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Single online Nürnberg

'German' fingering (doigte moderne in French), the fingering you use only on a German fingered recorder, is a 20th century creation.The recorder was introduced in Germany by Peter Harlan (1898-1966), as an instrument whose sound, to quote Harlan, "could not be enhanced, no matter how great the art; whose essence could not be altered by any virtuosity".

One should also certainly consider the extended-range "Ganassi" fingerings and note that the last finger hole on one of the surviving "medieval recorders" appears to be a semi- rather than wholetone.As a player, one of my real joys has been discovering the optimal fingerings for each individual instrument and for the particular music to be played.While a huge number of mass-produced instruments may confirm rigidly to a"baroque" or "german" pattern, it's been my experience that the best instruments all have their individual quirks, and flexibility with regard to fingering is simply one of the basic skills of a serious recorder player.In the Germany of the 1930s the recorder was seen as an unsophisticated, inexpensive tool in music education, particularly suitable for learning and performing the 'folk' tunes that underpinned 'German National Culture'.Much has been written about whether this 'National Culture' was a political 'invention' or a genuine attempt to revive something that had been lost or had been corrupted during the previous seven centuries.Before examining particular sets of recorder fingerings we should say something about recorder fingerings and, particularly, baroque recorder fingerings.

You may have learned already that the modern 'English' fingering (sometimes called 'Dolmetsch' fingering because it was the system chosen by Arnold Dolmetsch in Haslemere, Surrey in 1919 when making his first modern reproduction treble/alto) differs from the fingerings used in the eighteenth century. Eighteenth century recorder fingerings (and even more so, those a century before) were not standardized and there are several charts from these periods offering different fingerings for particular notes. "17th and 18th century fingering charts for the recorder".

Bouterse (2001) considers that the two altos from Groningen mentioned by Young (1993) refer to an alto in boxwood which was part of a collection moved to Menkemabourg Castle. Nonetheless, this facility allows one to ask (and answer) many interesting and thought-provoking questions.

From Charles Fischer's comments to you, it seems that an ivory alto from this collection has now found its way to USA-SD-Vermillion: Shrine. And through it one can access relevant information available online from the museums themselves, from Adrian Brown's online database, etc. Laspa has advised me of yet another Bressan with double holes which was sold by William Petit, 45 Rue Desgranges, 93100 Montreuil Sous Bois, France.

So while, the "baroque" pattern is indeed closer to that observed for most surviving instruments of the late baroque, the definition of the pattern as a standard for all recorders is itself as much a modern innovation as the attempt todefine the "german" fingering as a standard for German school music.

From an organological viewpoint, the definition of a recorder is quite generous.

A recorder would require, minimally, a fipple and -- to distinguish it from the whistle family -- seven principal fingerholes and a thumbhole as octave register opening.