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The Recorder; some Historical Landmarks
upon me: and makes me resolve to practise wind-music, and to make my wife do the like.'
That Pepys intended to keep his resolve is evident from the entry in his diary for 8th April 1668 where he states that after another visit to the theatre, this time the Duke of York's playhouse, where he saw The Unfortunate Lovers, he went 'to Drumbleby's, and there did talk a great deal about pipes; and 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'. How skilled Pepys became on the instrument we have no means of telling from his diary. Perhaps, like many modern would-be players, he found it much more difficult to learn than he had expected.
Early in the sixteenth century, a treatise on the playing of musical instruments was published, the recorder being one of those provided with a table of fingerings. In this and the following century much music was written which was suitable for playing on recorders as well as on other instruments* Though much of this music was not written specifically for the recorder, it was assumed that it would be useful to recorder players. Composers then, as now, kept an eye on the musical market and if the demand was there, they were prepared to meet it.
In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, much music was written expressly for recorders, particularly for the treble which was then enjoying a great popularity. In 1679 there appeared the first instruction book dealing solely with recorder playing and this was followed through the years by others.
Early in the seventeenth century the recorder was used in operas of the day. In England in the second half of the century