More music with my dad

Here are a couple more videos of my dad and me playing together. Like in the last post, I’m playing the Helder tenor and he’s playing a guitar he built.

“Homeless” is a composition of my dad’s, which began life as a song; but this version has a recorder part instead of vocals.

“Blackberry Blossom” is a traditional tune arranged for solo guitar by Stephen Bennett. In this version, I’m mostly playing along with the guitar part with a few minor changes we worked out. But we really enjoyed how all that unison playing worked out!

Incidentally, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel here. Updates will be sporadic for now, but I do plan on adding stuff here and there. And here’s my dad’s channel too.

2 thoughts on “More music with my dad

  1. What a wonderful version of Blackberry Blossom. Both of you are wonderful musicians. I loved your original song Look Away. Your dad looks to be a fine instrument maker also. Not an easy thing to do. I play at Contra and barn dances here locally and as you know they go on for hours. I use the better plastic recorders because of the condensation issues with wooden recorders. I really like your experimentation with the fipple parts to try and get more time on the instrument especially when playing a long gig. The Helder appears to play louder on low notes and has a great upper register. Baroque recorders can be fickle at the top of their range.

    1. Thanks for your comment, and sorry for the late reply! Real comments get buried with the spam, so I don’t see them until I clear that out.
      I also play for English country dances, which do go on awhile. The best thing you can do for clogging, which is basically 100% effective on any recorder is to use a chemical handwarmer (those little packets you can put in your gloves, which are air-activated), held onto the front of the beak with a rubber band. It sort of looks like your recorder has a head wound, but it keeps the windway heated to above body temperature, which prevents condensation and therefore clogging. You’ll still have to periodically swab out the body, because the rest will still get condensation which can run down and fill the thumb hole. But that would be every several dances, not every several measures. Those packets don’t get warm enough to hurt either plastic or wood, and work equally well on either one. Particularly helpful in cold spaces!
      Yes, the Helder has a great upper register. Because of the extension down to low B and some other things, it actually has a 3-octave range (or a bit more than that). The third octave is all new, harmonic fingerings. But the first two octaves are just like a Baroque recorder, with basically the same quirks. In general, Baroque recorders should have a good high range; if you’re having trouble with it being reliable in the top of the normal two-octave range, you might look into having it re-voiced. It could also be an issue of thumb technique, which can also be sensitive.
      For dance music, the extra range of the Helder is really nice because there are a lot more tunes that fit in two different octaves; or fiddle tunes that have high C# and high E that a Baroque tenor doesn’t really have without covering the bell on your leg, while those are real fingerings on the Helder.
      Anyway, thanks for listening! 🙂

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