The first octave

f” (c”’) is usually fingered O -2- ----. There are dozens of possible fingerings for this note! The main alternative is - 123 ---- which is commonly used in passage work and for slurs to and from notes lower than c” (g”). This fingering is used for the f♯”- e♯” (c♯”’- b♯”) trill with - 123 45-- as the d♯” (a♯”) turn, a trill all but impossible with conventional fingerings.

The second most important alternative fingering for f” (c”) is O --3 4-(/)- used for the f”-e” (c”’- b♭”) trill with O 1-3 45/- as the d”(a”) turn. This last combination is invaluable in passage work involving the sequence f”- e♭”- d”- e♭”- f” (c”’- b♭”-a”- b♭”- c”’).

e” (b”) is usually fingered O 1-- ----. The commonest alternative for this note is O -23 ----. This is used for f”- e” (c”’- b”) slurs and trills and in fast passage work. It is used for slurs to and from the following notes in the upper register: c”’ (g”’), b” (f♯”’), b♭” (f”’) and a” (e”’). When used in the above downward slurs the alternatively fingered e” (b”) is often slow to speak and hence virtually useless at speed: this is not a problem with upwards slurs. The alternative e” (b”) is useful for slurs to and from notes below c#” (g♯”). It is also useful for the e” (b”) turn of the g”- f” (d”’- c”’) trill.

The f”- e” (c”’- b”) trill turned on d” (a”) is something of a problem. The alternative e” (b”) given here should be used for the trill. For the turn, d” (a”) could be fingered O -23 45--, but this has too feeble a tone on most recorders to be of much use here. In all but very rapid music it is best to turn this trill with the normal d” (a”), returning to f” (c”’) via the normal e” (b”), using the alternative only for the notes of the trill itself.

e♭” (b♭”) is usually fingered O 1-3 4---. An alternative for this note is O 1-3 -56-- which, is useful for slurring to and from b’ (f♯”/g♭”) = O 123 -56--. As David Bellugi (pers. comm.) points out , this fingering brings the b’-d♯”-f♯” arpeggio of Vivaldi’s C major concerto for sopranino recorder very conveniently under the hand with b’ = O 123 -56, d♯”= O 1-3 -56 and f♯”= - 1-3 -56.

d” (a”) is usually fingered O 12- ----. The most useful alternative is O 1-3 45/-, used primarily for the e♭- d” (b♭’- a”) trill. This trill can be fingered O 1-3 45*/- and should be turned using normal fingerings for c” (g”) and d” (a”) when turned downwards and for c”, d” and e♭” (g”, a” and b♭”) when turned upwards: the alternative d” (a”) is used only for the notes of the trill itself. This rather complicated manoeuvre can be achieved with lots of practice. With ordinary fingerings this trill is impossible.

O 1-3 45/- is used for the e♭”- d” (b♭’- a”) slur and for the turn of the f”- e♭” (c”’- b♭”) trill as noted above. this fingering is also useful in slurs from d”-g” (a”- d”’) where g” (d”’) is fingered - --3 4--- in certain passages, particularly where these alternate with slurs from e♭”- g” (b♭”- d”’).

A less effective alternative for d” (a”) is O -23 45-- which can be used where the sequence f”- e”- d”- e” (c”’- b”- a”- b”) is encountered in very rapid music, and for the turn of the f”- e” (c”’- b”) trill as discussed earlier.

c♯” (g♯”) is probably best fingered O 12- 45/-, but some recorders respond well to O 12- 45-- or O 12- 456-. The correct fingering must be determined for each instrument. This note is often painfully out of tune in ensemble work and needs careful attention!

For the c♯”(g♯”)-b'(f♯”)’ trill use O 123* -56- with the trilling finger kept low to the instrument to control tuning of the c♯”(g♯”). This trill must commence and end (if turned upwards) with a normally fingered c♯”(g♯”).

c” (g”) is usually fingered O 123 ---. For the d♭”- c” (a♭”- g”) or c♯”- c” (g♯”- g”) trill use O 12- 456*7 or O 12-45*67 using normal fingerings for the notes of the turn.

b’ (f♯”) is usually fingered O 123 -56-, but O 123 4*5-- may be used for rapid b’ – a’ (f♯”- e”) trills, although such trills must commence and end (if turned upwards) with a normally fingered b’ (f♯”).

b♭’ (f”) is usually fingered O 123 4-67, but O 123 45*-- can be used for a rapid b♭’- a’ (f”- e”) trill which also must begin and end (if turned upwards) with the normal O 123 4-67 for b♭’ (f”). O 123 45*/- is useful for the b♭’- a♭’ (f”- e♭”) trill; a turn for this trill is not feasible.

Cite this article as: Lander, Nicholas S. 1996–2022. Recorder Home Page: Technique: Fingering: The first octave. Last accessed 7 August 2022. https://www.recorderhomepage.net/technique/fingering/the-first-octave/