recorder method online : bassb flat / a sharp
Dr. Brian Blood

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Important: To see and hear our 'live' music examples you will need to install the free Scorch plug-in for PC and MAC systems.

First Octave: E :: D :: C :: A :: G :: F :: Bb/A# :: B :: Eb/D# :: F#/Gb :: C#/Db :: G#/Ab :: Second Octave :: Third Octave

This section gives advice on the following topics:

How To Finger The Note B flat
How To Play The Note B flat

How To Finger The Note B flat

The seventh note we learn, B flat on the bass recorder, lies on the second line from the bottom of the bass clef with a flat sign either in front of it, in the key signature or on a B flat earlier in the same bar. The note A sharp is B flat's enharmonic equivalent, that is, it has the same fingering and in the equitempered scale is the same pitch as B flat.
Click on the play button in the Sibelius score to hear it. Below that we give the standard fingering for this note, the fingering you would use under normal circumstances.

Legend: = hole covered = hole uncovered = pinched thumbhole

Recorder Thumb 1 2 3 4 5 6a
Bass in F
Contra Bass
  -----left hand------ -----right hand-----


Using the standard nomenclature, the fingering for first octave B flat, or for the enharmonic equivalent A sharp, is written 0 1 2 3 4 6a 6b 7a 7b.

How To Play The Note B flat

Cover all the holes and, if you are not tonguing too strongly, you should be able to produce a clear bottom F. Now, raise the second finger of the right hand to produce B flat. Next, moving the hand as a block, lift all the fingers on the right hand off the recorder to give a C and then replace the first, third and fourth finger to return to the note B flat. Try moving back and forth between these two notes several times. The more difficult movements, those between B flat and A and between B flat and G, require considerable control, even more if you try the progression slurred than tongued. These three progressions form the basis of our exercise, piece 7a.

Once you are happy with this exercise, try a more extended work, piece 7b which places the note B flat in a more general context.

B flat is no more difficult than F but many recorder players are tempted to miss off the bottom little finger in a desire to make the fingering easier. Unfortunately, anyone with acute hearing will be able to tell that the little finger is missing because the note your recorder produces can, on many recorders, be noticeably sharp. Some larger recorders (basses and the like) can be designed to be in tune with with or without the bottom finger - this avoids having to use the bottom key and aids speed of finger movement when playing quick passage work. You can determine whether this simplified fingering works on your recorder by checking it against a tuning meter and making any necessary adjustment in your blowing pressure.