G is for Garklein

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge

G is for ‘garklein’— German for ‘very small’, and the official name for the smallest size of recorder and the subject of my Garklein Recorder Project. I’m documenting my own self-challenge of working my way through a recorder instruction book playing the garklein recorder instead of the more common soprano recorder.

I’ve made several YouTube videos so far of myself playing songs from the instruction book (Duschenes Method for the Recorder, Pt 1). I find I enjoy doing the videos even though sometimes I have to do it over and over to get a usable version.

My hope is that other would-be recorder players working their way through the same book (on soprano or tenor recorders as well as the garklein) might find the videos of some use. I know when I was a child taking piano lessons I had a hard time sometimes figuring out what an unfamiliar song in my piano lesson book was supposed to sound like.

I also hope it will be inspiring. You don’t have to have great natural musical talent, nor do you have to be young, to learn a musical instrument and have fun with it. A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775c

Playing the Recorder Mozärtlich

The Garklein Recorder project

Today’s piece in the project is the theme from a piano sonata by Mozart. I really enjoy playing the occasional classical piece on the recorder— not as much as I like some of the more sprightly folk tunes, but still….

The recorder is a new one, a Windsong rosewood recorder, quite inexpensive for a wooden recorder and sounds very nice. It also has a very nice cloth case.

As this is the second video in the series, I’ve started a playlist on  Youtube to make it easier to find the videos in the series.  While the videos all will use the garklein recorder, the book is meant for players of the soprano and tenor recorders, and likely the videos will also be of use to students of those recorders.

[About the title: ‘zärtlich’ is the German word for ‘tenderly’, so it’s kind of a play on Mozart’s name.]

The Garklein Recorder Project

Recently I’ve learned to make simple YouTube videos and that gave me the idea to make a series of them documenting my work in learning to play the Garklein recorder. I’ve chosen one of my how-to-learn-recorder books, ‘Mario Duschenes Method for the Recorder’ and intend to record some of the tunes in it I am learning.

Besides the videos marking my own progress, I thought it would be useful for self-study students on the recorder to hear the less-familiar tunes used in the lessons. For the student who doesn’t read music very well yet, it might be a help to hear what the music is supposed to sound like.

For the first video of the series, I am playing my brand-new apricot wood recorder, made by a Hungarian craftsman and purchased on Ebay. I was actually disappointed when I first got the recorder, it sounded hoarse on almost all the notes. But every day I carefully played it for 10 minutes to break it in, and after a while it started sounding very good. To the point that I’m hoping to get another recorder made by the same craftsman in a different wood.

For anyone else who might like to start learning to play the Garklein recorder: the instruments are available on Ebay and Amazon.com. For plastic recorders, the Aulos brand is highly recommended. My own plastic recorder is a Woodnote, and it seems to play very well. There is also a rosewood Garklein recorder available.

Be careful, when purchasing a recorder, to be sure that it has baroque fingering. That is the best and most widely used.

The Garklein recorder is a recorder in the key of C, as the soprano and tenor recorders are. (The sopranino, alto and bass recorders are in the key of F.)  The Garklein differs from other C recorders in having variant fingering for some of the sharps and flats, and a more limited range. Also, when my Woodnote Garklein arrived, I was dismayed that the fingering chart that came with it didn’t cover the Garklein! I had to get a fingering chart for Garklein on the internet. http://www.recorder-fingerings.com/en/Div.php?f=P&t=aBar.0Gk.!a&Aus=ClGk

DuschenesThe book I’m using is available used from Amazon.com and Ebay. Be sure you are buying the soprano (descant) and tenor version, and that it is part one and not part two.

Anyway, welcome to my adventure of the Garklein Recorder Project. Enjoy the ride.