Anyone know anything about recorders? 19:20 on Monday, December 22, 2008
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I have been tinkering around with a saprono recorder which has been a lot of fun. I really wanted to try an Alto recorder. So I found and bought an old vintage wood one. There is no marking of a name anywhere on it. I am trying to figure out what key it is in. When I play the lowest note on it is play an E natural. To my understanding, the Alto recorder is written in the key of F? It doesn't seem to be the case with this one. Does anyone have any insite? Thanks!
Generally the lowest note for an Alto is the sounding F. (Fingered like the Sop. C)
It could be something in an old pitch like A=395 Which is about 1/2 step lower Or sounds like an E nat.
If you get serious about alto, I'd get a plastic (Like a Yammy) so that you can practice with out overdoing the wood humidity. Esp. at this time of the year. Colder and dryer in these parts. The Yamaha Altos do work pretty well for a good workout.
Some period copies of early instruments like Recs and Traversos are "exact" copies in that their measurements are pretty well duplicated including their tuning. Your Alto may be a=395 as this is/was a common "early music" pitch for them. It would make for a nicer more relaxed sound. The problem comes in with playing with other instruments such as violins and kbds. I used to play Traverso duets with another flutist in univ. in old pitch (A395) but the minute we tried to convince a viola player to tune down 1/2 step for the Bach Duet BWV 1039, she didn't like the idea. I think that it throws their general sense of relative pitch wacko.
Re: Anyone know anything about recorders? 21:25 on Monday, December 22, 2008
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Thanks for the response Bilbo
When I talked to Suzie she had the same idea about it being low pitched. I have such a hard time reaching the holes on it that I am not sure if I can get used to it. I have very small fingers. I thought about getting a plastic Yamaha recorder as you suggested but I would still very much like to invest in a wood one. Humidity is not a problem where I live. I like to collect wood flutes anyway. I am just unsure of which brand is good. I am clueless when it comes to recorders. I do know that I wouldn't mind getting a used one as long as it was in modern pitch.
Its more of a british forum,, but there are quite a few people on there that are right into recorders,as in the only instrument they play,, i've seen quite a few postings about all the different makes and types there are, in there in the past
Only a thought, but might be of some help.
LOL.. just done a search and this lot came up,,happy reading..
The Early music part of my brain has gone dormant for a few years as I didn't need to remember these things.
So, my mistake........ the general early pitch that is more often used in making of a fair amount of recorders and other instruments is A=415. This would put your F fingering at the sound of a modern E.
Some early instruments however do go down to A=395.
"The pitch of early baroque flutes also differed, ranging from about a’=395 to a’=408, although from around 1715 attempts were made to establish a German standard pitch of a’=c410."
One of the standard quality wood Recorder companys for some time now is the Moeck Company. I would say that they are known for a rather high degree of consistent quality in their wood reproductions. But there have been many companys making some pretty good recorders since the Early Music Revival of the mid 60's and some of them have died out as time takes it's toll.
Here's a US store that sells the Moeck line. http://www.susato.com/moeckrecorders.html
The instruemnt that I have is Roessler Oberlender which I bought around 1983 for about $325 (It's easily worth twice that now.)
Most instrument companys would have placed their name underneath the windway area on the head joint. The fact that your alto has no name is unusual or it may be an indication of it's quality -just like a modern flute company would be. but not necessarily always. and believe me that I'm not slamming it. The real questions would be:
How does it play?
What type or color wood is your Alto? Is the wood dense in that the grain allows the surface to be fairly smooth?
Are the inside and the finger holes finished to a fair amount of smoothness? IS the tone and tuning consistent throughout.
These things may be an indication of quality.
Then look carefully at the wood for cracks /splits. Ends of the pieces, between the holes & around the working end like the windway and labium (the edge where the airstream is "cut"). Does the wood look dried out? IS the thumb hole 'carved out" from the owner playingthe half-hole with their thumb nail?
Is there gunk filling the windway?
this would be an indication of condition.
Another company's web site: http://www.aswltd.com/guiderec.htm
So if you find out the brand & do some research on used instruments, you can see that if your recorder is of a reputable brand it's possibly worth some money.
BTW: Some people use Almond oil for oiling the bore. I've used raw linseed oil for my alto for many years and luckily it and my Bigio flute have maintained pretty well.
I would also moderate the amount of use for some time, and gradually reintroduce the wood to breath humidity if you intend to play it. On mine, I play in 15 min sessions or less for a week then maybe a bit more.
An A=440 instrument might be slightly easier to play for your fingers but If you work at it, they might stretch out and cover the holes with time anyway.
I'm not an expert anymore. I almost went int the early music scene once whole hog as the tone of wood flutes is kind of addictive & more relaxing for my ears. and the Traverso demands much less effort for a good tone. As an example, I used to practice the Anderson studies on my 1 key a few decades ago.
After I drooled over the Traverso flute at the top.....
Read the part at the bottom from Rod Cameron as the recorder is basically the same as the flute with respect to the wood and tenons but I'd keep oil and fingers away from the edge at the windway. I just never touch that area with anything.
Re: Anyone know anything about recorders? 15:45 on Tuesday, December 23, 2008
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Thank you so much for all of your insite!
My recorder is a dark wood. I will take a picture of it when I get a chance. I will have to get it out and examine it more closely. Maybe I can find a makers name.
I to play recorder and there is a really good book called Playing the Recored. it helped me to play all types of recorders. You should try looking on the Music Dispatch website they should have one in stock.
Check out the subcontrabass flute for sale (with amazing photos) on eBay.
However, it is made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which in many situations can be a cancer-causing material. Because the flute is presumably rigid and not soft, the PVC may not be overly toxic. Buyer beware!
PVC pipe is fine as long as you're not sucking on it or eating it. They use it all the time in household plumbing for cold water use. Your shower head is likely made out of the same stuff, as are most faucet interconnects.(just look for anything whiteish and plastic - same stuff.)