recorder method online recorder terms
Dr. Brian Blood


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AltoF recorder, the international word for treble recorder
Baroque FingeringThe fingering system used by all serious players, normal in the U.K. and now throughout the rest of the world. (also known as English fingering to distinguish from German fingering)
Baroque PitchA pitch one semitone below modern pitch, i.e. a=415 Hz as opposed to a=440 Hz. This 'standard' low pitch is a modern convenience - original recorders, for example, seem to have been made at about a=409 Hz
Baroque RecorderThe style of recorder which is most common today, even made of plastic
BassF recorder usually written in the bass clef, sounding one octave higher than written
BeakThe top end of the recorder, which is applied to the lips, not put into the mouth!
Block or PlugThe softwood (cedar) plug fitted into the upper part of the head section for form the base of the windway
BushingA lining applied to repair or strengthen a finger or tone hole. Thumb holes are often bushed on quality recorders
C recorderAn instrument where all holes covered produces a C
Cent (viz. tuning)An interval of one semitone is divided into 100 cents
Contra BassConfusing term, check which key is meant.
We favour naming bass recorders as follows:
Bass in F (also called Basset), Bass in C (also called Great Bass); Contra Bass in F (one octave below Bass in F); Contra Bass in C (also called Sub Contra Bass, one octave below Bass in C)
Cross FingeringA term used to describe a fingering where an open hole lies above the lowest closed hole. For example. low B flat on the treble recorder fingered 0 123 4 67, where hole 5 is open
DescantC recorder, written in the treble clef, sounding one octave higher than written. The English name for soprano - also called a fifth flute
English FingeringThe usual way of fingering a recorder (also called baroque fingering)
F recorderAn instrument where all holes covered produces an F
FippleFrom Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913):
Fipple \Fip"ple\ (f[~e]r), n. [perh. fr. L. fibula a clasp, a
pin; cf. Prov. E. fible a stick used to stir pottage.]
A stopper, as in a wind instrument of music. [Obs.] --Bacon.

Professor Stanley V. McDaniel comments:
Both the Century Dictionary (1898), a rich mine of etymology, and the Oxford English dictionary state that the origin is obscure, but the Oxford asserts that fipple is probably related to Icelandic _flipi_ "the lip of a horse." The word fipple in Engl. dialect refers to "the under lip" and "to fipple" means to look dejected by protruding the under lip. The use of the term for the recorder's block seems to come from an analogy with the flute, where the under lip provides the same narrowing of the windway as the block does in the recorder, i.e. it is the underside of the wind passage. The Century Dictionary provides a quote stating this very idea. So I think it's unlikely that the word derived from "fibula."

To go a bit further, note the possible relation between the word "lip" and "flipi." "lip" is related to Middle Swedish lippa and similar forms lippe, lyppe, etc. from a presumed Old Teutonic root lep-. Frequently in word migration a reversal of consonants can occur, and also duplication. It's possible that from "lippe" came a form "plippe" softened to "flipi" as in the Icelandic.

What is interesting about the possible relation between fipple and lip is that "lip" variants often refer only to the lower lip, but also by extension they refer in general to the rim of an opening. Thus the fipple, or lip, of a recorder may be thought of as the rim of the windway, which is produced in its lower part by the block, and which takes the place of the lips themselves as the windway for a transverse flute.

Dan Chernick adds:

I just can't resist an OED request! According to my "Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary" (I'm paraphrasing it):

Fipple [Compare to Icelandic(?) "flipi" - lip of a horse]
1. The plug at the mouth of a wind-instrument, by which its volume was contracted.
First occurrance in English print: was in 1626 by Bacon in "Sylva": "Let there be a Recorder made with two Fipples, at each end one."
2. (In the northern dialect) The underlip in men and animals, when it hangs down large and loose. The expression "to hang a Fipple" means "to look disappointed, discontented, sulky; also, to weep".

A second entry for Fipple says it means "to whimper, whine; to slaver, dribble" from the Sweedish "flipa", "to weep with distortion of the mouth"

FlautinoUsually taken to mean sopranino recorder
FlautoUsually taken to mean treble recorder
Fourth fluteA soprano/descant recorder in B flat
Garklein FlötleinC recorder written in the treble clef, sounding two octaves higher
German FingeringA modern and discredited system in which four fingers down gives F. Still used, principally in Germany and Holland. Avoid it like the plague!
Great BassC recorder written in the bass clef sounding an octave higher
Hertz19th-century German physicist whose name is used as a unit of frequency. 1 Hertz, written 1 Hz, is one cycle per second
Historic Baroque FingeringA variant of the usual fingering
KnickGerman for fold, something sharply bent: some basses and tenors are angled below the head
LabiumThe cutting edge part of the sound generator
RecorderFrom Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) :
Recorder \Re*cord"er\ (r?*k?rd"?r), n.
(Mus.) A kind of wind instrument resembling the flageolet.
[Obs.] ``Flutes and soft recorders.'' --Milton.

From WordNet (r) 1.6 :
recorder
a woodwind with a vertical pipe and 8 finger holes and a whistle mouthpiece [syn: fipple flute, fipple pipe, vertical flute]

[Middle English, partly from Anglo-French recordour, Old French recordeur; partly from record (in obsolete sense ‘practise a tune’)]

Renaissance RecordersThese are based on early originals, usually fingered as modern instruments, but models with authentic fingering are available from some makers. The bore is much wider than that of a baroque instrument and tapers less. The compass is usually a twelfth
Sixth FluteA descant/soprano recorder in D, popular in 18th century England
SopraninoF recorder written in the treble clef, sounding one octave higher
SopranoC recorder, the international word for descant recorder - also called a fifth flute
Sub-Bass
also "Sub-Contra-Bass"
F recorder written in the bass clef, sounding at written pitch
TenorC recorder written in the treble clef, sounding at written pitch
Tone HoleAlternative term for finger hole
TraversoBaroque flute, or, transverse flute
TrebleF recorder written in the treble clef, sounding at written pitch. The English word for Alto.
Voice FluteD recorder, tenor sized
WindowThe area between the exit from the windway and the top of the ramp that forms the top of the labium
WindwayThe narrow slot through which the breath passes