I notice there are some compositions by GP Telemann for recorder.

I just want to know what type of recorder (alto or soprano) should be used for playing Telemann's pieces.

3 Answers 3


The solo Fantasias were intended for a traverse flute in D, and so would be best played on a voice flute (recorder in D -- not common, not cheap). However, you can easily find them transposed for alto. His other music with a flauta part is most often for alto.

Rule of thumb: if the Baroque music you're looking at has one or more sharps then it's mostly likely traverse flute music in the original key, and plays easiest on a voice flute and can perhaps be played on a tenor or soprano if it doesn't go too high. Otherwise you'll have to look at the range to make sure, but alto is by far the most likely choice.


Telemann composed a lot of music (IMSLP lists over 1000 pieces), 66 of which feature the recorder/blockflöte, so it is unclear exactly which pieces you had in mind.

However, the alto/treble (F4) recorder was the standard size for the instrument in the baroque period, and this is what is meant the unqualified term "recorder".


Recorders are non-transposing instruments, so if you need a note below middle C, it's got to be for alto.

Not knowing which pieces you're specifically talking about, the few I found on YouTube do require the notes in the range of Alto recorder, and are being played on Alto.

  • 2
    Wrong. The alto's lowest note is the F above the middle C. The tenors lowest note is middle C. Soprano's lowest is the C above middle C. The Bass is the highest to go below middle C. Its lowest note is the F below middle C.
    – Luke_0
    Commented Jan 14, 2012 at 14:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.