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   Author  Topic: Bass recorder  (Read 2387 times)
Sky1
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Bass recorder
« on: Mar 10th, 2003, 5:17pm »
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To all you bass recorder enthusiasts (and especially players of the Zen-On bass)...
 
  As a relatively new bass recorder player (added a Zen-On bass to my growing collection of recorders early this year), I'm wondering about some of the odd fingerings I'm finding are required  on my Zen-On in order to play a few of the notes well in tune.  
 
   Especially, could you advise me on the high Eb (which I've found MUST be played on MY bass using the first two fingers of the left hand in combination with the last two fingers of the right hand ... my little finger on the F# key). Also the low Bb seems to be better in tune without my finger on the low F key [no complaints about that Wink]. Is my bass just weird, and needing some 'voicing' work or have some of you discovered these quirks on your instruments too?
 
   Also what do you think of reversing the head joint to have the apperature face toward my chest... seems to produce a more dynamic sound and be easier to blow that way. What's your opinion of this? I really love the sound the Zen-On produces, but find it strange to have to reverse the head joint to get that sound.
 
   And... can you advise me of what you'd recommend in the way of study material for the bass. I have the Monkemeyer book and the Charlton Method, but am seeking more (especially those giving lots of practice in playing bass clef).
 
   Many thanks. Your feedback will be greatly valued and appreciated.  Isn't this a fabulous website Bob's provided for us where we 'early music fanatics' can 'meet' and share this kind of information?  
 
All the best!
--Sky1
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berto
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What this town needs is a good Renaissance band!

   
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Re: Bass recorder
« Reply #1 on: Mar 10th, 2003, 5:55pm »
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I recommend you get the book "The Bass Recorder Handbook," written by Denis Bloodworth and published by Novello Publishing.
 
It's got a couple dozen pages of fairly challenging bass recorder pieces (in the bass clef) that give you some good note workouts.  (I wish there were more pieces.)
 
Better yet, it has an excellent discussion of the bass recorder's special intonation problems and suggests many different alternate fingerings you might try.
 
>  Especially, could you advise me on the high Eb (which  
> I've found MUST be played on MY bass using the first  
> two fingers of the left hand in combination with the  
> last two fingers of the right hand ... my little finger on  
> the F# key). Also the low Bb seems to be better in  
> tune without my finger on the low F key [no > complaints about that ]. Is my bass just weird, and  
> needing some 'voicing' work or have some of you  
> discovered these quirks on your instruments too?  
 
The book suggests a number of alternatives.  (On my bass, adding the F# key flattens the high Eb too much.)  It's hard to translate the diagrams into words.  (How does that fingering notation go again?...)
 
Hmm, I thought the low F key depressed was standard for the low Bb, if I'm understanding you correctly.
 
I'm no expert on this.  Better maybe for others more experienced to weigh in with their opinions...
 
Anyway, I don't think that your bass recorder is "weird".  Quoting Bloodworth, "The perfect bass recorder is impossible, or at least very difficult, to find."
 
On my bass, I have to use alternate fingerings for the high G (to reduce breathiness), and especially the high C# and D (very iffy and breathy otherwise).  I discovered these through experimentation.
 
From my (limited) experience , alternate fingerings go with the territory.
 
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Eric Stern
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Re: Bass recorder
« Reply #2 on: Mar 16th, 2003, 10:56am »
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On my Yamaha plastic Rottenburgh bass, the E-flat fingering uses the second finger on the right hand instead of the usual fingering which is the first finger on the right hand.  This is in the fingering chart that comes with the instrument and I confirmed it is the most  in tune.  
 
     Eric
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berto
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Re: Bass recorder
« Reply #3 on: Mar 16th, 2003, 10:31pm »
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Sky1:
 
> Also what do you think of reversing the head joint to have the apperature
> face toward my chest... seems to produce a more dynamic sound and be
> easier to blow that way. What's your opinion of this? I really love the sound  
> the Zen-On produces, but find it strange to have to reverse the head joint to  
> get that sound.  
 
You mean to say that, with the aperture facing toward your chest, the opposite of the usual configuration, you now have to position your embouchure over the top of the instrument and blow on the far side of the recorder head?  Weird!  But I suppose the way I play the bass recorder--balancing the recorder's foot joint on my lowered right knee (I have greater control of the instrument this way)--is weird, too.
 
As my bass recorder teacher from last year's Whitewater Early Music Festival would say--whatever works for you, do it!  Who cares what others might think!
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--Wayne Booth, writing about amateur musicians' passion for playing in For the Love of It
AmateurPlayer
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Re: Bass recorder
« Reply #4 on: Mar 20th, 2003, 9:53am »
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I find that the fingering needed seems to change depending on what key I'm playing in, who I'm playing with, and other unknown factors.  On my Roessler bass, I notice this especially on the low Eb, which is much more frequent than the high Eb.  Sometimes I wish that my ear were better, and I could tell how to improve the intonation.  On the other hand, If I were VERY sensitive to pitch, listening to myself and others would probably be more painful.
 
For practice purposes, you can play the bass lines from choral music, piano arrangements, or whatever, but you'll often have to jump up an octive--good practice.  Also, reading "down", by playing something in treble clef as if you were holding a big alto, gives your fingers a workout.  Becoming proficient at this lets you play those SSA trios in a low choir of TTB.
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berto
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What this town needs is a good Renaissance band!

   
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Posts: 56
Re: Bass recorder
« Reply #5 on: Mar 26th, 2003, 10:23am »
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> For practice purposes, you can play the bass lines from choral music, piano arrangements, or whatever, ...
 
Speaking of practice, I am desperate to find the bass recorder equivalent of the excellent "95 Dexterity Exercises and Dances for Recorders in F" by G. Rooda. (The book also comes in a "Recorders in C" version.) I find the Intervals exercises in Section I to be especially useful. Those intervals exercises are indispensible for securing mastery over the notes.
 
Using Finale Notepad, I have tried transposing the exercises to the bass clef, but with mixed results. (The process is laborious and error-prone, and the end results don't look very good.)
 
Can anyone recommend a comprehensive book of bass recorder exercises, with special emphasis on the basic intervals?
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"It is our conviction that if anything is worth doing at all, it is worth doing badly."
--Wayne Booth, writing about amateur musicians' passion for playing in For the Love of It
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