When Quantz writes “On playing the flute”, the flute is just emerging from a time of much change, and we know that the flute changed much until it became the flute we know today. The recorder is in a similar situation today where the recorders that are made are often very different from what they were only fifteen year ago, and through my correspondence with inventors and recorder builders I have no reason to believe that the recorder is done developing now.

What I have found is that recorders made by good recorder players are in general better than those made by instrument makers who are not good recorder players. And I was happy to find support for this finding in Quantz’ book. He writes this for the traverso, but I see no reason why this should be different for the recorder if we replace the word embouchure with breathing technique. He writes:

“Pure intonation from one note to another depends upon a firm and secure embouchure, a good musical ear, and upon a good understanding of the proportions of the notes. Whoever possesses this knowledge and also plays well is in a position to make a good, accurately tuned flute. But since the majority of flute makers are not able to do so it is difficult not only to get hold of a good flute, but also to acquire a good ear, even with frequent playing.”

Quantz then goes on to advocate that flute players should know much on flute making. I disagree with this since I don’t think we have the time for it, but I would strongly suggest only buying recorders from makers who are good recorder players themselves.

Categories: Instruments