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Re: In defense of the recorder

Regarding suitability of an instrument for playing klezmer - of course,
tastes change. I have been told that, at the time when brass instruments
were being introduced in kapelyes in the Ukraine, they were being
rigorously excluded from kapelyes in the more conservative Poland, where
guilds held control over the composition of kapelyes. Not only that, all
but the very best of clarinetists were also being excluded in Poland. So
for them, brass, and most clarinet playing, were considered unsuitable.
This is supposedly from Mr. Hescheles. If anyone has more definitive info
on this, I'd be happy to hear about it.

Hope Ehn wrote:
<<While many recorders, including good plastic ones, do have a coupling
between pitch and volume, expensive wooden recorders do have the capacity
to change volume without changing pitch.>>

Perhaps a coupling between pitch and volume need not be considered a
liability when playing klezmer. Last summer, I attended a workshop intended
to show how Hassidic singing practice could inform klezmer performance.
Amongst the more obvious things were how some klezmer ornaments are
intended to imitate the human voice. It was also pointed out that untrained
voices singing nigunim tended to naturally rise in volume and intensity as
pitch rose, whereas, voice training has as one goal to smooth out volume,
and musical instruments (such as the clarinets and violins at the workshop)
tend to have a much wider range of pitch without appreciable affect on
volume. It was interesting to attempt to imitate untrained voice on the
violin, by moving the bow away from the bridge when descending a scale, and
toward the bridge when ascending, or by using less and more bow etc. Of
course this would have to be integrated into a whole repertoire of possible
tools, and always with an eye toward playing musically. But maybe this
would actually be easier on the recorder?

Regarding the overall volume of a recorder being "too quiet", I have been
surprised by how well some recorders can carry, for example, I've seen a
recorder successfully used in an outdoor setting, as a primary melodic
instrument for dancing, with other activities going on in the vicinity.  


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