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People of all kinds have taken to playing the recorder in
recent years, charmed by the mellowness of its tones and
pleased by the simplicity of the fingering used to make the
notes. To some extent, the instrument's new popularity may be
due to the concerts given in all parts of the country by the
Austrian Trapp family. This delightful group has introduced
recorder playing to thousands of people, many of whom have
gone right off to music stores to get their own recorders.
The recorder is a very ancient instrument, which has a fas-
cinating historical background. It was used by the ancient
Egyptians, Assyrians and Greeks and by the Aztecs of Mexico.
During the Middle Ages it was played throughout the Euro-
pean countries, and its popularity is attested to by the fact
that Henry VIII had seventy-five recorders, which he was very
fond of playing. A century and a half later, we find Pepys re-
ferring to the recorder in his famous diary. Thus, on April 8,
1668, he wrote: "Did buy a recorder, which I do intend to
learn to play on, the sound of it being, of all sounds in the
world, most pleasing to me."
One of the greatest pleasures that recorder players have is in
playing duets, trios, and quartets with their friends. This is
possible because there are soprano, alto, tenor and bass record-
ers, each with a different range of notes and each able to play
its part as a voice would sing it. The alto is the one that is most
widely used for solo playing, though the soprano is also popular.