recorder method online : descant/sopranoe natural
Dr. Brian Blood

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

This section gives advice on the following topics:

How To Finger The Note E
How To Tongue The Note E
Working With Both Hands Together

How To Finger The Note E

The fourth note we learn, E on the descant (soprano) recorder, lies on the bottom line of the treble clef. 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 6b
  -----left hand-----------right hand-----


Using the standard nomenclature, the fingering for first octave E is written 0 1 2 3 4 5.

How To Tongue The Note E

All the notes you have studied so far have used left hand fingers alone. For the low E you need to use right hand fingers too. First play G to set the fingers of the left hand in their correct position. You should then find it easier to play a clear low E when you have placed the first and second fingers of the right hand on their respective holes. Take care that, as you add the right hand fingers you do not disturb the position of the left hand. The supporting right hand thumb should lie behind the two fingers, in the position you found using the manoeuvre recommended in First Things First. In common with all lower notes on the recorder, the instrument speaks quickest if you use a soft tonguing stroke. If you tongue too hard, the instrument may squeak. This 'cry of protest' is the recorder 'overblowing', trying to produce the E one octave higher than the E you want. This tendency is greater on larger recorders where the voicing is often set to favour the upper register and as a result the bottom notes are 'delicate'. Generally, you will find a pure, round tone musically a lot more pleasing than one with lots of higher harmonics. Occasionally, you may want to generate more 'chiff' into your low notes, particularly where a percussive effect is required. Then you can increase the force of your tonguing although this does not mean that you need to blow harder which will only tend to sharpen the pitch or weaken the sound.

Working With Both Hands Together

Piece no. 4 has been written to improve the use of fingers on both hands moving together. In an earlier lesson, we mentioned that, as you move from note to note, you want to feel 'blocks' of fingers moving, rather than many individuals moving at the same time. When raised, all the fingers should be the same distance from, and directly above the relevant finger holes. The correct positioning the right hand thumb is the key to keeping the right hand fingers properly positioned and this will become increasingly important as you move onto the next two lessons.