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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000041.txt from 2001/02

From: Grant Green <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Re: question about recorders
Date: Sat, 3 Feb 2001 09:37:58 -0500

> The *inexpensive* recorders and whistles --- I don't know anything
>about concert level instruments --- can play a couple of sharps, but not
>a full chromatic scale (so far as I know). Therefore they can play
>music written in several different keys without transposing, but only a
>few different keys.

Whistles work a bit differently, but you can play a full chromatic
scale on any decent recorder by using cross fingerings. I haven't
tried one of the $1.99 blister-pack specials for quite a while, but
all of the inexpensive recorders I've ever played have been capable
of chromatic scales.

It makes more sense if you think of *flattening* a note by adding a
finger or two below it (skipping a hole, of course). So, if you play
A as: T **o oooo, then Ab is: T **o **oo (where "T" is the
thumb hole, "*" is a closed hole, and "o" is an open hole).
Similarly, B is T *oo oooo, and Bb is T*o* *ooo. Once you get
down to E, there aren't enough holes left to skip one and cover the
next two, which is why the lowest two holes are doubled (so that you
can uncover a "half" hole). That, at least, works for the lower
octave: a Baroque style recorder has a useful range of more than two
octaves (even the plastic Yamaha recorders).

The half hole technique works better on whistles, which generally
have proportionately larger tone holes for their bore size.

Certainly, some keys are easier to play in than others on the
recorder: imagine playing in Db, where nearly every scale degree
requires a cross fingering... However, there are also recorders
pitched in D, G, and Bb (and probably other keys as well).


> With most whistles and recorders, you can "half hole" (cover half
>of the hole with your finger) on a couple of holes in order to get
>additional notes. Most recorders have a two 'holes' drilled
>side-by-side into a single depression, such that you can half-hole more
>precisely by covering only one of the two smaller holes in the
> Bill

Grant Green
Professional Fool ->

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