Recorder flute

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Recorder (German: Blockflöte; French: Flûte à Bec; Italian Flauto Dolce). A fipple flute, i.e. one with a mouthpiece enabling the breath to be directed at the edge without having to form an embouchure with the lips.

Known in the 18th century simply as Flute = Flauto - the transverse form was separately referred to as Traverso. It was for the recorder that J.S. Bach wrote the 4th Brandenburg concerto in G major (though Thurston Dart controversially suggested that it was intended for flageolets at a higher pitch, and in a recording under Neville Marriner using Dart's editions it was played an octave higher than usual on sopranino recorders.

The instrument went into decline after the 18th century, being used for about the last time as an other-wordly sound by Gluck in his opera Orfeo ed Euridice. It was revived at the end of the 19th century by the English researcher into Early Music, Arnold Dolmetsch. Subsequently it became very popular in schools, since it is inexpensive, easy to play at some level, is pre-tuned (and thus even the tone-deaf can play in tune with the rest of an ensemble), and is not too strident in even the most musically-inept hands. It is however incorrect to assume that mastery is similarly easy - like other instruments, it requires talent and study to play it at an advanced level.