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

home :: resources :: music theory & history :: recorder lessons :: music dictionary :: physics of musical instruments :: e-monographs

contents :: help page :: first things first :: fingering charts :: glossary of recorder terms :: Quick C :: Quick F :: comments or queries?site map :: quick search

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 C
How To Tongue The Note C
Relax The Hands

How To Finger The Note C

The sixth note we learn, C on the descant (soprano) recorder, lies on the first leger line below 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 C, the bottom note on your descant/soprano recorder, is written 0 1 2 3 4 5 6a 6b 7a 7b.

How To Tongue The Note C

Low E and low D use both hands together. Finger the low E and then drop the third finger of the right hand to give low D, making sure that you have covered both holes fully. If the low D is clear you can drop the fourth finger down to cover both the bottom small holes on your recorder. If you have completely covered all the holes and you are not tonguing too strongly you should hear a clear bottom C. as with the notes E and D, too much air and too strong a tonguing stroke will stifle the free resonance of the instrument and it will only give a squeak or jump up to the next octave. Take care that, as you add the fourth right hand finger you do not disturb the position of the left hand or of the other fingers on the right hand. As with E and D, the supporting right hand thumb should lie in the position you found using the manoeuvre recommended in First Things First.

Relax The Hands

Piece no. 6 has been written to help you play the lowest notes. Keep sensitive to the changes in tonguing stroke and breath pressure as you move from note to note - be fussy; if a note does not sound clear or squeaks, check that you are not tonguing before all your fingers are down on their holes. Be particularly vigilant, when placing down the bottom little finger of your right hand, that the fingers covering the E and D holes lie flat and that both the D and D sharp holes are properly sealed. Many beginners make the mistake of 'pressing' their fingers to their recorder in a vain attempt to ensure a proper seal on all the finger holes. Actually, it is better just to let the fingers 'rest' across the finger holes - if the fingers lie in the right place, this is all that is necessary to seal the holes. 'Pressing' down the fingers makes it much more difficult to relax the hands so that when you develop greater facility and want to move about the instrument at speed, you want to eliminate every source of tension from both hands. It is no bad thing to avoid picking up bad habits at this stage, otherwise, later, you will have to face the even harder task of eradicating them.