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The Descant (I)
The instrument possessed by most recorder owners is the descant, the one about a foot long. This is largely because the descant is cheap to buy and so has become available to a great number of school children. Its popularity with children and teachers lies in the fact that the pitch of the instrument enables it to be used for playing many folk tunes in the school music class.
It is, however, a pity that the descant has come to be the most popular of the instruments in this modern revival, for, as already pointed out, the great composers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries wrote mainly for the treble recorder, the descant being used mostly for an occasional part in ensemble works. As long as a player is confined to the descant, and as long as schools continue to concentrate on this instrument in the music class, so long will the great recorder music written for the treble remain unknown to most players.
However, as so many people possess the descant recorder, it may be better to give some instructions for playing this before dealing with the treble. Let it be said at the outset that there are those who can play the descant really well, but they are few in number. There are many who succeed in blowing the instrument extraordinarily badly, giving listeners a poor impression both of the instrument and its music. Yet the sound of the descant can be quite entrancing when well played.
The descant recorder is not a toy but a serious musical in-