I've started playing soprano recorder again after a break of nearly 35 years. Notes are coming back easily to me (hurrah!) but I'm playing the high e with no thumb at all which is something I clearly did as a child. I can't hear much difference, if any, to the same note with a pinched thumb, and it's definitely a lot easier to play e-d-e at speed. Is this an acceptable alternative to the standard fingering? Would I be penalised in exams for it? Is there much difference in tone between the two fingerings?


1 Answer 1


It is a usable alternative, but you will get the best tone and tuning from the pinched note.

Depending on your individual instrument you may find that it needs a bit more breath pressure than the 'pinched' e would need; you may also find that the tuning is a bit flat.

Would you be penalised in an exam? If the tuning is off, and/or the note is held for any length of time so its shortcomings are audible, then yes you will be. As a passing note in a rapid passage you'll possibly get away with it.

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