just getting started with recorder

Recorder Forum Home Page Forum Recorder Makes, Models and Maintenance just getting started with recorder

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    Carol Wazlavek

    I’ve played harpsichord for many years (I keep mine at 440, sadly no transposer), in a few baroque groups, always wanted to play recorder. Found one at a yard sale and trying to identify it for one – not sure how to measure it, but the entire instrument is 19″. I would think it is a Baroque alto, but it has a lever on the bottom hole. Open hole plays halfway between G and Ab, sorry, my cats are freaking out I can’t figure it out any better than that right now! I’m looking for a note chart, instructions on achieving all the notes. Thank you for your guidance!

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    Carol Wazlavek

    I need to update my own post! I found the books that the previous owner had – they are Buchtel method book for C recorder, Baroque system, Soprano and tenor. I ggogled Buchtel tenor recorder and it looks pretty close to what I have. After a bit of struggling trying to completely cover the bottom un-levered hole, it does play C when all the holes are covered. So I think my confusion as to what this really is was complicated by my small hands and deficient finger-pad fingers! This is why I really can’t play violin or guitar – I don’t have enough padding on my fingertips.

    Ken In Dallas

    Carol… The length of your instrument suggests it is an alto. It isn’t uncommon for players with smaller hands to have a key installed such as your has for the lowest note – an ‘F.’ With all holes covered, without excessive pressure, and a fairly gentle blow into the ‘beak’ at the top, it should play an F. Do make sure that all the sections are pushed all the way in when you put it together.

    The grain of the wood and carving suggest it’s a decent instrument. You might look on the front for a makers marking. In your picture I believe I can make out, “Made in Germany” just above the upper joint.

    In writing as we are here, a person cannot tell exactly why you’re getting an Aflat or G. There are recorders made for advanced players for just about every note of the scale as their lowest notes. An air leak at the joint from a worn cork or threading can alter the lowest note. There are also instruments made for a variety of tunings for ‘A.’ I don’t have much experience with instruments made for a lower A tuning, but it doesn’t sound like your in that kind of ballpark – at least till you can get a clean lowest note played.

    It’s doubtful that the method book you have for C instruments will be of use. Many petite women with small hands find they can play an alto without a key for the lowest note, so don’t jump to any conclusions, but you are harpsichordist and likely can figure your way to playing the instrument on your own. I don’t trust people in places like Guitar Center to touch any instrument I own or to identify yours. Your next best path after your own detective work would be to go online and find a local recorder society or club. After that would be a teacher, even as a ‘walk in’ to a local college woodwind music professor.

    Right now I’d say from your posting you have a single-F-key alto of decent quality. There are double-key (F,F#) instruments, but there aren’t that many low F#s around in the literature to warrant disparing of your instrument.

    I’m likely covering too much ground and being pedantic, but for what it’s worth that’s all the thinking from this reasonably advanced player. Best of luck. Nice Find! — k —

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