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Recorder Thread!


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#3466 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 15:01

Roughly on the topic of trying out recorders, what I'd really like to do is go to one of the big recorder events that has trade stands, as there would be lots of choice and, probably, lots of opportunity to try without being under too much pressure to buy.  I have a friend in London who lives within walking distance of EMS and once, when visiting, I took advantage of the opportunity to walk down to EMS and try a couple of recorders.  They didn't have what I most wanted to try in stock (I think the Yorkshire branch is bigger?).  They would have got it for me if I'd been able to return another day, but somehow it feels more difficult to say no after someone has gone to that sort of trouble.  I know it shouldn't, but it does.

Has anyone been to Stockstade recorder festival?  That looks fantastic - plenty of trying out opportunity (the trade exhibitors list is like a who's who of recorder making/selling), plus I see this year they have Dorothee Oberlinger, Prisma, Seldom Sene and Erik Bosgraaf there amongst others: the expense of going would at least in part be balanced by the opportunity to see so many top names in recorder playing in one place at one time.  Sadly, I don't feel I can justify the expense this year ;(


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#3467 Maizie

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 15:22

Only have experience of Greenwich, and it's great for trying out whatever you want.  The second year I went, barry-clari (who is extremely sociable) toured it with me, and had me trying not just every recorder under the sun, but also serpents and chalmeaux and a walking-stick flute and and and and!!!

Since that visit, I've felt a lot more comfortable browsing without feeling obligated (that's definitely a me thing, being uncertain the first year I went.  It's absolutely not a "Greenwich thing" - it's absolutely full of people who want you playing and poking and asking questions).

You should arrange to visit your London friend in November :)  I'll be looking for an excuse to go, I'm sure :D


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#3468 elemimele

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 16:19

ooooooh, three of my favourites in one festival but my finances won't stretch to a fancy coffee just now. It's not fair!

(it will happen.. just not yet)


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#3469 Zixi

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 11:24

Life isn't fair elemimele - I think it's part of the definition of the thing... Hang on to the 'one day!'  smile.png


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#3470 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 11:44

Whenever I have oiled a recorder, I've carefully followed advice about not getting any oil on the block - I use the "Mollenhauer method" (also recommended by Sarah Jeffery) of holding the handle of the oil brush in such a way that the brush can't go quite as far as the inner face of the block.  However, this does mean that the topmost part of the recorder is never oiled.  Does anyone know: if the block is out anyway, is it a good thing to oil all the way up to the tip of the head joint, or should the windway as well as the block remain oil free?


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#3471 anacrusis

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 16:56

the windway must stay oil-free - oil would encourage water to bead on its surface, which is what causes blockages. I use a small paintbrush to oil the labium on the outside, and my method of ensuring none gets on the block is to drop a flattened ball of paper into the head joint, so that I can see it through the window. My oiling brushes have a rubber cap over the end of the wire, and I let that bump against the paper - but the bristles, coated with the oil, don't get that far. It goes without saying the bit of paper needs to be small enough to fall out again easily after! Just my belt- and-braces method, but it's always worked for me. Always leave the head standing upright to dry after oiling also, to prevent any falling on the block afterwards. 

 

During my lesson with Flanders-Joris, he raised an interesting idea - my recorder was clogging and he got me to look at the bit of block visible through the window. He pointed out that there was more dampness on one side than the other, and told me that recorders don't clog if the wetness is evenly distributed across the whole windway - he uses a cotton bud to drag the water trail right across in that situation. Even more drastically, he'll pour water right through the windway ohmy.png ... must admit, I've not had the courage to do that. (and yes, I asked - even with wooden recorders) . He said that the clogging is caused by water finding only a narrow path down the windway.  If his theory is true, then both sucking back and doing the thing of finger over the window and blowing sharply simply encourages the water to find the same path it had already embarked on, so that clogging happens again and again... He did also mention the washing up liquid solution, but as I'm a sucker-back-er I'm averse to the idea biggrin.png

 


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#3472 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 17:58

Thank you - I guessed it was probably the case that you should keep the oil out of the windway, or everyone would be suggesting oiling with the block out, but I wasn't sure why.  It makes sense now you say it, of course.  The water/cotton bud idea sounds worth trying.  I find one of my recorders seems to clog very unpredictably, sometimes I can play it for ages and it's fine, other times it clogs very quickly.  This is the one I'm about to oil, hence the question.  I'll try the cotton but next!


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#3473 andante_in_c

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 20:04

That’s really interesting, anacrusis. Just to clarify, can we prevent clogging by carrying a cotton bud around and using it when the first signs of clogging occur? I seem to have trouble with my wooden tenors all the time.
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#3474 anacrusis

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 20:55

Andante, yes, apparently Joris usually carries them - though didn't have any for my lesson. He described poking the cotton bud through the window and dragging the water across that bevelled bit of block, to try to persuade the water to take a course over the entire width of the windway - not sure how it would achieve that in the section the bud doesn't reach, but haven't tried it to see if it really does work.  And another person attending the Flanders weekend told me that he'd done the pouring water down the windway thing to one of her recorders once...


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#3475 elemimele

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 22:55

I'm feeling smug. I've managed to diagnose a fingering disaster. I've been trying to play the 3rd of Telemann's 12 Fantasies for flute, so it's transposed down from b-minor, 2 sharps, to d-minor, one flat, played on a treble instrument. The problem happens after the 2nd largo bit where it turns into adds an accidental e-flat rapidly alternating with a d. This is the usual 0134-012 forked fingering change that gave me so much trouble when I first started learning the instrument (I think it does for everyone), and which I thought I'd sorted out for ever. But here it is, back with a vengeance, and causing me enormous trouble! In isolation, no problem, but every time I come to it in situ, it's as though my fingers are paralysed, particularly 4, and I can't do it!

The reason is the context. It comes after F-A-Bnatural-F which is all stuff where the 4th and 5th fingers of the right hand aren't touching the instrument - the B-natural requires the 5th finger to be up, and the F that follows means I also lift the 4th finger, so they're both floating around in the air; in fact the only fingers in action are now 0-2. The next is C, 0123, and my right-hand fingers are still floating around - and then the 0134-012 pair happens.

It doesn't work because always, whenever I've had to do this in the past, I've (unconsciously) used either my 4th or 5th, usually 5th finger on the right hand to stabilise the instrument. There is a moment in this transition where my grip on the recorder isn't very strong, using only 01 and right-hand thumb, and having the little finger on the right hand sitting on the turnings of the foot-joint at that moment just makes everything so much firmer, so I can change fingers neatly without trying to grab at an instrument that's bouncing around. Answer: get that little finger back in contact with something during the C. If I held the instrument at a decent angle it wouldn't be such an issue, but my usual practice space is a bit cramped, so I'm probably holding things more vertical than I should. Ah well.

I think I read somewhere, someone advising that we should think what roles our fingers have, as we play: whether they're blocking holes, supporting the instrument, or doing nothing; their roles change from note to note. Hadn't spotted this properly before. Learning experience...


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#3476 Zixi

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Posted 24 March 2019 - 09:22

That's very interesting. My teacher suggested something similar where you look at what your fingers are doing and say aloud their actions.

 

I'm currently working on some Grieg - gee is it hard. I think he must have decided to use his month's supply of accidentals...

 

I hope everyone is well!


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#3477 anacrusis

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Posted Yesterday, 00:39

some players get very sniffy about use of the fifth finger to stabilise - others, including the Flanderses, say it's reasonable - and it can still be deployed, resting on the joint between foot and middle section. Holding the instrument up enough can help with the feeling of instability too - but difficult to do with the bigger ones ;) . I came across a similar problem today rehearsing with the Arden - was doing a very lot of sightreading and suddenly there was a crop of awkward forked fingerings high up for me to stumble through :D

*will have to go back and do the patient practising-from-the-back-end-of-the-section work"

now somewhat exhausted having travelled down to Rugby on Saturday and back to Edinburgh on Sunday night... and work tomorrow, arggggh... 


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#3478 old_and_grumpy

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Posted Today, 09:40

 

The reason is the context. It comes after F-A-Bnatural-F which is all stuff where the 4th and 5th fingers of the right hand aren't touching the instrument - the B-natural requires the 5th finger to be up, and the F that follows means I also lift the 4th finger, so they're both floating around in the air; in fact the only fingers in action are now 0-2. The next is C, 0123, and my right-hand fingers are still floating around - and then the 0134-012 pair happens.

It doesn't work because always, whenever I've had to do this in the past, I've (unconsciously) used either my 4th or 5th, usually 5th finger on the right hand to stabilise the instrument. There is a moment in this transition where my grip on the recorder isn't very strong, using only 01 and right-hand thumb, and having the little finger on the right hand sitting on the turnings of the foot-joint at that moment just makes everything so much firmer, so I can change fingers neatly without trying to grab at an instrument that's bouncing around. Answer: get that little finger back in contact with something during the C.

 

Just a thought, but isn't this one of those situations where alternative fingering might help? (I'm something of a fan of alternative fingerings.)  I'm so used to C fingerings now that I keep getting confused about which notes are under discussion, but you can finger the E-flat as 01-3-56- and leave the 5 and 6 down when you play the D and it doesn't make much difference to the note.  In fact, I've just had a quick try on my plastic Yamaha and even 01-3--6- gives a reasonable E-flat while leaving 6 down when swapping to D makes no audible difference to the note (to my ears at least).

I suppose it's arguably better to always use the standard fingerings, and of course no harm to work on improving them in tricky situations, but there are a few of those where I definitely find the alternative fingerings easier.


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#3479 elemimele

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Posted Today, 11:48

I'll give it a go, thanks!

Allan Davis also seems reasonably OK about occasional use of a finger to support the instrument, and I'm very happy to have an OK from the Flanderses. I'm guessing the main objections to using fingers like that is that it causes loss of mobility, But I don't think I agree particularly. Every finger plays a role in holding the instrument as well as blocking holes - that's why it's very hard to play a note with no holes blocked whatsoever. Provided the support-finger doesn't find itself paralysed in a grip-of-death, but remains as mobile and ready for the next note as every finger that's legitimately blocking a hole, I see no problem; it's no more immobilising than a proper hole-blocking finger. But that's just the view of a rank amateur! It certainly needs to be planned and thought about rather than just a default finger-stuck-all-the-time (we've only got 10 of them).

I suppose the main test is does it work? Is it the limiting factor?

I know I'm bad about not holding my instrument up enough; my defence is limited space in the practice room, and no music stand, but that's a feeble excuse. Will try harder...


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