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Any woodwind hackers out there?
Aulos 311 without a C# key
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Peter
West Sussex, England UK
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December 30, 2019 - 12:51 pm
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I have a small collection of fipple aerophones (tinwhistles and recorders), including a rather glorious Aulos tenor recorder. This has a lovely tone, and I'm slowly getting used to the stretch needed in my right hand, but it has a problem: it's the variant without the C# key. Without this, all my favourites in Dmaj will be awkward to play.

Does anyone know of a modification to add a C# valve, or a way of regulating the C valve to just crack off to give C# by having a half-step against a detent (think, camera focussing  shutter release button...)?

I guess there may be some exotic fingering to attain C#, but I haven't discovered it either by research or experiment.

Yes, I've posted this question on a recorder forum, but the membership is tiny compared with Fiddlerman, and I've come to respect the depth and width of the musical experience here.

Peter

"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

"A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in" - Frederick the Great

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Irv
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December 30, 2019 - 3:49 pm
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Would you need to access both c and c# in the same piece of music, or only one or the other?

Man has no special rights because he belongs to a particular race.  The soul emanates equal and eternal from bodies different in shape and color.  It is sufficient to say ‘Man’ to comprehend therein all rights.                                                    — Jose Marti 

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

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Peter
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December 30, 2019 - 4:16 pm
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Irv said
Would you need to access both c and c# in the same piece of music, or only one or the other?

  

There's always the threat of accidentals, but I see where you're going with this; perhaps a temporary 'stop' which prevents complete valve closure would sharpen the C. Perhaps also that stop could be keyed in and out, making the two notes always available.

The two-key tenors have the keys side-by-side, allowing the little C hole or the pair (thus C#) being closed; mine has just one large C hole. What I now have in mind (too late to experiment tonight) would achieve the same outcome, using one hole but two keys, the new key puts a thin [something] across a narrow chord of the hole, leaking the hole enough for C#. I foresee work with brass shim stock, a torsion spring and a new toy for my right pinkie.

Apologies for thinking out loud like this, but I needed to record the idea somewhere. Your question made me think; thanks Irv.

Peter

"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

"A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in" - Frederick the Great

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Irv
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December 30, 2019 - 9:01 pm
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I vaguely remember putting tape over a section of a flute tone hole that was giving me an intonation problem.  I was thinking, if the tone hole was large enough, to divide it on a temporary basis with silly putty (or more permanently with a silicone plug “c” shape that could be inverted depending upon need).  

Man has no special rights because he belongs to a particular race.  The soul emanates equal and eternal from bodies different in shape and color.  It is sufficient to say ‘Man’ to comprehend therein all rights.                                                    — Jose Marti 

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

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Peter
West Sussex, England UK
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December 31, 2019 - 7:03 am
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I spent some time this morning experimenting with stops made of materials of varying modulus to find the elusive C#. It seems I need to make an annular restrictor for that hole; just cracking the single, large hole 7 doesn't work, it's very difficult to get a clear note probably because of the complex airway. The recorder wants a clean hole, and a vaguely-open valve is only capable of making a very out-of-character mess of harmonics.

Although the number of playable keys using C# outnumber those using C, the overwhelming number of  C-dependent songs in my rep mean that a temporary, annular restrictor would be useful for only a few. I guess I didn't analyse the problem fully. I may try one when I have access to resources (I'm on leave until 6th January), or I may just get on with learning my scales and enjoying the instrument's gorgeous tone.

Peter

"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

"A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in" - Frederick the Great

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Irv
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December 31, 2019 - 8:25 am
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Another possibility is to extend a cylinder through the tone hole into the bore of the instrument at an angle so that it opens upon the area of c#.

Man has no special rights because he belongs to a particular race.  The soul emanates equal and eternal from bodies different in shape and color.  It is sufficient to say ‘Man’ to comprehend therein all rights.                                                    — Jose Marti 

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

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Sasha
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December 31, 2019 - 7:36 pm
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Just out of curiosity, is there any reason you cannot transpose the music?

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Peter
West Sussex, England UK
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January 1, 2020 - 4:18 am
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Zilthy said
Just out of curiosity, is there any reason you cannot transpose the music?

  

Hi Zilthy, welcome to the forum.

I have no rational excuse for not just transposing; there are also simple harmonising substitutions for each occurrence of the missing note, but I still feel technically disappointed by the chromatic shortfall.

I'm guilty of being more enthusiastic about the engineering challenges of every instrument I own than about its musical capabilities. Around half of my collection of stringed, wind and electronic instruments are either self-built or self-modified, and this enchanting (but rather heavy) ABS tenor recorder has a niggling omission which is an itch I'm compelled to scratch.

I'm also very fickle. Since starting this thread, I've turned the bulk of my attention to making a low-D whistle out of PVC overflow pipe, and noted that this will need a keyed valve for me to reach that D4 hole. This project has advanced very quickly, and the thing is already playable, apart from that which I cannot reach with my right ring finger (my pinkie can, though).

For now at least, the big Aulos will be practiced with side-by-side and time-sharing with my electric fiddle each day, and most of my favourite songs are playable on it directly in their native keys. Perhaps I should just try to control my baser technical urges.

Peter

"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

"A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in" - Frederick the Great

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