The recorder is a small and unique woodwind instrument, designed to utilize the player’s airflow to produce a multitude of notes and sounds. Like most woodwind instruments, the recorder has several openings throughout the instrument which, when covered with one’s fingers in different combinations, constructs various notes, tones, and pitches. Unlike other woodwind instruments, however, the recorder does not use a reed in the mouthpiece to produce the instrument’s sound. The recorder has such an efficient construction that a wooden reed is unnecessary. The musician needs simply to blow into the mouthpiece while placing his or her finger(s) over the openings along the recorder’s body. Along with the recorder’s unique design, this instrument produces a distinct and delightful sound, recognizable immediately by all who hear it. The recorder is a great instrument for musicians of all ages, and is especially helpful as an introductory instrument for the beginning musician.
Because of its rich history, the recorder intrigues many historians and history enthusiasts alike. The recorder dates back as early as the eleventh century in medieval Europe, and began developing well into the Renaissance, acquiring new and more intricate designs, shapes, colors, and versatility. This instrument is so old, in fact, that many consider it the foundations for other modern instruments, such as the flute and clarinet. Because of its simplicity and interesting history, the recorder has not completely faded from modern usage, and even became an essential beginning instrument in many schools during the late 30’s and 40’s.
The recorder is a great instrument for beginning musicians wishing to develop necessary skills and techniques used to play other, more complex instruments. As previously mentioned, the recorder is similar to many other instruments, such as the flute, saxophone, and clarinet. A recorder uses a lip – a small cut made at the top of the body – a fipple – a piece of wood placed in the end of the recorder – and a windway – a narrow channel within the instrument through which air travels. Virtually with no technique at all, the musician can blow through the instrument to produce its sound, covering the several openings along the body with fingers and/or thumbs to play different notes. As the musician develops different techniques, they will find that an altering of the mouth and control of the airflow will change the pitch of the notes played. The different recorder notes are produced by placing the thumb over the opening on the underside of the instrument just beneath the lip, and placing the fingers over the other openings in numerous arrangements. Once the musician masters the fingerings of different recorder notes, they can begin to play many different songs for the recorder, such as row your boat, three blind mice, and many other classic tunes and folk songs.
The recorder has been a beloved instrument for centuries, and has increased in popularity throughout the history of music. Its delicate sound and easily mastered simplicity makes the recorder a wonderful instrument for musicians of all ages and experience levels. Begin your musical experience today with this wonderfully classic instrument!