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Sound Catalogue

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The sound catalogue is intended for composers. It consists of audio files of Paetzold recorder sounds and their syntethic notation. It cannot substitute working with a live performer, but it is an accessible first approach to Paetxold recorders for composers. Moreover, it can be thought of as a starting point for recorder players to discover the possibilities offered by these instruments.

General information about the Paetzold recorder and its playing technique

The Paetzold recorder has a similar structure to a square organ pipe, but shares the same characteristics regarding air pressure as all other recorders.

Like the Baroque recorder, there is normally one blowing pressure and consequently one dynamic level which allows a stable and well-tuned pitch. According to the different registers this is between mf and mp. The player can to some extent correct the pitch by the employment of different keys.

Any dynamic variation over these limits will affect the pitch (the tuning of the sound). Going in the direction of f, ff, fff, and sfz, the note will transform into a distorted sound (multiphonic). In the opposite direction- p, pp, ppp- the sound will transform progressively into subtones.

Raising the dynamic level will produce an upward detuning, and once a certain threshold is passed, especially when playing with a sharp attack, this results in the production of a harmonic tone in place of the fundamental tone. This is called "overblowing". The harmonics produced are relative to the fundamental finger position and can be precisely isolated by the control of pressure, so that they are related to the dynamics. The number of possible harmonics that can be produced by overblowing vary according to the register. The overblow on the lowest notes can easily isolate the octave (VIII) harmonic, the fifth above the octave (XII) and the double octave (XV). Above this dynamic level it is possible to obtain higher harmonic tones which are not definite in pitch (harmonic clusters). The maximum pressure produces a very piercing sound that does not change with different finger positions but is related to the size of the instrument’s tube.

If a player underblows (the opposite side of overblowing), the note first detunes (the intonation becomes low) and eventually the pressure will become too low to produce regular notes. Instead, very soft and steady tones usually higher than the fundamental key position are created, the so-called "subtones". If the pressure (and dynamics) are further lowered, whistle tones are generated, which create a very high rustling noise, mixed with breath sounds, whose pitch is continuously changing. The employment of different finger positions reduces or enlarges the length of the pipe as a way to modulate this very soft "parasite" sound. This kind of emission superimposed to a fast random-like pattern of fingerings produces the peculiar "Suono Del Vento" (Wind Sound) first employed by the composer Fausto Romitelli in his solo piece "Seascape" (1994) for amplified F-contrabass Paetzold recorder.

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