History of the recorder

Woodwind instruments of various lengths make the recorder family. Part of it are the smallest playable recorder, the Garklein recorder of 17 cm length, the 188 cm long Sub-Bass and as well as the largest recorder in the world, the Subcontrabass with a length of 2.45m. The British King Henry VIII (16th century) owned a collection of more than 100 recorders!

Who: children from 1st grade, adolescents, adults
Lessons: alone, group, ensemble
Beginner instrument: soprano recorder from CHF 100.- / alto recorder from CHF 280.-
Musical styles: classic, world music, pop/rock/jazz, folk music, contemporary
Flyer about the recorder (German only)

The history of the recorder

Stone Age, approx. 45’000 years ago


Bone recorders, oldest musical instrument in the world after the voice and drums

Middle Ages / Renaissance (500-1550/1600)

Renaissance Blockfloete

Wooden recorders, simple straight form, wide holes, soft sound
Belong to the most important woodwind instruments

Baroque (1550/1600 – 1750)

Barock Blockfloete

Wooden records, ornamented form, narrow holes, bright sound – for the articulate distinction of the sound as opposed to singing
Are very much in vogue and very popular


Recorder manufactures as well as alone working recorder makers have made various further developments of the recorder. A small selection:

  • Alto recorder lengthened by a semitone – playable up to e’
  • Blowing mechanism with an additional Souffleur-hole to play piano without having the intonation suffering
  • Cylindrical, wide tube with additional flaps, playable up to three octaves, strong sound
  • Alto recorder, new model, amplified electrically

Eagle by Geri Bollinger und KÜNG


Elody – Alto recorder by Nik Tarasov and Mollenhauer, in a new Design!

Why is the recorder being called BLOCKflöte in German?

Without block, no sound!
In the headpiece, there is a block made of soft wood which enables the recorder to sound when blowing in it.

Block of the recorder