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How to Play the Note C on a Recorder

Recorder image by Ellanorah from Fotolia.com

You can play the note C in three different octaves on the recorder, each of which has a separate set of fingerings. The first is middle C. (Though now used for note reference on other instruments, the term “middle C” was originally coined based on placement on a piano, as it sits almost exactly in the middle of the conventional 88-key keyboard.) The second is a high C, a full octave above middle C. The third is an even higher C, which is a full octave above the first high C.

Middle C

Cover the thumb hole with either your left or right thumb. (If you are right-handed, cover the hole with your left thumb and vice versa if you are left-handed.) The thumb hole is a single hole located on the back of the recorder.

Place your fingers on your first hand comfortably over the first four holes on the recorder, making sure to cover every hole completely so no air escapes.

Use the first three fingers of your other hand to cover all remaining holes. Your middle and fourth fingers will need to cover both adjacent holes simultaneously to play middle C. Make sure each finger covers each hole completely, and blow into the mouthpiece.

High C

Cover the thumb hole with your thumb from your first hand.

Use your third finger, also on your first hand, to cover the second hole on the recorder.

Make sure both fingers cover each hole tightly and blow to create the high C note. You can use your other hand to hold the recorder steady, but do not cover any holes with it.

Highest C

Cover half of the thumb hole using your thumb on your first hand. Leave half of the thumb hole exposed.

Use the forefinger of your first hand to cover the first hole (directly opposite from your thumb hole). Cover the fourth hole using the pinky on the same hand.

Use the forefinger of your second hand to cover the hole immediately following the hole you are covering with your pinky from your other hand. Cover all holes, except the thumbhole, completely and blow.

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