alto or tenor?

alto or tenor?    16:37 on Wednesday, April 6, 2011          

(25 points)
Posted by freewill

Hi guys
I really like more low and deep sound over high sound, so I'm not quite satisfied with my soprano recorder,I'm going to buy another recorder, I was thinking of alto or tenor, but I don't know which one is better for me? I assume tenor is better but do we have classic songs for it? like we do for alto?
and I also like playing flute, so which one has closer fingering chart to the flute? I appreciate your help. thanks.

Re: alto or tenor?    18:12 on Wednesday, April 6, 2011          

(32 points)
Posted by Whisk


if you buy a tenor, the fingerings will be pretty much the same as your soprano's, but the sound will be much lower. Altos have the same fingering pattern, but there are different notes attached to each fingering. For example, the fingering used to play a low C on a soprano will produce a low F when played an alto. I don't play flute so I can't tell you how flute like either is.

On classic music available for tenor versus classic music available for alto, I don't know, sorry.

Personally, I prefer to play the tenor, but I'm sure that there any number of people who feel exactly the opposite. Good luck =)

Re: alto or tenor?    03:38 on Thursday, April 7, 2011          

(25 points)
Posted by freewill

thank you for the great information, I think I'll go with tenor, the sound is much warmer , I assume.

Re: alto or tenor?    16:04 on Thursday, April 7, 2011          

(149 points)
Posted by clarinet99

You need long fingers to play the tenor.

The length on my Yamaha tenor from the top hole to the low C key is 9 inches (23 cms).
The stretch from the index finger hole right hand to the low C key for the right finger is 4 inches (10 cms). To see if your fingers are long enough mark these distances out on a broom handle and stretch your fingers along the marks.
Another point to consider is that the tenor is harder when blowing the lowest notes, the low C and sometimes the D can easily overblow an octave.
However, don't let this put you off. Give it a try.

Re: alto or tenor?    17:12 on Thursday, April 7, 2011          

(33 points)
Posted by IplayRecorder

Get an alto and learn the F-fingering. The alto recorder is the most versatile in the recorder family, in my opinion. Very often the alto player is required to play an octave higher in ensemble music. This way it can serve a similar role as soprano-2, but can go the 4 notes lower. Also when it is played that way the volume is greater than a soprano playing on it's lowest notes.

The Yamaha tenor recorder has quite a long reach and many people find it uncomfortable. But it is possible to add 2 metal keys that reduce the reach. Check with Bill Lazar at Lazar Early Music

His prices are the best in the states on the Yamaha line and he does ship overseas. He also offers a bent-neck Yamaha tenor that makes the reach even better. The extra keys and bent neck almost triples the cost of the instrument. He charges just under $60.00 for the standard Yamaha tenor.

Here's a little recorder lesson. The soprano sounds one octave higher than the tenor. The alto sounds one octave higher than the bass. Generally, the tenor is 2x the length of the soprano. The bass is 2x the length of the alto.

There can be a 2" difference between different makers of tenor recorders. I have a Kung tenor that is 2" longer than my Moeck. The finger stretch is about the same. The Yamaha is stretch is great than either of them. The Kung tenor feels much heavier because of it's size.

I think you will be very happy with an alto.

Re: alto or tenor?    11:17 on Friday, April 8, 2011          

(25 points)
Posted by freewill

thank you guys with these useful information, I've watched some videos on You Tube and I think alto is a bit lower than a soprano, but the tenor has a very warm and magical sound, this week I'm going to Tehran(city) and check some recorders, I really like the low sound, you know, I hope that, there will be someone to play both for me(because I don't know the F fingering). do you think it's a good idea to play a same song on both of them and then make my decision? for example "green sleeves"? or I should play a song with lots of high notes to see which one wins?
I should check the sizes too,I'm going to check on a broom to see if I could handle reaching the holes on it!

Re: alto or tenor?    11:32 on Friday, April 8, 2011          

(33 points)
Posted by IplayRecorder

Play Greensleves using the soprano fingering on the alto. I strongly suggest getting the alto. The faster notes are much harder to play on the tenor due to the size. You will progress and want to play more challenging music and the alto is better due to the size.

If you're lucky, someone at the shop may be a recorder player and he/she can play Greensleves on the alto at the correct pitch. There is the learning curve to learning the alto fingering and I can understand why you would want the tenor.

Have fun instrument shopping. This Sunday I am going to a travelling exhibit of violins from Cremona, Italy. It's a lot of fun to compare instruments by different makers.

Re: alto or tenor?    15:39 on Friday, April 8, 2011          

(25 points)
Posted by freewill

I'll keep that in mind. thank you again. have fun there buddy.


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