The Recorder

The recorder is the most highly developed member of the ancient family of internal duct flutes, a woodwind instrument with a fixed windway formed by a wooden plug or block. It is distinguished from other internal duct flutes by having holes for seven fingers and a single hole for the thumb which also serves as an octaving vent. The instrument dates back to both Medieval and Renaissance periods in Europe (11th through 17th centuries) where it was continuously modified and used to accompany the soft instrumentation, such as the psaltery, rebec, vielle, lute, harp and voice, used by folk musicians of those times. The recorder made its way to the New World at a relatively early date and many of the early settlers of North America were no doubt familiar with it. The recorder adds its characteristic medieval tone to arrangements of early folk music, especially the music from the British Isles.