Monday, April 7, 2008

Recorder

The principal type of Europe flute from the 16th century was the end lown fipple flute called the recorder (German: Blockflote, French: flute a bec). It was usually built of wood and had eight finger hole. Its whistle mouthpiece made it easier to play than the transverse flute. Eight sizes were described in Michael Praetorius's Syntagma musicum (1615), but the largest and smallest were rarely used. Recorders were played in consorts, were used in chamber music and orchestras, and -treble recorders especially- were used in solo sonatas.

The instrument fell into disuse before the end of the strength to compete with other, newer instruments. Its 20th century revival derives from the interest of amateurs and performers of old music. Four sizes are now in common use, soprano and alto (called descant and treble in England), tenor and bass. The bass has a cook like a basson to bring the finger holes within reach. Some modern recorders are made of plastic, but serious performers prefer wooden instruments.

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