Baroque vs. Renaissance Recorders

Baroque versus Renaissance

There exist two families of recorders, the Baroque and the Renaissance.  The Baroque recorder is the standard model that most people are aware of.  It is a more refined instrument with a clearer sound and a larger range.  The Renaissance instruments are earthier in tone and generally only have a range of an octave and a half.  It is possible for a bandestrator to specify the use of either Baroque or Renaissance, but chances are that it will just be played upon the Baroque anyway.

An ensemble of all Renaissance recorders with the highest instrument being the Bass Recorder (4 Bass Recorders, 4 Great Bass Recorders, 3 Contrabass Recorders, and 1 Sub-Contrabass Recorder)

A quartet of Tenor, Bass, and 2 Great Bass Recorders all on Baroque instruments

Subcontrabass Recorder

Sub-Contrabass Recorders

Sub-Contrabass Recorder range

At the far bottom end of the recorder family are two monstrous recorders pitched an octave below the Great Bass and Contrabass respectively.  There is no set universal name for these two rare beasts.  The instrument in C an octave below the Great Bass is sometimes called a Sub-Contrabass or a Contra Great Bass, while the instrument in F, the largest of all recorders, is either the Double Contrabass or the Sub-Subcontrabass.  Both of these instruments are extremely rare, though not out of the question for groups such as large recorder ensembles or orchestras.  In a band, the texture would have to be the most transparent the bandestrator could possibly make it in order for either of these voices to be heard.

A Sub-Contrabass in an ensemble (note, this ensemble comprises of 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 1 Bass, 2 Great Basses, 2 Contrabasses, and 1 Sub-Contrabass)