You must have played one of these at school ? I
know I did. The principle of the recorder or whistle mouthpiece seems as old
as mankind. The instrument's essential features are the lip (cut near the
top of the body), the fipple (a block of wood inserted in the end to be
blown), and the windway (a narrow channel along the fipple through which air
is blown against the edge of the lip to produce sound).
It is difficult to document the recorder's early history due to the
inability to positively identify what is and what is not a recorder in
medieval art. Perhaps the earliest portrayal is an eleventh-century carving
on a stone pillar in the church at Boubon-l'Achambault, St George, France.
For more information on the early recorders, see Nicholas Lander's medieval
Organetto Pipe and
Tabor Psaltery Rebec
Recorder Sacbut Schalmei Serpent Shawm Shofar Viol