History of flute Recorders

Whistles are very old instruments. People have found some whistles that were made in the Iron Age. A recorder is a type of whistle. It has holes for seven fingers and one thumb. It also has one end bigger than the other. The first recorders were made in the 1500s. Some remains of these have been found in Germany, the Netherlands and Greece.

recorder flute

Many people played the recorder in Europe in the 1500s and 1600s. King Henry VIII of England had 76 recorders. William Shakespeare talks about recorders in his play Hamlet and John Milton talks about them in his poem Paradise Lost. Recorders from that time are now called Renaissance recorders.

In the 1700s the people who made recorders tried new ways to make them sound better. They also wanted them to play more difficult music. Recorders from this time are called Baroque recorders. They were thinner than Renaissance recorders. They were also made in several parts that fitted together. In the picture at the top of the page, one of the recorders is in three parts.

In the 1800s people preferred to play the flute and clarinet instead of the recorder. Flutes are good for playing music which has a large range of notes. Flutes are also better for playing music which needs many chromatic notes.

In the 1900s people wanted to play old music with old kinds of instrument. In England, Arnold Dolmetsch was one of the people who was famous for this. Other musicians also began to play the recorder at serious music concerts. Some of these people were Hans-Martin Linde, Bernard Kranis and David Munrow. In modern times, people have written new music for the recorder. Some of these people are Paul Hindemith, Luciano Berio, John Tavener, Michael Tippett, Benjamin Britten, Leonard Bernstein, Gordon Jacob and Edmund Rubbra.

The recorder is sometimes used in popular music. The Beatles played the recorder in their song Fool on the Hill and the Rolling Stones used a recorder in Ruby Tuesday (song).

A plastic recorder.Plastic recorders were invented in the 20th century. These are cheap. They are easy instruments to play simple music. Many schools use plastic recorders to teach music to children.

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