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Author Topic: Welcome to recorder playing!  (Read 6070 times)

Vydunas

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Welcome to recorder playing!
« on: May 18, 2005, 12:10:57 pm »

Hey Claire.

Glad to read about your tenor recorder....tenor and alto are really the best sizes for adults, as the soprano can be a little tiny for big hands, and the bass big for tiny hands. Plus they sound better than the little shriekers. What brand did you get? For economy, I like the Yamaha plastics as well as anything.

I really think recorders are the perfect gulch instruments. They're low maintenance, relatively easy to build as woodwinds go, and suited for most kinds of music (they don't rock very well though). And they're easy to get OK on (though correspondingly harder to be super-artistic on). Of course, I don't believe in lack of music talent, just lack of opportunity at the wrong time.

For your 2nd octave jump, you might try changing the air stream. Recorders respond best to a wider airstream in the lower register. Drop your jaw and tongue "daw" for that low C. And as you move up, change gradually to a "dee" tongue/smaller,faster airstream. This should help unless it's the finger change that's messing you up...that's adding 4 fingers plus oozing the thumb over.  What the Suzuki system teachers do is take over all the right had holes, until the student is secure with the left hand, then adds them one at a time.
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Claire

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Welcome to recorder playing!
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2005, 03:29:49 pm »

Hey, Vydunas.  :)  Now I know where I can turn for help. There's nobody in this neck of the woods who teaches recorder, and while I've figured out a lot on my own (and thanks to good books), yes that airway thing was getting to me. I could tell I needed different technique for high and low notes, but have fumbled to figure out what those techniques might be.

I'll give your advice a try -- and will you mind if I ask for more? The notes that are really doing me in are the high notes that call for the thumb-hole to be partially blocked. I can find a good thumb position for that when I'm just slowly practicing fingering. But every time I have to hit one of those notes while playing a song: pause, fumble, pause ... squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel. Ouch.

I got a Dolmetsch Dolonite recorder which, judging by the color used in the packaging (avocado green) I'd say is late 1960s, early 1970s vintage. I've seen a lot of the Yamahas listed on eBay and probably would have chosen one of those, had I not gotten a deal on this one.

You're right about a recorder being an excellent gulch instrument. So's a drum, for that matter.

Ah ... but a recorder can rock. Or at least, can be played in a rock band. Check out Jefferson Airplane, Surrealistic Pillow album, "Coming Back to Me." Okay, not strictly rock. A Marty Balin love ballad. But it's still rock n roll to me.  :P
« Last Edit: May 19, 2005, 07:22:57 am by Claire »
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Augustwest

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Welcome to recorder playing!
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2005, 03:32:17 pm »

Never got past "Hot Cross Buns" m'self, but in the right hands, the recording can be very soothing. :-)
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Claire

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« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2005, 04:01:55 pm »

Recorders in Pop & Rock

    * Kate Bush (UK), Richard Harvey played recorder on one of her albums.
    * The Beatles (UK), Fool on the Hill in which Paul McCartney was the recorder player. Apple/EMI 7243 8 34448 2 3, 1996.
    * Blackmore's Night. Although both guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and singer Candice Night have worked with bands such as Deep Purple, their style has featured acoustic renaissance dance music since their first album Shadow of the Moon. The recorder player is multi-instrumentalist Chris Devine.
    * The Amazing Blondel (UK). Terence Alan Wincott was the recorder player.
    * Blood Sweat and Tears (USA) with whom Jerry Hyman played recorder
    * The Carpenters, ? Sing a Song
    * Chicago (USA), ?Saturday in the Park
    * Cream (USA), Wheels of Fire album, on which Jack Bruce plays recorder
    * King Crimson, In the Court of the Crimson King album, Dance of the Puppets in which Ian McDonald plays recorder
    * El and the Weannies (Netherlands), with whom El plays recorder
    * Falling Leaves (UK)
    * Frente! (Australia), Marvin album, Labour of Love
    * The Jimi Hendrix Experience (UK), Axis: Bold As Love (1967) album, If 6 Was 9 – the classic Easy Rider anthem in which Hendrix himself improvises wildly on 'flute'. Reprise Records (LP, 1968), reissued as MCA Records MCAD-11671 (CD, 1998). The high tessitura, the typical 'breaking' between octaves, and other characteristics are more suggestive of a soprano recorder. On the track notes Hendrix says "That's me on the flute", but possibly some record company executive decided that recorder was too uncool to name, so they just put "flute" (Rodney Waterman, pers. comm., 2002). Indeed Vanderford (2000) describes the instrument concerned as a recorder. However, another commentator describes Hendrix' instrument as "flute indienne qu'il a acheté pour 2 shillings" – see here. The authority for both claims is unclear. You can hear a mercifully brief excerpt and judge for yourself here.
    * Mary Hopkins (UK), The Game, with recorder players Jeanne & Marguerite Dolmetsch; Brian, Christine, Paul & Peter Blood
    * Indigo Girls, Closer to Fine
    * Jars of Clay, with recorder player Sam Levine
    * Jefferson Airplane (USA), Surrealistic Pillow album, Comin' back to me in which tenor recorder is played by either Grace Slick or Marty Balin
    * . RCA LSP-3766, 1967 (LP).
    * Joe Jackson, played recorder on a late night talk show a few years ago discussing How the West Was Won
    * Billy Joel, 52nd Street album, Rosalinda's Eyes, with recorder player George Marge
    * Annie Lennox (USA), Diva album, on which Peter-John Vettese plays recorder
    * Manfred Mann (UK), Trouble and Tea, Semi-detached Mr James (Klaus Voorman was the recorder player)
    * Benoît Sauvé (France)
    * Bon Scott (Australia), vocalist, recorder & timbala player of "bubble-gum" 60s rock music with 'The Spektors', 'The Valentines' and 'Fraternity', later leader of 'AC/DC', died tragically in 1980. See http://www.faqs.org/faqs/music/acdc-faq/
    * Mannheim Steamroller (USA), all 7 Fresh Air albums, Holiday Musik and Holiday Musik II albums on which recorder is played variously by Chip Davis, Eric Hansen & Roxanne Layton
    * Rolling Stones (UK)
          o All Sold Out and Ruby Tuesday (1966), Brian Jones was the recorder player. Ruby Tuesday was recorded in Olympic Studios in November, 1966 and was released in January, 1967 on the B-side of Let's Spend The Night Together. It spent twelve weeks in both the U.K. and U.S. charts, reaching the number one spot in the U.S. In her autobiography, Marianne Faithfull refers to Ruby Tuesday as Jones' swan song and recalls the recording session when it was conceived: "Brian . . . played a folkish, nursery rhyme melody on the recorder. It was nothing more than a wispy tune, but it caught Keith's attention . . . he had heard a riff and went at it like a dog with a bone . . . it was really Brian and Keith's song . . . I'd noticed that this song had taken on an almost desperate significance for Brian. This collaboration between Keith and him was to be the last, and perhaps he could sense that. He knew it was one of the best things he'd ever done . . ." (Faithful & Dalton, 1995).
          o Something Happened to Me Yesterday (1967), supposedly about Mike Jagger's first experience with LSD, Keith sings and Brian Jones plays the recorder while Bill Wyman fingers it in a crude parody of those delicately suggestive 18th-century paintings and porcelain figurines (eg Boucher) in which a pretty shepherdess blows a recorder whilst a shepherd fingers the notes for her. See RA http://216.55.31.162/rs28.ram
    * Melanie Safka, Mr Tambourine Man (Bob Dylan) has a haunting recorder solo that fades into the distance at the end of this arrangement
    * Bruce Springsteen (USA), 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy), studio version, from The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle album on which Springsteen himself played recorder
    * Vanity Fair, Hitchin' a Ride
    * Wings (UK), with recorder players Jeanne & Marguerite Dolmetsch; Brian, Christine, Paul & Peter Blood
    * Roy Wood (UK) played recorder with The Move and The Electric Light Orchestra, Curly, The Words Of Aaron, No Time
    * Yes (UK), Yes album, I've Seen All Good People, Your Move (Colin Goldring is the recorder player)
    * Led Zeppelin (UK), Stairway to Heaven, the most played song in radio history, features a recorder consort in which the instruments are all played by John Paul Jones by overdubbing.

From
The Recorder Home Page: Instrument of Torture or Insturment of Music?
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Claire

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« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2005, 04:03:45 pm »

Quote
Never got past "Hot Cross Buns" m'self, but in the right hands, the recording can be very soothing. :-)
 :lol:  Well, I've barely gotten to "Hot Cross Buns," myself. And the only person ever likely to be soothed by my recorder playing is me.

But yeah ... the deep ones really do make haunting sounds.
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Just as the flattery of friends often leads us astray, so the insults of enemies often do us good. -- St. Augustine, Confessions, Book IX, Chapter 8


When faith ceases to be a challenge to the standards of polite society, it is no longer, or has not yet become, faith. -- Donald Spoto, Reluctant Saint:  The Life of Francis of Assisi


My life is my message. -- Gandhi

Bill St. Clair

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Welcome to recorder playing!
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2005, 05:05:39 pm »

The best recorder playing I ever heard was by the lead-in band at a Yes concert in the early seventies. They were called "Gryphon", if I remember correctly. One of their number had hair down to his ass, and marched around the stage with a bassoon. Don't remember if he was the recorder player for the performance I'm thinking of, but whomever it was played the Popeye tune, da da dot-a-little-lot-a-little lot dot dot, dada dot-a-little-lot-a-little lot dot dot, dada dot-a-little-lot-a-little-lot-a-little-lot-a-little lada dada dot-a-little lot dot dot. He played it over and over, faster and faster, until I couldn't even think it as fast as he was playing. Never missed a note. I would have been amazed had he been playing a silver flute, but he did it on a recorder. Incredible.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2005, 05:12:11 pm by Bill St. Clair »
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Roy J. Tellason

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« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2005, 11:57:57 pm »

Quote
Ah ... but a recorder can rock. Or at least, can be played in a rock band. Check out Jefferson Airplane, Surrealistic Pillow album, "Coming Back to Me." Okay, not strictly rock. A love Marty Balin ballad. But it's still rock n roll to me.  :P
One of my all-time favorite tunes off one of my all-time favorite albums...

Which I still don't have,  but I got a later "compilation" 2-disc set that includes a lot of that stuff anyhow.   :-)
 
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Plinker-MS

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Welcome to recorder playing!
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2005, 09:54:20 am »

Just my $0.02.  

I think polyphonic instruments (piano, other keyboard instruments, guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukelele etc.) are better hermit instruments than things that make one-note-at-a-time.

It is darn difficult to play a chord on a recorder if there's nobody else around.
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Vydunas

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« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2005, 11:25:39 am »

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Just my $0.02.  

I think polyphonic instruments (piano, other keyboard instruments, guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukelele etc.) are better hermit instruments than things that make one-note-at-a-time.

It is darn difficult to play a chord on a recorder if there's nobody else around.
All true, but gulching does not equal hermitage, and it's a dandy ensemble axe. And you CAN play some chords on a recorder. They aren't particularly nice or useful chords, and can sometimes be hard to control. But they exist.

And a recorder is more portable than even a small electronic keyboard, and more durable than fretted instruments.
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Vydunas

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« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2005, 12:09:13 pm »

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I'll give your advice a try -- and will you mind if I ask for more? The notes that are really doing me in are the high notes that call for the thumb-hole to be partially blocked. I can find a good thumb position for that when I'm just slowly practicing fingering. But every time I have to hit one of those notes while playing a song: pause, fumble, pause ... squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel. Ouch.
Couple of things about thumbs:
You don't strike me as the long fingernails type (my wife is, and she pewls and moans if she breaks one), but playing recorder means never having left thumbnails. When mine get too long, I can hear it in my playing, and out come the clippers. Now, various 2nd octave notes need varying bits of thumb...generally less as you go up. So what you want to do is have a thumb position utilizing the soft ball of the thumb (maybe 35-30 degrees off from the axis of the body of the recorder). Then you rock back and forth on that fleshy part (bending the 1st joint) to get exactly the opening you need. When you slap that thumb down at speed, the exact opening will be a guesstimate (increasingly accurate with practice) which you'll instantly adjust. But in general, you'll need more thumb/less opening than you'd think. I.e., it's not a "half hole".

Quote
I got a Dolmetsch Dolonite recorder which, judging by the color used in the packaging (avocado green) I'd say is late 1960s, early 1970s vintage. I've seen a lot of the Yamahas listed on eBay and probably would have chosen one of those, had I not gotten a deal on this one.

I hope you got a GREAT deal. The Dolmetsch Dolorous was an OK sounding and responding instrument from what I remember, but they're hard to play with other recorders because they shrank coming out of the molds and tended to be sharp. If you're just dealing with strings its not such a problem because they can tune to you. Also, they were HEAVY. It was a first-generation plastic recorder (I had one in high school), and they were still playing with the technology part. If you like the sound and are just playing by yourself, none of this matters.

For current plastic recorders, the Yamaha YR series really are the best. For the soprano and alto,you can spend a couple more bucks and get a faux rosewood/ivory finish. The Aulos are nearly as good.  Mollenhauer makes a "Dream" series designed by Andrea Breukink (talented Dutch maker) which is a Renaissance-style bore (wide) but adjusted to play with standard recorder fingerings. I've heard incredible things about them, but haven't played one myself. They only make the soprano in plastic; rest are in wood only.

Stay away from Hohners and Gils and ancient Kochs (pioneer American maker). Adlers can be iffy. Hard to go wrong with a Moeck or Mollenhauer on the used market. If you hear of somebody selling a consort of Bob Marvins, private-message me with their phone number.  :lol:  
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Claire

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« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2005, 01:46:05 pm »

Quote
Couple of things about thumbs:
You don't strike me as the long fingernails type (my wife is, and she pewls and moans if she breaks one), but playing recorder means never having left thumbnails. When mine get too long, I can hear it in my playing, and out come the clippers. Now, various 2nd octave notes need varying bits of thumb...generally less as you go up. So what you want to do is have a thumb position utilizing the soft ball of the thumb (maybe 35-30 degrees off from the axis of the body of the recorder). Then you rock back and forth on that fleshy part (bending the 1st joint) to get exactly the opening you need. When you slap that thumb down at speed, the exact opening will be a guesstimate (increasingly accurate with practice) which you'll instantly adjust. But in general, you'll need more thumb/less opening than you'd think. I.e., it's not a "half hole".
 
:)  :)  :)  Thanks! That helps already!!! No, I'm definitely not the long-nails type, but after reading your advice, even moreso.

Now I can manage everything except the highest B and C, both of which, for some reason, want to sound lower than they should. But you've given me something to work on.

Quote
I hope you got a GREAT deal. The Dolmetsch Dolorous was an OK sounding and responding instrument from what I remember, but ... If you like the sound and are just playing by yourself, none of this matters.

See? This is where blissful ignorance and lack of talent come in handy. If this recorder's not a great one, I can't hear or feel that on my own. It certainly suits for practicing/learning. But if I ever actually do start to get any good at this, I'll probably follow your advice on the Yamaha.

Quote
If you hear of somebody selling a consort of Bob Marvins, private-message me with their phone number.  :lol:

And if I ever get  really good at this, I'll keep any leads on Bob Marvins for myself.  :ph34r:  But ... prolly not. If I hear about any of those (whatever they may be), I'll point you in their direction.

Really appreciate the advice, Vydunas. You sound like a pretty serious musician? Are you? Or you've just been playing recorder a long time?
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Just as the flattery of friends often leads us astray, so the insults of enemies often do us good. -- St. Augustine, Confessions, Book IX, Chapter 8


When faith ceases to be a challenge to the standards of polite society, it is no longer, or has not yet become, faith. -- Donald Spoto, Reluctant Saint:  The Life of Francis of Assisi


My life is my message. -- Gandhi

PreciousBodilyFluids

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« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2005, 05:51:46 pm »

Claire, if you don't have it get Paul Simon in Concert: Live Rhymin' [LIVE] . When I was playing recorder I used to play along with it all the time. Check out the "Duncan" sample in the the link.
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Vydunas

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« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2005, 09:11:19 am »

Claire, you've got science to back up what you're trying to do with this!

From WC Douglass' Daily Dose (realhealth@healthiernews.com...it's email, so I have to quote (I cut out all I felt I could)):

Quote
A group of researchers at a Pennsylvania wellness center recently decided to research the effects MAKING music has on people's stress levels, according to a recent CBSNews.com article.

The study's masterminds first sequestered every member of the group and gave each of them a one-hour deadline to put together a jigsaw puzzle purposefully designed to be almost impossible - after telling them all that whoever had the most completed at the end of one hour would receive a cash prize. Each of the volunteers was then repeatedly told that everyone else was doing much better than they were, and increasingly reminded that time was running out.

After an hour of this torture, the 32 volunteers' blood was tested for levels of 45 stress-related genes, which were going bonkers for most members of the group. They were then broken up into smaller groups and given various de-stressing activities, like reading and making music of various sorts (drumming, singing along with songs, playing improvisational tunes, etc.), while one unfortunate group was made to continue working on the impossible puzzle!

Needless to say, the musical group experienced the greatest reduction in these stress-marker genes over the same time period - completely reversing 19 of the 45, according to the study's authors. The reading group showed only a moderate reversal in 6 of the markers. Those who were forced to keep puzzling experienced no reduction in stress markers at all. Poor wretches - I hope they all got paid the $50 just for enduring the study.

What's my point in telling you all of this? Only this: If you're musically inclined, or were once upon a time, you may be doing your heart and mind a lot of good by banging out some tunes on the old piano, harmonica, or drums. Or maybe just by whistling or humming a few bars...
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Claire

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« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2005, 05:24:17 pm »

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Claire, you've got science to back up what you're trying to do with this!
 
Amazing ... yet also not surprising. Sure glad I wasn't in that study, though.  :blink:

BTW, thanks to you Vydunas, I can now play most of those high squealy notes with very little fumbling, hesitation or excess squeaking. I'm still not sure why I should want to play those notes, since I chose a tenor recorder mainly to avoid them. But it seems that rude and inconsiderate songwriters stuck some of those notes right into my favorite little melodies  ;) , so it's good to have your expert advice.  ;)  
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Just as the flattery of friends often leads us astray, so the insults of enemies often do us good. -- St. Augustine, Confessions, Book IX, Chapter 8


When faith ceases to be a challenge to the standards of polite society, it is no longer, or has not yet become, faith. -- Donald Spoto, Reluctant Saint:  The Life of Francis of Assisi


My life is my message. -- Gandhi

Claire

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Welcome to recorder playing!
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2005, 05:26:49 pm »

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Claire, if you don't have it get Paul Simon in Concert: Live Rhymin' [LIVE] . When I was playing recorder I used to play along with it all the time. Check out the "Duncan" sample in the the link.
Darnit, I know every other song in that collection of links, but I've never heard "Duncan" and my RealPlayer will never play Amazon.com links for some reason. I'll check it out, though. One way or another. Always liked Paul Simon.

Aha ... PBF, another recorder expert?
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Just as the flattery of friends often leads us astray, so the insults of enemies often do us good. -- St. Augustine, Confessions, Book IX, Chapter 8


When faith ceases to be a challenge to the standards of polite society, it is no longer, or has not yet become, faith. -- Donald Spoto, Reluctant Saint:  The Life of Francis of Assisi


My life is my message. -- Gandhi
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