Tenor recorder

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The tenor recorder is a member of the recorder family. It has the same form as a soprano (or descant) recorder and an alto (or treble) recorder, but it produces a lower sound than either; a still lower sound is produced by the bass recorder.

The tenor recorder, like the soprano recorder, is tuned in C, but an octave lower. Because of its larger size, many tenors have keys to make it easier to play the lowest C, C♯, D, and D♯.

In modern notation, the tenor is written at sounding pitch, unlike most of the other recorder sizes, which (except sometimes the alto) are written an octave lower than they sound (Lasocki 2001).


In German-speaking countries in the 18th century, the tenor recorder was named Quartflöte (fourth flute), after the interval it forms below the ordinary recorder (alto) in F. Confusingly, the same name was used for the soprano recorder in C, apparently because it forms the same interval above the alto in G. At the same time, the English and French equivalents, "fourth flute" and "flute du quatre", meant a recorder a fourth higher than the alto in F—that is, an instrument with B as its lowest note (Lasocki 2001).


  • Baines, Anthony C. 1967. Woodwind Instruments and Their History, third edition, with a foreword by Sir Adrian Boult. London: Faber and Faber. Reprinted with corrections, 1977. This edition reissued, Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1991, and reprinted again in 2012. ISBN 978-0-486-26885-9.
  • Lasocki, David. 2001. "Recorder". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.

Further reading[edit]

  • Alker, Hugo. 1963. "The Tenor Recorder: Its Development, Special Characteristics and Repertoire", with additions and amendments by Edgar Hunt. The Consort no. 20 (July): 166–73.
  • Bowman, Peter. 1995. "The Birth of a Truly Contemporary Recorder". Recorder Magazine 15, No. 4 (November): 126–27.
  • Griscom, Richard W., and David Lasocki. 2013. The Recorder: A Research and Information Guide, third edition. Routledge Music Bibliographies. Routledge. ISBN 9781135839321.
  • Praetorius, Michael. 1619a. Syntagmatis Musici Michaelis Praetorii C. Tomus Secundus De Organographia. Wolfenbüttel: Elias Holwein, in Verlegung des Autoris.
  • Praetorius, Michael. 1619b. Syntagmatis Musici Michaelis Praetorii C. Tomus Tertius. Wolfenbüttel: Elias Holwein.
  • Rose, Pete. 1996. "A New Recorder for New Music". American Recorder 37, No. 4 (September): 18–20.
  • Sachs, Curt. 1913. Real-Lexikon der Musikinstrumente, zugleich ein Polyglossar für das gesamte Instrumentengebiet. Berlin: Julius Bard.