One of the few reasons not to upgrade from Windows 3.1. Microsoft thoughtfully provided the ability to record and play back (but not edit) small macros to automate Windows processes with Recorder, but dropped the program in Windows 95. It was incredibly useful despite its limitations, considering that it was provided at no additional charge with Windows 3.1. Perhaps too many newbies were confused by it, for the same reason that Microsoft no longer installs such goodies as Cardfile and Clipboard Viewer with Windows any more.

The only way to get macro capabilities nowadays is to install something like Microsoft Office or Visual Studio to write some VBA code.


An instrument of torture made out of plastic. It is commonly found in the primary school classroom and is used either singley or in groups to create soul-destroying noise made up of shrieks and whistles.


A flute-like instrument dating from late prehistory, but only really coming into its own in the 15th century where it takes on its modern form. Renaisscence music of the 16th century made much use of the recorder, though it has dropped out of popularity in later periods. The renaisscence recorders were wooden and had limited range restricted to lower registers. These evolved into the more refined wooden recorders of the Baroque period, which are more like those in use today, with a greater range and softer sound.

The recorder is a very popular instrument, especially in schools as it is easy to teach. (Though harder to listen to!) Unlike a string intrument, notes can be formed on your first go at playing by blowing through the top and placing your fingers on the evenly spaced holes. Unfortunately however, over-blowing leads to squeaking, and other such unpleasant noises, (a fact soon learned and exploited by mischeivious children!). In well practised groups however, the recorder is a joy to listen to as it covers a wide range of registers from bass to descant, and has a wide and varied reportoire.


Along with the penny whistle, the instrument of choice among homeless buskers due to it's light and portable nature. (At least that appears to be the case in York).

Recorder, in my experience, is an instrument that is very easy to play decently, but incredibly difficult to play well.

The quality, size, shape, and sound of recorders varies greatly. They range from the bass recorder (a massive, though lovely sounding tube that usually has keys for the last finger holes) to the sopranino (which is so high-pitched that one note from it and all dogs on the street will begin to howl.) Most people are familiar with the plastic, usually soprano kind they played in music class. These are cheap, only about $15 or $20, and are fun and easy to learn, great for beginners.

So, why play the recorder?

Now that you're convinced, what recorder should you buy?

DO NOT BUY A SOPRANINO. There is a much higher proportion of sopranino players in murder victims than to the rest of the population. Your neighbors will kill you. I'm serious.
Many people start out with a Yamaha plastic soprano (descant). These are great because they are fairly cheap, easy to finger and play, and there are plenty of method books for them. However, they can be somewhat shrill and annoying after awhile.
A plastic alto (or treble) is more expensive and harder to play, but it sounds so much better. If you are semi-serious, I'd reccomend one of these. Beginning alto books are harder to come by, but you can often use a flute book. Be aware that these are F instruments and are fingered some 5 steps down from a soprano.
Bass recorders require more air and are very hard to play. Avoid these for now.

You are not advanced enough for a sopranino. No one is.
If you are serious about this, a decent, mid-range wooden soprano is an excellent choice. Avoid Moeck, they are too expensive for what you get. DO NOT ORDER ONLINE. You need to sample them in real life. Wooden recorders all sound different. Experiment in the store with different woods. They all have a unique character.
Altos are a tremendous choice for the intermediate. Wood altos of the mid-range are about $300 or $400, significantly more expensive than a soprano, but much better too.
You may want to try a bass now. Stick with plastic, as wood basses are exceptionally expensive.

Advanced Please, please, please... Let's forget sopraninos even exist...
For the rest of the instruments, hand-made wooden ones, generally replicas of famous ones, can usually be counted on if from a well-known workshop. You are beyond me. Good luck.

How Do I Take Care of My Recorder?

For plastic ones, simply dry them out after playing.
Wood requires more attention. For the first two or three weeks, gradually increase time playing by five minute increments from 15 minutes a day, so that the wood is not overwhelmed with spit and cracks. Oil the inside of your instrument about every month to prevent cracking. Carefully dry after every practice and leave the case open for it to air out. Keep cork joints in good condition with wax. It sounds like a lot, I know, but it will keep your recorder playable for many, many years.

I hope you take up the recorder and find that it can be played as an instrument, not just tooted on in music class!

I have been notified that there is a recorder even higher than the sopranino. A garklein flötlein. A good alternative name would be the Reaper, as anyone who hears it must explode with great vigor.

Re*cord"er (r?*k?rd"?r), n.


One who records; specifically, a person whose official duty it is to make a record of writings or transactions.


The title of the chief judical officer of some cities and boroughs; also, of the chief justice of an East Indian settlement. The Recorder of London is judge of the Lord Mayor's Court, and one of the commissioners of the Central Criminal Court.

3. Mus.

A kind of wind instrument resembling the flageolet.

[Obs.] "Flutes and soft recorders."



© Webster 1913.

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