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 Post subject: Difference of Notes Between Soprano and Alto Recorder
PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 11:27 am 
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Hello again,

So, I've been learning the soprano recorder and I'm absolutely loving my experience so far. However, I've been wanting to experiment with something a little bit deeper and lower, so I ordered me a Yamaha alto recorder which arrived just yesterday. I plan to explore the worlds of both soprano and alto to add even more fun to the mix. I just adore the sound of the alto, however I'm a bit confused about something..

The soprano is tuned in C, which makes the lowest note possible a low C. The alto is tuned in F, making the lowest note possible a low F. However, I find that all the songs that I play on my soprano can easily be played with the same fingering on the alto and sound almost identical! This may seem like a silly question, but why would this be? Is it simply since the fingering is the same, making the steps between the notes the same and in turn making the melody appear to be identical?

I'm not as familiar with music theory as I'd like to be, and this question is the basic of the basic. Could someone please clear this most fundamental confusion for me?

Thanks :)


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 Post subject: Re: Difference of Notes Between Soprano and Alto Recorder
PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 1:07 pm 
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Quote:
Is it simply since the fingering is the same, making the steps between the notes the same and in turn making the melody appear to be identical?
... exactly that !!

Once you get a bit more musical theory under your proverbial belt you'll understand about how different size instruments play in different keys. The "next size up", sizewize, is a tenor, which is also in C, like your soprano, but a whole octave lower ... going the other way, a sopranino is also in F, like your alto, but a whole octave higher (and a lot smaller)

In the meantime, just enjoy playing the instruments for the tone they give, the rest will come in time :)

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 Post subject: Re: Difference of Notes Between Soprano and Alto Recorder
PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 5:26 pm 
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Thanks so much for clearing that up for me!

There is so much to learn.. I find it good to remind my self to take it slow and enjoy the ride :)


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 Post subject: Re: Difference of Notes Between Soprano and Alto Recorder
PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 5:42 am 
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Yes, with rare exceptions, the recorders alternate between the keys of C and F:

Garklein (Piccolo): C
Sopranino: F
Soprano: C
Alto: F (and rarely, G)
Tenor: C
Bass: F
Contrabass (Great Bass): C
Sub-contrabass: F
Sub-sub-contrabass: C

The highest and two lowest are very rare instruments that are seldom seen. They are generally considered 'consort' instruments and are used in recorder ensembles and for special effects. The garklein plays notes that only dogs can hear! The very low bass instruments are huge things and very expensive.

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 Post subject: Re: Difference of Notes Between Soprano and Alto Recorder
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 5:33 pm 
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Quote:
The garklein plays notes that only dogs can hear!



Where can I get one? There are a few four legged monsters where I live - I'd like to keep them at bay :)


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 Post subject: Re: Difference of Notes Between Soprano and Alto Recorder
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 11:01 pm 
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Quote:
The garklein plays notes that only dogs can hear! ... Where can I get one?
They do turn up on eBay, but do your arithmetic first. These things are TINY ... not a lot of room for fingers. Apparently the range is limited as well. The sopranino will apparently cover most, if not all, of the garklein's usual range, and is less cramped. A second-hand Aulos sopranino is usually cheaper than a garklein ... or you could try a generation whistle in "G".

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 Post subject: Re: Difference of Notes Between Soprano and Alto Recorder
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 1:29 pm 
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Aulos makes a quality resin one:

http://aulosusa.com/aulos-recorders-other-products.htm

I can't imaging what it would be used for. I understand that there have been built, at least in the past, 'piccolino' recorders that play a fourth above the garklein (an octave above the sopranino).

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 Post subject: Re: Difference of Notes Between Soprano and Alto Recorder
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 12:44 am 
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There's a resumé of the Garklein-Flötlein here http://www.hrs.hampshire.org.uk/range/garklein.html written by someone who actually uses recorders, rather than a manufacturer or retailer ... you might find this (and the rest of the site) interesting :)

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 Post subject: Re: Difference of Notes Between Soprano and Alto Recorder
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 6:39 am 
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A garklein plays no higher than a sopranino - typically it only goes up to the G, while a sopranino goes to the A flat above that. I have one - a wooden one made by Gyorgy Ban from Budapest. I mainly use it for tunes where I want to use C recorder fingering. It has a softer tone than a sopranino, and manages to stand out over other instruments without sounding like Margaret Thatcher chairing a committee meeting.

The Aulos plastic works pretty well, though it's a bit more strident than the Ban.

The hole spacing takes some getting used to - I have average sized hands for a man, and my fingers only just fit.

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 Post subject: Re: Difference of Notes Between Soprano and Alto Recorder
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 6:46 am 
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That site Kypfer linked to is just plain wrong. I don't believe there has ever been a garklein with a two-octave range, and I've never tried one that could do more than an octave and a fifth.

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 Post subject: Re: Difference of Notes Between Soprano and Alto Recorder
PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 12:45 am 
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Quote:
That site Kypfer linked to is just plain wrong.
... thanks for that insight, Jack :)
Another example of not taking everything one reads on the inter-web as gospel :oops:

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 Post subject: Re: Difference of Notes Between Soprano and Alto Recorder
PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 4:36 am 
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Okay - the garklein isn't for me. I just thought it might be hilariously good fun to take to the park when the dogs are on their walks :)

Maybe their owners can be walked by the dogs when the garklein sounds!


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 Post subject: Re: Difference of Notes Between Soprano and Alto Recorder
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 5:44 am 
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Here's a clip of two lovely little girls playing the garklein:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjRUss4N ... re=related

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 Post subject: Re: Difference of Notes Between Soprano and Alto Recorder
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 5:51 am 
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Quoting myself from earlier "I can't imagine what it would be used for", then do I understand correctly that a garklein is used to play the high register of the sopranino while using the convenient fingering of the low register? That it would play the same notes more easily in order to, for instance, play a fast run?

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 Post subject: Re: Difference of Notes Between Soprano and Alto Recorder
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 6:36 am 
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Quote:
a garklein is used to play the high register of the sopranino while using the convenient fingering of the low register
... that would seem to be about it, provided one can get one's fingers on the holes reliably (at speed). Certainly with my "average male" fingers, I struggle (a little) to reliably play a sopranino (to my basic standards). I made a "high-A" whistle just for fun, but can only play it using fingers 2 3 & 4 on each hand, leaving the index fingers waving in the air. I simply don't believe I could reliably cover/uncover the holes on anything smaller :boggle:

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