Many players find it difficult to reach all the holes when playing tenor, especially for the smallest 2 fingers of the right hand. The tenor is by no means the largest recorder, but still it can involve finger stretches greater than on any of the larger bass instruments. Our experience over 25 y...
Many players find it difficult to reach all the holes when playing tenor, especially for the smallest 2 fingers of the right hand. The tenor is by no means the largest recorder, but still it can involve finger stretches greater than on any of the larger bass instruments. Our experience over 25 years has shown that when a player encounters finger spacing problems, ninety nine times out of a hundred it will be on a tenor. These problems often result in either having to stop playing the tenor altogether, or having to upgrade to a knick or a comfort model - please choose carefully!!!
There is quite a bit of variation in finger hole position from one maker to another, and from one model to another. The chart below was prepared to try and show which ones will be easier. There are several factors involved: the distance between the holes is important, but another significant factor is whether the recorder is straight or has a bent head ("knick"). Knick tenors allow the right hand to hold the recorder in a higher position than with a straight instrument - the right hand is not stretching down so far and consequently a spacing that may actually be a little wider will still feel easier to reach on a knick instrument. Players that have problems with their right-hand wrist should strongly consider knick instruments.
The chart shows clearly that the use of split keys for C and C# doesn't automatically mean the right-hand little finger doesn't have to stretch so far. Many players assume that if they choose a model with C/C# keys they will have no problems, when in fact many of the most extreme little-finger stretches are actually on keyed instruments.
Often a player will have specific issues with one or two fingers. If this is the case, then you may need to focus more on comparing the measurements for the holes played by the problem fingers. In such cases the general ranking provided here might not be so relevant for your special circumstances.
In this chart the weights shown are a guide only - weight can vary within a particular model depending on which wood has been used.
A large range of tenor recorders made in a beautiful range of woods including pear, plum, satinwood, olive, rose, palisander, grenadilla, boxwood and cherrywood. Orpheus Music stocks tenor recorders from a variety of makers including Mollenhauer Recorders from Germany, Kung Recorders from Switzerland and Aulos, Yamaha and Zen-on Recorders from Japan. The tenor is a great ensemble instrument as well as a favoured recorder for contemporary compositions.