What is a Recorder?
Most people have played a recorder or one of its relatives such as the tin-or penny-whistle. It is a reasonably easy instrument to play and most recorder tutor books introduce easy tunes, consisting of only three or four notes.
As with all families of instruments, the smaller the size, the higher the pitch.
TYPES OF RECORDER
There are five instruments in the recorder family. The bigger ones have lower pitch and the smaller ones have higher pitch. The different recorders are sopranino, descant, treble, tenor and bass.
The descant is the most familiar, because of its size, about twelve inches long; it is easily played by small hands and it is the one which children learn on in school. Descant recorders the most popular type are made of plastic or wood and usually have two or three sections which fit together. They are about 1 ft long.
The bass recorder is the largest recorder with the lowest pitch. it is so big, it has an extra metal tube to blow into so that the player can reach the finger holes.
The range of each recorder in the family spans over two octaves. Some are made of plastic which tends to give their sound a hard edge. Those made of wood generally produce a sound which is much more mellow.
The recorder was one of the most popular instruments in Europe from the 14th to 18th centuries and the model we know today evolved from when Henry VIII was on the throne. It was his favourite instrument and when he died, he left a collection of 76 recorders.
By 1750 compositions for the recorder became scarce until the beginning of the 20th century.
Today, high quality recorders are made from a range of wood such as maple, pear or rosewood. Plastics recorders are produced in large quantities, and these are the types that are usually used in children's ensembles, plastic are cheaper and easy to maintain.
How the Recorder Works
The recorder is a member of the woodwind family of instruments- so called because at one time they were all made of wood and were blown to produce their sounds. Today the woodwind sections includes instruments such as the flute, which are metal.
- When the instrument is blown, the sound is created by the air striking the recorder lip as it emerges from the small air channel.
- The remaining column of air vibrates as it passes down the tube. All woodwind instruments have holes down one side of the tube and usually one on the opposite sides for the thumb.
- The instrument produces specific notes if one or more of the holes are blocked, when it is blown. The more holes that are covered, the deeper the note.
You can learn to play the recorder with a teacher. There are also books to help you learn to play the recorder on your own. The book will tell the musician which notes and how to play the notes.
Do you play any musical instrument?
- The earliest recorder ever found was made around 25,000BC.
- It was made from a hollow animal bone with holes cut into the sides.