Great Bass Recorder

Great Bass Recorder

Great-Bass Recorder range

The Great-Bass Recorder is pitched one octave below the Tenor.  It is the first recorder we encounter that is not made in an affordable plastic version.  This means that its availability will be rarer than any of the above instruments.  It has a warm and soft sound, but because of its size, its technique is more limited.  In pitch, it is the exact same as the Tenor Flute, and duets between the two instruments can be effective.  Its soft sound makes it harder to hear in larger groups.

The Great Bass is the largest recorder I have personally played, and I found it to be a useful instrument even if just doubling the bass part at the octave.  However, to fully double the bass part an octave lower, the rarer Contrabass Recorder is needed.

Vivaldi Sonata in F on Great Bass Recorder

Recorders – Introduction



The recorder has developed somewhat of a bad reputation lately.  We see it now as a children’s instrument, only a small teaching toy.  In fact tough, it isn’t that at all.  The recorder may be a simple instrument mechanically, but it is not simple musically.  Remember, one of the the greatest orchestrators of all time, Hector Berlioz, was himself a recorder player.

Part of our stigma may stem from the fact that the recorder never grew up in a sense.  During and after the baroque period, all the other woodwind instruments had key work added to them, when the recorder stayed unadorned.  The lack of key work, in actuality, means that the recorder is harder to play than the rest of the woodwinds, not easier.  The more complex the key system; the easier technique is on an instrument.

All that said, the recorder can become a valuable voice in a band.  Any woodwind play can be called upon to play the instrument, and a makeshift quartet can be formed from various members of other section who otherwise would have just been doubling an already doubled part.

Nowadays, a set of five recorders (Sopranino to Bass) can be purchased for around $250 to $300 (with the Bass taking up more than half of that amount).  This is pocket change for most band programs.


Garklein Recorder

Sopranino Recorder

Soprano Recorder

Alto Recorder

Tenor Recorder

Bass Recorder

Great Bass Recorder

Contrabass Recorder

Subcontrabass Recorder