I've seen other questions, such as "Resources for learning to play the recorder" and have done a decent amount of Google searches. Basically, I used to play clarinet rather well, but had to quit due to asthma, and now I want to learn baroque recorder. I'm really interested in early music, though I know very little about it. My music theory isn't great, but of course I can read music.

I want some easy sheet music to learn on the recorder, preferably for recorder solo (does that exist?). I don't want it to be music that was rewritten for recorder. I want it to be actual Baroque or Renaissance music. How do I find this?

  • Depending on where you live it may be possible to find a recorder teacher, and any recorder teacher for adults would inevitably be versed in the Baroque repertoire and thus a great source of music recommendations that would work with (and stretch) your level. Also browsing physical bricks-and-mortar shops can help uncover music you may otherwise overlook. Sorry these are general answers, I'll leave them in the comments.
    – dumbledad
    Commented May 27, 2013 at 17:47

5 Answers 5


Music Minus One for Recorder

The Music Minus One company sells a large collection of backing accompaniment tracks on CD along with sheet music for playing solo recorder. The link above is for Baroque music for recorder; they also have Renaissance music for recorder, and a larger collection of many other musical styles. I noted that they sell one collection of Telemann and Handel sonatas for recorder, harpsichord and viola da gamba -- that would be for advanced students.


Two answers:

1) You order to your heart's content and wallet's tolerance from The Early Music Workshop of New England, the retail shop of The Von Huene Workshop, makers of some of the very finest recorders.

If you're overwhelmed by the variety of choices at that link, allow me to recommend picking up the phone and calling them when they're open, and asking what the person on the other end of the line recommends. Their shop is, perhaps unsurprisingly, staffed by a lot of serious recorder players -- including being the "day job" for some pros -- who are also some of the nicest people. If, by chance, your call happens to be answered by, say, a harpsichordist, they'll go find someone who can make recommendations to you.

(BTW, if you're ever in the Boston area, do visit the shop in person and go on a tour of the workshop too, if you can. It's a treat.)

2) You mention Renaissance music. One of the important details about Renaissance instrumental music is that a lot of what comes down to us is dance music.

I don't know if you are still at this point looking for easy tunes, but compilations of Renaissance dance music can fit the bill. You might find, for instance, Orchesography from 1589, most of the tunes of which are short 8 bar and 16 bar things, fits the bill. There's a cheap Dover edition, and it's not uncommon to be able to find used copies for pennies; note that the music in it is in the original notation, which is slightly different than you're used to. Most of the tunes in Orchesography can be found by judicious googling. Once you're looking for more complex tunes, The English Dancing Master (by Playford, 1651) and De Pratica Seu Arte Tripudii (by Ebreo, late 15th cen.)


In IMSLP it is possible to select by instrument. Unfortunately the repertoire there is not overwhelming and one has to recognize the desired period(s) oneself. More of an idea, what exists, can be found at score shops like Sheet Music Plus. Good news is, that there is really a lot. In Renaissance there was no strict instrument assignment, so scores for bagpipe, hurdy-gurdy etc. should frequently be usable (not always the other way round, due to sometimes limited halftones). In Baroque era the recorder was very popular, so the choice is also considerable, even if restricting to solo pieces.


Take a look at Duets for One (duetsforone.com) where you'll find some beautiful baroque music recorded and pdf sheet musc for you to play along with in your practise time. There are some free samples on there to try before you buy.


American Recorder Society

Contact the American Recorder Society, which has chapters of amateur recorder ensembles in many cities in the USA. They also publish method books and repertoire.

I'm sure you can find similar groups in other countries if you do not live in the USA.

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