Tuesday, 20 November 2012

German fingering – Baroque fingering?

Most school recorders are available in either fingering system so that a decision has to be made for one or the other at the time of purchase.The origin of the different fingering systems goes back to the rediscovery of the recorder in the 1920s . It was at this time that Peter Harlan developed the German fingering system to be used alongside the historical Baroque system. Many teachers considered the German fingering to be easier and more suitable for an initial introduction to music as this avoided the use of forked fingerings in the home scale.
Opinions differ on this point to this day. The fact remains, however, that some teachers still prefer the German fingering system as an introduction.

The main difference is the note F (Soprano Recorder) which can be fingered more easily in the German system (as opposed to the forked fingering of the baroque system, see below). However, this simplification often results in intonation problems when playing in keys other than the home key of the instrument: F sharp and G sharp require complicated fingerings if the tuning is to be right.

Modern recorder tutors therefore base their teaching method on the Baroque fingering system as even young children can adapt to this without any problems if suitably taught.
A frequent error
The double holes for C/ C-sharp and D/ D-sharp (soprano recorder) are often seen as an indication of the Baroque fingering system. However, double holes are possible in both fingering systems.

Baroque fingering can easily be recognised by the larger finger hole for the note F (soprano recorder) or B-flat (alto recorder) in comparison to German fingered recorders.
 
 

4 comments: