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Recorder Thread!


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#3316 elemimele

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Posted 13 December 2018 - 20:37

Erik Bosgraaf is an all-time top-notch hero, and has a mutant tongue that's capable of things far beyond the speed at which any normal person's nerves can carry an action potential. What he does is not biologically possible. But it's beautiful.

The thing I love about Van Eyck is that his music works at so many levels. Bosgraaf brings out heavenly beauty, but it still sounds pretty good played by a lesser mortal. Many of the tunes, in their basic form, are appropriate to someone who's only been playing a matter of weeks (Wat Zalmen op den Avond doen is a good example), and yet we can keep revisiting them time and time again as we progress, and more and more variations become accessible. It really is universal music. The full set of the Lust Hof is a lifetime's enjoyment for any recorder player.

Yes, I play using descant fingering on the treble. My playing on a genuine descant isn't great, and I have neighbours - also my descant is the one I had at school, and it had a little accident with my child and ended up glued together, so it's not what you'd call a perfectly-toned instrument!

 

My explanation of the horrible difficulty of playing a recorder on an unexpected clef, even when it's a clef we can easily read for a different instrument (e.g. when a keyboard player turns to recorder and tries to use bass clef) is that recorder is very different to a piano: you can't look at the lowest C and treat it as interchangeable with the next C up, in the same way as you can on a piano. With any keyboard if you want to transpose an octave you can just move your bottom 8" to the left or right and everything continues exactly as normal - there need not be a mental link between a particular C on the stave and a particular C on the keyboard, and all C's on the keyboard look identical. Recorder is different: two different notes with the same letter on the same stave have to be treated totally differently. So if we move to a new stave altogether, we may still know that the note is C, but we haven't a clue what to do about it, because we don't automatically know which C... 

I might be completely wrong! It's certainly much harder to switch around. That's also why I struggle with one of the things Anacrusis mentioned, dealing with situations where the music moves outside the range of the recorder. If the best option seems to be to shift up or down an octave, I find it really hard to do. The old players must have been amazing; it's not at all rare to find situations in 18th C editions where the tune suddenly changes from treble clef to soprano clef(?) for a handful of bars. Scary; I couldn't do it.


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#3317 Maizie

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Posted 13 December 2018 - 21:09

The weird one is that my great bass I took to immediately.  But I still find a 'normal' bass a thing of utter brain melt.  To be fair, at the end of a day on great bass at orchestra, I probably do start defaulting to "it's a big descant" because when I get tired the world defaults to treble clef tongue.png

I did play the cello for a few terms in early secondary school, so the only thing I can think is bottom-note-C on a great bass is written in the same place as bottom-note-C on a cello, and that's somewhere in my head helping me navigate.


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#3318 Zixi

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 08:56

I agree about Bosgraaf - he is one of the (many) players I admire. I'm sure I'll enjoy his version of the Van Eyck. I finally remembered to look at the music for Wat zalmen etc... It starts off fine... I could manage to Modo 3 without any issues but 4 would have to be slowed down and as for the rest - I'd have to sit it out! One to aspire to. I'm very pleased with Lavignone though - I can hear Van Eyck's background in carillon and the internal harmonies are wonderful. The best part is that rhythm will be very useful to have learned... doors have suddenly opened. I've got three of the Der Fluyten Lust-hof sheet music books - Beginners and then 1 & 2. The Beginner's is a bit deceptive as some is really challenging! I've only ever flicked through the rest. But I think I'll try to pick out some of the easier pieces and practise my new rhythm!

 

I'd expect the switches to become easier but I bet the danger is being 'captured' by an alternative and then finding it difficult to switch! But maybe things you learn as a child stay there - rock solid!

 

Totally off topic - my teacher gave me a Trinity exercise which has a swing rhythm. I loathe jazz so I had to listen to some dance hall to get a sense of it but it's great fun to play!

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@oag - if she hasn't already, Mrs Grumpy could look at LSM's exams. There is one that is purely on performance and can be done by video. If it's hard to get to a centre - that might be a solution. I'm impressed with that concept and the intentions behind it.


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#3319 elemimele

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 10:15

swing is worth it anyway because it's appropriate for a lot of French music. There are lots of little dance tunes that are slightly dull until treated with a bit of swing. It's usually appropriate to do it on runs of notes that proceed stepwise and are much faster than the basic pulse. If the basic pulse is minim e.g. 2/4 or C-with-a-line, then the quaver is the unit that gets treated unequally, and a run of 4 stepwise quavers can be turned into long-short-long-short, bringing a lot of life to the music.

So glad you're enjoying Lavignone!


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#3320 Zixi

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 11:36

@elemimele I must try that. I feel better about my embryonic swing skill already - so thank you!  And I really must try not to be so biased about music. I do dismiss whole swathes of it!

 

I just tried to play the Wat zalmen etc and as I thought, I sight read the first three parts with only a minor hiccup in modo 3... However, modo 4 floored me... then I turned the page and found there was a variation and some of those (modo) are absolutely impossible at any speed! Maizie, I'm in awe of you!

 

By the way, does any one know if it's Wat zalmen etc or Wat zal men...???  As it stands it would seem to be either about salmon or people!


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#3321 anacrusis

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 11:57

Zalmen at a guess - it looks similar to the German "sollen" - so the meaning of "Wat zalmen" would be "what should (we)" and the full title - "Wat zalmen op den Avond doen" would be "was sollen wir an dem Abend tun" in German - and "what should we do in the evening" in English. Sorry for the circuitous route - I always think of Dutch as being a half-way house between English and German :ph34r: 

 

Very much in agreement with elemimele on the "swing" thing, in the right places French baroque music really takes shape with a bit of inégale playing. And on Bosgraaf's rendition of Wat Zalmen - I was intrigued to see what he did with the tempo of the last variations - on my score, after the demisemiquavers, you get variations which appear to be going back to nice manageable crotchets and quavers - but what he does is make each bar worth a beat from the original tempo, which keeps the momentum going, but is utterly daunting to attempt :D . Another thing I particularly like about his rendition is that in those later variations he uses tongue-stopping to finish as well as start a note, as if he'd tripped over - again sets me back wondering just what it was that they were doing in the evening in the original song...


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#3322 Zixi

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 12:24

Anacrusis - thanks! My knowledge of German is zero - one evening class when I was 20ish then flu; too embarrassed to return. Re your thoughts on what they were doing in the evening has made me laugh. laugh.png


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#3323 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 13:10

Brain melt is not a bad way to describe some aspects of recorder playing.  It's odd that one encounters so many people who regard recorder as only a child's instrument, or even not a proper instrument at all: I played saxophone for a while as a teenager and the fingering is much simpler than for recorder, while every instrument is identically notated, conveniently on treble clef.  One of the reasons I like tenor recorder is that its range fits so conveniently on treble clef, with hardly any ledger lines needed.  Magic!  I think playing well is enough of an objective for me without having to switch between "different fingerings for the same note" - you know what I mean.  It's absolutely correct that piano is the same across the range and all you have to do is shift your whole body an octave rightwards or leftwards, whereas only 3 notes are the same fingering (apart from thumb) across octaves on recorder.

 

Zixi: thanks for info about LSM exams.  I think Mrs Grumpy is leaving it for the time being, too many other things to focus on at present, though I think she will want to go back to it in the future and that looks very useful.


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#3324 Maizie

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 14:31

I just hunted out my Volume II, XYZ edition of Van Eyck.  In this, the two Wat Zalmen's are #51 and #52.  They are distinguished easily by the second full bar, which goes EED in version 1 and ECD in version 2.

#51 goes theme then Modo 2 to Modo 6.

#52 goes them then Modo 2, Modo 3, Modo 4 en 5, Modo 6 to Modo 9.

 

Evidently I sat down with recordings, as I have it noted that the recordings I own are:

Dan Laurin - #51 then #52, in order as written

Pieces Adams - #52, theme to modo 6

Eric Bosgraaf - #52, theme, modo 1 to modo 3; modo 5 from #51; back to #52 for modo 4 en 5, then modos 6 to 9.  Ludicrously complicated as this sounds, this actually follows what the commentary in my edition suggests is the "right" order.

 

I played the second version, I think I managed to modo 4 en 5 but I'm not 100% convinced I got that far, so please don't hold me in any great esteem!  Guess I know what I'll be trying after work biggrin.png


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#3325 Zixi

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 15:46

@Maizie - that's really interesting. As for esteem that's for me to decide! tongue.png But you can add some gratitude. I'd have never thought about looking at that music or trying it unless you'd mentioned it and it has done a lot for my confidence! My Wat Zalmen's are #49 - the second one is labelled: Noch verscheyden Veranderinge etc and I'm assuming that means it's another version. It goes to modo 9 whereas the first one goes to 6.


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#3326 Zixi

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 22:09

I had a very nice mail from Trinity reiterating the regs for the Woodwind syllabus ie

  • At Initial–Grade 5 candidates may play either descant or treble recorder, or a combination of the two.
  • At Grades 6–8 both descant and treble recorders must be played.
  • At all grades, one piece only may be played on tenor, sopranino or bass recorder.

So, I've asked them to state categorically that this applies to the music certificate which isn't graded like that...


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#3327 elemimele

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Posted Yesterday, 00:00

... to my mind, the rule that one piece only may be played on sopranino should apply to life in general. (it's not my favourite size)

While we're on Van Eyck, it's so tempting to stray from one favourite to another. Boffons is hugely fun. I enjoy the simpler version of Malle Symen, the one in Vol. 1 of the 3 Amadeus volumes. Prins Robberts Masco is another really nice one with simulated harmonies. I like Lavolette, and have had a go recently at Psalm 134 - I find the psalms challenging because they usually have suuuuch aaaaa slooooow tuuuune and it takes greater talent than mine to play something like that well - but then they rapidly get into variations that, if played at the speed I want to use for the tune, are about 8 times as fast as I will ever be able to play (and I don't think fast playing sounds good if it also sounds rushed; the thing about Erik Bosgraaf is that he sounds natural and fluent doing it; he doesn't sound like he's gasping for breath, about to trip over, or pushing himself to the limit). At the moment I probably play the tune faster than I should, and stick to one or two simple variations, which are manageable without too obvious a deceleration. The psalms are strange - I rather like them, but it might be a phase I'm going through (I've just discovered that my favourite organist, as from a month ago when I first discovered him, Sietze de Vries, is in the process of improvising the entire Dutch protestant psalter; I'm in heaven).

I've always felt, probably wrongly, that Wat Zalmen op den Avond doen has an element in it of "heya Darlin' are you doing anything interesting tonight...", which meant that when a friend's wife caught me playing recorder and listened while I played the tune and the first variation, I felt positively immoral. I haven't let anyone hear me play it since. It seemed wrong. The ethical risks of repertoire decisions...


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#3328 Zixi

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Posted Yesterday, 12:09

@oag - I mean the London College of Music. I despair of my memory sometimes... It's not been the same since chemo or at least that's what I argue. I 'blame' everything on chemo - it helps me cope as it's much better than saying: Hey, this is wear and tear! Anyway, along with the vid exam version they have a Leisure version which might fit. However, explain (kindly) to Mrs Grumpy that she won't be able to use the Performance (vid) one to get her into university but she can use the Leisure one towards UCAS points... I'd hate for her to do all that work and then realise that her life long dream of doing a degree in Timpani is dashed...

 

@elemimele - just make sure any of your risqué repertoire is played only with loads of people in the room! laugh.png I'm going to look at the pieces you mention and see if I can figure any of them out!

 

Something has dawned on me this week. Our music teacher is a music teacher teaching us music rather than piano or recorder. She treats it like a language. It's wonderful! I realise I've been doing the equivalent of baby babble and I'm just learning to put words together to make short, meaningful sentences. That's wonderful too!


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#3329 anacrusis

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Posted Yesterday, 12:36

Zixi, that's how it should be, and so often isn't - hooray for Music :D and so glad you've got a teacher who is willing to do that with you :)

 

Elemimele - I have played Wat Zalmen, once at a forums concert in Glasgow, and once to a room full of grey-haired folk ... :ph34r: should I now feel very embarrassed?  and have been tootling my way through it this morning also. You're right - I have all three volumes of the XYZ collection, and will often amble my way through various melodies - I love Boffons too, and have played that one on a tenor a few times. No idea what it really means, but to me it brings up the image of clowns larking around, and on tenor it sounds suitably bumptious. Other favourites include Derde Doen Daphne d'over, Phillis Schoone Herderinne and Amarilli mia bella - amarilli goes all frilli too.... 


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#3330 old_and_grumpy

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Posted Today, 11:26

Zixi: thanks for the correction!

 

Interesting also to hear about favourite Van Eyck pieces - sometimes I find it difficult to choose something I might work on so it's good to have some pointers.

I think my Desert Island Discs luxury would be a copy of VE and a suitable recorder to learn them on.


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