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Buying recorders (descant & treble)

Mo the caller 07 Jul 19 - 05:13 AM
GUEST,Cj 07 Jul 19 - 05:48 AM
Jack Campin 07 Jul 19 - 07:29 AM
Mo the caller 07 Jul 19 - 06:28 PM
Jack Campin 07 Jul 19 - 07:01 PM
GUEST 07 Jul 19 - 08:09 PM
GUEST,Starship 09 Jul 19 - 11:31 AM
leeneia 09 Jul 19 - 02:32 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 09 Jul 19 - 03:20 PM
David W 09 Jul 19 - 06:02 PM
Jack Campin 09 Jul 19 - 06:15 PM
David W 09 Jul 19 - 08:08 PM
Jack Campin 10 Jul 19 - 03:57 AM
leeneia 10 Jul 19 - 11:22 AM
Jack Campin 10 Jul 19 - 11:49 AM
leeneia 10 Jul 19 - 12:53 PM
David W 10 Jul 19 - 01:22 PM
Jack Campin 10 Jul 19 - 01:40 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 10 Jul 19 - 06:15 PM
Jack Campin 10 Jul 19 - 06:25 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 10 Jul 19 - 06:54 PM
Mo the caller 11 Jul 19 - 10:50 AM
Mo the caller 11 Jul 19 - 10:51 AM
Mo the caller 11 Jul 19 - 10:55 AM
leeneia 11 Jul 19 - 11:13 AM
Jack Campin 11 Jul 19 - 04:17 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 11 Jul 19 - 04:47 PM
Dave the Gnome 11 Jul 19 - 05:04 PM
Mo the caller 11 Jul 19 - 05:41 PM
Jack Campin 12 Jul 19 - 05:50 AM
Jack Campin 12 Jul 19 - 09:56 AM
punkfolkrocker 12 Jul 19 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 12 Jul 19 - 10:57 AM
GUEST,IanA 12 Jul 19 - 01:42 PM
Jack Campin 12 Jul 19 - 04:05 PM
GUEST 12 Jul 19 - 05:16 PM
Jack Campin 12 Jul 19 - 06:09 PM
David W 12 Jul 19 - 06:31 PM
Mo the caller 31 Aug 19 - 05:34 PM
Jack Campin 31 Aug 19 - 07:44 PM
Jack Campin 31 Aug 19 - 07:49 PM
Mo the caller 03 Sep 19 - 06:24 AM
Mo the caller 03 Sep 19 - 06:29 AM
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Subject: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Mo the caller
Date: 07 Jul 19 - 05:13 AM

I am an unashamed perpetual beginner recorder player. I put more effort into learning music for choir and preparing dance programmes to call at club.
But I need a new descant recorder, and would like to teach myself to read in treble fingering too.
It wouldn't be worth spending hundreds and I have been told that Aulos are a reliable cheap make.
Looking inline I see that even there I have choices to make. There are 3 or more prices for different models. Is there any reason to spend more than the minimum. What's the difference?


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: GUEST,Cj
Date: 07 Jul 19 - 05:48 AM

The wooden ones have a slightly softer, less shrill sound. My ears survive more hours with them. Ive bought almost all my recorders 2nd Hand and no regrets etc.

If I were starting afresh, Id buy a learning instrument to learn on (!) and keep an eye on eBay for nicer 2nd hand wooden models.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Jul 19 - 07:29 AM

To blend in with other players: Yamaha YRS-20 (the transparent ones). To stand out: Aulos 703W "Haka".

Alto: I like the Zen-On "Bressan" model - complex and interesting tone, reliable across its range.

The only lowish-priced wooden recorder worth bothering with is the Mollenhauer "Dream". Works well for folk. You've heard mine (the red and gold one). They don't last all that well. The plastic version of the Dream is a bit lacking in guts at the high end.

If you want a tenor I have a spare Aulos plastic you can have if you tell me where to post it (bung a few quid to a refugee charity). Also a spare Susato G alto, which is great for Scottish music, pipe tunes in particular, though it's rubbish in the high register like all Susato products. I have several G altos and use them much more than F altos for folk.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Mo the caller
Date: 07 Jul 19 - 06:28 PM

Thanks Jack. I bought a secondhand Aulos tenor, but can't stretch fast enough so don't play it.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Jul 19 - 07:01 PM

There are different models of Aulos tenor. The easiest stretch is the keyless one - try it in a shop if you can. All tenors feel impossible at first, no matter what your hands are like. Once you've got it supported properly (on your knee, foot or table if necessary) and worked out how rarely you need to use your right little finger, it gets easier fast.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Jul 19 - 08:09 PM

I have one of the cheapest Aulos models, actually cost double as I had to import it from Germany as I prefer single holed recorders and you can't find them in the UK. However it's under a tenner in Germany and excellent quality sound. I don't think Aulos make bum recorders at any price.

I also got a beautiful Beach wood, whistle/recorder hybrid. It s a single piece wooden whistle with recorder holes and fingering. Because it's a recorder it sounds way better than a whistle and because it's a whistle sounds much more rustic than a recorder. Since I play folk not Baroque with it, it's perfect.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 09 Jul 19 - 11:31 AM

The day may come when the principles guiding the following study with light will be applied 'similarly' to sound. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171218090942.htm
Interesting to think about.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: leeneia
Date: 09 Jul 19 - 02:32 PM

Guest from July 7, who made your recorder/whistle, and where did you buy it?


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 09 Jul 19 - 03:20 PM

I agree with Jack about the keyless Aulos tenor, which I play most of the time; no harm in silently practising the fingering of the more difficult note changes whilst watching tele, too.

And, if your voice is tenor, it's particularly good for introducing songs.

(On a lighter note, very dexterous folk could always make one out of a carrot!)


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: David W
Date: 09 Jul 19 - 06:02 PM

leeneia

PM sent


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Jul 19 - 06:15 PM

Is there any reason to keep the maker's name secret?


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: David W
Date: 09 Jul 19 - 08:08 PM

Nope I was just respecting Leeneia privacy


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Jul 19 - 03:57 AM

Well the rest of us would like to know.

BTW a lot of UK folkies buy Bleazey recorders because they're cheaper than most other wooden ones, they're loud, and they look the business. They are also appallingly tuned with a useless high register. Get a Dream instead.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: leeneia
Date: 10 Jul 19 - 11:22 AM

David W., thank you for considering my privacy. I've thought it over and see no reason why I can't share your link.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/ivromanov1975/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_ipg=&_from=

Hope this works!
==============
About your flute/whistle: does it have a nice tone? How big is the range? Many Irish dance tunes in D go up to the B above the staff. Can the instrument do that?

Mrrzy, I have a number of recorder of different sizes. Thinking it over, I conclude that all the really nice ones are by Moeck. (I don't have any extra-expensive, custom-made recorders. Not worth the money to me. )


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Jul 19 - 11:49 AM

https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/ivromanov1975/m.html

I've seen quite a few recorders/whistles made in that "foksy" style from a lot of places. Usually they don't work very well chromatically.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: leeneia
Date: 10 Jul 19 - 12:53 PM

Thanks for the clicky, Jack.

Mo, do you really want a treble (alto) recorder? It is in the key of F, with lowest note being F. This means it can't play most dance music, because it can't go low enough. It also has a different fingering system, with every note on an F recorder being different from its mate on a C recorder. What this means is that it's easy to suddenly and discordantly switch systems in the middle of a piece. We call this an 'instrument attack.'

Now, if you have been playing other woodwinds, that is probably not a problem, but if you are a true beginner, and if you don't have that much spare time, then I suggest starting with a descant (soprano). Later, if you want to expand, get a tenor, which has the same fingering. I have small hands, and I can play a tenor just fine.

Plastic tenors seem to clog fast; get a wooden one.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: David W
Date: 10 Jul 19 - 01:22 PM

My plastic one hasn't clogged since I started following the formula of washing the business end in washing up liquid every month or so and making sure it's at least room temperature before I play it.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Jul 19 - 01:40 PM

Mo is not a beginner. And descant and alto have identical fingering systems, they just use different pitches.

Learning alto is easy if you just do it. If you play by ear there's nothing to learn. To learn to read, just drop the C recorder for about 3 weeks and only read alto music. Then start learning to switch. There is no "try".

All even fractionally serious recorder players over the last 500 years have learned to read at pitch for different sizes. It's basically the same conceptual issue pipers play when switching between A bagpipes and D whistles - the vast majority of pipers can do it with hardly a thought.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 10 Jul 19 - 06:15 PM

My understanding is that, solo, we can play an alto fingering as if it is a soprano or tenor, but the problem with that arises when playing with others - different pitch.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Jul 19 - 06:25 PM

Shut up.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 10 Jul 19 - 06:54 PM

Better you stop deluding yourself, Jack.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Mo the caller
Date: 11 Jul 19 - 10:50 AM

Someone talked about tenor if you sing tenor. I sing alto so want to go below middle C. So what I'm aiming to do with my new recorder is play / read an octave higher (as descant is) when I'm learning Dixit Dominus (I know there are other ways to learn it but thought it might help get the finger/co-ordination). And I suppose I'll have to play in true pitch if playing treble arrangements.
Piva have an Early Music course at Halsway that they say is not just aimed at expert players. So maybe.. If I practise.
Yes, I do find that going from one page to the next I'm suddenly in descant fingering!
I took Jacks advice for the Yamaha descant (my old green descant has a tiny crack, but I'd been happy with it), so thought I'd get a Yamaha treble too. So far so good, not too hard to get the second octave (except F, which I have trouble with when singing, too). And I like the sound. I do have an old (21st birthday present) Schott wooden treble but I never play it because it's not in tune (I melted on the windowsill), and I never learnt the fingering reliable after realising that the alto line needs transposing an octave.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Mo the caller
Date: 11 Jul 19 - 10:51 AM

Yes WAV, you could treat the treble as a descant, but unless you actually wanted to transpose something why would you. Just giving yourself bad habits.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Mo the caller
Date: 11 Jul 19 - 10:55 AM

Next question.
Jack said the Dream doesn't have a long life. What goes wrong.
I know plastic recorders can get loose joints and become hard to play.

And plastic recorders are easy to clean - soak in water with a squirt of fairy, if they are gunged up. how would you clean a wooden recorder.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: leeneia
Date: 11 Jul 19 - 11:13 AM

Why would you play a treble as if it were a descant?

1. To get the pretty tone.
2. Because it's the only recorder you have.

Granted, this is for solo playing only.

I attend a week of early music with skilled players almost every year. Believe me, lots of players suffer "instrument attacks." Playing a C instrument at 2 pm and an F instrument at 2:30 pm has a lot to do with it.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Jul 19 - 04:17 PM

I have a pearwood Dream. It absorbs moisture even if you oil it properly, and the problem gets worse with time. Result is the tone and volume deteriorate as the windway, labium and block change shape, and the swelling of the body and headjoint cracks the plastic rings. I had mine revoiced and the rings replaced, but it's not really worth that. Dreams made in harder woods (with hardwood rings) are much more durable. But I really beat the hell out of mine. The recorder might well outlive a player less given to marathon playing sessions at top volume.

Mollenhauer used to be a rather unpredictable manufacturer - they're as uniform as Moeck now. I met somebody at Whitby a couple of years ago who had carefully worked through somebody's stock of dozens of Mollenhauer descants and ended up with one that delivered absolutely incredible power, comparable to an Eagle. I inherited one like it soon after, and don't use the Dream so much now I've got it.

Don't ignore G altos. They're the dog's bollocks for many folk idioms, and much easier to buy than they used to be.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 11 Jul 19 - 04:47 PM

So, years ago, I built up a repertoire of about 60 songs, the great majority of which have middle C or above as their lowest note.

The ones that went below (such as Johnny Todd on the Dig Trad Mirror version) I transposed and checked with a better musician than myself (Julian Sutton, in this case), such that middle C (or just above) was the lowest.

Thus, if I get the fingering correct on my tenor, it sounds close to how I should sing those songs as a tenor and, thus, is ideal for intros; but, if I (rarely) pick up my plastic alto instead, I think it's okay with the very same fingering as the intervals between the notes are still the same and I'm playing solo - as distinct from "playing all the right notes not necessarily in the right order" (Eric Morecambe)!


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 11 Jul 19 - 05:04 PM

I keep reading this as "buying records. Decent and terrible"


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Mo the caller
Date: 11 Jul 19 - 05:41 PM

Once you see a title like that it sticks.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Jul 19 - 05:50 AM

I have an old Schott pearwood "Concert" alto which may be the same as what Mo has. Its tuning is ok and it's loud, but its tone is crude and nasty. Old wooden Dolmetsches are usually the same, even expensive ones. The straight-edged labium is the giveaway - a curved windway usually makes for a more interesting sound. Dolmetsch claimed to be following the early 18th century designs of Bressan, but ignored that very important detail. The Zen-On plastic "Bressan" gets it right for a fraction of the cost of a handmade Dolmetsch.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Jul 19 - 09:56 AM

...btw the Zen-On was designed by von Huene, who really knew his stuff. They've revised it a bit recently; I haven't tried the revised version and haven't read any comparisons. There wasn't much to improve.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 12 Jul 19 - 10:28 AM

What about the millions of recorders bulk purchased by UK schools.
We were given no choice but to learn to play one melody [Peas Puddin Hot..] on recorder
in the early 1960s..

Did they actually provide decent instruments, or cheap disposable ear destroyers
made in the Empire...???


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 12 Jul 19 - 10:57 AM

Back then, they were generally mediocre and rather boring rather than actually terrible.

Since then, there are better ones for the same price (Yamaha, Aulos) which more clued-up schools get, and truly ghastly ones for a lot less (Hornby, Early Learning Centre, no-names) which are probably more common.

So things have got worse.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: GUEST,IanA
Date: 12 Jul 19 - 01:42 PM

Regarding punkfolkrocker's question - Dolmetsch produced some rather fine Bakelite recorders in the 1960s. In tune and not a bad tone but they shattered if you dropped them. Each 'improvement' saw a deterioration and Arnold Dolmetsch would have been birling in his grave. The wooden Schotts instruments of the time were dire and Boosey & Hawkes not much better. They were, at that time, always seen as school instruments and, thus, not much better than toys.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Jul 19 - 04:05 PM

Dolmetsch's version of Bakelite (not as tough as the original) was called Dolonite. Schott used something similar. I don't think they named it but it should have been Schite.

Across the pond, the Waterbury Button Company branched out into making ocarinas in the 1950s. I've never handled one of their products but I'd guess the material was in a higher quality bracket, Waterbury ocarinas you see on EBay now look as good as new.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Jul 19 - 05:16 PM

Yes, my Schott is a 'Concert'. I can't read what else in says, there's a wood in tiny lettering half rubbed off (ah, with a magnifying glass - made in Germany). Were they all pearwood? Thought I'd got something good at the time, it didn't seems cheap - 3 cousins clubbed together to buy it for my 21st. Now I know how much serious players spend!


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Jul 19 - 06:09 PM

I've seen a few and they were all varnished pear. Brown varnish is never a good sign in old recorders. I got mine free.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: David W
Date: 12 Jul 19 - 06:31 PM

Ferris make their money providing school recorders on mass.

I bought one of the plastic Alto one's a few years back, solely because they are the best looking recorders out there, however it was so badly out of tune it was unplayable, and a I got id of it a week later.

Which doesn't look positive for their school recorders.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Mo the caller
Date: 31 Aug 19 - 05:34 PM

Well I took Jack's advice about not trying to read both Treble and descant. A week at Whitby made quite a difference. At the start of the week if I was in a session and decided the tune was in Treble range I still couldn't link my ears and fingers. A week going to the Folk Orchestra and reading the harmony line not only improved my reading, but also playing by ear on the treble. Not quite mastered the octave skipping though (you sometimes need it on the descant too - though not as much).
Jack, next time we meet can you show me what a curved airway looks like.
In what way is it better? Which are easier to get the high notes on (if I could remember the fingering!)


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 31 Aug 19 - 07:44 PM

Windways: look here:

http://www.flute-a-bec.com/gros-plan-chanfreinsgb.html

As I hear it, the main advantage of a curved windway is a more complex and interesting tone colour.

My latest toy is a handmade plastic alto recorder at A=415 pitch, by Vincent Bernolin. That really is a different world.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 31 Aug 19 - 07:49 PM

BTW the main use for an F alto recorder in folk is for playing tunes in C. The most concentrated use I've ever made of one was at the Ship Inn session in Suffolk, where C is the commonest key.


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Mo the caller
Date: 03 Sep 19 - 06:24 AM

Yes, there is a hurdy gurdy player at Audlem who confuses my fingers by sometimes playing Horses Brawl in C


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Subject: RE: Buying recorders (descant & treble)
From: Mo the caller
Date: 03 Sep 19 - 06:29 AM

Thanks for the link (not sure I understand it!)


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