is it possible to play low B (below middle C) on soprano recorder? If it is possible, how to play it? Do you have the chart? (hole)

Thank you


1 Answer 1


By design, the lowest note on a soprano recorder is C5 (which is in fact an octave above middle C). And unlike the high end, the low end of a wind instrument's range can't be arbitrarily extended through agressive overblowing or something, so this might well be answered “it's just not possible”.

However, a B4 can actually be intoned, if badly, by partially covering the end hole of the recorder, in combination with very low blowing pressure.
So, just play the normal C with all standard holes covered and then also close the end hole partially. When playing while seated, this can be done with the knee.

I think there are also extended instruments available with an extra keyed hole that facilitates playing notes a little below the proper range.

An alternative that's even more awkward is to slightly extend the length of the instrument. Unless your recorder is one-piece, this can be accomplished by not-quite-properly plugging it together. Trouble is, this will change all notes in a hard-to-predict way.

The proper thing to do IMO, if you need notes like B, is to play the whole piece on an alto recorder instead.

  • 1
    Upvoted, especially for the mention of the bell key, which isn't something a lot of recorder players seem to be aware of (admittedly, it isn't something easily available). Strictly speaking, the point of the bell key is to play several high register notes accurately, although it can be creatively abused. Would upvote again for the final paragraph - playing outside normal range is likely to be out of tune even in the best of circumstances.
    – user321
    Commented Sep 30, 2017 at 13:34
  • 2
    The lowest note on a soprano is C5, not C4 - middle C, for that you'd need a tenor recorder and the same discussion applies, although getting that low B on a tenor is a real trick.
    – ohmi
    Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 17:46
  • @ohmi you're right, I neglected the “transposing” clef. Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 18:10
  • We could extend this to consider the semi-official way of getting an extra low semitone out if the larger saxophones which is to, literally, 'put your foot in it'.
    – Laurence
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 11:19

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