Recorders

Recorders are a woodwind musical instrument in the group known as internal duct flutes—flutes with a whistlemouthpiece. A recorder can be distinguished from other duct flutes by the presence of a thumb-hole for the upper hand and seven finger-holes: three for the upper hand and four for the lower. It is the most prominent duct flute in the western classical tradition.

Recorders are made in different sizes with names and compasses roughly corresponding to different vocal ranges. The sizes most commonly in use today are the soprano (aka “descant”, lowest note C5), alto (aka “treble”, lowest note F4), tenor (lowest note C4) and bass (lowest note F3). Recorders are traditionally constructed from wood and ivory, while most recorders made in recent years are constructed from molded plastic. The recorders’ internal and external proportions vary, but the bore is generally reverse conical (i.e. tapering towards the foot) to cylindrical, and all recorder fingering systems make extensive use of forked fingerings.