Additional Resources for Recorders, Books, and Music

1. Where can I purchase a recorder and recorder music?

One place to try is your local music store. However, you may find that it is not very well stocked when it comes to quality recorders and instruction books. I live in a mid-sized city (Madison, Wisconson), and a recent trip to the music store yielded only crappy $5 "recorder-shaped" plastic tubes in dayglow colors, and three Disney songbooks for kids. If you are lucky enough to live near a music store that is well-stocked in the recorder area, rejoice and support them with your patronage! has a surprisingly good selection of quality plastic recorders (Yamaha and Aulos), recorder instruction books, music, and accessories. If you can't find what you're looking for locally, try there. (I've created an Amazon "Recorder Store", so you can easily find recommended items all in one spot.)

However, Amazon's selection is limited to the most basic items. If you're in the market for a good wooden recorder, or some of the more fun and obscure books and music, you will need to order from a store that specializes in Early Music. I have mail-ordered from all of the following and have had excellent service. (My nice little pearwood Gerhard Huber is from Antique Sound Workshop, and my plumwood Mollenhauer Dream is from von Huene.)

Online sources in the United States:

Antique Sound Workshop
A large selection of wooden recorders, plus music and accessories.

Honeysuckle Music
Wooden recorders, very large selection of music, and accessories.

Kelischek Workshop for Historical Instruments
A small but unique selection of recorders and recorder music. They are the only carriers of plastic Renaissance style recorders that I am aware of. They are also the distributors of Susato Press, which has some unusual Renaissance music publications.

Sheet Music Plus
Does not specialize in Recorders/Early Music per se, but they do have a wide selection of recorder music.

von Huene Workshop
Specializes in high end handmade wooden recorders (arguably the best maker alive today), but also carries  instruments at a variety of price levels, and some recorder music.

2. Where can I get more information about the Recorder?

There are many websites with useful information for recorder players. Here are some I've found especially helpful:

American Recorder Society
Join this society for recorder players of all abilities and interest levels. Get access to their quarterly magazine with informative articles.

Dolmetsch Recorder Method Online
Fingering charts, useful exercises, and reference information about recorder technique.

Antique Sound Workshop
This store's website has a wealth of useful information about selecting and playing a recorder.

Recorder Home Page
Valuable information and databases on a variety of topics, including where to study recorder formally, and contemporary makers of handmade recorders. (I found the layout a bit odd and confusing at first, but figured it out with time.)

3. Are there any good books about recorders?

Not many books are dedicated exclusively to recorders and recorder music. They are often mentioned only briefly in music history books dealing with the Renaissance or Baroque periods. Here are some of my favorite books that focus specifically on recorders:

Kenneth Wollitz, The Recorder Book

This book, written by a long-time recorder teacher, is the one I felt to be most useful to me as a beginner player. It discusses issues of technique such as breathing, articulation, fingering, and vibrato from the point of view of someone just starting out. There are detailed and practical suggestions for how to break up difficult passages and to approach practice more generally. There is also a long chapter which explains various techniques of ornamentation (basically a type of controlled improvisation used in early music). The chapters on recorder repertory I found to be short and not terribly enlightening as compared to other sources (see below). I'd highly recommend this book to all recorder players.

Anthony Rowland-Jones, Recorder Technique

This interesting book written by a virtuoso recorder player is the most in-depth look at how to play the recorder that I have ever seen. Rowland-Jones shares very concrete and specific ideas for how to improve playing technique: breathing, tonguing, achieving good tone, using alternative fingerings for special effects including modulating volume and pitch, etc. Most of these are quite advanced topics, but some are basic and very relevant to the beginner. It also never hurts to have a long view when starting out. Well worth studying by players of various levels.

Rowland-Jones also has a couple of more recent books which I have not read yet:

They look like they will be way over my head... but I will probably read them anyway, as usual. :-) If anyone has read them and has thoughts to share, let us know in the comments!

Hans-Martin Linde, The Recorder Player's Handbook

An old but useful book that has a smattering of information about playing technique, choosing an instrument, and the technicalities of recorder construction. The most thorough and interesting chapters concern the recorder's place in music history, and specific ideas for interpreting early music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods by a contemporary player. The book was originally written in German and the translation I have (from 1974) is at times a bit dicey. (As in, there are multiple sentences where I have absolutely no idea what they mean.) There is a newer revised edition out which you may have more success with.

The Cambridge Companion to the Recorder

This is a collection of short articles written by various authors. I'm not quite sure why it's called a "Companion" (other than the fact that Cambridge has a music series with this title - Cambridge Companion to _____ - and they squeezed this book into the mold). There's really nothing "companionable" about it - it's basically a set of articles about various topics in music history. Some of them I thought were very interesting and informative, and some read like nothing more than lists of places, names and dates, with no substantive discussion of the music itself. The quality of the various articles is rather uneven. It is amply supplied with attractive black and white illustrations and prints, many of which are discussed extensively in the text. Basically I would recommend this book if you want to learn more about the history of recorder music, but if you're primarily interested in a discussion of playing technique, check out the Wollitz or Rowland-Jones books instead.

If you have additional sources of recorders, music, or information you'd like to share, please leave details for everyone in the comments section!

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