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Recorder Thread!


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#3541 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 15:34

oag - Bonsor is very clear - you use the method that suits your hand. I do like people like that!

 

C# hasn't figured hugely for me either but b-flat has and I loathed it with a passion until this week

 

I'm all for methods that work for me!

 

Oddly, B-flat isn't one of the notes I've had a problem with (assuming we're talking about  C instrument?).  The only time I found it tricky was coming to it from a C in a fairly fast passage but I found an alternative fingering for the C that led into it quite nicely.  I can't remember where I read it - in Hunt's book I think, but probably lots of people have said it - but there's more than one way of playing pretty much every note on the recorder, so there's always hope.


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#3542 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 18:57

I meant to add this to earlier post about elemimele's video but forgot, though it's perhaps better as a separate question:

I noticed that the recorder player in the video had the instrument pointing to her right.  I wonder if there is a reason for this: specifically, that it makes it easier for her right hand to reach the lower holes?  I ask because, since switching to tenor, I've found that I assemble the recorder so that the lower section(s) are rotated around to the right a little (thus the row of tone holes don't quite line up with the labium, but are off centre to the left when viewed from the front) which seems to make life a bit easier for my right hand.


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#3543 elemimele

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 19:29

we had a bit of a discussion about this a while back, and as I remember a few people who know a lot more about these things than me suggested that blowing a bit sideways can change the tone (thinking more of situations like Charlotte Barbour-Condini's final in the BBC young musician competition, where she plays quite sideways without there being any physical need, and I'm sure she had a good reason). But in the case of the lady from ResoldoMilare, I'm sure you're right; she's playing a very long instrument for her arm-length, and has quite sensibly turned things to make the reach better. No one has attempted to make recorders with a curve like a Cornett, but if they had, I would have some sympathy!

Hm, B-flat being the equivalent of a treble's E-flat, I'll admit it caused me a certain amount of anxiety, especially the move from F (so on a descant, the C/B-flat change). There are a lot of fingers moving at once on that one, and I haven't always coordinated it as well as I'd like. We're all different; it's interesting how something can be a real bugbear for one person, and easy for another, and yet another issue can be the opposite way round.

edit on the Daphne singing/playing ladies; the recorder player is quite a versatile musician - not averse to bits of a little guitar thing, and singing when needed; this group may not be hanging around in the musical stratosphere with my heart-throbs like Nuria Rial, but they have kept me sane in many stressed moments, and will always occupy a very special place in my feelings. I also think it's good for recorder players to sing from time to time.


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#3544 anacrusis

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 22:26

I agree with elemimele, the thing with holding the recorder over to the right will indeed be to do with arm length, I think - it's a big recorder, that, and it's probably better for body balance to have the arms more evenly stretched, so players will tend to hold the longer instruments over to the right to allow that, especially if they have any issues with sore shoulders or elbows. But yes, as a rule, airflow wants to go as straight down the windway as possible for a better tone, most of the time. 

 

On half holes - my Kynsekers both have very large single holes at their foot ends, and half holing them is not fun. Weirdly, I've found that the second-to-bottom one works best as a half hole if I do so from the top - so pulling the finger up the length of the instrument rather than out sideways as you would do with a double hole seems to get me more reliable tuning - have yet to try it with F#/C# as they are indeed notes which don't seem to be called for all that often. I have a set of old Küng recorders, and the two biggest, bass and great bass, have only single keys for the bottom note, so the sharps really are not possible and I either leave them out altogether, octave up or sometimes a third or fifth is a better bet, depending on the piece and what the other parts are doing. 


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#3545 Zixi

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Posted 11 May 2019 - 10:43

I guess it really does come down to what works best for you and it'll depend on lots of factors. I guess there's 'best practice' but it can't always take into consideration hand shape etc.


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#3546 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 29 May 2019 - 09:44

Good morning everyone.  Hope you are enjoying spring (it's cold and wet here).

 

A question for you: if using boiled linseed oil to treat a recorder, does it matter which one?  The price range is huge: amazon eg offer one at €11.26 for 5 litres and another for €5.95 for 250ml, making the latter more than ten times the price of the former.  The cheaper one actually gets slightly better reviews, though that might be tied to expectations.  Obviously I don't want to use something genuinely inferior, but I also don't want to waste money on something that's simply overpriced.  I'm thinking in terms of submerging a newly-made section in the oil, so I need a reasonable amount.


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#3547 anacrusis

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Posted 29 May 2019 - 19:50

having looked it up, I think it's a bit tricky to tell - it seems that boiled linseed oil has added (?metallic) substances in it, which have the effect of promoting drying - and I suppose it's possible therefore that different sources may be of different quality, but have no idea how to assess that, and the questions I found on various fora didn't address that one. I'd be daunted by having to store a quantity as large as 5 litres, though 250ml sounds a bit on the tight side if you are going to have to immerse the instrument in it... 


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#3548 elemimele

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Posted 30 May 2019 - 06:23

caveat: I really don't know what I'm talking about. And I don't want to be negative about a method you've read up on from someone who says it definitely works. I am not a woodworker:

It's the total immersion that's making me nervous. Linseed oil should harden on exposure to oxygen. It's a chemical cross-linking that requires oxidation, not a straightforward drying by evaporation. The metalic bits that anacrusis mentioned are catalysts that make the process faster. I think sometimes solvents are added too, a bit like an artist would use turpentine as well as oil, for effect and to control drying???

But oxygen is vital to making oil set. Without it, it will stay sticky and gungy, so a large, oil-saturated object is likely to take for ever to become dry and shiny. I would be less nervous of a treatment-method that involved rubbing the oil on in limited quantities, possibly allowing it to dry and repeating as necessary, so it's got plenty of access to air, like one would with Tung-oil based furniture coatings??


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#3549 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 30 May 2019 - 13:49

anacrusis and elemimele: thanks both for your input.

Storing it would not be a problem, the 5 litres comes in a 5 litre container, so wouldn't be like trying to store lots of small bottles.  It's probably the case that there would be some variation in additives, but probably also true that there wouldn't be any way of finding out exactly what they were.

As for the total immersion: I'm drawing on the experience of the recent course.  At the end of the 4th day when the recorder was essentially complete, Tim put it in a tank of danish oil, which I think is tung oil diluted with a solvent.  He said he would normally leave it there for n days (I can't remember exactly) which would allow the oil to soak in to the wood (presumably the effect would be much the same as that achieved by boiling the wood in paraffin as done by commercial makers) but that wasn't possible in the context of a 5-day course so he would take it out at about midnight and it would be dry by next morning.  When I got home I soaked it for about 2 more days which was what he suggested, though it wasn't ideal as I didn't have enough of the oil to do it properly.

The website I found (posted site a few weeks ago, but here if anyone wants to look https://www.cantorac...er_making.shtml) about someone else who had done Tim's course said he had soaked his in linseed oil for 10 days. 

Tim recommended the danish oil because it dried hard which linseed oil does not.  I'm not really sure which would be better though linseed seems to be used by more makers than tung oil is. 

I haven't actually finished my new foot joint yet but will have to treat it in some way once I have.


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#3550 Zixi

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 07:20

I'm not a woodworker either - I do craft stuff which requires sanding things other people have made but I have worked with these oils. Danish oil is brilliant to work with... it's easily obtainable and you can use it for all kinds of things! If you do some other wood-turning it will come in useful. It takes a while to dry though but dry it does and it allows for easy repairs to the finish. My biggest problem with the oils and wax is remembering not to smooth the woods excessively or they find taking in the finishes hard work! And finishes tend to bring up the grain which for some things means extra sanding. I'd stick to Danish oil!

 

I hope everyone is well!!!!!


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#3551 anacrusis

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 21:25

hello, Zixie, yes thank you, and you? 

talking of oil... we had a concert on Sunday, and I'd been put on descant for a couple of the pieces. The little squealer kept fugging up, and I must've been trying to clear it whilst playing about every two bars :( . Not good when playing the "choon" . That was my local group, next weekend I have to play with the SRO, so I decided to dismember my most cloggable recorders today. Took a sideways look at the tenor, realised it was pretty grubby, and gave it a bit of a wipe on the outside with a damp cloth and just the tiniest bit of washing up liquid on it too. Gratifyingly, the tenor came up a treat, and embarrassingly the cloth looked appalling afterwards. Knocked blocks out of descant, treble and tenor, carefully scraped them clean just with a bit of stiff card, did the same with the recorder heads, and oiled the instruments. Waited til they were touch-dry before putting the blocks back - having the block out does mean you can oil slightly further up the head joint if you're careful, though of course was still very wary of going anywhere near the (dismembered...) windways :D . I've oiled the outside of the tenor again too as the wood was slightly rough having been wet, and all looks well, Now just need to wait to try them out :D 


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#3552 Zixi

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 10:51

All's fine anacrusis, thank you! I am impressed at how much maintenance you do on your recorders!

 

My playing seems to have done a little 'leap' forward and some of my rhythm work has taken a turn for the better. My teacher likes playing duets either with piano or recorder and that's been very helpful. I'm using some backing CDs to help me count intervals where the other instrument is playing and that's been great fun. Our teacher taught both of us to count  1,2,3,4; 2,2,3,4 etc etc and I have great fun dancing about counting 7 bars of piano!!! But it's really helped with my timing. I'm using some dexterity books as well and I find that some of the stuff labelled 'very easy' isn't and some of the stuff labelled 'difficult' is really easy but I think that's because I used Bach for my dexterity work so it has kind of skewed what I find easy and hard!

 

Our teacher teaches me recorder and my husband piano so we hear her play both instruments (and sing!) And she's made us both aware that even very simple music played well can be extremely satisfying to listen to. She makes the exercises sound truly lovely. I think she's changed how I view it all - it's no longer a 'I must be able to play XYZ' it's more of appreciating the music along the way. I think I've stopped thinking destination.


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#3553 anacrusis

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 23:51

hehehe, my brain did a somersault when you wrote, "I must be able to play XYZ" - my edition of van Eyck is an XYZ one and it'd be a tall ask to be able to play all of that :D I certainly can't... and more seriously, I fully agree with you, the journey is the thing, more so than the destination, and it includes all sorts of interesting transitions and locations. Today our renaissance group was playing music which looked, and sounded, really very simple, and yet had a complexity of its own, and was beautiful - gently interweaving parts, different players taking the theme and handing it on to each other. Our tutor did still give me something to do which gave me a bit of brain-ache - I had to transpose my part up an octave whilst also trying to count stuff which was off the beat and counter to what the others were doing, but on the plus side, we were all given the full score, so I could see and hear what was going on :D

Next week, rehearsal with the Arden, the week following, a trip to Germany with them - and somehow I've got to learn Byrd's "the leaves be green" by then - arrrrrgh. *nurses bruises from tripping over so many hemiolas*


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#3554 elemimele

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Posted Today, 13:20

yes, and it's not even a linear journey. It's one where we can revisit old pieces as often as we like, and improve. I'm having fun with one of the more accessible Telemann flute fantasias at the moment (No. 3), which is a case in point. I started looking at the gigue section quite a while back, but have extended this to having a go at the whole thing. At the moment, it's just a play-and-enjoy piece, without worrying too much on how it ought to be done. But there's a whole wealth of musicality that could be added, had I the ability or knowledge to do so; next time round, maybe I will be able to start. The better composers all seem to have this ability to write music that works at multiple levels (a bit like good script-writers can write kids television that is equally enjoyable to adult tastes? Maybe people like Bach and Telemann knew their work had to appeal both to unskilled and highly skilled performers?).

Transposition on recorder? Bah humbug, hate it! It's horribly difficult, and downright depressing for the ex-keyboard person, for whom octave transposition is just a matter of putting the chair in the wrong place. You have my admiration, anacrusis!

For syncopated stuff, off beats, there's a dance movement from one of the fantasias a few pages further along that's lovely - I can't remember which number it is. I can't play it without counting v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y which messes it up, so it's on my wait-for-later list.

Zixi, you made me laugh with your counting bars of piano! My first proper playing with others was as a bottom-of-the-pile, no-musical-experience percussionist with a school second orchestra. Ah, the happy days of 45-two-three, 46-two-three, 47-two-three, PING! Triangular musicianship in action. Bass drum was nearly as bad.


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