The recorder is the most highly developed member of the ancient family of internal duct flutes, flutes with a fixed windway formed by a wooden plug or block. It is distinguished from other internal duct flutes by having holes for seven fingers and a single hole for the thumb which also serves as an octaving vent.Perhaps the earliest unambiguous illustration of a recorder as such is The Mocking of Jesus (after 1315), a fresco from the Church of St George, Staro Nagoricvino, a village East of Kumanova in (Yugoslav) Macedonia, painted by the court painters Michael Astrapas and Eutychios, in which a musician plays a cylindrical duct-flute, the window/labium of which is clearly visible, and at the foot of which there is an open finger hole for the little finger of the lowermost hand.
Before that, there are a number of illustrations of ambiguous 'pipes' which may (or may not) be duct-flutes which may (or may not) be recorders. Amongst the earliest is Solome's Dance (ca 1020), also known as the Bernward Column, a bronze cast from Hildesheim Cathedral (Germany) in which Salome dances to the accompaniment of a straight cylindrical pipe which has four holes visible, the lowest slightly offset. It is clasped between two hands, just above which there is a notch (?window); the mouthpiece is beak-shaped, and the player (a man) does not have the puffed cheeks characteristic of shawm players. And there are a number of other 11th century examples, including a carving depicting musicians on an eleventh-century stone pillar in the church at Boubon-l'Achambault, St George, France (repr. Thomson 1974, plate 1) which shows an ambiguous pipe which may be a duct-flute (flageolet or recorder), accompanied by rebec and harp.
The oldest surviving more-or-less complete instrument, the so-called Dordrecht Recorder dates from as early as the mid-thirteenth century. This "medieval" recorder is most obviously characterised by its narrow, cylindrical bore (the internal tube passing down the middle of the instrument, which is largely responsible for the instrument's tuning and response).
A second more-or-less complete medieval recorder dating from the 14th century has been reported from Göttingen (northern Germany) where it was found in a latrine in Weender Straßer 26 in 1987. This so-called Göttingen Recorder is part of the collection at the Stadtarchäologie Göttingen and has been described by Hakelberg (1995), Homo-Lechner (1996), Reiners (1997) and Doht (2006). It is made in one piece and has vents for seven fingers and a thumbhole, the lowest vent doubled. It is 256 mm long and is also made of fruitwood (a species of Prunus). Its beak is damaged, which probably explains why it was discarded. There are narrowings of the bore between the first and second finger holes, and between the second and third finger holes, as well as a very marked contraction close behind the seventh hole. The bore expands to 14.5 mm at the bottom of the instrument which has a distinctive bulbous foot.
Hakelberg (2002; pers. comm. 2003) reports that a third 14th-century recorder fragment has very recently come to light. It was found in the town of Esslingen (near Stuttgart), Southern Germany where it was excavated from the sediment of the mill channel of the Karmeliter-Monastry. Interestingly, the Esslingen Recorder shows the very same characteristic turning profile as the Göttingen recorder. These fragments are preserved in the Landesdenkmalamt Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart.
Utt (2006) reports that a fourth 14th-century recorder has been found during an archeological dig in August 2005 by Andres Tvauri in Tartu, Estonia (near the border with Russia). Like both the Göttingen and Esslingen instruments, the 'Tartu Recorder' was also found in a latrine in the backyard of 15 Üikooli Street. Other atifacts found with the Tartu Recorder allow it to be dated from the second half of the 14th century. During the late medieval period Tartu was an important Hanseatic city connecting Russia, especially Novgorod, with Western Europe. The body of the Tartu recorder is made from maple; the block from birch. The total length is 246.7 mm and the sounding length 225.4 mm.
A fifth medieval recorder has been found in a latrine in the old Hanseatic city Elblag (in former times Elbing) southeast from Danzig in Poland (Naumann 1999; Kirnbauer & Young 2000; Kirnbauer 2002). The Elblag Recorder is intact and has been dated to the mid-15th century. Like the Dordrecht, Göttingen and Tartu recorders, the Elblag recorder lacks the beak-shaped mouth-piece characteristic of the modern instrument. As with the other surviving late medieval recorders, the lowest interval of the Elblag recorder seems to have been a semitone. It was thus likely to have been pitched around d', a tone higher than a modern soprano recorder.
A sixth medieval recorder was found after the Second World War in a latrine in the city of Nysa in Silesia, Poland, and dates from the 14th century (Mateusz Lacki, pers. comm. 2011). It is housed in the Muzeum w Nysie. The instrument, made from elderwood, is ca 27 cm long. Although the block is missing, details of the window and labium are unmistakable. The blowing end of the instrument is truncate rather than beaked. It has single holes for 7 fingers as well as the usual thumbhole. Again, the lowest interval of the Nysa recorder seems to have been a semitone.
Reconstructions of medieval recorders produce a tone which is sweet and keen. In general, they have a smallish range which diminishes as such instruments increase in size, ranging from about a twelfth for a sopranino to about a ninth for an alto. Some makers have managed to extend the range of cylindrical-bore recorders to two or more octaves. Such recorders sound best with other soft instruments of the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries: the psaltery, rebec, vielle, lute and voice.
During the fifteenth century instrument makers began producing choirs (or consorts) of recorders and other instruments in many sizes. The recorder developed at this time is referred to as the "renaissance" recorder which reached its zenith in the mid-sixteenth century. Renaissance recorders are known from a great many surviving examples. Their bores are conical, tapering gently towards the foot. These recorders have a range limited to about an octave and a sixth with a bold, rich timbre which is even in quality and dynamic level throughout their range. They are ideally suited to the performance of the polyphonic vocal and instrumental music of the fifteenth to early seventeenth centuries, blending readily and in balance with each other in whole consorts or contrasting on equal terms with other renaissance instruments or voices.
To date it has not proved possible to trace an unequivocal development from the ensemble recorder of the Renaissance to the solo instrument of the Baroque. Rather, makers in different parts of Europe, presumably independently of each other, seem to have endeavoured to accommodate the Renaissance recorder to the demands made by the emerging styles of instrumental music. These efforts ended abruptly at the close of the seventeenth century, when the Baroque recorder suddenly appeared and in a very short time superseded the older types. Instrument makers of the 17th century did not manage to establish a real tradition; and that can perhaps justify classifying their recorders as "transitional instruments" (Bergstrøm 2003). Surviving examples of such instruments include the Rosenborg, Dean Castle and Århus recorders, and a recorder in the Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum (inv. 8517), all of which have been used as models for instruments on which to perform the music of Jacob van Eyck. Instruments by Haka, Kynseker, Rafi and others characterised by an extended upper range, ornamental rings at the foot and above the labium, longer windways, "wave profile" turning, and sometimes a highly flared bell also fall into this category, sometimes termed "early baroque" recorders (Legêne 1995).
During the late seventeenth century the recorder was completely redesigned for use as a solo instrument. Where previously it had been made in one or two pieces it was now made in three allowing for more accurate boring. It was given a more pronounced taper than ever before and had a fully chromatic range of two octaves and ultimately two octaves and a fifth. It was voiced to produce an intense, reedy and penetrating tone of great carrying power and expressivity. Many splendid original examples of such instruments survive today in playing condition. These baroque recorders are admirably suited to the performance of chamber music and even concerti. In this form the recorder survived as a professional instrument late into the eighteenth century and as an amateur instrument some way into the nineteenth century until it was temporarily and briefly eclipsed by the flute.
Rampe and Zapf (1998) claim to have resolved the problem of Bach's Fiauti d'echo called for in Brandenburg Concerto 4. They argue that the echo flute was a pair of recorders in f' joined together in a frame at head and foot, each with different bore and voicing and thus with different tonal characteristics. Two examples survive at Leipzig, one by Heitz, and another by an anonymous Saxon maker. However, Tarasov (2007: 19) reports that the instrument in the University museum in Leipzig is not suitable for Bach's composition. Thus it remains a possiblilty that Bach's call for Fiauti d'echo was gestural rather than proscriptive. After all, he later reworked this into the Concerto for harpsichord in F major BWV 1057 keeping the two recorders.
The recorder made its way to the New World at a relatively early date and many of the early settlers of North America must have been familiar with it. Captain Smith noted in his Map of Virginia that the Indians of Virginia "use a thicke cane" for their music "on which they pipe as on a Recorder." The physical presence of recorders in North America was been documented as early as 1633 when an inventory of a plantation in New Hampshire listed 15 recorders, and a similar inventory taken at another New Hampshire property reported the presence of 26 recorders (Music 1983; Pichierri 1960: 14). Writing of the inhabitants of New Hampshire in 1635, Brewster (1859-1873) noted that two drums were available for the training days, while no less than fifteen hautboys and "soft recorders" were provided "to cheer the immigrants in their solitude … " This was the first known band to emerge in America (Bevan et al. 1984: 123) and has led at least one writer to the conclusion that the recorder found use as a marching instrument in the American Civil War (Waitzman 1967: 224), though this seems highly improbable (Macmillan, 2008: 130). Thompson (2004) has argued that the "10 houte fluijten" included in an inventory of the possessions of Dutch settler to Berverwijck (later renamed Albany, New York), Jan Geritse van Marcken, dated 1664 were almost certainly recorders. "Flutes", "flageolets", "common flutes", and "English flutes" are variously mentioned in a number of early eighteenth century American newspaper advertisements. In these references, "flute" quite likely included the recorder; "common flute" and "English flute" might indicate the recorder, though the latter at least could refer to the so-called English Flageolet, popular in the 19th century (see Higbee 1960). The latest of such advertisements appeared in 1815, more than 200 years after Captain Smith's mention of the recorder (Music 1983). In a trawl of an electronic archives of the Pennsylvania Gazette, David Lasocki (2005e: 15) demonstrated that as the "common flute" the recorder had an active life in Philadelphia until around 1774 when it dropped out of fashion. Notably, one Jacob Anthony, who seems to have been the first woodwind maker in the new world: "turner and instrument maker … makes and sells all sorts of musical instruments, as German flutes of all sorts, common flutes, hautboys, clarinets and soldier's flutes; he also mends old ones" (1772). Lasocki (2009) reports that the instrument maker Joshua Collins, a recent immigrant from England, was making 'all sorts and sizes' of recorder in 1773. Furthermore, Lasocki has uncovered evidence confirming that the recorder played a role as an amateur and educational instrument in the United States through about 1815.
The recorder was first introduced into Japan in the 16th century with early contacts with Europeans (Tada 1982). In 1549, Francisco Xavier came to Kagoshima in order to introduce Christianity, and many Jesuits followed him over the years bringing with them European instruments including flutes (ie recorders). However it was never very popular there. From 1639, the Tokugawa shogunate supressed Christianity and closed Japan to all foreign countries except Holland. The shogonate destroyed and burnt everything connected with Christanity, and Europrean music and musical instruments were no exception. Not until repeal of the law on national isolation in 1873 by the Meiji Restoration was Christianity and its attendant music and instruments permitted again. The recorder was not reintroduced until 1929 when a Japanese graduate of the University of Cambridge brought some recorders home, and in the 1930's the German government sent some recorders and music as gifts to two Japanese professors. Shortly after WW II, an American resident in Japan, Leo Traynor (a virtuoso on the shakuhachi), provided an impetus to the introduction of the recorder. In 1948 it was adopted by the Ministry of Education's new school music curriculum and makers began to manufacture plastic instruments. Initially instruments used and made in Japan employed so-called German fingering, but later the change was made to so-called English fingering. In 1961, the first performance using only Japanese recorder players was given of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto 4. Subsequent visits by Hans-Martin Linde (1962), Gustav Scheck (1963), Frans Brüggen (1973), Carl Dolmetsch, Michael Vetter and Hans Maria Kneihs gave additional impetus to a growing interest in the recorder. From this time a number of Japanese students studied in Europe with these and other player/teachers. In 1975 four such students formed a recorder consort and won first prize in the international recorder contest at the Flanders Festival in Bruges.
Today the recorder enjoys immense popularity in Japan at both amateur and professional level. There is an extensive repertoire of music for the instrument by Japanese composers (Yoshizawa 1998-2001). And there are a number of Japanese makers of recorder including Aulos, Yuzuru Fukushima, Shigeharu Hirao, Kunito Kinoshita, Suzuki, Hiroyuki Takeyama, Toyama (manufacture Alouette, Aulos, Bel Canto, Elite & Robin plastic recorders), Jun Tsukada, Yamaha, and Zen-On.
Undoubtedly the recorder has a history waiting to be discovered in other countries colonised by Europeans, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the many countries of South America. In the latter a start has been made in a delightful and fascinating article by Stobart (1996) concerning the introduction of the recorder into 16th-century Bolivia from Spain and its possible influence on the development of the native pinkillu, a six-holed duct flute made in as many as six different sizes. A manuscript chronicle Nueva Crónica y Buen Gobierno (1616), by the native Peruvian Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, contains three separate illustrations depicting duct-flutes, several of them very probably recorders (Recorder Iconography). The pinkillu is widely played in South America including in Argentina (Gonzalo Juan, pers. comm.) Victor Rondón (1998) has chronicled the recent introduction of the recorder to Chile, but one can't help wondering if, like Bolivia, it has an earlier history awaiting discovery.
Paoliello (2007, largely citing Augustin 1999), notes that the recorder arrived in Brazil with European migrants who formed the beginings of an amateur early music movement whilst at the same time the pionering work of Helle Tirler established the recorder's educational role. The end of the Second World War saw a dramatic influx of European migrants, amongst them orchestral musicians some of whom brought with them recorders and other early instruments such as viols and harpsichords. In particular, the arrival of Tschorbow Borislav placed the early music revival in Brasil on a more professional footing. Joined by recorder players Helle Tirler, Helder Parente and Rui Wanderley, Borislav's Conjunto de Música Antiga da Rádio MEC, gave some 25-30 recitals and recorded four albums over a period of 35 years. Over much the same period the study of early music was encouraged through Borislav's Seminários Pró-Arte which became a focus for the early music activities in São Paulo, leading to the formation of many performing groups. From this environment came Musikantiga led by Ricardo Kanjii, a recorder player and teacher of international renown. In the 1960s the recorder consort Conjunto Música Bahia led by Maria do Carmo introduced many listeners to the recorder. Maria do Carmo taught recorder and chamber music at both the Federal University of Bahia and the Catholic University of Salvador. The 1970s saw a veritable explosion of second generation early music performers amongst them Marcelo Wood (a protegé of Helle Tirler) who taught recorder and also came to make instruments. A quantum leap in performance standards was made by Quadro Cervantes (formed in 1973 and still active) in which Helder Parente is the recorder player. It formed the nucleus of Rio's Baroque Orchestra, Academia Antiqua Pro-Arte under the direction of Myrna Herzog. Also from the 1970s the recorder was used increasingly by a number of contemporary music ensembles, amongst them the Sao Paulo Paraphernália, Folifonia and Confraria. Today recorder ensembles such as Quinta Essentia quartet perform at a level that would astound Brazil's pioneers of the recorder.
Paul Loeb van Zuilenburg (1999) has recorded details of the recent history of the recorder in South Africa. Francisco Rosado (2003) has performed a similar service for Portugal, as has Romà Escalas (2004) for Catalonia.
The following is a cautionary tale from another antipodean nation-state, namely South Australia. In 1965 two original eighteenth-century voice flutes (tenor recorders in d) by Bressan were purchased from an Adelaide second-hand dealer by Mrs Mary McKenzie who enquired of Edgar Hunt what they might be worth. They were sold to the American collector and dealer Wesley Oler from whom they were soon acquired by Frans Brüggen. A small repair was made by von Huene to the beak of one of the instruments. By the time I heard of them in 1974 the trail had gone very cold indeed; Hunt (pers. comm.), for instance, had destroyed his correspondence concerning them. The point is that nothing has been learnt of who brought them to Australia and what, if anything, they might have been used for. Fortunately, something has been saved from this sorry piece of cultural vandalism in that photographs and detailed drawings of the instruments have been published by Morgan (1981).
It has been argued cogently that the recorder actually has a continuous existence from the 18th into the 19th century (Reyne 1985, 1987). We have already seen how in the USA the recorder was played well into the mid-19th century in New Hampshire. In Europe, three generations of the Walch family of Berchtesgaden, Germany, made recorders, namely Lorenz Walch (mid-eighteenth century), Lorenz Walch II (fl. 1809-1862) and Paul Walch (ca 1862-1873), extant instruments by all of whom are documented by Young (1993: 249-251). Indeed, so-called Berchtesgaden Fleitl continue to be made to this day by Bernhard Oeggl, whose great-grandfather Georg learnt his craft from Paul Walch (MacMillan, 2007: 194; 2008: 113-). Similarly, Thalheimer (2005) has traced the careers of the Schlosser family of woodwind makers from the towns of Oberzwota and Zwota over five generations. Their founder was Johan Gabriel Sr who was active in the early 19th century; Rüdinger, who seems to have been the last maker, died in 2005. Henirich Oskar (1875-1947) made instruments sold by the firm of Moeck in Celle and helped to design their Tuju series of recorders.
In England Goulding & Co. (ca 1786-1834) made recorders, as did John Townsend (ca 1816-1869) in Manchester (Blanchfield 1990). Corcoran (1965) notes that a Thomas Davies, of Halkwin, Flintshire, England, who was born in the 1830s, possessed an 18th-century recorder by Steenbergen on which he played from his boyhood days throughout his life. His grandson remembers him playing in 1914. Hunt (1977) notes the existence in the collection of Madame Geneviève Thibault de Chambure of a copy of an old tenor recorder inscribed "P.R. Souvenir de Couture, 1875", and "J.B. Martin á son ami Paul Roche". Hunt's note that "an isolated instrument does not constitute a revival" seems completely misplaced. Had he looked a little further amongst Madame Thibault de Chambure's collection he would have found no less than 14 recorders dating from the 19th century (see Original Recorders, Makers & Collections. And there are many others in collections elsewhere, 6 of them in Paris alone.
Indeed, the 19th-century amateur musician could play decidedly romantic music on different types of duct flute, depending on where he was. In Paris the flageolet, the galoubet, or even the flûte harmonique, in London the patent single, double or even triple flageolet, in Vienna the Wiener flageolet, csakan, flûte douce or Flötuse. The last two were simply recorders, like those made by the Walsh family. Indeed, an illustrated catalogues from the Markneukirchen firm of Kämpffe from 1833 and ca 1833 included baroque style recorders (repr. Tarasov 2006: 29 & Betz 1992: 38). Another catalogue dated 1875 from Ludwig Herberlein (also Markneukirchen) also depicts a recorder. Of the others, only the csakan need concern us here since it was possessed of an octaving vent (thumbhole) and holes for seven fingers; the remainder lacked a thumbhole and, like the flute, had holes for only six fingers.
The csakan, in effect a keyed recorder, first appeared around 1807 in Budapest and was probably the invention of Anton Heberle. Initially the instrument was equipped with a d# key (as on the older transverse flute) and had a range of 2 octaves and a fifth corresponding to the notation c'-g''' but sounding ab'-eb'''', which is to say that the csakan was considered a transposing instrument in ab. By 1815 up to 13 keys might be added, along with a tuning-slide and a device for narrowing the thumb-hole. By ca 1820, instrument manufacturers provided csakan modelled after other woodwind such as the oboe and clarinet. Such csakans had keys for g#, f, f#, bb, a b/c trill key, a low d# and a low c# … Some csakans had up to ten keys and a range extending to a sounding g' thanks to an extended key. Some csakans featured a narrow thumb-hole, which could be left open for overblowing. A number of manufacturers made csakans and flûtes douces, amongst them Carl Doke, Martin Schemmel, Hell, Kämpffe, Stephan Koch, Nielson, Franz Schöllnast, Johann Ziegler and Julies Heinrich Zimmermann. Tutors for the instrument were published by Koehler, Koch, Krähmer and Barth, amongst others.
The csakan continued to be played until the turn of the 20th century, as evidenced by instruments by Koehler (1880), Barth (1910), by which time it had become an instrument in C, with or without keys. The firm Conrad Mollenhauer made csakans and flageolets in the 19th century (Feider, 1994), not making recorders as such until after World War II. An 1899 catalogue by the Leipzig instrument-maker Julius Heinrich Zimmermann advertises csakans without keys, with one key and with six keys (see Catalogue; repr. Reyne 1987: 5; Betz 1992: 48, fig. 26). Thus a tradition in manufacturing of recorders existed long before the commonly-supposed rebirth of the instrument in the 20th century as an old instrument for early music.
From the turn of the century until the 1930s, the csakan was associated in Germany with the Schulflöte and the Wienerflageolett, corresponding to an instrument in D with only 6 fingering holes and with anything from one to eight keys but no thumb-hole. For instance, the German firm Johannes Adler made csakans in C, possibly as late as the 1960s as in this six-keyed example. This German Schulcsakan eventually gave way to the re-discovered soprano recorder (Reyne 1987).
The revival of the recorder as such had its beginnings towards the end of the nineteenth century when large museum collections of antique musical instruments were assembled and a growing interest in pre-classical music helped produce a climate in which the recorder could again flourish. In 1885 a group from the Brussels Conservatoire played flauti dolci in a Sinfonia Pastorale from Jacopo Peri's Eurydice and a 16th-century March of the Lansquenets performed at the International Inventions Exhibition held in the Albert Hall galleries in South Kensington, London, in conjunction with a display of musical instruments, some brought by Victor-Charles Mahillon from The Brussels Conservatoire (Musical Times 1 August 1885; George Bernard Shaw, Dramatic Review, 4 July 1885), including his own copies of instruments by Kynseker from the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg. And in Britain during the 1890's and early 1900s, the research and lectures of Canon Francis Galpin, Dr Joseph Cox Bridge and Christopher Welch drew further attention to the recorder in musical circles, though nothing was known about its technique or repertoire. In particular, Galpin organized concerts and rustic fêtes using recorders as well as cornets, serpents lutes and other instruments from his own collection (Godman 1959). A set of four renaissance-style recorders, made (in part) by Galpin and now in the Museum of fine Arts, Boston, were played by the Galpin Recorder Quartet in one of his Paraffin Concerts held in 1904 to raise money in aid of electric lighting in his village, thus anticipating Dolmetsch by almost a quarter of a century.
It is often said (mistakenly) that the first modern recorder was made in 1919 by Arnold Dolmetsch (1858-1940) based on an eighteenth-century original in his possession. In the light of the previous paragraph it is perhaps relevant that Dolmetsch received his musical training at the Brussels Conservatoire where he first came into contact with musicians playing early musical instruments from the collection belonging to the conservatoire. Indeed, MacMillan (2003: 18) relates that the young Arnold Dolmetsch heard a recorder consort of student wind players in Brussels in 1873. In 1883, he moved with his family to London, to enrol at the newly opened Royal College of Music, where he could further his interest in 'early music'. Interestingly, the original Bressan recorder purchased by Dolmetsch in 1905 (now in the Horniman Museum, London) and subsequently used by him in concerts appears to have been severely modified by him (Meadows 1994). Its block and ivory mouthpiece are not original, and the narrow, curved windway of Bressan recorders that produces their characteristic focused, reedy sound is absent, replaced by a wide, straight windway like that adopted by Dolmetsch for recorders emanating from his own workshop. Initially, Dolmetsch and his associates made recorders for his family and others in their circle to play. Early purchasers of these instruments include Judith Masefield (daughter of the poet John Masefield), the cartoonist Edmund X. Kapp, and Sir Bernard Darwin (son of Charles Darwin) and George Bernard Shaw (Kelly 1990). The recorder figured in the first Haslemere Festival in 1925 (Hunt 1977). At the second Haslemere Festival in 1926, Dolmetsch presented a consort of soprano, alto, tenor and bass recorders of modern design (Cambell 1975), which were made available to the public at large. However, prior to WW2 a number of recorders were made by Dolmetsch which were virtually indistinguishable from the baroque originals on which they were based, amongst them a boxwood alto at A=415 Hz, formerly in my own possession (Australia-Sydney: Powerhouse, Accession 2012/41/2).
A copy by the Munich maker Gottlieb Gerlach (d. 1909) of an original eighteenth-century alto by J.C. Denner has recently come to light (Kirnbauer 1992), predating Dolmetsch by at least ten years. The instrument made by Gerlach was for use by the astonishing Bogenhausen Künstlerkapelle (Bogenhausen Artists' Band) which performed arrangements of music by Handel, Scarlatti, Gluck, Mozart and others on recorders (by J.C. Denner, Jacob Denner, Bressan, Schuechbaur, Walch, Oberlender, Schell, and Anon.), and other original instruments from 1890 until it was disbanded in 1939 (Moeck 1978, 1982), including an appearance in London in 1900. It is conceivable that Arnold Dolmetsch attended the latter performance. The Bogenhausers became an established part of the musical scene in Munich, playing for civic receptions and festivals (including the 1925 Munich Bach Festival) and broadcasting. The arrangements played by the Bogenhausers survive in manuscript and include some very demanding music indeed – the alto part in some instances involving rapid passages in the third octave (Nikolaj Tarasov, pers. comm., 2000).
Independently of either the Dolmetsches or the Bogenhausers, Willibald Gurlitt (1889-1963), a protégé of Hugo Riemann, began using recorders in his Collegium Musicum at the University of Freiburg in 1921 for which he commisioned copies by Oscar Walcker & Co. (a leading German organ-maker) of renaissance originals by Kynseker. The musicologist Werner Danckerts (1900-1970) also had copies made of the Kynseker instruments by the Nuremberg woodwind maker Georg Graessel in 1922, some of which can be seen in the instrument collection of the Musicology Institute of Erlangen-Nürnberg University. Later (ca 1924), Danckerts commissioned further copies of the Kynseker recorders, this time from Max Hüller (then Director of Kruspe, by then a subsidiary of G.H. Hüller) who made copies of Graessel's instruments. The first public performance, with the Graessel/Kinsecker recorders was a concert on 1 October 1925 on the occasion of the 55th Versammlung Deutscher Pädagogen und Schulmänner in Erlangen. The flautist Gustav Scheck (1901-1984), an associate of Gurlitt, commenced playing original recorders around 1924, establishing the high artistic standard which is continued by his students (Conrad, Delius, Fehr, Linde, and others). In 1925 and 1926, Hüller built other copies of late baroque recorders, including a Denner alto from the Germanisches Museum, Nuremberg, and an alto recorder from the Bach Museum in Eisenach.
Peter Harlan (1898-1966) started what is now called the German Recorder Movement, aimed at furthering the spirit of the German Youth Movement. His chosen vehicle was to be an uncomplicated folk instrument suitable for advancing the cause of society through the euphoric experience of what was later called "Mussiche Bildung", musical development. Spurning historical accuracy and professional musical training he leaned from the very outset towards the renaissance type of recorder but freely expressed in order to indulge his own fantasies as as an instrument maker. In his own words Harlan wanted an instrument "whose sound could not be enhanced, no matter how great the art; whose essence could not be altered by any virtuosity". Contrary to popular belief, and even to his own claims (Harlan 1953), Harlan never made recorders himself (Moeck 1982). He was already familiar with the Kynseker copies made by Walcker for Prof. Gurlitt in 1921, and with a copy of a Denner original from the Berlin Museum of Musical Instruments made for him before he attended Dolmetsch's first Haslemere Festival with Max Seiffert in 1925. Following his visit to England, Harlan had an instrument made by the Markneukirchen flute maker Kurt Jacob who continued to develop the design along the lines indicated by Harlan. The first available Harlan recorder, an alto in e', was offered for sale in 1926. In the following year a quartet of instruments was offered in E and A with so-called German fingering and a range of one-and-a-half octaves. These instruments had large bores but lacked exact historical models. The dramatic growth of the Vogtland musical instrument industry started by Peter Harlan to fuel the so-called German Recorder Movement (inspired by the German Youth Movement) and its associated "Musiche Bildung" (musical development) programs resulted in a plethora of factories producing recorders in the latter category, amongst them Adler, Gofferje, Heinrich, Kehr, Kruspe, Mollenhauer. The products of this industry were also rebadged and marketed by established music companies such as Bärenreiter, Merzdorf, Moeck, Nagel, and others.
In the USA there was nothing to compare with Germany's Youth Movement in sparking an interest in folk music and archaic instruments. The Niagara Falls High School Recorder Quartet was established in 1932 (Cornstock 1992). Carl Dolmetsch's annual concert tours (begun in 1936), performance by ensembles like the Trapp Family Singers, and the work of craftsmen such as David Dushkin, William Koch and Friedrich von Huene laid the groundwork for a popular recorder movement. In passing, it is interesting to note that amongst the early presidents of The American Recorder Society (founded by Suzanne Bloch in 1939) was Erich Katz, Wilibald Gurlitt's former assistant in Freiburg (Haskell 1996; Bixler 2007). As a conductor, instrumentalist, teacher and composer Paul Hindemith (himself a recorder player) wore several hats in the early music revival, directing the Yale University Collegium Musicum from 1940 to 1953 which included recorder players amongst its members.
Theodor Adorno (1956) was to lambast the German Recorder Movement by declaring "One has only to hear the sound of the recorder – at once insipid and childish – and then the sound of the real flute: the recorder is the most frightful death of the revived, continuously dying Pan". Now, although it is easy for us today to condemn or ridicule Harlan's efforts (and even that of the Dolmetsches and their circle) they must be seen in the social context of their day. It is of note that at the time Ravizé tried to introduce into Paris schools the pipeau, a six-holed celluloid or metal flageolet, as did van de Velde in Tours. Bamboo pipes were introduced into schools in the U.S.A. in the 1920's and later into those of Great Britain when Hilda King, director of a school in London, began making them along with her students in 1926. The Bamboo Pipers Guild, founded by Margaret James in 1932 (with its president none other than Vaughan Williams), was championed by Louise Hanson-Dyer (1884-1962, an expatriate Australian and the patron of Editions L'Oiseaux Lyre) in France (where she was able to move composers such as Auric, Ibert, Milhaud, Roussel, Poulenc and Australia's Arthur Benjamin and Margaret Sutherland to write for this medium), as well as by John Manifold, another Australian (Hall 1978). Indeed, the Pipers Guild of Great Britain is still active, as are similar groups in Austria, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy and America. And there are obvious parallels with plucked string (mandolin and guitar) orchestras, accordian orchestras, harmonica bands and brass bands found throughout the world.
In 1934, Edgar Hunt secured the sole agency in England for factory-made recorders from the German firm Herwig (Herwiga-Rex, a trademark of Gustav Hernsdorf) which was soon taken up by Maynard Rushworth of Liverpool (Kenworthy 1963, Hunt 1977, Moeck 1982). Herwig supplied recorders with so-called English fingering for the UK mass-market, as well as offering a cheaper line under the brand-name Hamlin thus bringing recorders within the reach of the general public. Hunt (1977) notes that the first plastic recorders (cellulose acetate) were made in England early in World War II by Schott & Co, and sent to German-held prisoners-of-war, particularly those in the RAF, to help while-away the years of captivity (Loretto 1995). The first batch of Schott's plastic recorders were tested and packed by Walter Bergmann in November 1941 (Martin, 2002). However, a 'Fitzroy' recorder with a bakelite head and wooden body was available in the UK in 1939 (Anna Wells, pers. comm. 2000). Dolmetsch did not commence the production of plastic (ie bakelite) recorders until 1947. By 1948 Rose, Morris & Co. (London) were also marketting a 'Dulcet' plastic recorder made by John Grey & Sons who may well have been making them before this. Lewis & Scott Mfg. Co., Plantsville, Connecticut, USA were making a 'Scotty Piccolo Recorder' in 1939 from black 'Tenite' (a versatile, durable, and attractive cellulosic plastic produced by Kodak and manufactured by Frank Aman & Co.). An example can be examined in the Dayton Miller Flute Collection at the Library of Congress, Washington (DCM 1386). However, the fingering chart with an identical looking recorder designed and manufactured by Frank Aman himself formerly in my own possession (Australia-Sydney: Powerhouse, Accession 2012/41/3) is dated 1938. The 'Aman' recorder was marketted by the Tonette Co., Chicago, a subsidiary of the Gibson guitar company. Recorders and 'tonettes' (a greatly simplified recorder, also designed and produced by Frank Aman) were marketted in their thousands by the Gibson guitar company to stave off hard times during the war (Carter, 1991; Bellson 1973). Incidentally, my own Aman recorder has raised finger-holes and German-style fingering, and the accompanying information leaflet describes the material as 'Durez' which probably refers to the Durez Company established in New York in 1923 which continues to produce thermosetting phenolic resins and molding compounds to this day.
It might be said that the revival of the recorder early this century, its popularisation amongst amateurs between the wars, and its subsequent mass production in both England and Germany for use in schools were based loosely on one hand on the baroque style of recorder and on the renaissance model on the other. However, in reality, no particular historical model was closely followed by either camp.
Nowadays, designers of factory-made instruments for amateur and school use continue to produce recorders with a somewhat more bland, flute-like tone than the eighteenth-century originals on which they are based. Nonetheless, these neo-baroque recorders remain essentially solo instruments and are inherently unsuited to being played together in consorts. As we shall see, such instruments demand a very sophisticated technique indeed if tone and tuning are to be acceptable to any but uncritical listeners. Played together by children or adult amateurs they generally sound harsh and discordant. The style of recorder most appropriate for use by children and amateurs is surely the renaissance instrument designed specifically for blending with each other. Although reconstructions of such recorders are available (see below), their cost puts them well out of the reach of all but specialist players.
There have been a number of attempts to re-design the recorder and extend its capabilities for use in a contemporary context. However, even virtuosi have, for the most part, preferred instruments designed after historical (ie pre-classical) models.
Early 20th-century innovations include the addition of a key applied to an otherwise more or less conventional recorder to close the bell of the recorder in order to facilitate the production of certain high notes (see Fingering the Recorder). A bell key was probably first made in 1953 by John W.F. Juritz, a physics lecturer and bassoonist in Cape Town (Waitzman 1968) whose invention was not patented (Thomas 1987). A bell key designed by Carl Dolmetsch in 1957, and first used by him publicly in 1958, involved plugging the bell opening itself and letting a new hole in the side of the foot which was covered by a key operated by the little finger of the lower hand. This side-mounted key was the subject of British Patent #852165, 8th June 1959, based on a 1958 application (Madwick & Loretto 1996, Thomas 1998), though the text of the patent application also mentions the alternative strategy of closing or partially closing the bell opening itself (Loretto 1999). A less successful Carl Dolmetsch invention was a similar side-mounted closed key operated by the little finger of the uppermost hand which made possible a tongued f#'''. The patent for the latter was also granted on 8th June 1959 (Thomas 1998). Later a key was designed by Dolmetsch which covered the bell opening itself and which could be operated by the little finger of the lower hand or, more usefully, by that of the upper hand. In 1958 Edgar Hunt constructed an experimental long bell key, operated by the little finger of the left hand, like the long F key of the 18th-century keyed flute and modern oboe (Hunt, 1961, Waitzman 1968). The left-hand little finger depressed a lever to pull a wire which passed through the bell of the foot joint to pull a key against the hole. Also in 1958, William (not John) Koch of Haverhill, New Hamphsire, USA, was using a bell key to obtain additional notes on his bass recorder (Waitzman 1968, 1969).
In 1930 Carl Dolmetsch also introduced the echo or piano key operated by the chin or little finger of the left hand which opened a small hole in the block of the recorder by means of a plunger and raised the pitch of instrument a semitone thus making it possible to play very softly with diminished breath pressure as well as facilitating chromatic playing. This method was latter abandoned in favour of a small additional hole in the rear side-wall of the head behind and opposite the main slot in the window. The latter modification was also patented in 1958 (British Patent #852135), though it derives from the echo key of certain eighteenth-century flageolets. A similar device patented by Max King & Sons in Zwota (Patent DRP 671 814, dated 26 January 1937) was fixed to Herwiga 'Pan' recorders. The Breukink "Slide Recorder" recently marketted by Moeck is little more than a variation on the earlier Dolmetsch echo/piano key. Similarly, Küng offer recorders with "le Souuffleur", a hole drilled through the block which can be opened or closed with the player's lower lip thus permitting a greater dynamic range. Obviously, any make of recorder can be modified in this way.
Carl Dolmetsch also invented the so-called "tone-projector" (British Patent #666602), a wooden wheel-barrow shaped attachment which clipped on to the window of the recorder's headpiece to focus the tone and project it forward in an attempt to give the recorder more volume. The tone projector, first used publicly by Carl Dolmetsch in 1949, was later replaced by a plastic model in two sizes (one for sopranino and soprano, the other for alto and tenor). All of the above innovations leave the recorder essentially unchanged and it can still be played like any other recorder until the player has good reason to bring them into use (see Dolmetsch 1996; Madgwick & Loretto 1997).
Another Dolmetsch innovation was the recorder mute, a narrow fold of paper hooked over the labium of the recorder first described by Carl Dolmetsch in Part 3 of The School Recorder Book (Dolmetsch, undated). More recently (2007), an adjustable mute for soprano recorder has been developed and marketted by Italian plastics manufacturer Bonini (see here for details).
Takashi Tsukamoto (1975) has built side-mounted bell-keyed recorders with a lengthened foot which obviates closure of the bell opening itself. This could be made to be operated by the little finger of either hand. The end-mounted bell key has been applied to a substantially re-designed recorder which adopts a dramatically different fingering system unsuccessfully championed by the American player Daniel Waitzman (1978). The piano or whisper key has been applied to the Harmonic Tenor Recorder described below.
An example of a so-called 'Klingson' recorder with six keys made by "Hammerschmidt / Schönbach" may be seen in the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments. Nikolaj Tarasov (pers. comm., 2000) reports an alto in his possession with seven keys. Klingson recorders were available in SATB sizes (Sela & Peñalver 1996: 20). Tarasov comments that Klingson recorders were made by Karl Hammerschmidt & Sons in Burgau, Germany. These recorders were invented by a musician (? Schönbach) who wanted to perform Bach's Brandenburg Concerto parts without the usual problems. This worked well, and a small regional clique learned to play Klingson recorders. An interesting innovation is that the thumb vent has a sort of metal chimney which projects inside the bore so that moisture never drops on the thumb. In the event, the Klingson recorder project was abandoned by Hammerschmidt, probably due to resistance to the novel fingerings system employed.
The 'Chromette' or 'OrKon', invented in 1941 (US Patent #2330379, 1943) by Edward Verne Powell (1903-1986), the son of V.Q. Powell the famous New York flute maker), was essentially a modified soprano recorder moulded in plastic with metal reinforcement rings and fitted with a simplified Boehm system keywork. Its lowest notes could be blown loudly as well as softly with minimal pitch change and the chromatic scale was much facilitated by the keywork. Although it was intended to be mass produced for use in schools as a preparatory instrument for potential flute players, the venture failed (Huene 1994).
Towards the end of his life, the Australian/American composer Percy Grainger became interested in electrical and mechanical musical instruments designed for use in the context of his so-called 'free music'. A number of 'free music machines' capable of playing continuous gliding tones were developed with a US collaborator, Burnett Cross, and included both electronic and air-blown instruments. Amongst the latter, a machine from 1950 survives in the Grainger Museum, Melbourne, in which a swanee whistle and two recorders (an alto and tenor given to Grainger by Arnold Dolmetsch) are operated by a roll of paper perforated with holes and slits cut by hand (Davis 1984).
In 1958 Louis Stein (Principal Oboist at the Paris Opera) exhibited his flüte d'amour at the Brussels exhibition, an instrument with the proportions of the tenor recorder, but fitted with the key mechanism of a modern oboe. The flüte d'amour was made in three models with round-topped keys for oboists, with concave keys for flautists and with ring-keys and a simplified arrangement for amateurs (Hunt 1977).
In the early 1970's, Gyula Foky-Gruber in Vienna developed the "Silberton", an all-metal soprano recorder made entirely of nickel-plated brass, and an alto made of rosewood with a metal head-joint and two keys for the lowermost finger hole. Both featured a sytem of adjustable voicing achieved by altering the position of the block and the height of the windway. Both were of cylindrical bore. Later, the German firm Amati produced a look-alike silbertonflöte. Similarly, Hopf produced "Silberton" instruments which they now offer as "Gruber System" recorders by Kobliczek in sopranino, soprano, and alto models. Today, Gruber is making them again by himself as signed handmade recorders in small series, also in pure silver.
A patent for a fully keyed recorder was taken out in 1987 by the saxophonist Arnfred Strathmann, of Memsdorf (United States Patent 4664011). Strathmann's recorder featured the elaborate keywork and fingerings of a saxophone. With the assistance of the Klein company Kiel, a series of Strathmann flutes was developed with many modern features. The body is made of wood or durable plastic, the block height is adjustable with a simple thumbscrew, and the thumbhole is replaced by a key which opens two small holes high up in the head piece which raises any fingering of the lower register to the octave above (see side view). The volume of sound for all notes is stronger than on conventional recorders, and the timbre is said to be between that of a recorder and flute. Strathmann flutes have been made in both soprano and alto models (Huene 1994). Now the Klein company has collapsed, Strathmann continues to make these instruments alone, in small quantities.
The firm Mollenhauer have recently incorporated in a newly designed alto recorder the adjustable block (ie a tilting windway) patented separately by Strathmann in 1992 (United States Patent 5107740; European Patent #0431344).
More recently, Strathmann has patented (1996) a device in the block, operated by the lower lip, which alters the pitch of the recorder by up to 5 cents. The device is based on the principle of the universal semitone key, which was already used on recorders in the 1930s (Moeck 1997).
American recorder maker William F. Koch (1892-1970), whose instrument-making business was founded in 1934, manufactured a basset recorder with a unique horizontal windway, presumably in order to render it direct-blown with improved response and to shorten the instrument.
English recorder player and maker Robin Read (1966) carried out a number of experiments in the early 1960s resulting in a windway assembly of cedar held in place by a conventional plug, the windway being constructed as a separate entity. Advantages of this innovation include more accurate control of windway dimensions and better resistance to condensation (from twice the normal surface area of cedar. This novel windway design was coupled with a separate tongue which was adjusted before fixing in place, thus reversing the normal voicing procedure.
New Zealand maker Alec Loretto has designed a rotating head with a chamber containing a selection of windways much like the chamber of a six-shooter rotates into position. And the same maker has built recorders with a large slot instead of a windway into which prefabricated windways can be fitted, all with identical exterior dimensions, but each containing its own windway optimised for the pitch of the notes being played (Madgwick & Loretto 1996: 41-42; Madgwick & Loretto 1997: 8). He has also experimented with an adjustable labium on a contrabass recorder in F allowing changes to made to the distance of the labium from the windway, the position of the labium in the airstream, the angle of the labium in the airstream (Loretto 1970).
Italian maker Giacomo Andreola offers recorders with a specially constructed beak (which he says he copied from an idea of the recorder maker Claude Monin) which allows one to change the windway as needed, either to vary the voicing of the instrument or in order to overcome condensation problems.
Moeck offer a modern recorder, designed by Dutch maker Adriana Breukink, marketed as the Slide Recorder. This instrument is similar to so-called Ganassi recorders, but incorporates a specially designed slide mouthpiece for the production of dynamics. In the Breukink/Moeck design, a spring loaded pad operated by the player's lower lip activates a plunger which opens a hole in the face of the block, a variant of the first of echo/piano keys developed by Dolmetsch in 1930 (see above).
Swedish maker Ragnar Arvidsson offers novel recorders of his own construction and design with a unique bore derived from his engineering experience of microwave waveguide systems in radar and telecommunication equipment. They have the sound of renaissance recorders but are played with neo-baroque fingering. They have a full chromatic range of 2 octaves, plus some extra high notes (Hulthèn, 1997).
Denis Thomas (1999) has experimented with an improved key design for bass recorders aimed at improving sonority and intonation in the low register and facilitating the ability to play in sharp keys. A spin-off is an extended range.
A study of certain pre-war German recorders with unhistorically long bores and the characteristic that overblowing the bottom or second note produced a true set of harmonics drawn to his attention by recorder player Nikolai Tarasov, has led theAmerican maker Friedrich von Huene to explore the use of additional keywork to close fairly large tone holes far down the instrument out of reach of the little finger thereby extending the range downwards and creating many new fingering possibilities for higher notes. A tenor recorder made along these lines has a range of two octaves and a sixth from b to g#'', the same as a modern oboe.
More recently, Tarasov has collaborated with Maarten Helder to construct a recorder with harmonics tuned in such a way as to make it possible to play very strong and stable low notes with a tone quality matching that of its higher registers. Indeed their so-called Harmonic Tenor Recorder boasts a three octave range from b-c''''', with 4 keys and an optional piano key. It also implements the adjustable block patented by Strathmann, though here it can be adjusted by a twist of the hand, even during a short pause, allowing the player to alter the voicing for maximum tone quality or special sound effects.
The Harmonic Alto Recorder, a companion instrument to the Harmonic Tenor Recorder, with similar range, features, and performance characteristics, is now available. Like its predecessor, this unique and radically new instrument is a collaborative effort between the Dutch recorder maker Maarten Helder and the Conrad Mollenhauer firm. A novel feature of this instrument is the inclusion of a number of replaceable wind-canals. These may be of different materials or different shapes. And like the Harmonic Tenor Recorder, the Harmonic Alto Recorder also includes an adjustable block, and a sophisticated kework for the lower tone holes.
Tarasov has also collaborated with Joachim Paetzold to create the Paetzold-Tarasov Modern Alto Recorder with a range of two and a half fully chromatic octaves from f' to c'''. This has been further developed and refined in the Mollenhauer workshop. This instrument has a full, resonant, and uniform tone quality throughout its range with outstanding projection and response, is ideal for performing music of the late 18th century and 19th centuries, and contrasts well with historical or modern pianos. It can be heard on Tarasov's CD, The Modern Alto Recorder and is played by a number of the world's leading recorder virtuosi, notably Michala Petri.
How curious it is to note that the hitherto reviled work of the German recorder makers of the 1920's and 1930's should actually have provided the springboard for what may well prove to be the most signficant developments in the recorder's history since the seventeenth century!
Adler-Heinrich have recently begun production of a range of Trichterflöten or bell recorders. Bell recorders have been developed over the past 25 years by Klaus Grunwald, a painter and art teacher living in Cologne, largely for his own use. He sought a keyless recorder which would project well in large indoor spaces and hold its own with modern instruments. Working largely with simple tools such as files, rasps, drills and hot air guns, Grunwald made some 80 prototypes ranging from sopranino to great bass, at every conceivable pitch, and from a variety of materials. Grunwald's recorders were similar in appearance to renaissance recorders, with a wide, largely cylindrical bore, a simple external profile, and large single tone holes. The crucial difference was the incorporation of a large, widely flared exponential bell (of wood or metal) similar to that of a clarinet. Another feature was a raised fingerhole for lowest finger, added for ergonomic reasons. Grunwald was besieged by orders for his unique instruments but really had no desire to replicate them for commercial sale. Eventually, a contract was signed allowing the Adler-Heinrich firm to produce instruments to Grunwald's design under his supervision.
The new Adler-Heinrich Grunwald bell recorders are unique, not just because of their large, flared bells. Their windways, bores, and other features also differ radically from traditional designs. These instruments are said to produce an extremely full, solid sound from bottom to top, and offer a wide variety of alternate fingerings which permit dynamic variation. A much wider range of breath pressures may be used than on traditional instruments, and a remarkable variety of articulations is also possible, allowing them to compete successfully with loud modern instruments such as piano, saxophone, or brass. Currently available are soprano and alto models, but there are plans to produce all sizes from sopranino to great bass in a variety of woods (Green 1996).
Joachim Paetzold experimented with a large square-profile recorder built on the principle of a cranked organ pipe from plywood which was patented and further developed by Herbert Paetzold in 1975. The result is a range of instruments which are signficantly cheaper to construct than conventional ones. The tone is impressively strong in the lower register and speaks easily over two octaves. Joachim Paetzold was anticipated by New Zealand maker Alec Loretto who in 1967 built a prototype square-profile bass recorder, an illustration of which was published in 1970 (Madgwick & Loretto 1996: 40; Madgwick & Loretto 1997: 7), though it lacked the characteristic key flaps of the Paetzold instrument. Dolmetsch also have adapted the square profile approach to a new range of bass recorders. A further development of the square-bass recorder is the compact design contrabass in F designed by Denis Thomas (2004), reminiscent of the so-called columnar recorders of the sixteenth century. It is as well to remind ourselves that square-profile recorders are not such a recent invention: an anonymous 15th-century manuscript (F Lm 391, f. 28) depicts a man in what looks like a bowler hat playing a duct flute which is decidedly square in cross-section (repr. Boragno 1998: 12)!
A novel solution to the problem of recorder dynamics has been suggested by English flute maker Clive Catterall who offers a specially designed notch flute of cylindrical bore but with recorder fingering. The resulting instrument is similar to the Japanese shakuhachi and the Andean quena It is played by putting the head against the lower lip and chin so that the edge is level with the gap between the lips. Formation of the lip shape, angle of blowing and air pressure must be learnt, as with the transverse flute. The thumb-hole can be used in the same way as it is on the recorder, or the shift between registers can be done with the embouchure alone, it is up to the player. It is possible to make such an instrument from a plastic recorder with a single saw-cut.
Under the auspices of the Centre for New Musical Instruments (CNMI) at London's Guildhall University, Lewis Jones (London Metropolitan University) together with David Armitage (London Guildhall University) have designed and built recorders which facilitate the performance of microtonal music (or other music composed in alternative tuning systems) and as a new form of expression. Their recorder, based on wide-bored renaissance models, has five small keys operated by the two little fingers. A fingering chart has been devised, yielding additional cross-fingering (Barnes, 2002). They are currently developing a 19-division equally tempered tenor recorder.
Fajardo (1970) described fitting an alto recorder with a microphone and reverberation unit, but this innovation long remained an isolated case. French recorder maker Philippe Bolton has developed an electro-acoustical recorder for contemporary music, jazz etc. (patent pending) which can be amplified, or played without amplification. There is a hole in the side of the bore at the top of the head joint into which a microphone can be screwed. This can be connected to a PA system, giving the musician the possibility of having a louder instrument for playing in difficult conditions, or in ensemble with loud instruments (jazz for example), without having to stay riveted a few centimetres in front of an external microphone. The electro-acoustical recorder can also be connected to an effects processor, giving a very wide palette of sounds for use in contemporary music, or any other contexts in which such effects can be useful. For complete freedom of movement a wireless system can replace the traditional cable leading to the amplifier. When no amplification is required a special plug can be screwed into the instrument instead of the microphone, converting it into a normal recorder.
More recently, Nikolkaj Tarasov in conjunction with Mollenhauer have developed an electronic and acoustic recorder marketted as 'Elody'. Like the Bolton electro-acoustic recorder, the 'Elody' is fitted with a specially designed internal pickup which, coupled with a computer or effects unit, gives access to an infinite range of timbres and effects. Unlike the usual cylindrical external profile the 'Elody' is flattened and angular in cross-section for more comfortable handling and is available in a range of brightly coloured designs. For a review of the use of microphones with recorders see Dessy (2001).
Japanese recorder maker Yukio Yamada, has made an electronic device that will transpose the recorder two or three octaves above the pitch you play (Brüggen in Epstein 1988: 8). Note that this facility is available on the Bolton electro-acoustic recorder attached to an effects processor or MIDI device.
Similarly, the American Michael Barker, who teaches at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, has developed a system linking a square Paetzold contrabass recorder in F to two computer-controlled synthesisers. This system, which Barker terms an Interactive MIDI Performance System, or 'midified blockflute', enables him to mix 'real' and synthesised sounds as he plays.
The system developed by Barker has been further extended by Peruvian recorder player and teacher Cesar Villavicencio. This new instrument consists of a Paetzold contrabass recorder with many sensors installed on it:
Perhaps the inevitable outcome of the mechanisation of the recorder commenced by Percy Grainger in the 1950s (see above) is the development of musician robots capable of playing the recorder. This has been achieved in the ground-breaking research of Makoto Kajitani and his colleagues of a MUBOT that comprises a computer-driven mechanism which plays an unmodified recorder (Kajitani 1989, 1992). The recorder playing MUBOT blowing is generated by converting air supplies from an air compressor at a predetermined pressure into at the optimal flow for each tone by a current-to-pneumatic converter. Vibrato is created by delicately changing the value of the flow instruction to the pneumatic converter. Tonguing is achieved by opening and closing an air valve at the entrance to the recorder windway. Rubber finger tips are placed over each vent of the recorder and driven by an air cylinder of the pencil type. The octaving vent is so designed that it can be half or fully opened and fully closed. The recorder-playing MUBOT can join with other MUBOT musicians playing violin, cello and guitar in performing ensembles. All that is wanting is an audience of robotic listeners!
Until recently, the only purely electronic 'recorders' as such were made by Innovations Fm7 and Suzuki. Fm7's MIDIWIND MW-1 is described as a recorder paradigm instrument designed specifically for the elementary education market. The controller is sized to work well with both children and adult-sized hands. The unit is slaved to a sound module (called the "Player Station") which provides built-in sounds MIDI output. The Player Station can accept up to four MIDIWIND controllers simultaneously and is designed to be used in a classroom music lab. The Suzuki SRW-100 Recorder Wind Controller is an electronic input device for use with MIDI instruments. It uses standard recorder fingerings, is equipped with pressure sensitive finger holes, and requires traditional breath control.
Other Electronic Wind Instruments (EWI) are made by Akai, Casio, SSSounds, and Yamaha, amongst others. They are all breath-controlled and variously equipped with pressure sensitive finger holes, keys or pads. They can be programmed to produce the sound of almost any instrument, including the recorder. They are capable of glissando, portamento, chords, "timbre attack" (a type of chorusing) and other effects. Some can be programmed to play with the fingerings of a variety of acoustic instruments. The first EWI was the so-called 'Steinerphone' developed from the Electronic Valve Instrument (EVI or electronic trumpet) prototyped by Nyle Steiner (Black 1997, Cole 1999). Steiner later sold his prototypes to Akai who continued their development. Other early EWIs include Computone Inc.'s Lyricon (1972) and its derivatives, culminating in the Yamaha wind synthesisers.
EWIs are designed to be used with a synthesizer. Currently available EWIs include Akai EWI 4000s; Casio DH series; Innovations Fm7's MIDIwind MW-1, SSSound's Sting EW1; Suzuki Wind Controller SRW-100; Yamaha WX5. The Yamaha EW30 WindJamm'r was a "hook 'em while they're young" version of the now discontinued WX11 shipped with Yamaha's own WT11 sound module (Rees 1995).
Several makers have modified the recorder to render it more suitable for children. Thus Joachim Kunath, has designed 5-tone and 7-tone pentatonic recorders, diatonic recorders and special soprano recorders for use in Waldorf (Steiner) schools. Similarly, Choroi Instruments offer diatonic, pentatonic recorders and so-called interval flutes with only one finger hole and two notes each. Moeck have recently released a pentatonic recorder, their Flauto Penta. The Suzuki Precorder PRE-1 is a two-piece plastic recorder with raised tone holes for pre-school use. And the Suzuki Keyboard Recorder ANDES-25 is a recorder operated by a Melodion-style keyboard.
Plastic has been used for hand-made recorders as well as for production models. Loretto (1993) relates an apocryphal tale to the effect that one of the pioneers of the German recorder revival, Ferdinand Conrad succeeded in convincing Martin Skowroneck to make a plastic instrument for him. Skowroneck, anxious that such a recorder not be played in public, made it of a violent blue-coloured plastic, a feature that would be considered a virtue by today's players! Indeed coloured recorders are now made by the firm Mollenhauer. Colourless recorders in plexiglass are made by Thomas Boehm, Pietro Sopranzi, and Twaalfhoven. Francesco Li Virghi and Marco Piga make ceramic recorders after Stanesby – see LiVirghi (2000). An enterprising amateur maker, Joseph Wisniewski, is currently experimenting with glass – not that this is new: the inventory of Vittoria Vellia dated 1 November 1615 in Rome included two recorders made of purple glass (Lasocki 2005b: 500).
The neo-renaissance 'Dream' recorders designed by Adriana Breukink and manufactured and marketted by Mollenhauer are available in brightly coloured wood stained red, blue and green, primarily to appeal to children.
A number of makers make a recorder from composite materials. Mollenhauer make a 'Prima' recorder with a plastic head and a wooden body which has found favour amongst players interested in popular music, eg Jean-François Rousson (France), Evelyn Nallen (UK). A simlar model is offered by Moeck as their Flauto 1 Plus model. Hohner market a Melody model with a plastic head and a pearwood body. An innovation from Hohner is a recorder with a wooden body and head but with a plastic insert which forms the upper windway and cutting edge of the labium. Some of the Australian Pan recorders (made by a young Fred Morgan working with 'Lazy' Ade Monsbourgh and Don 'Pixie' Roberts) featured a combined block and windway which slid in and out of the beak as a single unit.
A solution to the perennial problem of condensation in the narrow windway of the recorder and its relatives has long been sought. Both English and French types of flageolets made ue of a wind-chamber in which a sponge is placed to absorb moisture from the breath passing through it. This has the added advantage of creating a resistance to the player's breath. 19th-century csakan makers developed a number of novel approaches (Tarasov 2005). Carl Doke of Linz and Martin Schemmel of Vienna introduced a thin wooden wedge into the windway. Franz Schö of Pressburg and Johan Ziegler & Son of Vienna drilled two small holes into the side of the block, draining into the channels below. Stephan Koch of Vienna adopted a hollowed-out block to collect moisture which drained out via a small tube, the dried air passing into a normal windway.
A 1962 patent application (USA Patent #3178986, German Patent #1235122) was made by Hermann Moeck which shows how the windway was to be lined either completely or in part by stable, moisture-absorbing materials. The final patent registered in 1974 (USA Patent #3988956, German Patent #2432423) used a different design in which an absorbent and very stable artificial, chalk-like material was inserted into the floor of a normal wooden block. However, the ceramic material from which the absorbent insert was made eroded in response to the ghastly cocktail of food and alcohol present on the average recorder player's breath, necessitating expensive repairs. A number of makers have experimented with a system of longitudinal grooves in the windway floor to facilitate the flow of condensed mosture away from this sensitive area (Stephenson 1987). The latter idea, inspired by certain Markneukirchen recorders made early in the 20th century, has been implemented on plastic recorders and soprano and alto instruments designed by Hohner for school use.
French recorder-maker Vincent Bernolin has adopted a three-pronged assault on the condensation problem. The blocks of all his instruments are made from cedar treated by an exclusive procedure devised by physicist Arthur Gohin. Furthermore, Bernolin places an expansion joint between the block and the wood of the head with which it comes into contact which absorbs residual moisture. He also offers instruments in which the block is prepared with a more sophisticated treatment of his own devising. German recorder manufacturers Mollenhauer have recently introduced Synpor, a synthetic block material which absorbs moisture without changing dimension.
Some makers have experimented with recorders of extreme size. Twaalfhoven's 'piccolino' recorder in f''' (an octave above the sopranino) is probably the smallest fully functional recorder ever made. To make it playable, the fingerholes for each hand are on a separate axis. It has a thumb hole. Although the players fingers are effectively interleaved, the expected patterns for each hand still apply. Even smaller recorders, made as novelty or jewellery items by Kobliczeck and by Mollenhauer, can actually be sounded; when she was a child, my daughter was able to coax simple tunes from one of the latter, much to my astonishment.
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