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Recorder Ornamentation

recorder ornamentation

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#1 jonmc



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Posted 20 June 2019 - 16:52

Does anyone know where to find information about recorder ornamentation. I have just begun learning and am interested in knowing the correct fingerings rules.


Thank you

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#2 elemimele



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Posted 21 June 2019 - 12:41

If you're looking for the alternative/trill fingerings, you'll find the good ones in any decent tutor book (I have a liking for Alan Davis' tutor for treble recorder; not sure what's out there for C-instruments). But there are also many good resources online, such as www.recorder-fingerings.com. Personally I recommend learning only the ones you need, as you need them. There are so many that it would be a positive headache to try to learn them by rote without having good examples to try them out.

There aren't any formal rules, so far as I know, about which should be employed where. It's a matter of what's most convenient, and what sounds right.

If you're interested in the application of ornamentation in historical recorder music, there are also a lot of good resources online, and again good tutors (the Davis book excels at this) will contain instructions. It's a huge topic. The French, clustered around Lully, tended to be very dogmatic, and French composers often prefaced their works with tables of symbols for the ornamentation they required. This does have to be handled in perspective: the fact that they got so aggravated also implies that a lot of musicians at the time were playing "incorrectly" - the question is whether through ignorance or musical choice. The ultimate arbiter has to be whether the music sounds good (and the French were always great supporters of 'good taste'). I think there's a strong case for listening to a great deal of performances by good performers, and getting a feel for what they do. This is authentic (it's how taste would have been promulgated back then), and fun. It also deals with all the stuff that composers took for granted: quite often, cadential trills don't get marked, but they're probably the most critical of the lot.

Some of the non-French musicians regarded ornamentation as an excuse to whizz off into variations and enormous twiddlings. This requires skill and good taste, and is quite often entirely unnecessary, though there's no doubt it's beautiful in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing. Again, listening to good players is a good start.

Try finding the recorder thread in woodwinds. There are people there who know a lot more than I do.

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