rondo (maple) and I don’t think the Rondo is significantly softer. The big difference is that the Rondo tone is cruder. In either case I don’t play in an ensemble so I can’t speak to the Denners effectiveness there, though they are advertised as being suitable. I do play duets and they go perfectly well there.

    #276
    Profile photo of recorderoz
    recorderoz
    Participant

    Generally a more expensive wood (e.g. pallisander, boxwood) will sound better and feel better than the lower cost maple or pearwood.

    Mostly alto, plays with Balmain Baroque
    #373
    Profile photo of Mihaela Mack
    Mihaela Mack
    Participant

    I have a Moeck Rottenburgh (pearwood) alto and I have the same problem with the high F. It’s a hit or miss which is quite frustrating. It’s much easier for me to consistently hit that note on the pearwood Mollenhauer Denner or plastic recorders like Aulos 709BW (Haka) or the Dolmetsch plastic Nova. But overall I much prefer the tone of the Moeck to the Mollenhauer. The low register on the Moeck Rottenburgh is quite strong. The Mollenhauer, on the other hand, has a stronger high register but I am less than impressed with the tone that I can produce on it. I am much more satisfied with how I sound on the Moeck, except for the high F unfortunately.

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