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I know this is a ridiculous question, but thought I'd ask anyways since I saw an article on wikihow for a low B. http://www.ehow.com/how_5210357_play-low-recorder.html I need a lower A than the one with 2 top holes(and the bottom hole) covered. It would allow me to play a lot of songs in the lower scale

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  • 1
    Using a sub-subcontrabass recorder you can play very low A:s. ;-P Mar 9, 2013 at 9:49
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    If your playing a recorder in C, that is impossible. The tutorial you linked to is for a recorder in F.
    – Luke_0
    Mar 10, 2013 at 0:14
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    To move it from impossible to really hard, ... You need to physically increase the length of the instrument. What about some sort of attachment? An inch or two of pipe held in a frame that you can walk up to and stick the recorder on it to produce the trick note. [It's 12:46AM here now: imagination time.] Mar 10, 2013 at 6:46
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    To continue along the lines of what @luserdroog is saying, I'd suggest checking out this video, begin at 2:20, youtube.com/watch?v=T4eR719RhhY Mar 11, 2013 at 2:23
  • @ReinaAbolofia is somehting like this available on the market?
    – SoWhat
    Mar 16, 2013 at 9:01

4 Answers 4

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The first question I would ask is which recorder are you playing on? The soprano and tenor recorders can go as low as C and the sopranino and alto recorders go down to low F. In the link you shared, I believe they are discussing an alto recorder. That being said, if you want to finger a low A on an alto recorder, cover the left hand holes as described in the link, then add the right hand index and middle fingers.

You can find a nice interactive fingering chart for C recorders and F recorders at these links. Just be sure to use the correct chart for the instrument you are playing.

If you are ever confused about which type of recorder you are playing, the difference is mostly just in the size. The most common recorder is the Soprano. If you have a tuner or piano, you can check the key of the recorder (whether it is a C or F recorder) by playing the note that covers all the holes and see which pitch comes out.

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  • I believe OP is asking for "trick fingerings", like covering the bottom hole, to produce an A below the lowest C on a C recorder (probably a soprano unless OP has extremely long fingers :-) Mar 9, 2013 at 10:00
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    Thanks, it seems you are correct. In that case, I'd just suggest OP use an alto recorder instead of a soprano. Mar 9, 2013 at 18:05
  • I have a Soprano C recorder. Trick Fingerings would be fine
    – SoWhat
    Mar 16, 2013 at 9:00
  • I actually want something on a C recorder. Soprano. The fingering matches this one. hrs.hampshire.org.uk/finger/cfinger.html
    – SoWhat
    Mar 16, 2013 at 9:01
  • 1
    The only way your are going to get a low A out of a C recorder is to add more piping to the instrument. I'd highly suggest just getting an alto recorder. Mar 17, 2013 at 10:22
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Not on the soprano recorder, because it's tuned in C and going below it hits the physical limit of the instrument. Only low B is achievable by playing like the low C but partially covering the bottom recorder hole with your knees, but not well tuned.

Due to the limited range and cheap price, recorder players should try to learn playing on recorders of multiple sizes.

For reference, here are many examples and the note ranges:

  • reference: pitch of A4 has a frequency 440 Hertz (may be slightly different depending on the recorder). Lower notes have lower frequency values (ex: A3 is 220 Hz, C4 is ~261 Hz), higher notes have higher frequency values (ex: C6 is 1046 Hz).

  • Bass recorder: F3 to G5

  • Tenor recorder: C4 to D5

  • Alto recorder: F4 to G6

  • Soprano recorder: C5 to D7

  • Sopranino recorder: F5 to G7

  • Garklein recorder: C6 to D8

Restating your question using scientific pitch notation, you have the soprano recorder, with the lower note being C5 and you want to play A4. That's not possible, you'd need an alto, tenor or bass recorder.

A picture with 6 recorders follows: from left to right, the bass, tenor, alto, soprano, sopranino and garklein recorders.

The final suggestion is to acquire an alto recorder: it's cheap, has a good range for playing popular music, can be switched back and forth with the soprano, it's not too big and it's able to play the desired note (A4).

From left to right, the bass, tenor, alto, soprano, sopranino and garklein recorders

Here's a link to a video of a musician playing the alto recorder, so that you can see its size and hear the sound:

  • J.S.Bach : Gigue, BWV 1006, alto recorder:
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I remembered that there are some exotic trick fingerings to go high, but I also had a memory of seeing a low one used by some really good players.

After a bunch of looking I found it - here is a link: http://www.wfg.woodwind.org/recorder/rec_alt_1.html

Look for the first entry - the e on an f recorder or the b on a c recorder.

I just tried it - tricky to get it exactly in pitch. But it does work. I couldn't get it lower than a half step. You cover all holes and then partially cover the bell hole with your leg. Very useful for that darn piece of music that goes to the tonic with a leading tone at the low end! Although, of course, you look ridiculous.

Here is a link for some of the exotic high notes:

http://www.recorderhomepage.net/technique/fingering/the-third-octave

Jack

ps - thanks to Todd Wilcox for pointing out that I can edit my formerly erroneous posting.

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First, be aware that recorders only transpose by the octave. To go on a tangent for a moment, saxophones all transpose so that their standard range is (written) Bb3 to F6. They are alternately pitched in Bb and Eb, but always read the same. The recorder family is similar, being alternately pitched in C and F, but rather than transpose so they all play the same, they only transpose by the octave, so soprano and tenor play C4-C6 while alto and bass play F4-F6 with the same fingerings.

If your goal is to play a low (concert) A, then the obvious choice is to use a lower recorder. I'm assuming you have a soprano; get an alto and learn the offset fingerings.

All woodwinds can artificially lower their lowest note by about a half step by blocking the bell, limited only by the practicality of doing so. But you're not going to be able to go further than that. Another trick is to put something (usually a rolled up piece of paper) in the bell to physically extend the instrument, but this only converts your lowest note into a lower one. Meaning, if you added [I'm guessing about 2 inches of] paper to achieve a low A, then you wouldn't be able to play your normal low C, or B or Bb for that matter, which is probably not practical.

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