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'faking' music for an F recorder

GUEST,leeneia 26 Mar 12 - 04:01 PM
Leadfingers 26 Mar 12 - 04:17 PM
Jack Campin 26 Mar 12 - 04:30 PM
TheSnail 26 Mar 12 - 04:49 PM
Jack Campin 26 Mar 12 - 05:19 PM
GUEST,leeneia 26 Mar 12 - 05:49 PM
Phil Edwards 26 Mar 12 - 06:08 PM
Jack Campin 26 Mar 12 - 06:14 PM
GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler 26 Mar 12 - 06:46 PM
GUEST,Grishka 26 Mar 12 - 06:47 PM
Tootler 26 Mar 12 - 06:48 PM
Jack Campin 26 Mar 12 - 07:00 PM
Tootler 26 Mar 12 - 07:02 PM
Jack Campin 26 Mar 12 - 07:16 PM
Tootler 26 Mar 12 - 08:00 PM
Ole Juul 27 Mar 12 - 02:29 AM
GUEST,Tootler on mobile 27 Mar 12 - 03:58 AM
SteveMansfield 27 Mar 12 - 05:29 AM
TheSnail 27 Mar 12 - 07:35 AM
doc.tom 27 Mar 12 - 08:45 AM
John P 27 Mar 12 - 09:40 AM
Jack Campin 27 Mar 12 - 10:10 AM
Richard Bridge 27 Mar 12 - 10:35 AM
Jack Campin 27 Mar 12 - 10:48 AM
GUEST,leeneia 27 Mar 12 - 11:10 AM
Richard Bridge 27 Mar 12 - 02:19 PM
Jack Campin 27 Mar 12 - 02:54 PM
Artful Codger 27 Mar 12 - 03:14 PM
GUEST,leeneia 27 Mar 12 - 03:34 PM
Jack Campin 27 Mar 12 - 05:13 PM
Tootler 27 Mar 12 - 05:28 PM
Tootler 27 Mar 12 - 05:39 PM
Ole Juul 27 Mar 12 - 09:06 PM
GUEST,leeneia 27 Mar 12 - 09:18 PM
Jack Campin 28 Mar 12 - 06:32 AM
Mo the caller 28 Mar 12 - 08:50 AM
Jack Campin 28 Mar 12 - 09:29 AM
IvanB 28 Mar 12 - 05:45 PM
GUEST,leeneia 28 Mar 12 - 07:00 PM
Tootler 28 Mar 12 - 07:26 PM
JohnB 29 Mar 12 - 12:37 AM
SteveMansfield 29 Mar 12 - 03:44 AM
Geoff the Duck 29 Mar 12 - 07:13 AM
Geoff the Duck 29 Mar 12 - 07:15 AM
Phil Edwards 29 Mar 12 - 07:37 AM
Jack Campin 29 Mar 12 - 07:42 AM
IvanB 29 Mar 12 - 09:09 PM
Howard Jones 30 Mar 12 - 04:52 AM
Jack Campin 30 Mar 12 - 05:25 AM
SteveMansfield 30 Mar 12 - 05:43 AM
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Subject: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 04:01 PM

I'm asking for help from our trained musicians here.

I have a friend who has only played C recorders (soprano and tenor.) He would like to try a bass recorder, but a bass recorder is an F instrument. I have Noteworthy Composer, which should be able to produce 'fake' music for him, but I'm not sure how to do it.

We do music in C, D, F, G A and B-flat, mostly. I would like a rule which I can apply so that a musical line in one of those keys can easily be faked so that Michael can play C fingering on an F instrument.

It would help if it rhymed - you know, the kind of rule I can apply when they are all going to be in ten minutes, and meanwhile the tea kettle is starting to shriek.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Leadfingers
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 04:17 PM

Recorders are CHROMATIC !! You can play in ANY key on a recorder !

If I can 'fake' C , F , G , D and their relevant minors on a C whistle
it should be DEAD easy on a recorder


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 04:30 PM

The point isn't that recorders are chromatic, it's that unlike clarinets and saxophones, music for them is never written in transposed form. You just get used to using different fingerings for the same pitch.

And I mean NEVER. It's a very bad idea to use transposed music at all.

Music for F bass recorder is usually written on the bass clef an octave higher than it sounds.

There is another convention sometimes used for the F alto recorder of writing the music an octave lower than it sounds ("alto-up"). This never really took off outside Germany, but it's worth learning to read that way, since that's the notated range of a lot of fiddle music that sits on the bottom three strings, and if you can read at that pitch you can play a lot of fiddle music inaccessible to the soprano recorder. And using a bass recorder, if you read that way you'll be playing at sounding pitch.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: TheSnail
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 04:49 PM

Get the piece in the key you want it played in in a Noteworthy file. Click on "Tools" in the menu bar then "Transpose Staff..." in the drop down menu. Select either 7 or -5 as the number of semitones to transpose, whichever brings it into the soprano range. Leave "Update staff play back transposition" checked and it will play back in the original key but will look like the fingering for a soprano/tenor.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 05:19 PM

Please God, DON'T.

If you even start getting people to treat the alto recorder as a transposing instrument you will set them up for years of confusion.

Recorders DO NOT TRANSPOSE. Never have done. Take a part in a recorder group and you will never be offered transposed alto recorder music. Whether for mediaeval, baroque or contemporary music, you can't buy transposed alto recorder scores. Everything is published at pitch.

It takes most people about two weeks to learn to sightread using F alto fingerings if they're accustomed to doing it on the C descant. Just put the C recorder away and only play the F while you're making the transition. Another couple of weeks and you'll be able to switch between them fluently.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 05:49 PM

Clarinets, French horns, trumpets, have special music to make their lives easier. Why not my group? Especially when it's so easy to print the music, given today's technology.

I don't think what we are doing is transposing. Transposing is something else. For example, when we look at music and transpose it, we have to be aware of what we are doing every minute. With my scheme, Michael can forget he even has an F instrument in his hands.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 06:08 PM

Why not my group?

No reason, except that that's not how the rest of the world does it.

I learned to play the recorder at school, like everyone else; I now play D, G and C whistles. The fingering's exactly the same for all three, only different. Your fingers pick it up in no time.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 06:14 PM

You can't expect to "forget you have an F instrument in your hands" and also expect to ever play any of the music published for it. The range you will see on the page runs from F to the G two octaves and a tone above.

Using transposed music makes it FAR more difficult to learn the untransposed stuff, which is a great deal more useful. The whole point of having both C and F recorders is so you can play music that lies in ranges specific to each - it expands your possibilities enormously. Which is why almost all recorder players use both.

There is much more Baroque music for the F alto recorder than the C descant or tenor - it's the core of the instrument's repertoire. There are tens of thousands of pieces for it, and would be sheer pointless drudgery to enter it all into a computer for resetting (which would also lose any nonstandard details in the score like unusual ornaments, which recorder music has lots of). Figures are more equal for Renaissance and earlier music. But every recorder player needs to handle both, and it isn't hard to learn. The total time involved would be about the same as it would take to enter and proofread one Handel sonata into the computer.

How you go about it: learn a few "anchor notes" first, i.e. C, G and F in each octave. Other notes will be a bit higher or lower than those: so you interpolate. Think, that's a D, so I take one finger off the fingering for C and that'll get me a tone up. And so on. (I have done this process many times over for many different woodwind instruments - once you've cracked it for C and F recorders, reading at pitch with a G recorder or B flat clarinet comes very quickly).


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an Fa player recorder
From: GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 06:46 PM

There is really no logical reason why the would-be "new" bass player cannot be given dots to make his/her life easier. S(he does not have to accept them or even use them if (s)he does not wish to so do. We are discussing grownups here, I hope.
The Recorder Police really have no authority on how a player plays, either legally or morally. No doubt, they would like some of my friends who play "killer" treble at sessions to play like the Dolmetches in every place they go.
So leeneia old pal - go for it kiddo!


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 06:47 PM

TheSnail got it right, except that instead of "whichever brings it into the soprano range" I would say "whichever brings it into the range of comfortable fingering". Applying +7 semitones preserves the sounding octave, -5 will lower the sound by one octave. (Remember that the bass recorder it is actually an alto instrument, "four-footed".) Hopefully, the NC will add a flat to the key signature; if not, do it yourself.

If the player plans to play the bass recorder regularly and with dedicated music, together with other "four-footed" recorder players, he may want to learn the suitable notation, as Jack rightly points out. (Four-footed: where soprano, tenor, and bass sound an octave higher than notated.) Playing from traditional notation is considered a cultural act in itself, which gives us better access to the ideas of early music.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Tootler
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 06:48 PM

Jack is absolutely right. DO NOT TRANSPOSE Music for C recorders so that F recorders can read as if they were transposing instruments. The recorder is never written as a transposing instrument and if he wants to learn an F instrument he must learn to read it at pitch. True it lets you get started quickly but your friend will pay the price for it in the long run. All recorder players need to learn to read and play both C and F instruments at pitch. It's not that difficult it just takes a bit of adjusting - and, of course, practice. The fingerings are actually the same, it's just that they produce different notes and you have to learn that.

If he wants to play Bass recorder, then he must, repeat, must learn to read in bass clef because bass recorder music is always written in bass clef.

When I started playing bass recorder, I got a selection of tunes that I knew well and transposed them to the bass clef, so I could read them at pitch but using the bass clef and then I worked through them. Because I knew the tunes well, it meant I could concentrate on reading in the bass clef and learning the fingerings. It took about a week to adapt. I find it easier to transfer between soprano or tenor and bass than I do to between soprano or tenor and alto.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 07:00 PM

It's not just useful for music specifically written for the recorder - I mainly use that skill to read Scottish fiddle tunes that don't fit a C recorder. It also lets you play song tunes written for alto voice, since these usually drop below C (read them using "alto-up").

You have to take folk tunes as they come - it's not like jazz, where just about anything you might want to play off paper has been packaged by the Hal Leonard Corporation for C, B flat and E flat instruments. Get a folk songbook or a traditional dance music collection and the pitch you see is the pitch you get. (With one exception: there aare ethnomusicological collections where everything has been transposed to a common tonal centre, usually G or C, with an editorial note saying what the original key was. You need to be really into this stuff before you'll encounter one of those).


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Tootler
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 07:02 PM

There is another convention sometimes used for the F alto recorder of writing the music an octave lower than it sounds ("alto-up"). This never really took off outside Germany

Actually, Jack, that's not entirely true. Written music containing alto up parts is quite common. It's mostly renaissance music and it most commonly occurs when there are two treble parts.

Having said what I did earlier I think most recorder players have treated alto recorders as transposing instruments from time to time, but if you are going to play music for recorders you really don't do yourself any favours by starting off by treating the F recorder as a transposing instrument in spite of what Ebor Fiddler and Grishka are saying. I know one or two people who did that and they regretted it later as it took a lot longer to "convert" than it would have done if they had started off as most people do by learning to associate the fingerings with an alternative set of pitches.

Of course, if you intend to play purely by ear, it doesn't matter a damn.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 07:16 PM

Of course, if you intend to play purely by ear, it doesn't matter a damn.

does help to know how get an A though...


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Tootler
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 08:00 PM

Unless you're tuning to a C or G, that is :-)


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Ole Juul
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 02:29 AM

I know they're expensive, but you could get a base in C. All the major makers have a variety of them.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,Tootler on mobile
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 03:58 AM

A C bass is about twice the price of an F bass. Also you can get a good plastic F bass for about quarter to a third the price of a wood one.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 05:29 AM

Bit late to the party on this one, but I wholeheartedly agree with Jack and Tootler.

It's not about 'The Recorder Police' or any such straw man - it's because that's the way it's been done for literally hundreds of years, and by failing to take the plunge the OP's friend is only storing up a problem for the future for the reasons that other people have already explained.

It'll only take a few weeks to get used to reading F parts, and then it's a skill that is learned for life.

I play every size from garklein to bass and find switching between the F and C notations very straightforward, and furthermore find that the experience / concept is very useful in other musical ways as well (particularly, in my case, writing saxophone parts).


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: TheSnail
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 07:35 AM

It's not about 'The Recorder Police' or any such straw man

For the record, because I am a fairly familiar with Noteworthy Composer, I gave Leeneia the technical answer to the question she had asked. I may have been reacting a little to the first two impassioned but not very constructive posts. It got worse.

I think the advice given is probably right and that, in the long term, Leeneia's friend will benefit from learning to play from the notes as written rather than a transposed score. It's just a matter of presentation. "DO NOT TRANSPOSE." "And I mean NEVER." "he must, repeat, must learn to read in bass clef" "Please God, DON'T."

Calm down chaps. How about offering helpful suggestions and friendly advice rather than issuing edicts?


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: doc.tom
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 08:45 AM

And then, of course, if you don't come to understand what a transposing indstrument does then you're going to be really f****d if you move to any of several other wind instruments.

Please don't be proscriptive. I agree it may be advantageous to learn what has gone on for centuries - but why not ALSO learn what a transposing instrument means, or do you want to stop those centuries of usage?


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: John P
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 09:40 AM

The question wasn't "how to play an F instrument?" it was "how to produce a score that a person who doesn't read in F can play?" Perhaps, before we tell people how to play an instrument, we should find out what their level of interest is. Someone who gets together with a recorder group twice a month may well not have any interest in putting in the work needed to learn a new fingering. Someone who wants to really dig into learning an instrument will likely learn the instrument regardless. And even they might find it beneficial to learn the feel and sound of a bass without having to take on a big music-reading learning curve at the same time.

I used to produce transposed recorder scores for my ex-music partner, who knows very well how the recorders work and who plays about a dozen instruments professionally. It doesn't really scar you for life.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 10:10 AM

I think we all do know what "transposing instrument" means.

The problem is that learning to play at pitch using different fingering systems (as recorder players do) is a SKILL, not a piece of factual knowledge, and you need to go the right way about learning it - which doesn't involve using transposed music as training wheels, that's counterproductive.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 10:35 AM

I don't see the problem with a shortcut as requested. I'm sure that Snail's answer to the question put was appreciated.

My late wife played three different recorder pitches - but played them as a folk music instrument that is to say by ear and indeed her fingering was in some cases not as fingering charts would have had it.

The recorder may very well be a chromatic instrument, but the accidentals don't fall to hand in the same way in different keys.

The heavy handed horror does come across rather like "REAL guitarists don't use capos".


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 10:48 AM

The person this thread started with was trying to read sheet music, not play by ear. So you aren't doing them any favours by making it much harder in the long term to read the music that's available for the instrument, and making it more difficult to play with other people.

The recorder may very well be a chromatic instrument, but the accidentals don't fall to hand in the same way in different keys.

I don't understand what you're getting at here - you play in G on a C recorder using the same fingerings you use when playing in C on an F recorder, and so on.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 11:10 AM

John P and Richard, you have hit it on the head.

1. We play music to have fun, not to become virtuosos. We play light-hearted early stuff, such as dances. There are chords to follow, percussion, and eventually a lot of improvising.

2. Michael has challenges and goals (teaching English to immigrants, for example) which are more important to him than mastering a new fingering.

3. That two-week learning figure is probably for somebody 14, not somebody who has been using C fingerings for 50 years. Me, I've been playing F and C fingerings for 40 years, and I still mix them up, to the amusement of my friends.

4. I'm already editing almost all the music we do. For one thing, much old music is in F, and the first thing I do is change it to G so I can play guitar with it. Sacrilege, eh? Another goal is to make it fit on one sheet of paper so I can make a transparency and project it. Amidst all this, producing a special line for the bass recorder is no big deal.

(Ah, how nice it is that after years of playing, we have three fat notebooks of transparencies. After we've played a piece, I say, "Somebody go over to the books and pick out the next one." What a load off my mind it is to know that I'm not always responsible for keeping everybody happy.)

I bought a bass recorder and decided that my hands were simply too small for it. I'm glad the TheSnail's instructions will let it come out of its box.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 02:19 PM

Accidentals.

Take an ordinary recorder. Play a tune on it in C. The twiddly decorations, the things that a folk musician who is not rigidly following dots do come from wiggling the fingers in a certain way. Ideally you want your twiddles to come from putting down or lifting up one finger at a time only.   Like the little bit everyone does on a D chord on the guitar, the top F sharp goes up to G, back down to F#, then to E than back to F#. Now do the same thing in A - still easy. Now E - not so easy because you have to get the little finger over to get the F# on the D string.

Now play your tune on the C recorder in (let's be brutal) F# or B major. All those little easy twiddles have become hard.

Same for a fiddle player - all the bits where they could double-stop with ease vanish when the key changes.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 02:54 PM

The guy will be playing the same notes using the same finger movements whether he's using transposed notation or not. So the difference in technique between different keys doesn't come into it. You can't make the music easier to play by writing it differently.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Artful Codger
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 03:14 PM

Transposing the music from F to G: why not just tune down your guitar a step, so the music can be played in the key it was written?


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 03:34 PM

strings get floppy and guitar loses resonance

harps like to lever up, not down

too much work

going from F to G raises the probable lowest note from C to D, and the flutes like that

autoharp (gasp!) has chords in the G family, not the F


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 05:13 PM

G is an easier key to play in on an F recorder than F is - particularly on a bass, where the bottom F is likely to be pretty weak and dependent on the key mechanism to reach at all. If a tune has its tonal centre at the bottom of its range (authentic rather than plagal mode) you'll probably want it in G or C, not F.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Tootler
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 05:28 PM

OK, so you transpose a tune from F to G because it is more convenient to play in G. That's a different matter than playing a recorder as a transposing instrument. I quite often do that with Playford tunes so they can be played on common folk instruments such as whistles and diatonic squeezeboxes. Not a problem.

You can then take the tune in G, transpose it down a fifth (seven semitones) (Tools>Transpose Staff in Noteworthy) so that you have it written out in C so your friend can play his F recorder as if it were a C instrument.

Fine. It will work and as a quick fix because, for example, you need him to play with you this coming Sunday on a instrument he is not familiar with but is similar to one he already knows it is useful.

However in the long term, should he meet music specifically written for Bass recorder in bass clef, he will have problems, so it is in his longer term interests to learn to play from music written for the bass recorder in bass clef. As I said earlier it does not take that long. I think I was the one who suggested two weeks and that was not for a 14 year old. I was in my late 40s when I took up bass recorder that's a long way from 14. If you know the fingerings for any recorder, then it's a matter of making different associations rather than learning new fingerings. I admit the two weeks was to get over the initial "hump" and you do make mistakes after that. I still do some 20 years later, especially when changing instruments for different pieces.

Learning all the different ways of reading music for the recorder gives you a lot of flexibility. I am currently playing the bottom line of an arrangement of a slow air which was originally written for four fiddles (the arrangement, that is). It means treating my bass as if it were a treble recorder reading up an octave. No problem if you learnt the F recorder relationships on written music. It's like a lot of things: Learn the rules properly then you will know when you can break them.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Tootler
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 05:39 PM

Accidentals.

Take an ordinary recorder. Play a tune on it in C. The twiddly decorations, the things that a folk musician who is not rigidly following dots do come from wiggling the fingers in a certain way. Ideally you want your twiddles to come from putting down or lifting up one finger at a time only.   Like the little bit everyone does on a D chord on the guitar, the top F sharp goes up to G, back down to F#, then to E than back to F#. Now do the same thing in A - still easy. Now E - not so easy because you have to get the little finger over to get the F# on the D string.

Now play your tune on the C recorder in (let's be brutal) F# or B major. All those little easy twiddles have become hard.

Same for a fiddle player - all the bits where they could double-stop with ease vanish when the key changes.


That's something of a red herring, Richard, in the context of the present thread which is about playing from written music.

However, there are some points that are worth addressing:

First; just because you are playing from dots doesn't mean you don't add twiddly bits. I certainly do whether I am playing from dots or not, but usually once I have the tune properly learnt.

Second; different instruments need different approaches to decoration so what you would do on a recorder is different from what you do on a fiddle. I have a wooden flute whose fingering is the same as on a whistle. Some decorations, or decorations in some places, I can do on both, but there are some things I can do on the flute I can't do on the recorder and some things I can do on the recorder I can't do on the flute, so it's horses for courses.

If playing a tune in a different key affects the way you decorate it, then so be it. You have to adapt. So what? It means you need to be thoroughly familiar with your instrument.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Ole Juul
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 09:06 PM

If playing a tune in a different key affects the way you decorate it, then so be it. You have to adapt. So what? It means you need to be thoroughly familiar with your instrument.

Exactly. A lot of instrumental music, particularly folk or traditional, is about what feels right to the player. There is a synergy between the player and the instrument. This music is not conceived as an abstract concept on paper such as some forms of art music. In most cases you don't "write" music. The dots are only a rough plan cf. Bach or jazz lead sheets.

It seems to me that an important aspect of this particular discussion is application. What a player should do has a lot to do with the purpose at hand. In this case I don't get the impression that the player's purpose is to progress into being a very skilled instrumentalist, but rather to enjoy music given the time and effort available. In such a case, I'd say do whatever you want to do.

Much of the advice here is quite correct assuming that the player plans to spend considerable time and has aspirations to a much higher level of playing. In such a case it is indeed best to be careful of how one proceeds and the advice give here is what is needed. Of course the recorder is completely chromatic and has immense potential but not everyone aspires to embrace that. Some people just want to play music now. Good on them, I say.

An amateur player is generally used to a relatively narrow range of fingerings, whether formally or intuitively learned. Typically this will be keys like C or F. That does indeed not mean that those keys are considerably easier, just that they are the ones that are first comfortable. One can just as well practice D flat all day and soon become comfortable there. As a serious player, I've done that, but I don't think there would be any payoff for most people. They just want to experience the fun of playing. Again - good on them.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 09:18 PM

Today I saw something which embodies my attitude toward playing music.

It is the magazine of the National Federation of Music Clubs, and on the glossy cover it invites me to attend the Fall Meeting in June, 2012.

The Fall meeting in June? They don't explain why. Did they forget to have the fall meeting last autumn? Or are they having it early, perhaps because they are taking a bus tour in Europe or are taking a granddaughter to college? They don't say. Whatever the reason, I applaud the laid-back attitude. Music is supposed to be a pleasure, not a chore.

I belong to the Kansas City chapter, and the chapter is more than 100 years old. I guess after your first hundred years you can let down your hair.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 06:32 AM

Much of the advice here is quite correct assuming that the player plans to spend considerable time and has aspirations to a much higher level of playing.

Learning how to read an ordinary alto-range song that goes down to A isn't a virtuoso achievement, is it?


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Mo the caller
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 08:50 AM

It does annoy me when people on here tell me what is or is not a hard.

And using a treble recorder as a transposing instrument can be an easy way of joining in when the chap with the Hurdy Gurdy plays Horses Brawl in C and my fingers know it in G.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 09:29 AM

Here is the sort of thing you can do if you know how to read treble recorder notation at pitch. Look at this one:

Fly Me To The Moon

That is in fact, sort of, playable on a C recorder. But it sits very low in the range and can't be very effective on it; there is also one rather icky fingering movement, the chromatic run up from low C. Play it on an F recorder and it sits right in the most effective part of the instrument's range - it will sound very much better and it's easier to play.

There is an even larger difference in playability with this one:

Softly as in a Morning Sunrise

Apart from the issue of acoustically effective range, you have to get round those low E flats. On a C recorder they're half-holed, which makes them hard to play accurately at the speed required (even though this isn't a particularly fast tune). On an F alto those passages fall under the fingers a lot better.

A rather small effort in learning to negotiate the notation means you can save yourself a lot of struggle later on with the actual playing, and you can just pick up a larger variety of scores and just play them. (Everything I've looked at on that French jazz tunes site works fine on an alto F recorder, even though the compilers can't have had it in mind).


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: IvanB
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 05:45 PM

But, Jack, if those songs were transposed so the F recorder player could play them as if they were C fingerings, but they would play at treble pitch, the fingerings wouldn't change, just the dots on the page. Actually, there was a movement back in the 1950's or 60's to make one of the sets of recorder a transposing instrument so all recorder players could move easily from one range of instrument to another without those pesky fingering issues. I'm glad it went nowhere but, OTOH, if leeneia wants to do the work to help out a friend, I see no harm in it. I suspect as time goes on, he'll learn to play the F fingerings just as most recorder players do. I always liked the idea that recorders weren't transposing, because it gave me a much greater body of music from which to choose.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 07:00 PM

Speaking merely as the kind of person who holds the fall meeting in June, I would like to say that instruments do not transpose, people transpose. Transposing is done by the brain, which sends instructions to the fingers.

If a person puts three fingers and the thumb on a C recorder, a G comes out, no matter which way the wind is blowing, whether you are driving on the right side of the road or the left, and whether it's Daylight Savings time or not.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Tootler
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 07:26 PM

IvanB, I think you miss Jack's point.

What you say is correct but that's not the point that was being made. The point is; because recorders are not treated as transposing instruments you can look at the dots for those tunes and easily decide that they are better played on the alto than the tenor (or soprano) recorder because they sit more comfortably in the range of the alto. If the F recorder were treated as a transposing instrument, most people would need to transpose the written music before they could make that judgement. My experience of seeing clarinettists struggling with written music for traditional dance tunes and having to "transpose" on the fly because you don't normally get Bb parts for such tunes so they have to cope with the music at pitch tends to bear that out.

leeneia, I have seen the argument in your most recent post used in another context and I am always suspicious of it.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: JohnB
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 12:37 AM

Correct me if I am wrong :) Every time I have tried to transpose something like this to make it "easier" I seem to end up with the part written on so many ledger lines that I can't read it quickly anyhow.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 03:44 AM

And if a person puts three fingers and the thumb on a F recorder, a C comes out, no matter which way the wind is blowing, whether you are driving on the right side of the road or the left, and whether it's Daylight Savings time or not.

Which is why it's written as a C.

But I suspect we're just not going to agree on this one ...


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 07:13 AM

Steve - That just about sums it up. Two camps with a different fundamental views.

I can appreciate Jack Campin's argument that music is written for Bass Clarinet "using bass clef but written an octave higher than it sounds", and that is what the recorder world play, so if you want to be part of the recorder world, you should take the time and effort to learn to do it that way.

I can also appreciate that someone may not have time to completely re-learn fingerings, let alone reading music in a new clef, when all that is needed is a way of producing the same note as the rest of the band.

My personal view is that ANY written music is simply a shorthand which allows you to play the same as another player. Lute players used Tablature which told them where to position fingers on strings - much more sensible than linear dots for a multi-stringed instrument. I know some people here on Mudcat can speed read from ABC notation. It doesn't matter what notation system you use as long as you can produce the correct notes.

I learned to read music in brass bands, where an E flat horn happily plays along with a B flat cornet. The written music is pre-transposed, so each instrument plays from sheet music with a different number of sharps or flats. The note that is actually played by either instrument is not the note that would come out if played on a piano, but it doesn't matter, as the band is a self-contained entity.
The recorder world do not do it that way, but it works! The intervals between a C and an F recorder are the same distance apart as a B flat and E flat brass band instrument, so music written for brass would work on recorders if the players used C recorder fingering.

I agree with Jack, (although using my own description) that learning to play an instrument "by the book" allows you to play what is "in the book", and as such can open out your options.
I also understand that, for a limited "fun" repertoire, a quick fix that allows you to get the correct "sound" from the instrument may be all you actually require, but means that you cannot play music which hasn't been deliberately arranged for you, and as such can limit your options.

At the end of the day, there are many ways to skin a cat - Actually I've never skinned one, so there may only be one...

Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 07:15 AM

Sorry - "music is written for Bass Clarinet "using bass clef but written an octave higher than it sounds", " should have read Bass Recorder.
Quack!
Geoff.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 07:37 AM

At the end of the day, there are many ways to skin a cat - Actually I've never skinned one, so there may only be one...

Right, that's it. The Campaign for Mudcat Usenet Sigging begins here.

Phil
--
"There are many ways to skin a cat. Actually I've never skinned one,
so there may only be one." - Geoff the Duck


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 07:42 AM

I had it backwards anyway - bass recorder music is written an octave lower than it sounds.

Once you've learned how to read for both C and F instruments, you can combine that with the "pretend you've got a different one" trick to auto-transpose. I actually checked those French jazz pieces on a descant, since I had one within arm's reach. Using F alto fingerings, "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise" came out in G minor instead of C minor. If you pretend the other way, you transpose a fifth down instead of a fifth up.

Since I also play G recorders (and read at pitch for them - something any bagpipe player would pick up immediately) I have a lot of auto-transpositions like that available. It's more complicated to describe it than it is to do it.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: IvanB
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 09:09 PM

Tootler, if music for F recorder was transposed to make it read with C fingerings, what problem would that create with deciding which range of recorder was best for the music? The fingerings wouldn't change one iota, only the sound that came out of the instrument. The biggest bugaboo I see with the practice is someone picking up a piece of music intended for an F recorder and playing it on a C. In a consort that could nicely mess up the works.

While I'm against treating the recorder as a transposing instrument, I'm also leery of naysayers who declare it must never be done. If leeneia wants to do so for a friend I figure that's her business. Frankly, I'd be willing to bet that he'd be reading the music at concert pitch and using the F fingerings in not all that long.

And, leeneia, you're correct that instruments don't transpose, people do. But "transposing instrument" is the musical classification assigned to those instruments for which music must be transposed for it to be heard at concert pitch.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Howard Jones
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 04:52 AM

I have skinned a cat. Only the one, though, so I can't comment whether there is another way.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 05:25 AM

Tootler, if music for F recorder was transposed to make it read with C fingerings, what problem would that create with deciding which range of recorder was best for the music?

None of the music on the French site has the music transposed in the way you want. Are you supposed to copy all of it out and transpose with a computer in order to tell which pieces you can play and which you can't? (It would take much longer than the practice time required to get fluent in reading F recorder music at pitch).

If you want to make your own choices about what to play rather than wait for somebody to feed it to you, you need to learn to read at pitch.


"transposing instrument" is the musical classification assigned to those instruments for which music must be transposed for it to be heard at concert pitch.

There are no such instruments. I read music for B flat clarinet at concert pitch. So will anybody who wants a repertoire that wasn't specially composed for it.


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Subject: RE: 'faking' music for an F recorder
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 30 Mar 12 - 05:43 AM

But "transposing instrument" is the musical classification assigned to those instruments for which music must be transposed for it to be heard at concert pitch.

Much though I dislike using Wikipedia for, well, anything really, the definition at the head of the 'transposing instruments' article puts it pretty well:

A transposing instrument is a musical instrument for which written notes are read at a pitch different from the corresponding concert pitch, which a non-transposing instrument, such as a piano, would play. Playing a written C on a transposing instrument will produce (sound) a note other than concert C. The concert pitch of that written C determines the key from which an instrument transposes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transposing_instrument


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