Author Topic: Official Blockflöte Thread!  (Read 6007 times)

Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
« Reply #15 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.  ;)
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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
« Reply #16 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 :)
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Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
« Reply #17 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.
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Offline Windsong

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Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
« Reply #18 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. 
« Last Edit: August 28, 2016, 10:33:25 PM by Windsong »
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Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
« Reply #19 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.
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Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
« Reply #20 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.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2016, 08:47:02 AM by Silversorcerer »
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Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
« Reply #21 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.
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Offline andybeals

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Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
« Reply #22 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.) 
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Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
« Reply #23 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.
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Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
« Reply #24 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.
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Offline Windsong

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Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
« Reply #25 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.

« Last Edit: August 29, 2016, 08:16:51 PM by Windsong »
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Offline Windsong

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Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
« Reply #26 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?
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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
« Reply #27 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!
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Offline andybeals

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Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Official Blockflöte Thread!
« Reply #29 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.
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