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Thread: Recorder tuning

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    Default Recorder tuning

    I can't believe it but all this time and i've just noticed i think my recorders may all be out of tune. i noticed that if I pull the head joint almost all way the out, certain notes are wayyyy flat. even if i pull it only half way out its still very noticibly flat, in particular the middle octave c. am I just pulling it out too far (like with trombone you have to pull the tuning slide out pretty far to make a big difference)?

    by the way, i'm not talking just about "being" out of tune, i'm talking about a defect when the tuning joint affects certain notes more than others.

    should I replace it or are they all like this?

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    What you describe sounds normal to me, even scientific.
    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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    well i can understand if you were using the foot joint to tune, but adjusting the headjoint afects the length of the entire recorder so all the notes should be tempered equally, as with brass instruments etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by obwan View Post
    well i can understand if you were using the foot joint to tune, but adjusting the headjoint afects the length of the entire recorder so all the notes should be tempered equally, as with brass instruments etc.
    Don't know the nomenclature. If the head joint is the one near the mouthpiece, the holes are affected in amounts inversely related to their distance from it — this based on what happens with a clarinet when barrel length is changed.
    Last edited by Ukko; Apr-03-2013 at 01:33. Reason: add data
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    Quote Originally Posted by obwan View Post
    I can't believe it but all this time and i've just noticed i think my recorders may all be out of tune. i noticed that if I pull the head joint almost all way the out, certain notes are wayyyy flat. even if i pull it only half way out its still very noticibly flat, in particular the middle octave c. am I just pulling it out too far (like with trombone you have to pull the tuning slide out pretty far to make a big difference)?

    by the way, i'm not talking just about "being" out of tune, i'm talking about a defect when the tuning joint affects certain notes more than others.

    should I replace it or are they all like this?
    You are talking about your US$5-20 recorder right?

    My expensive baroque traverso is flat in the third octave F nat note by 10%. This isn.t uncommon and compensation by lipping helps.

    Now with your recorder it is designed equal temperament for the fully closed length. So pulling your headjoint out of the body tenon will flatten the base octave and oversharpen the middle and third octaves. Ambient air temperature also flattens your notes so perhaps best to try another venue.

    Btw it isn't a true tuning joint on your recorder. It is fixed at the design pitch unlike a flute which allows acceptable note pitch for a few mm deviation from its design pitch. The baroque traverso used a shorter or longer body joint called a corps de rechange for altering pitch accuracy up to a whole semitone. With recorders this just isn't possible.

    Treat yourself and buy a new Mollenhauer wooden one

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    so recorders are just designed to be a=440 with the mouthpiece all the way in? Should i take a tuner with me to make sure when i make my next purchase?

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    yes...more or less. Suzuki/Yamaha/Aulos being Japanese go for A=442Hz ..I think...my last two were.

    Unless yiu go for a specialist recorder like a Stanesby replica from several top end manufacturers (Aurin, von Huene, Gurovich, de Crijnen) for a A=415Hz, there are very few variations in the basic recorder market.

    The shop should supply a tuner if it is a good shop but you may be more comfortable with reading your own.

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    now i'm curious. flutes are the same way? edit: never mind. how are flutes designed differently?

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    Flutes are different....! Elite class

    It's down to the mechanism of sound production.

    A recorder requires a steady stream of air to strike the sharp edge of the fipple at approximately 45 degrees. This is achieved by focussing the air from your breath down the channel formed by the expansion block and the rest of the mouth piece. There is no other way: angling your mouth or lips makes no difference. Either you get a sound or not. You can't even alter volume very much...pp is very hard on a recorder! This is the major criticism of the recorder - its dynamics and intonation are very limited for coloration although some virtuosos like Turner prove to be exceptions.

    The transverse flute makes sound in a completely different way. It is called an aerophone due to the way air is blown to funnel and hit the sharp edge oppsite the blowhole. You can angle yours downwards to your feet, or upwards to someone's nose, or cover more of the hole or less. These embouchure dynamics allow you to shift the pitch of the same note.

    So when you extend the headjoint of a flute by a few mm to shift pitch you generally get the same problems as the recorder...flat low D notes....oversharp second or third octave. But with a flute embouchure it is easier to control these. In fact you can shift a note's pitch by a semitone in some flutes. Half-holing is all you've got with a recorder in this scenario....

    NB traditional conical flutes have four parts ....one is the tuning tenon which allows the slide of pitch.

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    but with recorder having the half holing allows for unlimited possibilities? think there are millions of possibile combinations with just full covered holes alone....

    does a flute have any non-keyed holes?

    also so even if a flute is more versatile, can it sound like a recorder? Personally i think there is more difference between a flute and recorder than a clarinette and saxophone, yet many people around the world still call a recorder a fltue.

    I think the best way to describe the sound of a recorder is "pure" and "innocent" sounding (yes it can sound breathy too, i don't know what causes that it seems not to be like that uniform through its range).... can the flute also sound this innocent like? what does anyone else think?

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    Quote Originally Posted by obwan View Post
    but with recorder having the half holing allows for unlimited possibilities? think there are millions of possibile combinations with just full covered holes alone....

    does a flute have any non-keyed holes?

    also so even if a flute is more versatile, can it sound like a recorder? Personally i think there is more difference between a flute and recorder than a clarinette and saxophone, yet many people around the world still call a recorder a fltue.

    I think the best way to describe the sound of a recorder is "pure" and "innocent" sounding (yes it can sound breathy too, i don't know what causes that it seems not to be like that uniform through its range).... can the flute also sound this innocent like? what does anyone else think?
    Different rationale about half-holing...it won't help deal with the pitch issue you've mentioned in the thread.

    Flutes also have open holes too (only cheap or overpriced Boehms have fully sealed holes..my Boehm has open holes although it was cheap). The baroque traverso has six open holes and a keyed foot which gives it even more flexibility of halfholing possibilities and shading.

    Flutes come in all kinds...keys..nonkeyed, semi keyed. Openhole Boehm flute may only allow the second and third and the fifth and sixth keys to be open holed.

    The flute does indeed have a richer coloration. Trevor Wye states in his primer that the yellow or purple tone is most recorder like. This is achieved by the embouchure control of the flute....of which there is no great hope for the recorder. If you can find Jasmine Choi playing Winter Jasmine, her tone moves towards this sweet and innocent end.

    Don't know what anyone else thinks. Keep on asking them. Until then here's my response immortalised on the internet lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by obwan View Post
    ...also so even if a flute is more versatile, can it sound like a recorder? Personally i think there is more difference between a flute and recorder than a clarinette and saxophone, yet many people around the world still call a recorder a fltue....I think the best way to describe the sound of a recorder is "pure" and "innocent" sounding (yes it can sound breathy too, i don't know what causes that it seems not to be like that uniform through its range).... can the flute also sound this innocent like? what does anyone else think?
    Well since you asked, some Celtic players put a wooden mouthpiece on their metal flutes.
    http://www.drelinger.com/index.htm
    For wooden Celtic flutes: http://www.sweetheartflute.com/index.html

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