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Clarinet Roadshow => Help and info about other instruments => Topic started by: Windsong on July 25, 2016, 06:06:23 PM

Title: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: Windsong on July 25, 2016, 06:06:23 PM
My father was a beatnik, among other things, and loved his blockflötes (recorders).  In fact, he was never without one, and probably pretty decent, as I recall.  Personally, I never was a big fan of a single octave instruments, as the music it entitled one to playing was extremely limited, especially without minor notes.  That said, upon his declining health, many years ago, and his reduced desire to play anymore, he gave me two Hohners-- one, a C (MODIFIED) Soprano Hohner, and the other... (MODIFIED, now known to be a C Tenor) well, I have no clue.  Now I know this is a clarinet forum, but I figure if anyone knows anything about Blockflötes, it might also be one of you.  I played a C tenor (MODIFIED: Soprano) in grammar school, and I suspect a good many of you did too, and know something of them.  The unidentifiable one I have is massive, with one solid brass lower joint/Bell pinky key, and the rest, just open tone holes.  It is nearly the size of a modern Bb clarinet, at exactly 25.5" long, all in.
I believe it is made of pearwood, but it may be boxwood, stained medium red.
It's also a Hohner, and if I had to wager a guess, I'd put its manufacture somewhere between 1962 and 1966.  Certainly, he played it all the time when I was young.  As much as I love and appreciate the song now, I sure did get tired of "Oh, Shenandoah" back then!
Internet searches have proven fruitless.  If any of you know what Blockflöte family this may belong to (bass, baritone, etc.), I'd be much obliged to have you chime in.
Title: Re: Blockflötes, anyone?
Post by: DaveLeBlanc on July 25, 2016, 09:44:05 PM
It would only be a bass if it had one of the following two characteristics:
1. A crooked neck. Sort of bends back at around a 60 degree angle.
2. A bocal. Sort of like a bassoon bocal but not; it's a long metal thing with a little mouthpiece thingy on it.

Anything larger than a bass must have a bocal or else it would be too hard to play.

I play tenor every now and then at church , and it is around the size of a clarinet. Sounds like the mystery one is a tenor and the other, perhaps an alto?
Title: Re: Blockflötes, anyone?
Post by: Silversorcerer on July 26, 2016, 02:59:24 AM
That 25.5" sounds like a C tenor size to me, but these vary quite a bit more than clarinet lengths. I think the C soprano or an F alto is the one you are referring to as a C-Tenor. It's about a foot long and usually only two parts. An F alto is around 18 - 19 inches, and A C-Tenor is usually about 2 feet long. If you think just a little bit about it, twice the length from soprano to tenor makes perfect sense.

My father also played recorders, but I didn't think of him as a "beatnik". Maybe he was? If he was, he was a conservative beatnik. I still have his Heidelberg F-alto recorder, which I am quite certain is a Schreiber Sonata branded Heidelberg. He also had a nice Harmony 173 "Classic" guitar. That might have been a beatnik instrument as well. I think Dad just liked music and recorder was an easy way for him to start playing as an adult. He was digging the Peter, Paul, & Mary and the Kingston Trio, as well as Beethoven, Bach, etc.

All the recorders that I have played have at least a two octave range, and while the fingering can be a little daunting, the double hole Baroque recorders are fully chromatic. My favorite C tenor is a Roessler stencil that came with an F alto Sonata;- package deal for $16 plus shipping. The Sonata needed corks, the Roessler just needed to be played. There are C tenor models that have two keys at the bottom that allow full chromaticity to the lowest notes. Typically the only difference is the extra key, but these end up priced a good bit higher than the single key tenors.
Title: Re: Blockflötes, anyone?
Post by: DaveLeBlanc on July 26, 2016, 07:08:01 AM
Having the split key makes a world of difference.  At least, a split key allows for a C# to be played. Otherwise you'll have to try to close the pad halfway and balance it precariously to make it sort of sound right.

My C tenor had only a single key, which makes me sad but then I just skip the C#'s, or raise it an octave.
Title: Re: Blockflötes, anyone?
Post by: Silversorcerer on July 26, 2016, 11:38:29 AM
I have two C tenors and both of them are just the one key types. I also have two rather rare German tenor recorders built in D, one with no keys and one with a single key.

The recorder appears to persist as an instrument of the really "old school" in some ways. Even though the modern baroque fingering system is not exactly historically correct, the instrument still favors arrangements in C major or modes of C major. Those instruments were built during a time when if you wanted to change keys, you changed instruments. It was that simple. Chromaticity belonged to string intruments without frets or with moveable frets if the concept even existed. Remember;- equal temperament is a very recent concept compared to the entire history of music. And equal temperament is harmonically imperfect;- deliberately so. After only a few hundred years, it should still be regarded as "experimental". It's an experiment that has resulted in a very interesting array of key work and physical and mental calisthenics, patents, patent wars, etc. Once upon a time all wind instruments had some kind of tube with some finger holes. When you ran out of fingers, you ran out of possibilities. Largely, these followed the same kind of fingering rules;- the rules we use when we play recorders. The more keys you remove from any wind instrument, the more like a recorder it becomes. In a sense, it becomes most perfect when it has no keys, or just those required to extend a finger reach. That was the original purpose of keys, to make larger instruments possible that could play a full harmonically accurate scale. Once key work became standard, it was used to create chromaticity in smaller instruments. There is a lot to be learned from recorders. 

I am really pleased that someone brought up recorders because since I have been attempting to become an accomplished clarinet player, I have also started playing my recorders more frequently. Conceptually it helps understand the way all woodwind instruments work. Also very useful is my experience with Cherokee flutes, which have a great deal in common with recorders.

There was a time when none of the wind instruments we played were truly chromatic and none were capable of equal temperament. One of the things I want to finally do, is look at the "way" that our early clarinets are "out of tune". If we look at the key the instrument is built for, we might find that optimization for harmonic accuracy in one key persisted well into the late 19th century. It is almost a necessity that this was the case because electronic tuning devices, which I typically discourage the use of, had not replaced the human ear. If a historic instrument plays in tune, it's most likely because the maker could hear in tune harmony. Without a way to calibrate to equal temperament, harmony was probably the guide to tuning the instruments when they were being built. We did not have easily portable electronic tuners until I was a young man. Sets of tuning forks were probably pretty expensive (still are) and even with tuning forks, you have to be able to hear harmony very well. That weird thing in the band room with the flashing dial lights (Conn stroboscope) was not pocket friendly. If you were in the position to need to tune up something like a multi-string harp (or guitar), you tuned to 4ths, 5ths, and had to make a decision about how to handle the major and minor thirds (that pesky B string!).

My working theory, and I really should research this because I am sure others have already looked into it, is that before the 1930s, instrument makers adjusted the tuning of their instruments primarily by ear. What you don't use you lose. Remember when the person that showed up to tune the piano was usually a blind person? That was because blind people develop higher sensitivity to sound. Of course Electronic tuners and click tracks are the death of harmonic nuance and natural rhythm. You may think me a Ludite, but that would put me in company with J.P. Sousa, who felt that the impact of recorded music was such a threat to music being of the people and belonging to most of them, that he went to Congress with his concerns and refused to conduct his band for production of "canned music". You can hear recordings of the Sousa band, but someone other than Sousa is conducting for those.

When someone in an ensemble now says, "Hey we need to stop and tune up", it's the older players that do this. The youngsters don't know if they are out of tune until they check with an electronic device. And they probably are more likely to be on a Pokemon scavenger hunt than checking their tuning with a phone app. The younger generation has almost lost its' ear. Maybe the music was a little too loud? D'ya think? I have a 1972 Marshall 50 Watt half stack. My experience with that is mostly keeping up with my sets of ear plugs. Thank heaven for the quiet recorder and its' persistence as an instrument of both learning and performance. When you need more range, get a bigger one or a smaller one. The melody can move from one player to the other. That's the way early compositions for ensembles worked.

It seems very easy to forget how we arrived where we currently are with musical technology. Once upon a time, our ears were the calibrating tools. Ponder the question of how to produce and manufacture an accurate tuning reference in the mid 1600s. Technology was not there, but the perfect math of harmony was there, as well as the common ability to hear it. Ask for a pitch reference and someone would probably sing a note for you. Then all the following notes are harmonically related to the first one. How else are you going to find them? So our ears derived the math raw because that was the experience of it;- raw air vibrations in our head, and our ears and head were up to the job. Then we used our ears and head to invent technology and now that invented technology has become the tail wagging the dog.

When in doubt, tune to the oboe. If you are on a budget, tune to the recorder.  :) 
Title: Re: Blockflötes, anyone?
Post by: Windsong on July 26, 2016, 02:25:40 PM
Brilliant, again.  Loved it.  Pokemon, no ear, etc.  All spot on.
I knew I was opening the right can of worms in the right place.
I think our dads could have been brothers with the PP&M, and the Kingston Trio.  Add Pete Seeger and Joan Baez, and it's a done deal.  He used to take us all on these Hootenanny camping expeditions in the Appalachian Mountains as a child, bringing his dulcimers and Blockflötes.  I never had a bad time.
Admittedly, I am no great musician, nor, I suspect, will I ever be.  For the record, I don't believe my father was, either, but he always had a great time, and made beautiful music with strangers, wherever we went.  A man must know his limitations, and core talents.  I do, however, have unshakable rythm, and a decent ear, and what is referred to as relative pitch.  If you ask me to sing an A, I might be a wee bit flat or sharp, but you'll get an A.  I have never met an instrument I was afraid to play, and enjoy jamming with friends who just want unrestricted ability to express themselves musically. For me, the blockflöte represents that impromptu energy that is unmistakably "Beatnik", I suppose.   I would like to preserve my father's neglected instruments, and restore them, even though doing so will diminish their value.  Really, I don't care about that.  If after the blockflöte has been refinished you can no longer see the Hohner emblem, I don't think I care.  My old man didn't purchase it because of its moniker; he purchased it because of its sound capabilities, and he'd appreciate the fact that the instument was preserved for play far more than for its originality. 

Title: Re: Blockflötes, anyone?
Post by: Windsong on July 26, 2016, 02:52:14 PM
Dave,
There's no bocal, so it sounds to me like I've been following the wrong "wind", and most people simply don't know what they have listed on EBay.  It certainly wouldn't be the first time, LOL.
Forgive my ignorance in asking, but how do I determine key on a blockflöte?  Left hand down? 
Sorcerer,
I suspect you're right that my much smaller blockflöte is actually a soprano.  That makes complete sense, given its size
Regards, all. 
Title: Re: Blockflötes, anyone?
Post by: DaveLeBlanc on July 26, 2016, 04:12:22 PM
Try getting a tuner and play the following notes: thumb+one finger, thumb+2 fingers, thumb+3 fingers.  If tuner reads B, A, G, respectively, then it's in C. Otherwise, probably in F.
Title: Re: Blockflötes, anyone?
Post by: Windsong on July 26, 2016, 04:50:09 PM
Thank you Dave.
Yes; BAG.
It's a C tenor.
I truly appreciate it.
Title: Re: Blockflötes, anyone?
Post by: DaveLeBlanc on July 27, 2016, 12:51:20 AM
I have to say I enjoy the sound of the tenor the most out of the entire recorder family. It doesn't have the shrill sound of the sopranino and soprano, and isn't as quiet as the bass.
It's loud enough to be heard yet gentle enough to be peaceful. Excellent for church music, or personal entertainment!
Title: Re: Blockflötes, anyone?
Post by: Silversorcerer on July 27, 2016, 11:09:12 AM
I have to say I enjoy the sound of the tenor the most out of the entire recorder family. It doesn't have the shrill sound of the sopranino and soprano, and isn't as quiet as the bass.
It's loud enough to be heard yet gentle enough to be peaceful. Excellent for church music, or personal entertainment!
I totally agree with that although the most popular one seems to be the alto size.

The D tenors I have are two very different sounding instruments even though these are nearly identical in dimensions. One is a really dark wood, definitely not grenadilla and probably not ebony either and the other is a lighter wood, perhaps sycamore. The sycamore has undercut tone holes and plays better up the register and has a reedy kind of voice. The dark one is very dark sounding and something like a wooden transverse flute in the low tones. That one the range is just barely two octaves but the sound is so sweet.

Maybe we should do an official recorder thread or turn this one into it.

Windsong, you mentioned refinishing your father's Hohner and I think if there is bare wood showing, refinishing probably will not hurt the value. Depending on your approach, I think it would increase the value. Not seeing it, I am guessing but most of these old recorders were either finished with shellac or nitrocellulose. In either case, it is possible to match shellac to the shade of the finishes and touch up the bare wood areas without completely stripping the original finish. What typically removes value is removing wood. It's common to want to have a perfect wood finish, particularly if you have those skills, but you have to approach restoration with restraint if preservation is the goal. It's not always the goal and not always the most favored path. Every case is unique. I personally don't see a problem with refinishing a Hohner pearwood recorder, if it has considerable finish loss.

I have used dilute shellac to stabilize deteriorating nitrocellulose very successfully on some vintage guitar bodies. The alcohol will not dissolve the nitrocellulose, which makes the process very controllable. If it is old shellac, I usually just use ethanol on a bob to bring it back to a French polish. My guess is that a Hohner from that period is probably finished with nitrocellulose. It was extremely popular for musical instruments in the mid 20th century. All nitrocellulose finishes are a time bomb. It oxidizes and crumbles eventually. Sealing it with dilute shellac freezes the oxidation process and preserves whatever is left of the nitro finish. It blends almost seamlessly with vintage finishes and is very easy to renew. Best to use the shellac in very dilute mix when using it for touch up and stabilization.
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: DaveLeBlanc on July 27, 2016, 04:37:39 PM
Using my super-duper moderator powers I have changed the title of this thread. Hope you don't mind :)
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: DaveLeBlanc on August 11, 2016, 01:51:59 AM
speaking of recorders

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvuSfMgFJlQ
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: Windsong on August 21, 2016, 10:33:21 PM
Just caught this, Dave.
I mean, can something be super freaky and amazing at the same time?
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: andybeals on August 22, 2016, 04:27:01 AM
So much more interesting than the stodgy San Francisco Early Music Society's concerts.
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 22, 2016, 07:51:31 AM
I just loaded their arrangement of Mancini's "Pink Panther". Too cool for school!

I'm working toward a consort of sorts with recorders. The great basses are just way expensive and rare to find. I have read that a dulcier (early baaasssooonnn) was sometimes used as the bass instrument in recorder consorts so there's another context for my French baroque-ish basson if I can round up some other adventurous recorder players.

What recorders need to find is more adventurous recorder players. Oh, and just to keep it in THIS thread and between ourselves;- William F. Koch. American. New England. By far the finest I have ever played. There are a few altos (they don't show up often) in cocobolo, modern baroque fingering (fully chromatic) and you know where to find them and what to look for now. Posting a link here is like putting a billboard in Grand Central Station. Drive safely and wear no bumper stickers.  ;)
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: DaveLeBlanc on August 27, 2016, 02:49:24 PM
Here's the Sonata I play at church, because the sound is so soft that nobody can hear when I make a mistake :)
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 28, 2016, 11:53:35 AM
At one time my father had soprano, alto, and tenor new-baroque recorders, all in matching pear wood finishes. I remember the soprano taking missing from my dorm when I was a freshman. The alto and tenor were still in his drawer when he passed away. I should have gotten both of them. I took the alto and later realized the tenor had suspiciously taken leave. My mother and siblings knew nothing.

I became interested in replacing the soprano and tenor. I could only vaguely remember the markings on the soprano, but I am about 90% sure it was an A. Heinrich. The tenor, I never handled enough to know much about it. I remembered it having a single key on the foot joint. Starting with the Heidelberg mark on the alto, I started looking for a matching tenor. I became certain that Heidelberg was not a maker, but rather a stencil of the Schreiber (Sonata) recorders. I picked up a wandering stray needing corks to compare and was surprised to find that the tenon/socket corks were reversed. The Heidelberg had the corks in the sockets, the Sonata had the corks on the tenons.  ???

Otherwise, they looked almost identical (see photos). Later I purchased an Alpine (brand stencil by Roessler) tenor and the seller tossed in a Sonata alto with what he thought was a mismatched foot joint that needed new corks, but all the parts were 100% Schreiber/Sonata to my eye. Best deal I've ever gotten on recorders. No one else bid and I got the pair for $16 + shipping.  :) The Alpine is really nice and has some unique tone hole placement. The tossed in mismatched Sonata had tenons and sockets like the Heidelberg. So Schreiber/Sonata altos were made both ways at different time but look quite the same otherwise. In the photo, Dad's Heidelberg is the first one on the left. I have since given the two Sonatas away. One went to a drummer that I am trying to turn into a musician.  ;) The other one went to a clarinet seller who was facing dental issues that caused him to abandon clarinet. I encouraged him to take up recorder because of the relaxed embouchure used. Recorders do not place great physical demands on a player usually.

I really like the tone of Dad's Heidelberg. I know it wasn't particularly expensive, but the pear wood Sonata recorders have a very dependable slightly reedy tone and generally project very well, even the tenor ones. The marks can be "Sonata" (earliest) Schreiber/Sonata (mid) or just Schreiber (late). I picked up a Schrieber tenor more recently for a reasonable price that is in pristine condition. I really like the sound of these even in the higher register. The tenor is a very versatile player.
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: Windsong on August 28, 2016, 08:22:49 PM
I too have an Alto Heidelberg with the cork inside the socket.  I've often wondered what sort of chore it might be to remove and replace it.  Certainly, their craftsmen were being fancy, as it is an unnecessary feature.
I wonder who else may have used this design technique. 
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 28, 2016, 09:54:46 PM
I replaced the cork in both of these that have the corks in the sockets. The other one just wrapped some thread onto the corks. It didn't need much. I'll do that if the corks are not deteriorated. Dad's had become loose enough to fall apart and the other one had damaged partial corks. It was no big deal. Size the corks, heat the corks, curl them, put them in. I make them a little bigger in diameter so they squeeze into place. The ones I did are not glued in place. There is simply far more friction between the ungreased cork side and the wood than between the greased cork and the tenon.
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 29, 2016, 08:45:14 AM
I too have an Alto Heidelberg with the cork inside the socket.  I've often wondered what sort of chore it might be to remove and replace it.  Certainly, their craftsmen were being fancy, as it is an unnecessary feature.
I wonder who else may have used this design technique.

Windsong, that is the first recorder I have seen that is identical in name and design as Dad's. It's a small world sometimes.

It's more difficult cutting the old corks out than getting the new ones in. That's why I left the glue out when I did the new corks. Use a dull scraper gently inside the sockets and stop when you still have some grab on the wood. It's not necessary for the socket to be perfectly smooth.

Who else put the corks inside the sockets? One American maker did it that way, and also made the socket depth double cut so that one can pull the head joint up for tuning adjustment and the tenon end does not show. Such elegance is the work of William F. Koch of Haverhill, New Hampshire. I mentioned him once before. For a long time I thought his design was completely original. Not so. The Koch recorders have about the same aesthetic appeal as a turned colonial table leg. These are in fact patterned after a lesser known German outline. Koch did his research, but his outline is one rarely used by the German makers. I have seen one. I am sure there must be more of those. Or did a German maker copy the Koch pattern? Insufficient evidence.
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 29, 2016, 09:37:45 AM
I can't mention the Heidelberg / Sonata / Schreiber relationships without also disclosing that once I confirmed that Heidelbergs were Schreiber made, I wondered which German maker / designer actually drew these before Schreiber made thousands of them. That question led me back to the German recorder "early music" movement and its' foremost advocate, the infamous Peter Harlan. Harlan was mostly a conceptualizing catalyst, sometimes a maker (?) and sometimes a designer, and sometimes an employer of better German designers and craftsmen. In the German 20th century recorder tradition, all roads lead to Harlan, but he only directed the designers and makers. I have a pretty good idea where the elegant lines of the alto and tenor (sometimes the soprano) Sonata recorders originated. More on that particular line of research later.

We might ask what does this have to do with clarinets? The major German makers of recorders, Schreiber and Mollenhauer, both are known for clarinets also. When Harlan sought out makers for his concepts, he went to the clarinet / woodwind makers to get it done. Aside from that, the two instruments share basic woodwind characteristics even if one is technically a whistle and the other a reed. Harlan is frequently accused of revisionism, promoting designs that appear to be ancient, but that used the German (20th cent.) derived tone hole dimensioning and placement that results in a more simplified (less forked fingerings) than the equally modern "baroque" system. Well, we all know who won the war, but the German fingering system persisted for a long time afterward, and Harlan's instruments are now considered collectible aberrations in recorder history.
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: andybeals on August 29, 2016, 11:09:05 AM
My mother's 1960s pearwood alto recorder was from East Germany.  Adler?  Memory says it had three pieces.  Cardboard box.  She went through a folkie period after (during?) the separation/divorce and immediate shunning from our church.  (The shunning of divorced people was something they were still doing sixteen years ago, much to my surprise.)  I bought myself one just like it in the early eighties and remember that there was one note that was clearly out of tune.  Didn't have that problem with the (plastic) Aulos recorders I bought in the mid-eighties.  I've only played recorders by myself, other than the brief period when my daughter allowed me to show her the ropes when she went through recorder in elementary school.

We didn't have recorders as a pre-"real instrument" program in the suburban Maryland school district where I grew up.

Why Mom would buy something pitched in F, I know not.  We had a conversation last year where she mentioned that she thinks in C major.  (I tend to do well with playing by ear in D.) 
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 29, 2016, 12:57:01 PM
Johannes Adler was the maker of "the world's finest recorders".  ;)

Adler made two types (after the war) and variants with various single and double hole combinations for the 6th and seventh holes;- and the two types have different fingerings.  I think the Aulos recorders are all modern baroque fingering. The English favor baroque fingering (vast understatement!).

If you use baroque fingering on a German recorder or vice versa, several notes will be out of tune. Most recorders of either type will require some alternate fingerings to be in tune in various areas of the register. Compare the size of the 4th and 5th (top down) tone holes. A German recorder will have the 4th larger than the 5th. A baroque recorder will have 5th larger than the 4th. (Photo 3)

What is correct at any point in time is largely a matter of foreign diplomacy, or temperament? To the Germans there is the German way and the other way. To the English there is the correct way which is modern baroque. For the Germans, there is no contradiction of terms. Modern baroque? Well, it works better, but is hard on the right hand on the lower notes.

My father's recorders were modern baroque made by Germans.  ???  So I would see the German fingerings below the notations in Trapp and realized these were far easier to finger but hopelessly out of tune on Dad's recorders. That perplexing situation was the true beginning of my ear training.

So what are we looking at here? Is it geo-politics, harmony, national cultural obsession, Renaissance art appreciation, or some collision of the these? The practical implications are summarized in the fingering chart. The two here are from different production periods, the baroque model made in the GDR and the German one made in Germany. I think the politics moved and the factory was always in the same place, but don't quote me. It's all very confusing and at this point the Germans are probably more confused than the English. It doesn't mean however, that the English are correct. They just aren't confused.
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 29, 2016, 01:15:08 PM
The Adler recorders are typical of German modern designs of the 20th century. The forms vary, but are well proportioned and harmonized, usually. Nothing looks top heavy, every line has just the right curve, the points are all made in just the right places. These are visually perfect. These look like a luthier designed them. I'm still trying to figure out which luthier. In Germany you don't get that job without a government issued license.

Here in the states, Yankee ingenuity rules and you don't need a license to improve on German or English designs and functions. It's an American instinct. Of course it will work better but how will it look? Between the two Adlers is a William F. Koch. It looks surprisingly similar to a New England colonial turned furniture leg. The aesthetic appeal;- well it kind of grows on you;- particularly after you play one. Koch was not entirely original, or else the Germans gave him the nod and also copied his designs, but I think it was the other way. In any case, the Koch recorders have a very distinctive New England look and play better than any other recorder made anywhere, IMO.
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: Windsong on August 29, 2016, 04:33:50 PM
<<Windsong, that is the first recorder I have seen that is identical in name and design as Dad's. It's a small world sometimes.>>
Indeed it is.  This one was my mother's. Apparently (I don't remember it), she would also play along with my father, occasionally.

<<It's more difficult cutting the old corks out than getting the new ones in.>>
Exactly.  Easy to install, but tricky to clean old glue out of a socket.  This is why I have left it alone until now, realizing it might be a real headache.  I'm glad to hear I don't have to get it spotless.  You can see that while the cork is still intact, it is rough looking, and will need to be addressed, as it does not hold the tenon well, any longer.  As it's 50 years old, it owes me nothing at this point, so I suppose it's a good exercise for me.

<<Such elegance is the work of William F. Koch of Haverhill, New Hampshire. >>
I do not recall having ever seen a Koch recorder, but I'll be on the lookout for certain.
Recorders can typically be had for a song (pun intended) at thrift stores and antique shops off the beaten path.

Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: Windsong on August 29, 2016, 08:21:50 PM

Here's the Sonata I play at church, because the sound is so soft that nobody can hear when I make a mistake :)
[/quote]

That's a lovely one, Dave.  What vintage is it?
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: DaveLeBlanc on August 29, 2016, 09:50:54 PM
I'm not entirely sure.  I'll figure 1960s due to the box style.  I'll post a pic soon for confirmation!
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: andybeals on August 30, 2016, 01:12:57 AM
Koch mentioned here: https://books.google.com/books?id=5l_xBwAAQBAJ&pg=PA69&lpg=PA69&dq=koch+germany+recorder&source=bl&ots=CXfAICZzTP&sig=z6cd9UP-C6rbrotJLwEhiYdh8c0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjRocGv2OjOAhXGYyYKHWG6A8QQ6AEIOzAE#v=onepage&q=koch%20germany%20recorder&f=false (https://books.google.com/books?id=5l_xBwAAQBAJ&pg=PA69&lpg=PA69&dq=koch+germany+recorder&source=bl&ots=CXfAICZzTP&sig=z6cd9UP-C6rbrotJLwEhiYdh8c0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjRocGv2OjOAhXGYyYKHWG6A8QQ6AEIOzAE#v=onepage&q=koch%20germany%20recorder&f=false)
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 30, 2016, 10:25:41 AM
If anyone has an allergic reaction to the cocobolo wood, or finds the tuning of a Koch to be a problem, I could easily be persuaded to trade or buy.  :)

I'll have to check the tuning on a few of mine against a tuner. I usually check the tuning by playing with guitarists that tune to 440. I also tend to ignore fingering charts with notes above the first octave having found that most makes are not consistent above that point.

Another thing Koch did that would probably be irksome to the German guild is the use of metal stays that go through the block to keep it in place. There will be two little round brass finishing nail heads at the east-west points on the head where the block is fixed. The block will not come out with those in place. On the German makes, the block can usually be taken out with a wooden dowel used as a punch from the bottom side. On a Koch, you'd need to take the nails out first. That is not easily done. One of the oldest rules for wooden instruments was "no metal fasteners allowed". These blocks were by tradition friction fitted into place and frequently drifted downward when the block dried, or would get stuck in the wrong place when the block absorbed water and swelled up. The block is not to be glued in place nor treated with oil. It is usually made from cedar, something soft that can absorb a good deal of water and not mold or rot. The block is supposed to absorb water because of the copious condensation that occurs in the narrow wind way.

This is a German made Goldon Solist branded recorder that has the same outline as the Koch recorders.
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: andybeals on August 30, 2016, 06:59:24 PM
Holy mackerel, that alto went for a pile of cash!
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 30, 2016, 07:18:42 PM
 :(
Holy mackerel, that alto went for a pile of cash!

That should make you very happy, Andy.  ;D It makes me happy as well. I have a couple of alto Koch recorders in cocobolo and one in black cherry. I paid a bit lower than that for the black cherry one, but it came with an issue of a recorder periodical with an article about Koch, was in absolute in-the-box mint condition and had the original paperwork and accessories. The two cocobolo were in exellent condition as well and I paid less than half that bid for those.

The prices on these have been going up lately. I think it might be a bit inflated so I probably will let it settle down a bit until there's another tenor up. The recent tenor was listed so that only a few people interested would find it. I missed it entirely.

There is a soprano out there with a very high ask right now. As far as real value, these are undervalued. One would have to pay a great deal more to get a better made and playing recorder despite some of the issues pointed out in that book Andy brought up. The latest model Moeck and Mollenhauers might be a little better. I have to wonder about these others because I haven't seen some of them. And the German fingering system ones I have that are Harland inspired are very diverse. One tenor has undercut tone holes and it just plays absolutely fabulously. It's unmarked but definitely a Harlan inspired instrument. The tone is very reedy and it is in Dmajor, looks like sycamore to me. It has an archaic brass articulated key mounted in a raised wooden ring. It's made to look Renaissance, but it's probably from the 1930s.

Tuning on these, if one has a consort by the same maker, is probably not a real issue. The instruments would not have been in equal temperament during the Renaissance or baroque period. The modern idea that this should be the case is one of convenience and utility for the present. If these are played the way they originally were, it is more important that the consort be harmonious when played, not that every note be in perfect equal temperament. So the best way to judge them is to play the same fingerings on a matched consort. I am close to a matched consort of three makers. I still have to get the basses and one tenor.
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: Silversorcerer on September 01, 2016, 09:15:45 AM
In 1992 I happened to meet Hawk Littlejohn (now deceased), a maker of Cherokee flutes trained by his grandfather. Not settling for a less than modern design execution, Hawk traveled to Europe and the UK to observe first hand how recorders and other flutes were being built there.

The native North American flutes are related to recorders but are substantially original in design. Traditionally these had only 5 holes and played a modified pentatonic scale in one octave. Hawk added a 6th hole  which allowed the Cherokee flute to play more chromatically with quite acceptable intonation in the scale it was designed to play.

Cherokee flutes are easily tempered by partially covering holes which are by tradition undercut. This was achieved by burning the holes through with an ember from the inside out before the two halves of the flute (gouged, not bored) were then glued together. The method of creating the tube was similar to how the serpents and cornettos were built. The windway is  external and the bore is closed between the mouthpiece and the resonance chamber. Air moves out a small opening and is channeled across a labium tapered from the inside out. The bore is much larger which limits the range to about an octave and a step. There is no register hole. The sound is quiet like a recorder but distinctly deep in tone and quite pleasing and never shrill. Traditional Cherokee flutes are made of red cedar, but Hawk experimented with many different soft and hardwoods. Different woods produced quite different tonal character but the cedar usually sounded the best.

My father's alto Heidelberg was the recorder I played most during my teen years when I no longer played cornet. Beginning in 1992 I started playing this flute that Hawk traded to me for doing a good bit of photography for him. Some of his flutes are in the Smithsonian now, and these are coveted among performing native Americans. I've used this one in recordings with A=440 instruments and it plays quite well in E-flat.
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: LarryS on December 30, 2019, 07:17:27 AM
I have 5 now, a soprano , alto and tenor in plastic, and I recently acquired two old revoiced wooden recorders, an Adler soprano and a Gunter Wunderlich alto. The wooden alto sounds so mellow.
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: DaveLeBlanc on January 06, 2020, 06:56:23 PM
Here's a nice wooden BASS recorder!

Finally got one of these after wanting one for years. I only paid $130 which I think is an excellent deal.

Unfortunately, the key system is the relatively undesirable German system, but it's more for my own enjoyment anyways so no biggie.
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: Airflyte on January 07, 2020, 07:48:56 PM
Wow, that looks good!  What key is that in? I know nothing about these . . . .
Title: Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
Post by: DaveLeBlanc on January 08, 2020, 09:08:46 AM
This is in the key of F, which is an irritating key since it’s haes to find music written for F; the only other F key instrument that’s xommonly used is the French Horn

However, if I’m just playing at home solo then I’ll just find whatever sheet music doesn’t go below low C and call it a day