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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    Using a sub-subcontrabass recorder you can play very low A:s. ;-P – Ulf Åkerstedt Mar 9 '13 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. – American Luke Mar 10 '13 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.] – luser droog Mar 10 '13 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 – Reina Abolofia Mar 11 '13 at 2:23
  • @ReinaAbolofia is somehting like this available on the market? – SoWhat Mar 16 '13 at 9:01

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 :-) – Ulf Åkerstedt Mar 9 '13 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. – Reina Abolofia Mar 9 '13 at 18:05
  • I have a Soprano C recorder. Trick Fingerings would be fine – SoWhat Mar 16 '13 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 '13 at 9:01
  • 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. – Reina Abolofia Mar 17 '13 at 10:22

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:



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

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  • You should be able to edit your answer to correct it. – Todd Wilcox Mar 1 '16 at 15:26

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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