The aformentioned Alto Recorder appeared on my doorstep earlier this week. I eagerly opened it, assembled it, and tried it out. It has a beautiful tone in the lower register, and forms its lowest two notes much more easily than the Suzuki Soprano that I’ve been working with recently. The wooden soprano that came with it is a lot of fun, too.
I took it down to my music studio and started messing around. The first thing that I noticed is that the finger holes are further apart than on the soprano. Duh! I also noticed that, while the lowest notes are formed more easily, the overblown upper register is very challenging. I’ll practice some more, but for the time being I’m stuck with a single octave + 1 note. Fortunately, that is enough to play Father’s World, provided I’m in the right key.
Speaking of keys, Father’s World was originally in Eb. No special reason – that’s just the key in which it was written in the hymnal where I found it. On the soprano recorder I could play it in D and pitch shift up to Eb (had to pitch correct anyway since the recorder wasn’t exactly in tune). The Alto is an F recorder, which means that the easiest key for me to play this song is G (for now, the only key I can manage it).
Again, this is not a problem, since the whole of the song is currently in MIDI-land, and transposition is as simple as a few mouse clicks. The tricky part is that the second half of the song changes keys (up one step, if I remember correctly), and needs to be played in a higher register to make the arrangement sound right. This gets much harder now as I don’t want to pitch shift toooooo far, or it begins to sound bad.
I think the trick is to get two instruments that are a bit further apart in range, so that the lower register in the first part of the song will mesh with the higher register in the second part. The long and short is that I’ve gone and bought ANOTHER RECORDER. This time I picked up a Tenor, again from Ebay.
I love that it it actually has a mechanism for the last hole at the bottom. Pretty cool! It should arrive early next week, and then I’m off to the races. Now all I need is a decent microphone to record these sweet instruments… Oh, Ebay?