Professional Recorder Editor 6.3.3
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Professional Recorder Editor 6.3.3
Recorders are made in various sizes with names and compasses roughly corresponding to various vocal ranges. The sizes most commonly in use today are the soprano (also known as descant, lowest note C5), alto (also known as treble, lowest note F4), tenor (lowest note C4), and bass (lowest note F3). Recorders were traditionally constructed from wood or ivory. Modern professional instruments are almost invariably of wood, often boxwood; student and scholastic recorders are commonly of moulded plastic. The recorders' internal and external proportions vary, but the bore is generally reverse conical (i.e. tapering towards the foot) to cylindrical, and all recorder fingering systems make extensive use of forked fingerings.
The recorder is first documented in Europe in the Middle Ages, and continued to enjoy wide popularity in the Renaissance and Baroque periods, but was little used in the Classical and Romantic periods. It was revived in the twentieth century as part of the historically informed performance movement, and became a popular amateur and educational instrument. Composers who have written for the recorder include Monteverdi, Lully, Purcell, Handel, Vivaldi, Telemann, Bach, Hindemith, and Berio. There are many professional recorder players who demonstrate the full solo range of the instrument, and a large community of amateurs.
The introduction of the Baroque recorder to England by a group of French professionals in 1673 popularised the French name for the instrument, flute douce, or simply flute, a name previously (and subsequently) reserved for the transverse instrument. Until about 1695, the names recorder and flute overlapped, but from 1673 to the late 1720s in England, the word flute always meant recorder. In the 1720s, as the transverse flute overtook the recorder in popularity, English adopted the convention already present in other European languages of qualifying the word flute, calling the recorder variously the "common flute", "common English-flute", or simply "English flute" while the transverse instrument was distinguished as the "German flute" or simply "flute". Until at least 1765, some writers still used flute to mean recorder.
Until the mid-eighteenth century, musical scores written in Italian refer to the instrument as flauto, whereas the transverse instrument was called flauto traverso. This distinction, like the English switch from recorder to flute, has caused confusion among modern editors, writers and performers.
Modern recorders are most commonly pitched at A=440 Hz, but among serious amateurs and professionals, other pitch standards are often found. For the performance of baroque music, A=415 Hz is the de facto standard, while pre-Baroque music is often performed at A=440 Hz or A=466 Hz. These pitch standards are intended to reflect the broad variation in pitch standards throughout the history of the recorder. In various regions, contexts, and time periods, pitch standards have varied from A=392 Hz to A=520 Hz. The pitches A=415 Hz and A=466 Hz, a semitone lower and a semitone higher than A=440 Hz respectively, were chosen because they may be used with harpsichords or chamber organs that transpose up or down a semitone from A=440. These pitch standards allow recorder players to collaborate with other instrumentalists at a pitch other than A=440 Hz.
Martin Agricola's Musica instrumentalis Deudsch ("A German instrumental music, in which is contained how to learn to play ... all kinds of ... instruments"), written in rhyming German verse (ostensibly to improve the understanding and retention of its contents), provides a similar account and copies most of its woodcuts directly from Getutscht. Agricola also calls the tenor "altus," mistakenly depicting it as a little smaller than the tenor in the woodcut (above, middle right). Like Virdung, Agricola takes it for granted that recorders should be played in four-part consorts. Unlike Getutscht, which provides a single condensed fingering chart, Agricola provides separate, slightly differing, fingering charts for each instrument, leading some to suppose that Agricola experimented on three different instruments, rather than copying the fingerings from one size to the other two. Agricola adds that graces (Mordanten), which make the melody subtil, must be learned from a professional (Pfeiffer), and that the manner of ornamentation (Coloratur) of the organist is best of all. A substantial 1545 revision of Musica Instrumentalis approvingly mentions the use of vibrato (zitterndem Wind) for woodwind instruments, and includes an account of articulation, recommending the syllables de for semiminims and larger, di ri for semiminims and smaller, and the articulation tell ell ell ell el le, which he calls the "flutter-tongue" (flitter zunge) for the smallest of note values, found in passagi (Colorirn).
The frontispiece to Fontegara shows three recorder players play together with two singers. Like Agricola and Virdung, Ganassi takes for granted that recorders should be played in groups of four, and come in three sizes: F3, C4 and G4. He makes a distinction between solo playing and ensemble playing, noting that what he has said is for solo players, and that when playing with others, it is most important to match them. Unfortunately, Ganassi gives only a few ornamented examples with little context for their use. Nonetheless, Ganassi offers a tantalising glimpse at a highly developed professional culture and technique of woodwind playing that modern players can scarcely be said to have improved upon.
Gerolamo Cardano's De Musica was written around 1546, but not published until 1663 when it was published along with other works by Cardan, who was an eminent philosopher, mathematician and physician as well as a keen amateur recorder player who learned from a professional teacher, Leo Oglonus, as a child in Milan.
In the Baroque, the majority of professional recorder players were primarily oboists or string players. For this reason, the number of professional exponents of the recorder was smaller than that of other woodwinds. 041b061a72