alto recorder half step below 440

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jeffrey armbruster
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alto recorder half step below 440

Post by jeffrey armbruster »

I finally tried to play some pieces with a friend who has a very reliably tuned piano. With my alto closed as far as possible I was nearly a half step below 440. (I'm new to tuning and perhaps I was doing something wrong?)Apparently I can have a shop tune the recorder. Sadly i bought it at Lazars, which was pretty close to me, but that business has been sold.

Any idea how expensive this fix is? or any other considerations? My alto is a decent Mollenhauer but not a great instrument by any means. I may ask around and see if any of my new acquaintances with Recorder Acquisition Syndrome might want to sell me an alto that's in proper tune. This would probably be an upgrade in quality to boot. Still, I'd like this instrument to be properly tuned.
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plunk111
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Re: alto recorder half step below 440

Post by plunk111 »

It may be tuned to baroque pitch which is A=415. Try setting your tuner to that and see if that's the problem.

Pat
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jeffrey armbruster
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Re: alto recorder half step below 440

Post by jeffrey armbruster »

I thought of that. I've played a few duets with experienced players playing their 440 altos. and we were in tune.

remember that I've been playing alone in my apt. almost exclusively so tuning hasn't been on my radar.

I can't find my regular tuner, only my guitar clip on. When I clip that on the recorder at 415 and play C it shows it as c sharp but very flat; same across the few notes I can play and still see the tuner. At 440 it shows C as C and still very flat--about a half step.

if my recorder is pitched low for 440--how does a proper 440 recorder get in tune with me?
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Re: alto recorder half step below 440

Post by jimhanks »

To raise the pitch you can do one or more of the following:
Pull the head out
Warm up the recorder
Blow harder :)
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plunk111
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Re: alto recorder half step below 440

Post by plunk111 »

jimhanks wrote:To raise the pitch you can do one or more of the following:
Pull the head out
Warm up the recorder
Blow harder :)
Pull the head out to raise the pitch? Uh... no...

Pat
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jeffrey armbruster
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Re: alto recorder half step below 440

Post by jeffrey armbruster »

My understanding is that pulling the head out lowers the already too low pitch.

And I did try that of course.
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Re: alto recorder half step below 440

Post by Andro »

Well nowadays you cannot get A440 recorders from most makers in Europe. They are generally A442 as orchestral pitch keeps rising madly (up to 445 in some places). Currently Mollenhauer only make A442 or A415 recorders, the latter at so called Baroque Pitch (a modern compromise.) My Moeck A440 alto is now unobtainable at that pitch, making it a collectors item. I kid you not about this rise in pitch in Europe.

If the amount out you are talking really is nearly a semitone, it is almost certainly a baroque pitch instrument. If it is a semitone lower than A440, it cannot be brought up to A400 by any simple modification - that's just too much. I am unable to understand how you can be a semitone flat on one day and then play in tune at A440 on another day. That's way more than things such as temperature variation can account for.

Can you get a colleague to check the A pitch with a tuner as a confirmation?

I cant think of any defect in a recorder that would let it play normally muscially and yet drop in pitch. Are you blowing strongly enough?

Andrew
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Re: alto recorder half step below 440

Post by jimhanks »

plunk111 wrote:
jimhanks wrote:To raise the pitch you can do one or more of the following:
Pull the head out
Warm up the recorder
Blow harder :)
Pull the head out to raise the pitch? Uh... no...
Bah! Sorry! :oops:
My head was apparently not on straight yesterday. The other two are still good :wink:
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Re: alto recorder half step below 440

Post by jeffrey armbruster »

Thanks Andrew: yes, I probably was doing something stupid because I was in an unfamiliar situation. I'll find a regular tuner and see what's what.
I'm definitely blowing hard enough. Maybe my fingerings were wrong (wrong key.)
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Re: alto recorder half step below 440

Post by BEC »

If your tuner tells you it's not an A=415 recorder then get in touch with Martin Shelton, who bought Lazar's Early Music from Bill. He's trying to keep up the service tradition that Bill provided for many years. The same email (lazarsem at gmail.com) will reach him.
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