Reply To: "bad" note

Recorder Forum Home Page Forum Teaching and Learning "bad" note Reply To: "bad" note

Ken In Dallas

Hi, I think most people would consider me an advanced player, and I am bugged by the same problem with my one-year old Mollenhauer Denner Alto. When I started playing recorder in the 1960s, Moeck was the most desired recorder and there were not so many hand makers as today. I still own and play some of those Moecks and (at least mine) have no ‘reedy-ness,’ but I find them (slightly) less in tune and versatile (straight windways and simpler tapers.) I don’t fully understand it all, but some back then were Mean Temperament, tuned by ear by the maker but less in tune for some infrequent keys. I believe modern recorders are most often of equal temperament and are designed and manufactured with greater computer (accuracy) use.

My Denner has a few annoying ‘reedy’ notes too. I hate it; I hate them. So I guess I’m leading up to saying that even modern recorders are problematic to modern musicians and student musicians. Bach would have killed for a keyboard as Equally Tempered and today’s cheapest Fender (student) electric guitar. Recorders are Ancient Instruments that eventually lead up to the development of the modern transverse flute along a path of many, many changes and improvements. The sound of a recorder is just uneven in character. It’s the sound we love. Take a look at all the ‘plumbing’ on a bassoon, oboe, or clarinet. It’s all to even things out.

All that said, this forum is not the place for your definitive answer. I’m in the States. Here, the manufacturer’s warranty representative (Von Huene’s, Boston) told me on the phone they’ll re-voice a new (with proper paperwork of purchase) recorder once within two years of date of purchase. To be honest, I don’t know ABSOLUTELY if that reediness is a feature or a flaw by Von Huene’s abilities or definition. I don’t know if the re-voicing policy covers Mollenhauer ‘Canta’ instruments as they might be considered ‘Student’ or entry level. I do know that my instrument and my opinions of certain notes have changed wildly while breaking the instrument in and while playing it on dry vs rainy days. I can’t even tell you for sure that re-voicing will make things better. If it doesn’t, I’ll likely purchase a new Moeck (but in-person after the Pandemic.) I’m lucky. I can afford a Von Huene or Prescott if needed, but again when I’m able to audition before purchasing. I bought the Denner from a vendor I’ve used for over 50 years – but without hearing it and based solely on the maker’s reputation.

So… I apologize that my answer is insufficient to your problem, but I wish you to know you are not alone in your frustrations and offer what I’m doing to resolve the same problem. I don’t know where you live. You’ll have to investigate and find your own path – but you are not wrong in what you hear and what you question. Best of luck. — k —