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I'm a beginner at recorder and I'm having difficulty playing the sequence of notes A5-B5-C6, and this sequence comes up a lot!

The basic fingerings are given as follows:

A5: T12-----
B5: T1------
C5: T-2-----

Using these fingerings, is is very easy to jump from A5 to B5 because it involves only uncovering hole 2. However, I have a hard time jumping from B5 to C6 because it involves simultaneous covering hole 2 while uncovering hole 1. B5 and C6 seem almost impossible to trill without there being some intermediate screeching sound for a tiny fraction of a second.

I've tried using the alternate fingering for B5:

B5: T-23----

This makes it easy to jump from B5 to C6, but difficult to jump from A5 to B5, so it's basically out of the frying pan into the fire.

How can I teach myself to play this sequence of notes on descant recorder: A5-B5-C6?

  • 1
    With practice comes ability. No real way around that. – Carl Witthoft May 18 '17 at 13:26
  • Can you give any pointers or suggestions as to the appropriate practice or technique? I didn't ask to do this without practice. – Daniel Allen Langdon May 18 '17 at 15:15
  • The best practice for this is to simply do it over and over. Keep your fingers as close to the instrument as you can without shading the holes, and keep them relaxed. You will hear when it's smooth. Start slow. – Scott Wallace May 19 '17 at 10:38
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There's no easy solution here. One B fingering makes A-B easy, and the other makes B-C easy. You just have to pick which transition is more critical.

This 1/2 "flip" (going from 1-- to -2-) is very common in most woodwind instruments. Modern instruments have extra keys to partially alleviate the problem, but it's still something you want to practice so you can do it cleanly.

  • I am a complete beginner with woodwind instruments. Can you tell me anything more about how I might master this skill? All I can see from my point of view is that I must cover one hole and uncover another at exactly the same time. – Daniel Allen Langdon May 18 '17 at 21:19
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    That's basically it. There's really no other trick to it. – MattPutnam May 18 '17 at 21:35
  • That really is it. If it was easy everybody would be a recorder virtuoso. Several changes of note involve multiple simultaneous finger movements, and the more you practice, the easier it will become. – Steve Mansfield May 19 '17 at 14:13
  • Another thing that should be pointed out- the trill fingering T 2 3 for B, although it works very well on most soprano recorders, doesn't always work so well on larger instruments. Thus, it should really be avoided except for trills or similar ornaments. It's better to just get good at moving smoothly from T 1 to T 2. Same goes, of course, for many other combinations of tones- E to F, for instance. – Scott Wallace May 22 '17 at 10:30
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These fingering charts show an alternative fingering T-23 for the B, which give a "one-fingered" trill with T-2 for C.

http://www.dolmetsch.com/efingeringchart.pdf

http://www.dolmetsch.com/etrillchart.pdf

  • It looks like my question isn't being displayed properly. I did mention the T-23 fingering for the B, but that fingering is difficult to trill with the A below it. – Daniel Allen Langdon May 18 '17 at 15:15
  • I'm seeing the second "gray box" in the OP with no text in it. But if your trill starts on the upper note (like most Baroque trills) why is A - C - alternative B a big problem? Your OP didn't ask about trilling A-B (only B-C), but that shouldn't be a problem with the standard fingering for B. – user19146 May 18 '17 at 15:43
  • The alternate fingering T-23 for B is useful for trills and occasionally for certain other ornaments. But there's no getting around the necessity for learning how to transition from T-1 to T-2 smoothly. – Scott Wallace May 19 '17 at 10:36

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