Getting started on the TENOR recorder! | Team Recorder

Getting started on the TENOR recorder! | Team Recorder

hello everybody I’m Sarah and I’m a record applier not showing these recorders very well yes I am here very precariously holding five tenor recorders welcome to my introduction to the tenor I think I would go so far as to say the tenor is my favorite size of recorder it’s still small enough to be agile and virtuosic but it’s big enough to have this rich sound this body oh it’s kind of all the best things in one instrument Italian recorder is in C and it’s actually the exact same pitch as a flute you played the lowest note and that is middle C it’s notated the same as the soprano or descant recorder except this one sounds at pitch the soprano actually sounds an octave higher than it’s notated now whenever people see that see these they’re like oh my god that’s a big recorder why did I shoot that voice but ton of recorders have been around for centuries so these are two recorders that are copies of instruments from the Renaissance times I think from the 16th century this is called a Raffi tenor by friend just go liver ghee and this is a consort tanner by Pedro from the pool [Music] so 10 recorders were used a lot in the Renaissance times I guess is the solo instrument why not we can’t prove that it wasn’t but also a lot in concert or ensemble music and in the Baroque times we tend to think of the alto recorder as being the kind of stars to show that that there were also voice flutes this is a tenor recorder in d so it’s slightly higher than a regular tenor and they were use a lot too [Applause] and then we get to modern times and this is the more familiar kind of sight of a recorder that we know today they are modeled after barak instruments but since the 1970s partly thanks to the pioneering work of record players Altaf on hower tana recorders kind of become accepted as the main solo instrument in contemporary music because you can do amazing things with these so there’s so much great music for tenor recorders out there now I know a lot of you play in ensembles and in a record a quartet we often have soprano alto tenor bass you’re Tanner’s often get stuck on the third line with a bit of a boring simple part and it severs not being that great of an instrument which i think is such a shame that’s a big generalization of course there’s a lot of really good music with good ensemble writing to the tenor but there’s also a lot of music where you’re kind of shoved in the bad guy in fact in a lot of Consort ensemble music the tenor would be the top line so you would be the top line on the C then you would have a beset recorder on the second line a great bass recorder and a contrabass recorder and that could be your quartet I believe this is known as it playing so if you are a tenor player don’t be afraid to shine in your ensemble in a bit I’m gonna get to the repertoire the first let’s look at the challenges of playing this instrument the first and most obvious challenge is but it’s a lot bigger than your soprano recorder exactly twice as big to be exact exact so for a lot of people getting used to the stretch is really a thing now I have tiny little hands and I can structure turn and record a no problem but I have also been training for a long time and I also don’t have any mobility issues I know for a lot of my viewers you might have a condition that means your hands or your fingers are less mobile and but don’t worry if this seems like it could be a problem for you in my first tip is me sure that you have a key on the bottom some tennis come without keys some time has come with and I find it’s really really helpful make sure you have a double key so that you can play the C and the C sharp sometimes only have a single key then you just can’t play C sharp and that’s a shame you can also get keys fixed elsewhere on your instrument for example for this ring finger that could be helpful for people or for this ring finger as well you can also get tenors with a bent neck like this and what this does is raise your hands a bit so it might be easier to play like this rather than like this if you find that is something necessary and helpful for you then go for it and for a lot of people a simple thumb rest which you can either buy a plastic one or make one out of beeswax and stick it on that you’ll find that on the Internet can really help to kind of help with the balance but the main thing is just to take it slowly with the stretch in the beginning it’s going to take some time for your fingers to get used to that stretch but it will come I play recorders that are 6 or 7 feet tall and in the beginning I really have to train that keep your fingers nice and warm make sure you’re not tense anywhere else do a little bit every day and it will come the other challenge is that it needs more air than the soprano obviously my tip is set breathe a lot a nice steady rich sonorous air float then it’s gonna let your instrument sound the way it meant to sound for me it helps on the bigger recorders to think of blowing warm air like rather than cold air because I feel this gives a nice richer sound I have actually made whole videos on these kind of things like how to stretch the big instruments breathing techniques so I’ll leave links to those in the description as well what instruments should you buy for plastic I have always loved my plastic Yamaha tena make sure you get one with a double key instead of a single one at the bottom it’s around 90 to 100 euro which might seem like a lot but some of my concert instruments can cost like 10 to 20 times that and I found that it’s really good quality other plastic instruments that I could recommend are the outlaw Symphony Tanner I also know that Dolman do a ton a recorder for 29 euro I have not tried this instrument but it exists so I’m gonna put that out there if you’ve tried it please comment below and give us your honest opinion maybe if you just want to dip your toe into the tenner waters that could be something then for a wooden instrument and the dream instruments by Malin Howard this is an alto I don’t have a tenor but those are really nice they’re more based on Renaissance sound so it’s a bit of a bigger broader raw sound and the tenors are really beautiful and other than that you’ve got your general makers like Mullen Hauer and Merck and King so I’m just gonna put that in the description below [Music] what repertoire can you play on your tenor recorder well anyway I’m of the opinion that you can play any repertoire on any size of recorder because you are free to do what you want but what could some nice first of all you’ve got a great series by shots called the barak recorder anthology books 1 & 2 specifically for the soprano or tenor recorder they come with play long CDs it’s all Baroque music and I think they’re really nice there are also the Renaissance record anthology from the same publisher so these are just really great books full of material you have of course the classic flight and liftoff by Jakob fun Ike this is the biggest collection of instrumental music for a solo instrument it’s for the recorder that’s so special and all of it fits on Tanner so that is something I would really recommend getting your teeth into deflect and list off if you want to exploit the kind of Holle deep character of the Tanner I think the works of John Daland are so beautiful these are actually all ensemble pieces that all of the voices are kind of a similar level of difficulty so if you’re on the third or fourth line you’re not just swimming around going you actually have some really interesting music and sometimes you even have the tune and why not take these ensemble pieces and play the top line on your Tanner if you’re practicing at home because that’s just really really nice to do my personal favorite music for the Tanner are the two sonatas by keema I think they’re from the 17th century and they’re just beautiful beautiful early baroque sonatas with a lot of chromaticism in them and when you play them on the tenor it’s just like oh and there is a huge amount of contemporary music for the tenor recorder hi I can’t go into it here but a nice way to step into this are the works by Australian composer Zeena Clark they’re also very beautiful and tonal and you really get into the sound of the instrument so I could I think that could be something to start with to handy websites one is the Trinity College website where they have a whole exam syllabus and what you can just do is go and look at the syllabus and see their list of pieces for soprano or tenor and that’s a nice resource so I’ll link that below I also found a really great website called solo recorder and the person that this website has made a lot of free sheet music that you can just download in PDF so that could be something really nice to try out on your tab so that was my introduction to the tenor recorder if you have questions don’t hesitate to put them below maybe I can help or someone else in this lovely team recorder community as always you can subscribe to my channel by clicking on my face down here in the corner over here I’ll leave a link to the team record a webshop where you can support the channel by buying all of our cool merchandise and up here at the top I’m really an introduction to the bass recorder have a great day and I’ll see you next week bye

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. Very interesting and thorough clip. For me, the only question which remains open is the following one: Does the tenor have a larger range of (truly playable) notes than the soprano and its meager 1 and 3/4 octaves (I honestly cannot go beyond the high A/la). I read about 2.5 octaves, but am not sure if this is true(?)

  2. HarryPotter 3 has a soundtrack with alto and tenor recorder solos: 'A window to the past'. It's very easy to play even for beginners. 🙂

  3. Hi Sarah! Your videos are incredible! I am a begginer at tenor recorder and your tips sure are going to help me a lot! Would you recommend a specific book for tenor recorder? Or a good begginer book of soprano recorder that I could use? Thank you so much!

  4. Well trust Sarah on the C# key. I can't wait to upgrade my tenor to one with C# and tenor is my favorite recorder yet.

  5. Thanks for this very helpful video! I just bought a Yamaha, and am excited about getting started with it!

  6. In my experience (for my hands) baroque-style tenors without any key are actually more comfortable than those with c-key, because the overall length is shorter, meaning the d-hole isn't so far down.Then there's bent-neck recorders, which are an improvement over straight ones because the wrists can stay straighter. And the optimum is bent neck plus additional keys – like the Mollenhauer Knick-Komfort-Tenor. I have one and it's more comfortable to play than some altos. Moeck makes comparable instruments, Küng as well and Fehr is starting. Huber tenors have the reputation of being comfortable without any keys.I have a Thomann, and wheras the sound isn't bad, it's extremely uncomfortable – long build and the c-key needs a lot of pressure.

  7. Hi Sarah and the community!!! I'm excited because to date I haven't been able to see the comments let alone make any. BUT it looks as if tonight may be my night! Bcos here in Adelaide Australia it's just after 7.15 pm.
    So I have a treble MOECK Rottenburgh rosewood recorder that I bought in about 1970 when we really couldn't afford to do anything like that. It really wasn't cheap to buy instruments from overseas to Australia all those decades ago:) And after a long time not playing, I'm now trying to take it up again. Usually whenever I do anything like this with music, I'm freshly amazed to find how bad I am at whatever I'm trying to play. But this time I was hugely rapt to find you & your videos Sarah. And I think I'm managing to do some fresh music with your help. Thaqnkyou so much for your work! Love from Aus <3 <3 <3

  8. thank you. in early music consort music tenor parts are often the most interesting. Especially renaissance period, tenor part is often the melodic one and the others are built around it.

  9. Living in India one doesn't have recourse to repair shops. Are there plastic Tenors WITHOUT bell keys (for C & C#)? Leaky pads, non availability of springs makes playing these recorders frustrating and applying undue pressure with RH4 to counter these leaks takes its toll on your technique. Thanks. Harry

  10. Hi, I gravitated toward the tenor just because I think that low sound is gorgeous. I really underestimated the stretching it would require! Although I've played big instruments like bassoon before, they have a lot of aid so you really don't have to stretch your fingers far at all. I'm happy to see you say that it will get better! It's particularly bad for my right hand. My right hand is just NOT used to that!

  11. Hi Sarah! I've got a big dilemma. My school choir will perform a baroque mess and the choir's conductor is searching tenor recorder player. I used to play sopran recorder and now I play flute. Can I learn playing the tenor recorder? Is it difficult? This performance will be a big chance because we'll perform the mess in abroad (Germany and Russia) too.

  12. I tried the "la torella' which you uploaded on the soprano and the high pitch is hard on my ears. I would love to try that on a tenor. The soprano is simply too high pitched. How is the mollenhauer canta?

  13. Hi, I'm an older guy (66yrs) and I'd like to learn to play a tenor recorder as I find the suprano notes a bit shrill for my ears. Is it possible to learn to play on a tenor? Also what brand of plastic tenor recorder and what tutorial books would you recommend please. Thank you. Paul, S. Wales, UK.

  14. I have a tenor that has no makers mark.The case says Ariel and it appears to be rosewood but I can't say for certain.Reddish brown in color.Also has no C sharp key.Is there a remedy for that? I can not see a reason why a C sharp would not be built in since it is used so often.Any thoughts?

  15. I received a neck strap with my new tenor recorder, but I don't know how to use it, does anyone know? It's an Angel TW tenor recorder. Wish I could share an image. It has a piece of metal attached to an adjustable strap with a clip that looks like it attaches to a keychain. The recorder only has 1 place where something can attach so I don't know.

  16. Ciao Sara, che cambia nel suono fra Aulos e Yamaha? Comunque tu intendi dire aulos 500, vero? Mai sentito aulos simphony

  17. This is, as all other videos, a good and informative video. But there is one disadvantage: the changeovers of the tracks is often too sudden and too fast. That gives your videos a lot of restlessness.

  18. Hi Sarah thank you very much for all the videos you do you make it really good fun and I also want to play the recorder the more I see your videos so I got an alto recorder and I am doing well. I am visually impaired and cannot read sheet music I play by ear. your videos are very helpful when it comes to the fingering of the recorder as you use a lovely simple background which enables me to see what you are doing fantastic!! what I also love about your videos is it's just you with no background noise I am hearing impaired so this helps a lot! I haven't watched all of your videos but I am getting through them slowly thank you so much ?

  19. Thanks to your videos, now I know I should forget about this instrument. I now know the world of recorder playing is more problematic than just playing a clunky instrument with a clunky unrefined sound, it also involves a lot of hassle of dealing with transposing random keys in your head and playing randomly keyed instruments that could be even a half tone off. All that said, I do have an old video showing how it can be used for eastern quarter tone music.

  20. I purchased a tenor Yamaha this year and did not like the sound quality, the finger stretching or it being out of tune most of the time. Made me switch to a clarinet which sounds MUCH more beautiful. But the clarinet issues (awkward fingering, whistling etc) made me switch to an alto sax that is so easy, so expressive, so capable and much more audible. I could play Bach violin concertos on Alto in one month. You can just see the gradual human ingenuity and improvement from the primitive recorder to the complex.

  21. i've been messing around with an ocarina, been fun, but i also kinda want to try the recorder – music is more available, though i found alot of recorder music to be in range for ocarina… guess i'm just one of those people that kinda – collect instruments? and wants to know how to play several. was a clarinetist in school, took a semester of violin that was fun, own neither. but i love wind instruments

  22. I have a Yamaha Tenor Recorder, and I can play really well because my hand is enough big, but yesterday I was in a music maker that have a Horner Wood Tenor Recorder, but I couldn't play as well as my Yamaha Tenor Recorder. It was so weird for me.

  23. Sarah, I have a big problem with getting the fingering of different instuments sepatated. I am pretty good on the alto recorder, but it is very challenging on the soprano or tenor. I just can't be equally safe on both. I also play the one keyed baroque flute, which has its own fingering… hard to seperate from the recorder… Do you have any tips? I love your videos. You are amazong! Let's make the recorder great again! 😉

  24. I have a keyless Aulos tenor which I really like. It has a good sound and good tuning. Coming from the oboe, which is covered in keywork, I avoid keys wherever I can.

  25. Sarah, you are absolutely nuts, but so lovely with it, and it's great to be taught by someone who knows what they are talking about ! Roy.

  26. A wonderful video. I have a Yamaha tenor recorder which is basically unplayable. Any help from anybody will be greatly appreciated!!

  27. Hi,I bought a Tenor recorder on ebay for $30.{united states currency}Now I am trying to get a sound out of it. Not sure what is should sound like as I am listening to you. But I will get it…. Thanks for your videos. I learn a lot.

  28. So, the soprano and tenor recorders notes are the same? I guess my question would be do they both have the same finger placings (same 3 top notes being, B, A and G)??? I would love to know, since it's considered an full octave different, then the notes would be the same and I could play the tenor with a soprano music book? I hope I'm making sense. LOL

  29. I love this! Just about to get my 6 year old the dreaded but inevitable descant and I'm thinking of getting back to the tenor to keep the universe in equilibrium. This was just what I needed to convince me before reality hits and "look mummy, if I take all my fingers off all the holes and blow as hard as I can, I can evoke the repetitive and endless sound of your soul screaming for mercy" changes my mind.

  30. I am BIG fan … after listening to the Yamaha Tenor, I purchased the "Yamaha YRT-304B Professional …" – love the sound of it – thanks. BTW,
    you are very lovely, friendly, smart…and pretty…L..e in the air. 🙂

  31. How on earth can anyone play a recorder with tiny holes? My flute keys that have holes that are father in that are greater than my plastic recorder?. Are there they have keys to cover those keys

  32. Hello,
    I was curious if you could give me tips on possibly buying a good tenor recorder under fifty dollars? Is that possible, some help would be nice. 🙂

  33. I've loved the tenor since I was a kid and my dad would play his. We called it the "giant's pipe", which was a reference to a children's television show whose name escapes me at the moment. I think it's a Heinrich, and he still has it. In our house we have the Yamaha, and it does sound nice.

  34. I was a tenor recorder soloist, rarely relegated to even second line. I regret going into my other love, computing, instead of music.

  35. Hope this is helpful – I tried an Aulos Symphony tenor with keys and simply couldn't cover the holes; then I tried an Aulos 201,or Robin, without keys, and found that I could play it really easily. It's supposed to be designed for people with smaller hands, and that seems to be true. Lovely sound. I tried a number of plastic tubes at the Early Music Shop and found the Robin the easiest – I could get low C, and what would be high G on a treble really easily. The other recorders, not easy at all. The advice in the shop was that if you don't need keys, it's best to go without them. At about £50, the Robin is also around half the price of the plastic tenors with keys.

  36. How about a film about switching from treble to tenor which covers the issue of how to read for a tenor – it's easy enough to pick the tube up and play the tunes you learnt on the treble with the same fingering but different keys, – but reading for a tenor is really strange for me.

  37. came because i was like "HOW TO NOT LOSE FINGERS ON BIG RECORDERS"
    – it will come with time
    "another reason to go on playing i guess"
    oh yeah i play the thomann recorder for 30€, it feels cheap, is cheap, manufacturing isnt that clean (found some plastic chips on the outside), but sounds fine, for that price
    anyhow, once i mastered it, ill put it aside. i just know about cheap instruments like that.
    but first i will learn, then i will earn

  38. Hi Sarah, I loved playing this at Leeds College of Music. Also, we played the Crumhorn. I wouldn’t mind playing it again. Of the new (affordable) ones, would you recommend any particular make? Great upload. Cheers. (The “eight foot” refers to the length of organ pipes. 8’ is “at pitch”).

  39. Thank you for this video! I'm playing a Yamaha plastic tenor recorder these days, but it always sounds like it has bronchitis. I've swabbed it out, cleared the airway, and spoken sharply to it. Nothing helps. Any suggestions?

  40. Dear Sarah, I'm going to buy a plastic tenor recorder. Which one will you recommend between these: AULOS 511B, Yamaha 304B?I need your opinion that could help me step up for next level.Thank you.

  41. OMG. I just happened to buy a Dolmetsch tenor recorder from the 1970s at an antique mall last weekend. So glad I found your videos! Your personality is wonderful. Thank you!

  42. My cousin so kindly bought me a tenor recorder for christmas not knowing the difference between it and an alto. But on the down side I have reeeeaaally small hands no joke. I literally have the hands the size of a 7 year old child. I opened the gift and was not expecting a two foot recorder the size of my leg. (Im also really short) I very much appreciate the gift, but i literally cannot play any notes haha.

  43. My stretch on the tenor is like my daughter's stretch on the soprano. So after warming up, she sees daddy make the same type of leaky mistakes that she does. It makes her feel better about learning, but then we play unison on whatever lesson she's working. she's really starting to take to it, and her eyes light up when she hits the notes. On the side I keep playing the soprano, and I'm learning alto, so we can play duets as she improves. Tempo, warming up, and breath control. Practice, practice, practice, and she loves it; and her brother is only two, but can play nice G chord on the kiddy ukulele we got him. (He asks me to tune it.) When mommy joins us on her recorder or the violin, we have a family jam. And mommy has a beautiful operatic voice. That's how we met: she sang opera to me.

    Music is Life. Music is Love. ???

  44. Love your energy and enthusiasm.   Is there not a standard length of TENOR recorder?  Some are 17" ( Yamaha 304b) and some others are 27"

  45. I'm with you on that Tenor Recorder is my favorite size Recorder thus far.

    Bad childhood memories of other children's and poorly studied Soprano Recorder times.
    You know?

    Tenor has BODY! and is close enough in size in length the the Alto Saxophone that was my first Wind Instrument.
    Tenor Recorder feels like a real instrument.

    I picked up an MPI Tenor Recorder during the 2018 Holidays from Groth Music.
    The deeper tone is less shrill at times than the Soprano Recorder.

    Soparino Recorder would be my second favorite.

  46. Has anybody encountered a Koch tenor recorder? Made by father and son company in New Hampshire, 1940s-1970s. I am testing one out, and quite enjoying it so far. Moving up from my Yamaha plastic tenor. Interested in any info (there's not a lot out there on the web) or opinions. Thanks.

  47. I have a beginner question which may sound strange for all of you. Can I use sheet music for soprano recorder for the tenor recorder? There are plenty of books in book stores for soprano and alto recorders. But no or almost no books for tenors. Some books are marked “for soprano and tenor recorders”.

  48. Love your videos, Sarah. I'm becoming fond of this fascinating instrument.

    Greetings from a electric guitar/bass guitar player.

  49. Hi. which flute is best for playing the high notes? aulos or Yamaha? I have an aulos symphony and the sharp notes are scratched…

  50. How are curved tenor recorder? I sometimes hear that they are not good to clean because of the curve. Is that true? Does it matter which brand I am choosing?

  51. I just got the Aulos keyless classroom tenor. Much easier to play then the yamaha plastic. While it is keyless, the whole thing is shorter. Not terribly much longer then the alto.

  52. Across the ocean exists Chloe Feoranzo, a wonderful clarinet player and singer, and there's somewhat of a resemblance between the two of you I think.

  53. Love your channel! I want to learn to play the traverso but i love tenor recorders too. They are very different but i really love them both! Which one would you advice to start with? Is the traverso much more difficult? Please consider i’m a musician but i’ve never played any wind instruments?

  54. I actually have always found easier to blow the tenor than the descant, it needs a more relaxed, spontaneous breathing.

  55. I'm looking for a small-ish instrument (so I can easily travel with it). I'm thinking a tenor recorder would be a good choice. Can please you recommend a decent quality one for not too much money?

  56. I am switching from soprano recorder and really can't decide between choosing a alto or tenor recorder.

    Edit: I am getting an alto, don't have 100€

  57. Sarah, I started on recorders a while ago('bout 4/5 months?).
    Started on a soprano with the intention of having it helping me on my music studies, and it made it's way into my heart. I'm loving it.
    So, about a week ago I got myself a sopranino, so that I could start working my way with transposing and improving my reading whilst having a new range to work with (I'm trying those pieces by Vivaldi you mention in one of your other videos). Thing is, the Yamaha model I got (in plastic, since here in Brazil some instruments are overly expensive), it has got a nice sound and tuning is alright, thing is, the bottom hole (right hand pinky) has only one big hole (and not two).
    I saw you mention that in TENORs you wouldn't be able to do a C# since it does not have the key, but on this sopranino, I guess I could work my way with closing half of the hole (thus having a F#)?
    I mean… I've been trying and it's a hard sound to get clean… Is it even possible? 😀
    I've been following your work since I started playing the recorder and oh has it gone a long way on making me love this instrument more and more.
    Big hugs from Brazil!

  58. I play da flute and this looks very interesting….
    The sound sounds like a mix of a flute and an oboe. Kewl.

  59. I forgot recorders even existed and then came across your videos somehow! Totally inspired I chose my first recorder from this video, the Yamaha, and I've been practicing daily since. Made it to the end of my first beginners book today. It feels awesome and honestly it was just what I needed. Go Team Recorder!!!

  60. I want that cane, ops, Rafi Tenor recorder someday, hehehe… To be fair, I really like the design, very unexpected to see from a recorder

  61. I recently bought the Thomann tenor. I played it against a drone to check my intonation. The instrument is well in tune, although some notes on the lower part of the instrument are only in tune if played rather softly. But maybe that is a characteristic of this instrument? Also, I'm a total beginner.
    I have trouble with the keys; they are of very flexible plastic and in order to get the lowest note I have to push them down hard so they bend to the point that I start worrying about breaking them.
    I'd say if you want to check out if the tenor is for you, for this price you cannot go wrong. But if you're serious, maybe go for a model with more robust keys.

  62. I just had a great idea.
    A recorder maker should make a recorder with a key for the left pinkie or right thumb that covers the bottom.

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