Recorder player wants to learn a louder, buzzier instrument

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Karen I.
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Tell us something.: I am a decent recorder player wanting to venture into some sort of folk reed instrument without spending a fortune and without having to move heaven and earth to develop an embouchure. I need advice.
Location: Midwest US

Recorder player wants to learn a louder, buzzier instrument

Post by Karen I. »

Greetings, good people. :)

Here's my situation: I've been playing recorder since I was 10. I'm now 60. I'm not a professional-level player, but I'm pretty damn competent. I've played folky stuff by ear and I've played off sheet music in a early-music consorts.

I love the sound of shawms, bombards, crumhorns, and similar buzzy instruments. Lately I've had the urge to get some such instrument and learn to play it. But which instrument?

Ideally, I want a plastic instrument, so I can leave it in the car and play when I have spare time between appointments, etc. (I do a lot of recorder practicing in the car - I've even been known to play while waiting at traffic lights.) I'd like something that doesn't have a terribly steep learning curve in terms of embouchure and breath control. I'm willing to spend up to about $200.

At one point I had access to a plastic Susato crumhorn, and I found I could start playing tunes on it pretty quickly, although I had to take breaths more frequently than on a recorder. Apparently, they aren't manufactured any more. Does anyone have any experience with their Kelhorns?

I'm also open to something more clarinet-like. In googling around, I came across the chalumeau, which I hadn't heard of before. Has anyone gone from playing recorder to playing that type of instrument, and was it hard?

Any recommendations of specific instruments/manufacturers are welcome. Thanks in advance.
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Re: Recorder player wants to learn a louder, buzzier instrum

Post by fatmac »

I used t play recorders too, (tenor/alto/soprano/sopranino), but felt that they were 'too quiet', so I got a pre used clarinet - but that turned out quite difficult to get the reed working properly all the time, (traded it for a flute). :wink:

The flute had a slightly metallic sound to it & was louder than my recorders, (but was put away for a number of years).

I now mainly play harmonicas, whistles, & keyless flutes/piccolos - much happier with theirs sounds.
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Tell us something.: Played sax and oboe in high school. Years later, living in apartment, decided to take up recorder as I thought it would be easier on neighbors than oboe. Been playing recorder for a few years. Have sopranino (Aulos), soprano (Mollenhauer Prima, Susato), alto (Yamaha 300, Mollanhauer Prima, Mollenhauer Denner Pallisander, Zen-on Giglio), tenor (Adler) and bass (Yamaha). Also have a lot of whistles but never really cracked (ha ha) the code as whistle technique is quite different from recorder technique. I also have a lot of harmonicas and world wind instruments (Ba Wu, Dudek, Sipsi and Nose Flute (!).

Re: Recorder player wants to learn a louder, buzzier instrum

Post by FrankPerrone »

How about a bawu?
From Wikipedia:
The bawu (simplified Chinese: 巴乌; traditional Chinese: 巴烏; pinyin: bāwū; also ba wu) is a Chinese wind instrument.[1] Although shaped like a flute, it is actually a free reed instrument, with a single metal reed. It is played in a transverse (horizontal) manner. It has a pure, clarinet-like timbre and its playing technique incorporates the use of much ornamentation, particularly bending tones.
I have one and it has a great tone, yes "clarinet-like". I have never seen one in plastic, only bamboo but I guess you could keep it in your car. Also it only has a range of a ninth but that would be similar to a crumhorn (ditto for chalumeau).
(Oops, it has a range of an eleventh, there are a few extra notes sounded by underblowing.)
Frank P.
Karen I.
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Tell us something.: I am a decent recorder player wanting to venture into some sort of folk reed instrument without spending a fortune and without having to move heaven and earth to develop an embouchure. I need advice.
Location: Midwest US

Re: Recorder player wants to learn a louder, buzzier instrum

Post by Karen I. »

FrankPerrone wrote:How about a bawu? From Wikipedia: The bawu (simplified C ... Flutemaker

Sounds like I'd have some embouchure work to do, but I'm tempted.
Last edited by Karen I. on Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Recorder player wants to learn a louder, buzzier instrum

Post by Tunborough »

Have you read over this thread from a few years ago? Advice on getting a Shawm or Rauschpfeife or similar, please
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Re: Recorder player wants to learn a louder, buzzier instrum

Post by Karen I. »

Tunborough wrote:Have you read over this thread from a few years ago? Advice on getting a Shawm or Rauschpfeife or similar, please
Thank you, that was helpful. I did skim over that thread before posting, but started a new thread because I wanted to ask specifically about plastic instruments and transitioning from recorder to reeds.

I've now gone back and re-read it, and followed some of the links. I loved listening to Steve Mansfield's rauschpfeife music! Also noticing the references to how very loud some of those instruments are, and how much breath they take, I'm getting a little scared off.

Some more backstory: sometime in the 1980's, I spent a week learning Turkish zurna at a folkdance camp. I kept it up for a few months afterward, but it was so much work to become minimally competent, and it was so incredibly loud! If a shawm or a rauschpfeife is actually that loud, I clearly can't play it in the car without deafening myself and alarming the populace. (I once tried playing zurna out of an eighth-floor window, and people on the street below looked up.)

I may be looking for something that doesn't exist, and I may have to let go of one or more of my criteria: plastic, inexpensive, louder than a recorder but not *too* loud, easy for a recorder player to master without putting in a lot of time.

People on that thread seemed dismissive of Susato's kelhorns, but that seems the thing closest to what I want. Oh wait! I see that they also make plastic rauschpfeifes, which they describe as only "moderately loud." That sounds promising.

I also realized that I know some players of Scottish bagpipes, so I should probably borrow a practice chanter and see how daunting this reed thing actually is.

Again, thanks for the help and suggestions. Keep 'em coming.
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Re: Recorder player wants to learn a louder, buzzier instrum

Post by Andro »

Yamaha Venova?

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical ... index.html

Seems to fit your requirements! It's loud and buzzy and has a reed and it's plastic. And fun.


Andrew
Karen I.
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Tell us something.: I am a decent recorder player wanting to venture into some sort of folk reed instrument without spending a fortune and without having to move heaven and earth to develop an embouchure. I need advice.
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Re: Recorder player wants to learn a louder, buzzier instrum

Post by Karen I. »

So many possibilities! Adding Venova to the list.

I spoke to my Highland pipe-playing friend, who said he has an extra practice chanter to lend me. He also mentioned that his wife had bought, and then never done anything with, a "backpacking saxophone", which I'll also try. I don't know the brand, and I think it's wooden.
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Re: Recorder player wants to learn a louder, buzzier instrum

Post by Katharine »

Clarineau?
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Karen I.
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Re: Recorder player wants to learn a louder, buzzier instrum

Post by Karen I. »

Katharine wrote:Clarineau?
Yet another instrument name I never heard of! Do they come in plastic, though?

Googling "clarineau" only leads to wooden instruments, on the first few pages of results, anyway. Googling "plastic clarineau" brings up tons of plastic clarinets, even when I tell Google that I really do mean "clarineau."
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Re: Recorder player wants to learn a louder, buzzier instrum

Post by fatmac »

Maybe one of these would be of interest, (it appears it comes in black too).

https://www.nuvoinstrumental.com/products/clarineo/
https://www.nuvoinstrumental.com/products/jsax/
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Re: Recorder player wants to learn a louder, buzzier instrum

Post by Katharine »

Karen I. wrote:
Katharine wrote:Clarineau?
Yet another instrument name I never heard of! Do they come in plastic, though?

Googling "clarineau" only leads to wooden instruments, on the first few pages of results, anyway. Googling "plastic clarineau" brings up tons of plastic clarinets, even when I tell Google that I really do mean "clarineau."
That, I'm not sure about. It's hard to find much on them, period, but they're intriguing.
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Re: Recorder player wants to learn a louder, buzzier instrum

Post by Sedi »

I'd also recommend the Yamaha Venova as it has recorder fingering. There is also the "Xaphoon" which also comes in plastic but it has a different fingering. And it overblows like a clarinet, so not into the octave but into the twelfth. So you'd have to learn a completely new fingering. A Chalumeau might also be a nice idea. Or a Gralla.
http://www.lagralla.info/ang/botiga.php?id=2
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Re: Recorder player wants to learn a louder, buzzier instrum

Post by Thomaston »

This guy makes a plastic pibgorn in your price range. I’’ve gone back and forth for years about getting one.

http://pibgorn.co.uk/instruments-offerynnau
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Tell us something.: Hello. I'm a historian and a semi-professional musician living near Washington DC. I play the bass and guitar and focus on jazz. I'm reasonably proficient at both and gig regularly with a Gypsy Jazz band. I'm interested for reasons I can't quite explain in Irish music but find the guitar role mostly uninteresting. I have a good bodhran I bought from a small maker in Clare, and I practice it seriously, and I've recently started playing the whistle and especially the low whistle, which really speaks to me.

Re: Recorder player wants to learn a louder, buzzier instrum

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