Recorder
Overview
 

The recorder is a woodwind
Woodwind instrument
A woodwind instrument is a musical instrument which produces sound when the player blows air against a sharp edge or through a reed, causing the air within its resonator to vibrate...

 musical instrument
Musical instrument
A musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can serve as a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates back to the...

 of the family known as fipple
Fipple
A fipple is a constricted mouthpiece common to many end-blown woodwind instruments, such as the tin whistle and the recorder. These instruments are known variously as fipple flutes, duct flutes, or tubular-ducted flutes.-How it works:...

 flute
Flute
The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening...

s
or internal duct flutes—whistle-like instruments which include the tin whistle
Tin whistle
The tin whistle, also called the penny whistle, English Flageolet, Scottish penny whistle, Tin Flageolet, Irish whistle and Clarke London Flageolet is a simple six-holed woodwind instrument. It is an end blown fipple flute, putting it in the same category as the recorder, American Indian flute, and...

. The recorder is end-blown and the mouth of the instrument is constricted by a wooden plug, known as a block or fipple. It is distinguished from other members of the family by having holes for seven fingers (the lower one or two often doubled to facilitate the production of semitones) and one for the thumb of the uppermost hand.
Encyclopedia

The recorder is a woodwind
Woodwind instrument
A woodwind instrument is a musical instrument which produces sound when the player blows air against a sharp edge or through a reed, causing the air within its resonator to vibrate...

 musical instrument
Musical instrument
A musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can serve as a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates back to the...

 of the family known as fipple
Fipple
A fipple is a constricted mouthpiece common to many end-blown woodwind instruments, such as the tin whistle and the recorder. These instruments are known variously as fipple flutes, duct flutes, or tubular-ducted flutes.-How it works:...

 flute
Flute
The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening...

s
or internal duct flutes—whistle-like instruments which include the tin whistle
Tin whistle
The tin whistle, also called the penny whistle, English Flageolet, Scottish penny whistle, Tin Flageolet, Irish whistle and Clarke London Flageolet is a simple six-holed woodwind instrument. It is an end blown fipple flute, putting it in the same category as the recorder, American Indian flute, and...

. The recorder is end-blown and the mouth of the instrument is constricted by a wooden plug, known as a block or fipple. It is distinguished from other members of the family by having holes for seven fingers (the lower one or two often doubled to facilitate the production of semitones) and one for the thumb of the uppermost hand. The bore of the recorder is tapered slightly, being widest at the mouthpiece
Mouthpiece (woodwind)
The mouthpiece of a woodwind instrument is that part of the instrument which is placed partly in the player's mouth. Single-reed instruments, capped double-reed instruments, and fipple flutes have mouthpieces while exposed double-reed instruments and open flutes do not.-Single-reed instruments:On...

 end and narrowest towards the foot on Baroque recorders, or flared almost like a trumpet at the bottom on Renaissance instruments.

The recorder was popular in medieval times
Medieval music
Medieval music is Western music written during the Middle Ages. This era begins with the fall of the Roman Empire and ends sometime in the early fifteenth century...

 through the baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 era, but declined in the 18th century in favour of orchestral woodwind instruments, such as the flute
Flute
The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening...

, oboe
Oboe
The oboe is a double reed musical instrument of the woodwind family. In English, prior to 1770, the instrument was called "hautbois" , "hoboy", or "French hoboy". The spelling "oboe" was adopted into English ca...

, and clarinet
Clarinet
The clarinet is a musical instrument of woodwind type. The name derives from adding the suffix -et to the Italian word clarino , as the first clarinets had a strident tone similar to that of a trumpet. The instrument has an approximately cylindrical bore, and uses a single reed...

. During its heyday, the recorder was traditionally associated with pastoral scenes, miraculous events, funerals, marriages and amorous scenes. Images of recorders can be found in literature and artwork associated with all of these. Purcell
Henry Purcell
Henry Purcell – 21 November 1695), was an English organist and Baroque composer of secular and sacred music. Although Purcell incorporated Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions, his legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music...

, Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

, Telemann
Georg Philipp Telemann
Georg Philipp Telemann was a German Baroque composer and multi-instrumentalist. Almost completely self-taught in music, he became a composer against his family's wishes. After studying in Magdeburg, Zellerfeld, and Hildesheim, Telemann entered the University of Leipzig to study law, but eventually...

 and Vivaldi
Antonio Vivaldi
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi , nicknamed because of his red hair, was an Italian Baroque composer, priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Vivaldi is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe...

 used the recorder to suggest shepherds and imitate birds in their music, a theme that continued in 20th century music.

The recorder was revived in the 20th century, partly in the pursuit of historically informed performance
Historically informed performance
Historically informed performance is an approach in the performance of music and theater. Within this approach, the performance adheres to state-of-the-art knowledge of the aesthetic criteria of the period in which the music or theatre work was conceived...

 of early music, but also because of its suitability as a simple instrument for teaching music and its appeal to amateur players. Today, it is often thought of as a child's instrument, but there are many professional players who demonstrate the instrument's full solo range. The sound of the recorder is remarkably clear and sweet, partly because of the lack of upper harmonics and predominance of odd harmonics in the sound.

The name of the instrument

The instrument has been known by its modern name at least since the 14th century. Grove's Dictionary reports the earliest use of the word 'recorder' was in the household of the Earl of Derby (later to become King Henry IV) in 1388: fistula nomine Recordour. The name originates from the use of the word record, one meaning of which is "to practise a piece of music".

Up to the 18th century, the instrument was called (flute) in Italian, the language used in writing music, whereas the instrument we today call the flute was called . This has led to some pieces of music occasionally being mistakenly performed on the flauto traverso (transverse flute) rather than on the recorder.

Today, the recorder is known as in Italian (sweet flute), with equivalents in other languages, such as in Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 and in Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

. In those two languages, the name flauta is ambiguous, as it can mean any kind of transverse flutes, a recorder, or different other types of wind blown instruments, like the pan flute
Pan flute
The pan flute or pan pipe is an ancient musical instrument based on the principle of the closed tube, consisting usually of five or more pipes of gradually increasing length...

 and some instruments used by the descendants of native peoples of the Central and South Americas (with varied degrees of influence of European instruments). In French the word flûte is similarly ambiguous (the French translation is "flute à bec", literally "beaked flute"). From the "block", in German the instrument is known as Blockflöte, while the modern flute is called Querflöte (literally from flauto traverso) or simply Flöte. Naming in Dutch follows the same convention as in German, with blokfluit naming the recorder and dwarsfluit the flute.

How the instrument is played

The recorder is held outwards from the player's lips (rather than to the side, like the "transverse" flute). The player's breath is compressed into a linear airstream by a channel cut into the wooden "block" or fipple
Fipple
A fipple is a constricted mouthpiece common to many end-blown woodwind instruments, such as the tin whistle and the recorder. These instruments are known variously as fipple flutes, duct flutes, or tubular-ducted flutes.-How it works:...

 (A), in the mouthpiece of the instrument, so as to travel along this channeled duct (B) called the "windway". Exiting from the windway, the breath is directed against a hard edge (C), called the "labium" or "ramp", which causes the column of air within the resonator tube to oscillate at the desired frequency, determined by the bore length or open tone hole used. The length of the air column (and the pitch of the note produced) is modified by finger holes in the front and thumb hole at the back of the instrument.

Types of recorders

RECORDER FAMILY
Instruments in C Instruments in F garklein sopranino
Listen to it 
descant (soprano)
Listen to it 
treble (alto)
tenor bass
(bass in F)
great bass
(bass in C)
contra bass
subcontra bass/ contra great bass sub-subcontrabass/double contra bass
(octocontrabass)


Recorders are made in a variety of sizes. They are most often tuned in C or F, meaning their lowest note possible is a C or an F. However, instruments in D, B flat, G, and E flat were not uncommon historically and are still found today, especially the tenor recorder in D, which is called a "voice-flute." The table shows the recorders in common use, though the large ones are very rare; however, a still larger instrument, descending to sixteen foot C (the lowest C on the piano keyboard), exists and is known as an octosubcontrabass. This has an extended compass of 3 octaves and a third and is manufactured by Jelle Hogenhuis in Holland.

The recorder most often used for solo music is the treble recorder (known as alto in the USA), and when the recorder is specified without further qualification, it is this size that is meant. The descant (known as the soprano in the USA) also has an important repertoire of solo music (not just school music) and there is a little for tenor and bass recorders. Classroom instructors most commonly use the descant. The largest recorders, larger than the bass recorder, are less often used, since they are expensive and their sizes (the contrabass in F is about 2 metres tall) make them hard to handle. An experimental 'piccolino' has also been produced which plays a fourth above the garklein. Although it might be considered that the garklein is already too small for adult-sized fingers to play easily and that the even smaller piccolino is simply not practical, the fact that the holes for each finger are side by side and not in a linear sequence make it quite possible to play.

For recorder ensemble playing, the descant/soprano, treble/alto, tenor and bass are most common - many players can play all four sizes. Great basses and contrabasses are always welcome but are more expensive. The sopranino does not blend as well and is used primarily in recorder orchestras and for concerto playing. The larger recorders have great enough distances between the finger holes that most people's hands can not reach them all. So, instruments larger than the tenor have keys to enable the player to cover the holes or to provide better tonal response; this is also true of the tenor itself, over the last hole, and much more rarely the alto. In addition, the largest recorders are so long that the player cannot simultaneously reach the finger holes with the hands and reach the mouthpiece with the lips. So, instruments larger than the bass (and some bass recorders too) may use a bocal
Bocal
A bocal is the mouthpiece of a woodwind instrument. It's a curved, tapered tube, which is an integral part of certain woodwind instruments, including double reed instruments such as the bassoon, contrabassoon, English horn, and oboe d'amore, as well as the larger recorders...

 or crook
Crook
- Places :* Crook, County Durham, England, United Kingdom* Crook, Cumbria, England, United Kingdom* Crook, Devon, England, United Kingdom* Crook Inn, Scotland, United Kingdom* Crook, Colorado, United States* Crook County, Oregon, United States...

, a thin metal tube, to conduct the player's breath to the windway, or they may be constructed in sections that fold the recorder into a shape that brings the windway back into place.

Today, high-quality recorders are made from a range of hardwoods: maple
Maple
Acer is a genus of trees or shrubs commonly known as maple.Maples are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or together with the Hippocastanaceae included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in...

, pear
Pear
The pear is any of several tree species of genus Pyrus and also the name of the pomaceous fruit of these trees. Several species of pear are valued by humans for their edible fruit, but the fruit of other species is small, hard, and astringent....

 wood, rosewood
Rosewood
Rosewood refers to any of a number of richly hued timbers, often brownish with darker veining, but found in many different hues. All rosewoods are strong and heavy, taking an excellent polish, being suitable for guitars, marimbas, turnery , handles, furniture, luxury flooring, etc.In general,...

, grenadilla, or boxwood with a block of red cedar
Juniperus virginiana
Juniperus virginiana is a species of juniper native to eastern North America, from southeastern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, east of the Great Plains...

 wood. Plastic recorders are produced in large quantities. Plastics are cheaper and require less maintenance and quality plastic recorders are equal to or better than lower-end wooden instruments (especially Aulos and Yamaha). Beginners' instruments, the sort usually found in children's ensembles, are plastic and can be purchased quite cheaply.

Most modern recorders are based on instruments from the Baroque period, although some specialist makers produce replicas of the earlier Renaissance style of instrument. These latter instruments have a wider, less tapered bore and typically possess a less reedy, more blending tone more suited to consort playing.

In the early part of the twentieth century, Peter Harlan developed a recorder which allowed for apparently simpler fingering. This is German fingering. A recorder designed for German fingering has a hole five which is smaller than hole four, whereas baroque and neo-baroque recorders have a hole four which is smaller than hole five. The immediate difference in fingering is for ‘F’ and ‘B♭’ which on a neo-baroque instrument must be fingered 0 123 4-67. With German fingering, this is becomes a simpler 0 123 4---. Unfortunately, however, this causes many other chromatic notes to be too badly out of tune to be usable. German fingering became popular in Europe, especially Germany, in the 1930s, but rapidly became obsolete in the 1950s as the recorder began to be treated more seriously and the limitations of German fingering became more widely appreciated. Despite this, many recorder makers continue to produce German fingered instruments today, essentially for beginner use only.

Some newer designs of recorder are now being produced. Larger recorders built like organ pipes with square cross-sections are cheaper than the normal designs if, perhaps, not so elegant. Another area is the development of instruments with a greater dynamic range and more powerful bottom notes. These modern designs make it easier to be heard when playing concerti. Finally, recorders with a downward extension of a semitone are becoming available; such instruments can play a full three octaves in tune. The tenor is especially popular, since its range becomes that of the modern flute; Frans Brüggen
Frans Brüggen
Frans Brüggen is a well-known Dutch conductor, recorder player and baroque flautist.-Biography:Brüggen studied recorder and flute at the Amsterdam Muzieklyceum. He also studied musicology at the University of Amsterdam. In 1955, at the age of 21, he was appointed professor at the Royal...

 has publicly performed such flute works as Density 21.5 by Edgar Varèse on an extended tenor recorder.

Standard pitch

Recorders are most commonly pitched at A=440 Hz. However, among serious amateurs and professionals, two other standard pitches are commonly found. For baroque instruments, A=415 Hz is the de facto standard, while renaissance instruments are often pitched at A=466 Hz. Both tunings are a compromise between historical accuracy and practicality. For instance, the Stanesby Sr alto, copied by many contemporary makers is based on A=403 Hz; some makers indeed offer an instrument at that pitch. Some recorder makers offer 3-piece instruments with two middle sections, accommodating two tuning systems.

The 415 pitch has the advantage that it is an exact semitone lower than 440 Hz; there are harpsichords that can shift their keyboard in a matter of minutes.

Sheet music notation

Sheet music for recorder is nearly always notated in 'concert key,' meaning that a written "C" in the score actually sounds as a "C." This implies that the player must learn two different sets of similar fingerings, one for the C recorders and another for the F recorders.

However, many sizes of recorder do transpose at the octave. The garklein sounds two octaves above the written pitch; the sopranino and soprano sound one octave above written pitch. Alto and tenor sizes do not transpose at all, while the bass and great bass sound one octave above written (bass clef) pitch. In modern scores, these transpositions are indicated by adding a small figure "8" above the treble or bass clef on sopranino, soprano or bass recorder parts, but in the past and still commonly today, the transpositions are not indicated and instead are assumed from context. Contrabass and subcontrabass are non-transposing while the octocontrabass sounds one octave below written pitch.

Sizes from garklein down through tenor are notated in the treble clef while the bass size and lower usually read the bass clef. Professionals can usually read C-clefs and often perform from original notation.

Alternative notations which are only occasionally used:
  1. Bass recorder in F may be written in treble clef so that the low F is written an octave above real pitch (i.e. sound an octave below written pitch), so that its fingerings are completely octave-identical to the alto in F.
  2. Great bass recorder in C may be written in treble clef. If so, it would probably be written up an octave to match the fingering of the tenor in C.
  3. Tenor recorder in C may be written in bass clef one octave below real pitch in order to read choral parts for tenor voice.
  4. Alto recorder in F may be written down an octave to read alto vocal parts.
  5. All recorders may be transposed by both octave and key so that the lowest note is always written as middle C below the treble clef. In this system, only the tenor is non-transposing while all other parts would transpose up or down in fourths, fifths and octaves as appropriate.
  6. Urtext editions of baroque music may preserve the baroque practice of writing treble(alto) recorder parts in the Violin clef (G clef on the bottom line of the stave). From the player's point of view, this is equivalent to using bass(et) recorder fingerings on the treble/alto recorder.


As a rule of thumb, recorders sound one octave above the human voice after which they are named (soprano recorder is an octave above soprano voice, alto an octave above alto voice, etc.) The recorder's mellow tone and limited harmonics allows for the seemingly deeper sound.

Recorder fingering

Recorder fingerings (baroque): Lowest note through the nominal range of 2 octaves and a tone
Note First Octave Second Octave Third Octave
Tuned³
in F
Tuned
in C
Hole
0
Hole
1
Hole
2
Hole
3
Hole
4
Hole
5
Hole
6
Hole
7
Hole
0
Hole
1
Hole
2
Hole
3
Hole
4
Hole
5
Hole
6
Hole
7
Hole
0
Hole
1
Hole
2
Hole
3
Hole
4
Hole
5
Hole
6
Hole
7
F C
F# C# 1,2
G D ●²
G# D#
A E
A# F
B F#
C G
C# G#
D A
D# A#
E B


Note 1: The bell must be stopped to play this note.

Note 2: Individual recorders may need this hole to be closed (●), half closed (◐), or open (○) to play the note in tune.

Note 3: See the section Types of recorders concerning recorders tuned in C or in F.

How the fingers and holes are numbered
The fingers The holes



● means to cover the hole. ○ means to uncover the hole. ◐ means half-cover.

The range of a modern recorder is usually taken to be about two octave
Octave
In music, an octave is the interval between one musical pitch and another with half or double its frequency. The octave relationship is a natural phenomenon that has been referred to as the "basic miracle of music", the use of which is "common in most musical systems"...

s except in virtuoso pieces. See the table above for fingerings of notes in the nominal recorder range of 2 octaves and 1 whole tone. Notes above this range are more difficult to play, and the exact fingerings vary from instrument to instrument, so it is impractical to put them into the table here. The numbers at the top correspond to the fingers and the holes on the recorder, according to the pictures. In the table, "●" signifies a closed hole, "○" signifies an open hole, and "◐" signifies a half-closed hole.

The note two octaves and one semitone above the lowest note (C# for soprano, tenor and great bass instruments; F# for sopranino, alto and bass instruments) is difficult to play on most recorders. These notes are best played by covering the end of the instrument (the "bell"); players typically use their upper leg to accomplish this. Some recorder makers added a special bell key for this note — newer recorder designs with longer bores also solve this problem and extend the range even further. The note is only occasionally found in pre-20th-century music, but it has become standard in modern music.

Half-holing and forking

The lowest chromatic scale degrees — a semitone and a minor third above the lowest note — are played by covering only a part of a hole, a technique known as "half-holing." Most modern instruments are constructed with double holes or keys to facilitate the playing of these notes; such double holes are occasionally found on baroque instruments, where even the hole for the third finger of the left hand can be doubled. Other chromatic scale degrees are played by so-called "fork" fingerings, uncovering one hole and covering one or more of the ones below it. Fork fingerings have a different tonal character from the diatonic notes, giving the recorder a somewhat uneven sound. Budget tenor/bass recorders might have a single key for low C/F but not low C#/F#, making this note virtually impossible to play. Double low keys allowing both C/F and C#/F# are more or less standard today.

Pinching

Most of the notes in the second octave and above are produced by partially closing the thumbhole on the back of the recorder, a technique known as "pinching". The placement of the thumb is crucial to the intonation and stability of these notes, and varies as the notes increase in pitch, making the boring of a double hole for the thumb unviable. To play the notes in the second octave, the player must tongue somewhat harder in order to excite the second and third harmonics of the instrument.

Dynamics

Changes in dynamics are not easy to achieve on the recorder if the player is accustomed to other wind instruments. The general belief is that if the player blows harder to play louder, or more softly to play softer, the pitch changes and the note goes out of tune, and unlike the transverse flute, the player cannot change the position of the mouth in relation to the labium in order to compensate, and that therefore the recorder is not capable of dynamic changes. This is misleading. It is true that in the hands of a skilled player changes in dynamics by simply blowing harder or softer are possible provided the instrument is of a high quality and the player knows the instrument well. Subtle changes in wind pressure are possible if the player has a good ear for tuning and knows how hard the instrument can be pushed before pitch changes become noticeable. But this is not the correct approach to recorder dynamics. On the recorder it is better to think of the breath controlling pitch, and the fingers controlling dynamics; for example by resting the fingers lightly on the holes breath leaks around them, lifting the pitch; and the resulting instinctive change in breath pressure to bring the pitch back also drops the volume. Advanced players use alternative fingerings to enable changes in dynamics. The recorder is notable for its sensitivity to articulation; in addition to its obvious use for artistic effect skilled players can also use this sensitivity to suggest changes in volume.

External links to alternative fingering charts etc

The following pages provide information about alternative fingerings, quiet fingerings, trill fingerings, etc. as well as the standard English and German fingerings:

Early recorders

Internal duct-flutes have a long history: an example of an Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

 specimen, made from a sheep bone, exists in Leeds
Leeds
Leeds is a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England. In 2001 Leeds' main urban subdivision had a population of 443,247, while the entire city has a population of 798,800 , making it the 30th-most populous city in the European Union.Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial...

 City Museum.

The true recorders are distinguished from other internal duct flutes by having eight finger holes (in use - see below); seven on the front of the instrument and one, for the upper hand thumb, on the back, and having a slightly tapered bore, with its widest end at the mouthpiece. It is thought that these instruments evolved in the 14th century, but an earlier origin is a matter of some debate, based on the depiction of various whistles in medieval paintings. To this day whistles -as used in Irish folk music- have six holes. The original design of the transverse flute (and its fingering) was based on the same six holes, but it was later much altered by Theobald Böhm.

One of the earliest surviving instruments was discovered in a castle moat in Dordrecht
Dordrecht
Dordrecht , colloquially Dordt, historically in English named Dort, is a city and municipality in the western Netherlands, located in the province of South Holland. It is the fourth largest city of the province, having a population of 118,601 in 2009...

, the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 in 1940, and has been dated to the 14th century. It is largely intact, though not playable. A second more or less intact 14th century recorder was found in a latrine in northern Germany (in Göttingen
Göttingen
Göttingen is a university town in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is the capital of the district of Göttingen. The Leine river runs through the town. In 2006 the population was 129,686.-General information:...

): other 14th-century examples survive from Esslingen (Germany), Tartu (Estonia), and Nysa (Poland). There is a fragment of a possible 14th-15th-century bone recorder in Rhodes (Greece); and there is an intact 15th-century example from Elblag (Poland).

The earliest recorders were designed to be played either right-handed (with the right hand lowermost) or left-handed (with the left hand lowermost). The holes were all in a line except for the lowest hole, for the lower hand little finger. This last hole was offset from the center line, and drilled twice, once on each side. The player would fill in the hole they didn't want to use with wax. It is this doubled hole (not to be confused with the later double holes for semitones) which accounts for the early French name . In later years, the right-hand style of playing was settled on as standard and the second hole disappeared.

The Renaissance

The recorder achieved great popularity in the 16th and 17th centuries. This development was linked to the fact that art music
Art music
Art music is an umbrella term used to refer to musical traditions implying advanced structural and theoretical considerations and a written musical tradition...

 (as opposed to folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

) was no longer the exclusive domain of nobility and clergy. The advent of the printing press made it available to the more affluent commoners as well. The popularity of the instrument also reached the courts however. For example, at Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

's death in 1547, an inventory of his possessions
Inventory of Henry VIII of England
The Inventory of Henry VIII of England compiled in 1547 is a list of the possessions of the crown, now in the British Library as Harley Ms. 1419....

 included 76 recorders. There are also numerous references to the instrument in contemporary literature (e.g. Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

 and Milton
John Milton
John Milton was an English poet, polemicist, a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell...

).

During the Renaissance musical instruments were principally used in dance music and as accompaniment for voices. There are many vocal works with non-texted lines, which possibly were written for instruments. In addition, some vocal music was easily playable with instruments, chanson
Chanson
A chanson is in general any lyric-driven French song, usually polyphonic and secular. A singer specialising in chansons is known as a "chanteur" or "chanteuse" ; a collection of chansons, especially from the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, is also known as a chansonnier.-Chanson de geste:The...

s, for example. Nevertheless, composers also produced more and more works exclusively for instruments, often based on dance music. (e.g. the Lachrimae Pavans by John Dowland
John Dowland
John Dowland was an English Renaissance composer, singer, and lutenist. He is best known today for his melancholy songs such as "Come, heavy sleep" , "Come again", "Flow my tears", "I saw my Lady weepe" and "In darkness let me dwell", but his instrumental music has undergone a major revival, and has...

). Often they did not specify the instruments to use although some, such as Anthony Holborne
Anthony Holborne
Anthony Holborne was a composer of English consort music during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.-Life:Holborne entered Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1562. He was admitted to the Inner Temple Court in 1565. Holborne married Elisabeth Marten on 14 June 1584. On the title page of both his books he...

, indicated that their music was suitable for the recorder. However, even when the composer specified, for instance, viols, the music could successfully be played on recorders. A taste for ensembles of like instruments developed in this era, and so arose "consorts
Consort of instruments
A consort of instruments was a phrase used in England during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to indicate an instrumental ensemble. These could be of the same or a variety of instruments. Consort music enjoyed considerable popularity at court and in households of the wealthy in the...

" (groups of musicians playing the same type of instrument) and the families of instruments of various sizes. The diversity of sizes in an instrument family allowed the consort to play music with a very large pitch range. Some of the well known Renaissance composers who wrote instrumental music, or whose vocal music plays well on recorders, were:
  • Guillaume Dufay
    Guillaume Dufay
    Guillaume Dufay was a Franco-Flemish composer of the early Renaissance. As the central figure in the Burgundian School, he was the most famous and influential composer in Europe in the mid-15th century.-Early life:From the evidence of his will, he was probably born in Beersel, in the vicinity of...

  • Johannes Ockeghem
    Johannes Ockeghem
    Johannes Ockeghem was the most famous composer of the Franco-Flemish School in the last half of the 15th century, and is often considered the most...

  • Josquin des Prez
    Josquin Des Prez
    Josquin des Prez [Josquin Lebloitte dit Desprez] , often referred to simply as Josquin, was a Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance...

  • Heinrich Isaac
    Heinrich Isaac
    Heinrich Isaac was a Franco-Flemish Renaissance composer of south Netherlandish origin. He wrote masses, motets, songs , and instrumental music. A significant contemporary of Josquin des Prez, Isaac influenced the development of music in Germany...

  • Ludwig Senfl
    Ludwig Senfl
    Ludwig Senfl was a Swiss composer of the Renaissance, active in Germany. He was the most famous pupil of Heinrich Isaac, was music director to the court of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, and was an influential figure in the development of the Franco-Flemish polyphonic style in...

  • Orlando di Lasso
  • William Byrd
    William Byrd
    William Byrd was an English composer of the Renaissance. He wrote in many of the forms current in England at the time, including various types of sacred and secular polyphony, keyboard and consort music.-Provenance:Knowledge of Byrd's biography expanded in the late 20th century, thanks largely...

  • John Dowland
    John Dowland
    John Dowland was an English Renaissance composer, singer, and lutenist. He is best known today for his melancholy songs such as "Come, heavy sleep" , "Come again", "Flow my tears", "I saw my Lady weepe" and "In darkness let me dwell", but his instrumental music has undergone a major revival, and has...

  • Anthony Holborne
    Anthony Holborne
    Anthony Holborne was a composer of English consort music during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.-Life:Holborne entered Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1562. He was admitted to the Inner Temple Court in 1565. Holborne married Elisabeth Marten on 14 June 1584. On the title page of both his books he...



Polyphony
Polyphony
In music, polyphony is a texture consisting of two or more independent melodic voices, as opposed to music with just one voice or music with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords ....

 was the dominant music style of the Renaissance, but composers also began to write chordal pieces. The Medieval custom of juxtaposing 2 or 3 different melodies coexisted with "imitative polyphony". Imitative polyphony uses only one melodic line, but breaks it in pieces and divides it among the different parts. One part plays the melody, then the other parts play it in their turns. The music of this epoch was characterized by complex improvised ornamentation.

Many instruments survive from this period, including an incomplete set of recorders in Nuremberg
Nuremberg
Nuremberg[p] is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about north of Munich and is Franconia's largest city. The population is 505,664...

 which date from the 16th century and are still partially playable. Similar to the Medieval recorders, and unlike the Baroque style recorders typically used today, Renaissance recorders have a wide, more or less cylindrical bore. They have powerful low notes (much more so than the Baroque recorders). The wide bore means that a greater quantity of air is required to play the instrument, but this makes them more responsive. Many reproduction instruments, especially from the middle of the last century, can only be played reliably over a range of an octave and a sixth; but more and more makers are producing recorders capable of the full range that Ganassi reports, and with his fingerings in tune throughout. When modern music is written for 'Ganassi recorders' it is this type of recorder which is intended. Historically there was, in truth, no such thing as the 'Ganassi' recorder as a distinct type; it was simply the ordinary Renaissance recorder played by a good player who understood the instrument.

Baroque recorders

Several changes in the construction of recorders took place in the seventeenth century, resulting in the type of instrument generally referred to as Baroque recorders, as opposed to the earlier Renaissance recorders. These innovations allowed baroque recorders to possess a tone which was regarded as "sweeter" than that of the earlier instruments, at the expense of a reduction in volume, particularly in the lowest notes, and a slightly reduced range.

In the 18th century, rather confusingly, the instrument was normally referred to simply as Flute
Flute
The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening...

 (Flauto) — the transverse form was separately referred to as Traverso. In the 4th Brandenburg Concerto in G major, J.S. Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

 calls for two . The musicologist Thurston Dart
Thurston Dart
Robert Thurston Dart , was a British musicologist, conductor and keyboard player. From 1964 he was Professor of Music at King's College London....

 mistakenly suggested that it was intended for flageolet
Flageolet
The flageolet is a woodwind musical instrument and a member of the fipple flute family. Its invention is ascribed to the 16th century Sieur Juvigny in 1581. There are two basic forms of the instrument: the French, having four finger holes on the front and two thumb holes on the back; and the...

s at a higher pitch
Pitch (music)
Pitch is an auditory perceptual property that allows the ordering of sounds on a frequency-related scale.Pitches are compared as "higher" and "lower" in the sense associated with musical melodies,...

, and in a recording under Neville Marriner
Neville Marriner
Sir Neville Marriner is an English conductor and violinist.-Biography:Marriner was born in Lincoln and studied at the Royal College of Music and the Paris Conservatoire. He played the violin in the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Martin String Quartet and London Symphony Orchestra, playing with the...

 using Dart's editions it was played an octave
Octave
In music, an octave is the interval between one musical pitch and another with half or double its frequency. The octave relationship is a natural phenomenon that has been referred to as the "basic miracle of music", the use of which is "common in most musical systems"...

 higher than usual on sopranino recorders. An argument can be made that the instruments Bach identified as flauti d'echo were echo flutes, an example of which survives in Leipzig to this day. It consisted of two recorders in f' connected together by leather flanges: one instrument was voiced to play softly, the other loudly. Vivaldi
Antonio Vivaldi
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi , nicknamed because of his red hair, was an Italian Baroque composer, priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Vivaldi is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe...

 wrote three concertos for the and required the same instrument in his opera orchestra. In modern performance, the flautino was initially thought to be the piccolo
Piccolo
The piccolo is a half-size flute, and a member of the woodwind family of musical instruments. The piccolo has the same fingerings as its larger sibling, the standard transverse flute, but the sound it produces is an octave higher than written...

. It is now generally accepted, however, that the instrument intended was some variant of the sopranino recorder.

The decline of the recorder

The instrument went into decline after the 18th century, being used for about the last time as an otherworldly sound by Gluck
Christoph Willibald Gluck
Christoph Willibald Ritter von Gluck was an opera composer of the early classical period. After many years at the Habsburg court at Vienna, Gluck brought about the practical reform of opera's dramaturgical practices that many intellectuals had been campaigning for over the years...

 in his opera Orfeo ed Euridice
Orfeo ed Euridice
Orfeo ed Euridice is an opera composed by Christoph Willibald Gluck based on the myth of Orpheus, set to a libretto by Ranieri de' Calzabigi. It belongs to the genre of the azione teatrale, meaning an opera on a mythological subject with choruses and dancing...

.
Many reasons have been put forward for this decline. One possible reason is that the main flute innovators of the time, Grenser and Tromlitz et al., extended the transverse flute's range and evened out its tonal consistency, making it more appealing than the recorder. Also, the fixed relationship of the windway to the labium limits the range of dynamics and expression of the recorder, when compared with the transverse flute. Another possible reason was the fact that music as an amateur pastime was declining in favour of the "professional" musician combined with the fact that composers began writing exclusively for professional ensembles. Other possible reasons include an apparent lack of sufficient professional players; a change in musical tastes; a lack of appreciation of the true nature of the recorder by composers; the high pitch of the instrument; the problems (for makers and players) of utilising the full chromatic range; and a perceived "bad reputation" of the instrument based on all these factors.

By the Romantic era, the recorder had been almost entirely superseded by the flute and clarinet. One variant of the recorder survived into the 19th Century concert halls, however: the keyed recorder known as the czakan or .

The art of recorder making never completely died, though. Berchtesgaden Fleitl continue to be made to this day by Bernhard Oeggle, whose great-grandfather Georg learned his craft from Paul Walch (ca 1862-1873), the last of three generations of the Walch family of recorder makers. Similarly, the careers of the Schlosser family of woodwind makers from the towns of Oberzwota and Zwota can be traced over five generations. Their founder was Johan Gabriel Sr who was active in the early 19th century; Rüdiger, who seems to have been the last maker, died in 2005. Heinrich Oskar (1875–1947) made instruments sold by the firm of Moeck in Celle and helped to design their Tuju series of recorders.

Modern revival

The recorder was revived around the turn of the 20th century by early music
Early music
Early music is generally understood as comprising all music from the earliest times up to the Renaissance. However, today this term has come to include "any music for which a historically appropriate style of performance must be reconstructed on the basis of surviving scores, treatises,...

 enthusiasts, but used almost exclusively for this purpose. It was considered a mainly historical instrument. Even in the early 20th century it was uncommon enough that Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky ; 6 April 1971) was a Russian, later naturalized French, and then naturalized American composer, pianist, and conductor....

 thought it to be a kind of clarinet
Clarinet
The clarinet is a musical instrument of woodwind type. The name derives from adding the suffix -et to the Italian word clarino , as the first clarinets had a strident tone similar to that of a trumpet. The instrument has an approximately cylindrical bore, and uses a single reed...

, which is not surprising since the early clarinet was, in a sense, derived from the recorder, at least in its outward appearance.

The eventual success of the recorder in the modern era is often attributed to Arnold Dolmetsch
Arnold Dolmetsch
Arnold Dolmetsch , was a French-born musician and instrument maker who spent much of his working life in England and established an instrument-making workshop in Haslemere, Surrey...

 in the UK and various German scholar/performers. Whilst he was responsible for broadening interest beyond that of the early music specialist in the UK, Dolmetsch was far from being solely responsible for the recorder's revival. On the Continent his efforts were preceded by those of musicians at the Brussels Conservatoire (where Dolmetsch received his training), and by the performances of the Bogenhauser Künstlerkapelle
Bogenhauser Künstlerkapelle
The Bogenhauser Künstlerkapelle was a German recorder consort. It was founded 1890 in Munich and existed until World War II.Members were the sculpturers Georg Petzold and professor Heinrich Düll, the architect Sedlmaier, the Drs. Rentsch and Aichinger as well as the musician Josef Wagner...

 (Bogenhausen Artists' Band) based in Germany. Over the period from 1890-1939 the Bogenhausers played music of all ages, including arrangements of classical and romantic music. Also in Germany, the work of Willibald Gurlitt, Werner Danckerts and Gustav Scheck proceeded quite independently of the Dolmetsches. Thus the revival, far from being the work of one man, was the result of several strands coming and working together.

Among the influential virtuosos who figure in the revival of the recorder as a serious concert instrument in the latter part of the twentieth century are Ferdinand Conrad, Kees Otten, Frans Brüggen
Frans Brüggen
Frans Brüggen is a well-known Dutch conductor, recorder player and baroque flautist.-Biography:Brüggen studied recorder and flute at the Amsterdam Muzieklyceum. He also studied musicology at the University of Amsterdam. In 1955, at the age of 21, he was appointed professor at the Royal...

, Roger Cotte, Hans-Martin Linde
Hans-Martin Linde
Hans-Martin Linde is a noted virtuoso flute and recorder player of baroque and early music.He authored a number of original and highly instructive books on the flute and recorder respectively....

, Bernard Krainis
New York Pro Musica
New York Pro Musica was a vocal and instrumental ensemble that specialized in Medieval and Renaissance early music. It was co-founded in 1952, under the name Pro Musica Antiqua, by Noah Greenberg, a choral director, and Bernard Krainis, a recorder player who studied with Erich Katz.The ensemble is...

, and David Munrow
David Munrow
David Munrow was a British musician and early music historian.- Biography and career :Munrow was born in Birmingham and was the son of Birmingham University dance teacher Hilda Norman Munrow and Albert Davis 'Dave' Munrow, a Birmingham University lecturer and physical education instructor who...

. Brüggen recorded most of the landmarks of the historical repertoire and commissioned a substantial number of new works for the recorder. Munrow's 1975 double album The Art of the Recorder remains as an important anthology of recorder music through the ages.

Another famous and popular performer is Michala Petri
Michala Petri
Michala Petri is a Danish recorder player. Petri is sought after as a soloist with many noted orchestras, including the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. She has released 34 recordings, toured extensively over four continents, and has had dozens of pieces written for her...

, who has toured extensively, recorded many discs of old and new pieces, and had quite a number of works written for her, including concertos by Malcolm Arnold
Malcolm Arnold
Sir Malcolm Henry Arnold, CBE was an English composer and symphonist.Malcolm Arnold began his career playing trumpet professionally, but by age thirty his life was devoted to composition. He was ranked with Benjamin Britten as one of the most sought-after composers in Britain...

 and Richard Harvey
Richard Harvey
Richard Harvey is a BAFTA Award–winning British musician and composer. He is best known for his film and television soundtracks...

.

Carl Dolmetsch, the son of Arnold Dolmetsch
Arnold Dolmetsch
Arnold Dolmetsch , was a French-born musician and instrument maker who spent much of his working life in England and established an instrument-making workshop in Haslemere, Surrey...

, became one of the first virtuoso recorder players in the 1920s; but more importantly he began to commission recorder works from leading composers of his day, especially for performance at the Haslemere festival which his father ran. Initially as a result of this, and later as a result of the development of a Dutch school of recorder playing led by Kees Otten, the recorder was introduced to serious musicians as a virtuoso solo instrument both in Britain and in northern Europe, and consequently modern composers of great stature have written for the recorder, including Paul Hindemith
Paul Hindemith
Paul Hindemith was a German composer, violist, violinist, teacher, music theorist and conductor.- Biography :Born in Hanau, near Frankfurt, Hindemith was taught the violin as a child...

, Luciano Berio
Luciano Berio
Luciano Berio, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI was an Italian composer. He is noted for his experimental work and also for his pioneering work in electronic music.-Biography:Berio was born at Oneglia Luciano Berio, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI (October 24, 1925 – May 27, 2003) was an Italian...

, Jürg Baur
Jürg Baur
Jürg Baur was a German composer of classical music.-Education:Baur was born in Düsseldorf, where he achieved early recognition as a composer at the age of 18, when his First String Quartet was premiered at the Düsseldorf Hindenburg Secondary School by the then-famous Prisca Quartet...

, Josef Tal, John Tavener
John Tavener
Sir John Tavener is a British composer, best known for such religious, minimal works as "The Whale", and "Funeral Ikos"...

, Michael Tippett
Michael Tippett
Sir Michael Kemp Tippett OM CH CBE was an English composer.In his long career he produced a large body of work, including five operas, three large-scale choral works, four symphonies, five string quartets, four piano sonatas, concertos and concertante works, song cycles and incidental music...

, Benjamin Britten
Benjamin Britten
Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten, OM CH was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. He showed talent from an early age, and first came to public attention with the a cappella choral work A Boy Was Born in 1934. With the premiere of his opera Peter Grimes in 1945, he leapt to...

, Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim...

, Gordon Jacob
Gordon Jacob
Gordon Percival Septimus Jacob was an English composer. He is known for his wind instrument composition and his instructional writings.-Life:...

, Malcolm Arnold
Malcolm Arnold
Sir Malcolm Henry Arnold, CBE was an English composer and symphonist.Malcolm Arnold began his career playing trumpet professionally, but by age thirty his life was devoted to composition. He was ranked with Benjamin Britten as one of the most sought-after composers in Britain...

, Steven Stucky
Steven Stucky
Steven Stucky is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer.Stucky was born in Hutchinson, Kansas. At age 9, he moved with his family to Abilene, Texas, where, as a teenager, he studied music in the public schools and, privately, viola with Herbert Preston, conducting with Leo Scheer, and...

 and Edmund Rubbra
Edmund Rubbra
Edmund Rubbra was a British composer. He composed both instrumental and vocal works for soloists, chamber groups and full choruses and orchestras. He was greatly esteemed by fellow musicians and was at the peak of his fame in the mid-20th century. The most famous of his pieces are his eleven...

.

The recorder is surprisingly often used in popular music, including that of groups such as The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

, the Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band, formed in London in April 1962 by Brian Jones , Ian Stewart , Mick Jagger , and Keith Richards . Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts completed the early line-up...

 (see, for example, "Ruby Tuesday
Ruby Tuesday (song)
"Ruby Tuesday" is a song recorded by The Rolling Stones in 1966, released in January 1967. The song, coupled with "Let's Spend the Night Together", was a number-one hit in the United States and reached number three in the United Kingdom....

"), Yes
Yes (band)
Yes are an English rock band who achieved worldwide success with their progressive, art, and symphonic style of rock music. Regarded as one of the pioneers of the progressive genre, Yes are known for their lengthy songs, mystical lyrics, elaborate album art, and live stage sets...

, for example, in the song "I've Seen All Good People
I've Seen All Good People
"I've Seen All Good People" is a song performed by the band Yes and written by Jon Anderson and Chris Squire. It is included on 1971 The Yes Album. It is said that the song originated from Gary S...

", Jefferson Airplane
Jefferson Airplane
Jefferson Airplane was an American rock band formed in San Francisco in 1965. A pioneer of the psychedelic rock movement, Jefferson Airplane was the first band from the San Francisco scene to achieve mainstream commercial and critical success....

 (see Personnel, as well as Grace Slick
Grace Slick
Grace Slick is an American singer and songwriter, who was one of the lead singers of the rock groups The Great Society, Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, and Starship, and was a solo artist, for nearly three decades, from the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s...

), Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin were an English rock band, active in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Formed in 1968, they consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham...

 (Stairway to Heaven
Stairway to Heaven
"Stairway to Heaven" is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, released in late 1971. It was composed by guitarist Jimmy Page and vocalist Robert Plant for the band's untitled fourth studio album . The song, running eight minutes and two seconds, is composed of several sections, which...

), Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American guitarist and singer-songwriter...

, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Judy Dyble
Judy Dyble
Judith Aileen Dyble, better known as Judy Dyble , is an award winning British singer/songwriter most notable for being one of the vocalists with, and founder members of, Fairport Convention and Trader Horne; in between these she was very briefly with Giles, Giles and Fripp, which evolved into...

 of Fairport Convention
Fairport Convention
Fairport Convention are an English folk rock and later electric folk band, formed in 1967 who are still recording and touring today. They are widely regarded as the most important single group in the English folk rock movement...

, and Mannheim Steamroller
Mannheim Steamroller
Mannheim Steamroller is an American music group founded by Chip Davis and Jackson Berkey, known primarily for its modern recordings of Christmas music. The group has sold 28 million albums in the U.S. alone.-Beginnings:...

.
Some modern music calls for the recorder to produce unusual noises, rhythm
Rhythm
Rhythm may be generally defined as a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions." This general meaning of regular recurrence or pattern in time may be applied to a wide variety of cyclical natural phenomena having a periodicity or...

s and effect
Extended technique
Extended techniques are performance techniques used in music to describe unconventional, unorthodox, or non-traditional techniques of singing, or of playing musical instruments to obtain unusual sounds or instrumental timbres....

s, by such techniques as fluttertonguing
Fluttertonguing
Flutter-tonguing is a wind instrument tonguing technique in which performers flutter their tongue to make a characteristic "FrrrrFrrrrr" sound. The effect is similar to the growls used by jazz musicians.- Notation :...

 and overblowing
Overblowing
Overblowing A technique used while playing a wind instrument which, primarily through manipulation of the supplied air , causes the sounded pitch to jump to a higher one...

 to produce multiphonics. David Murphy's 2002 composition Bavardage is an example, as is Hans Martin Linde's Music for a Bird.

Among late 20th-century recorder ensembles, the trio Sour Cream (led by Frans Brüggen
Frans Brüggen
Frans Brüggen is a well-known Dutch conductor, recorder player and baroque flautist.-Biography:Brüggen studied recorder and flute at the Amsterdam Muzieklyceum. He also studied musicology at the University of Amsterdam. In 1955, at the age of 21, he was appointed professor at the Royal...

), Flautando Köln, the Flanders Recorder Quartet
Flanders Recorder Quartet
The Flanders Recorder Quartet is a professional recorder group whose members are Bart Spanhove, Tom Beets, Joris van Goethem and Paul van Loey. The quartet is one of a handful of ensembles inspiring a recorder renaissance...

 and the Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet
Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet
The Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet is a professional Dutch recorder quartet which was founded in 1978 by four students of the Sweelinck Conservatory Amsterdam; Daniël Brüggen, Bertho Driever, Paul Leenhouts and Karel van Steenhoven...

 have programmed remarkable mixtures of historical and contemporary repertoire. Piers Adams
Piers Adams
Piers Adams is a British recorder player and member of baroque group Red Priest.After attending Reading Blue Coat School Adams trained as an astrophysicist, but turned professionally to the recorder at age 21...

 is a recorder player who has toured and recorded widely, as well as being involved in education.

Use in schools

In the mid 20th century, German composer and music educator Carl Orff
Carl Orff
Carl Orff was a 20th-century German composer, best known for his cantata Carmina Burana . In addition to his career as a composer, Orff developed an influential method of music education for children.-Early life:...

 popularized the recorder for use in schools as part of Orff-Schulwerk programs in German schools. Orff's five-volume opus of educational music Music for Children contains many pieces for recorders, usually scored for other instruments as well.
Manufacturers of the era were able to make recorders out of bakelite and more modern plastics which made them cheap and quick to produce. Because of this, recorders became very popular in schools, as they are one of the cheapest instruments to buy in bulk. They are also relatively easy to play at a basic level as they are pre-tuned. It is, however, incorrect to assume that mastery is similarly easy—like other instruments, the recorder requires significant study to play at an advanced level.

The success of the recorder in schools is partly responsible for its poor reputation as a "child's instrument". Although the recorder is ready-tuned, it is very easy to warp the pitch by over or under blowing, which often results in an unpleasant sound from beginners.

Although it is usually associated with younger school children, some middle and high schools use them during music courses such as music theory.

Early music re-enactment

Another area where the recorder has gained popularity is history re-enactment. Since the recorder is a very old instrument, it is extremely suitable for playing Medieval and Baroque music. It is easy to carry, has a reasonably loud sound, and can be played both indoors and outdoors. Since many history re-enactors have already learned to play recorder in school, it can be easily adapted in early music.

Makers

The evolution of the Renaissance recorder into the Baroque instrument is generally attributed to the Hotteterre family, in France. They developed the ideas of a more tapered bore, bringing the finger-holes of the lowermost hand closer together, allowing greater range, and enabling the construction of instruments in several jointed sections. The last innovation allowed more accurate shaping of each section and also offered the player minor tuning adjustments, by slightly pulling out one of the sections to lengthen the instrument.

The French innovations were taken to London by Pierre Bressan, a set of whose instruments survive in the Grosvenor Museum, Chester
Chester
Chester is a city in Cheshire, England. Lying on the River Dee, close to the border with Wales, it is home to 77,040 inhabitants, and is the largest and most populous settlement of the wider unitary authority area of Cheshire West and Chester, which had a population of 328,100 according to the...

, as do other examples in various American, European and Japanese museums and private collections. Bressan's contemporary, Thomas Stanesby
Thomas Stanesby
Thomas Stanesby Sr. & Thomas Stanesby Jr. were English oboe-makers of the 18th century. They also made flutes and recorders, many of which survive in museum collections around the world, and which are widely copied by instrument makers of the present day....

, was born in Derbyshire
Derbyshire
Derbyshire is a county in the East Midlands of England. A substantial portion of the Peak District National Park lies within Derbyshire. The northern part of Derbyshire overlaps with the Pennines, a famous chain of hills and mountains. The county contains within its boundary of approx...

 but became an instrument maker in London. He and his son (Thomas Stanesby junior) were the other important British-based recorder-makers of the early eighteenth century.

In continental Europe, the Denner
Johann Christoph Denner
Johann Christoph Denner , was a famous woodwind instrument maker of the Baroque era, to whom the invention of the clarinet is attributed....

 family of Nuremberg were the most celebrated makers of this period.

Many modern recorders are based on the dimensions and construction of surviving instruments produced by Bressan, the Stanesbys or the Denner family. Well-known larger contemporary makers of recorders include Angel (South Korea), Aulos (Japan), Moeck
Moeck Musikinstrumente + Verlag
Moeck Musikinstrumente + Verlag is a leading German manufacturer of recorders and a music publisher.The company was founded in 1925 by Hermann Moeck in Celle. In 1960 his son Dr. Hermann Alexander Moeck took over the business. The current owner is Sabine Haase-Moeck.The company produces recorders...

 (Germany), Dolmetsch (England), Mollenhauer (Germany), Fehr, Huber, Küng (Switzerland) and Yamaha (Japan). Smaller workshops include names such as Takeyama, Von Huene, Rohmer, Adrian Brown, Prescott, Marvin, Cranmore, Amman, Beaudin, Blezinger, Boudreau, Netsch, Coomber, Grinter, Ehlert.

Recorder ensembles

The recorder is a very social instrument. Many amateurs enjoy playing in large groups or in one-to-a-part chamber groups, and there is a wide variety of music for such groupings including many modern works. Groups of different sized instruments help to compensate for the limited note range of the individual instruments. Four part arrangements with a soprano, alto, tenor and bass part played on the corresponding recorders are common, although more complex arrangements with multiple parts for each instrument and parts for lower and higher instruments may also be regularly encountered.

One of the more interesting developments in recorder playing over the last 30 years has been the development of recorder orchestras. They can have 60 or more players and use up to nine sizes of instrument. In addition to arrangements, many new pieces of music, including symphonies, have been written for these ensembles. There are recorder orchestras in Germany, Holland, Japan, the United States, Canada, the UK and several other countries.

Fonts for fingering charts

Some font
Font
In typography, a font is traditionally defined as a quantity of sorts composing a complete character set of a single size and style of a particular typeface...

s show miniature glyphs of complete recorder fingering charts, such as Gomez's recorder fonts in TrueType
TrueType
TrueType is an outline font standard originally developed by Apple Computer in the late 1980s as a competitor to Adobe's Type 1 fonts used in PostScript...

 format. Because there are no Unicode
Unicode
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems...

values for complete recorder fingering charts, these fonts are custom encoded.

External links

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