The 10 Best Soprano Recorders
This wiki has been updated 5 times since it was first published in May of 2020. The recorder is often the first instrument that children learn to play, largely due to its simplicity, portability and low cost. However, as with all instruments, it can be played skillfully, and holds an important place within the woodwind section of orchestras. While they are available in a number of musical ranges, the most commonly used are sopranos, such as those ranked here. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
June 26, 2020:
The recorder is a common learning instrument in school music curriculums and this is where a lot of us take our first tentative steps into learning about harmony when playing as an ensemble. Part of the internal duct flute group within the woodwind family, it is available in a number of ranges, from the sub-great bass at the low end, to the piccolo at the higher register, with the soprano, its most popular variant, falling in between.
When choosing a recorder, you have a choice of two different fingerings, namely the Baroque (or English) style, and the German style. The Baroque recorder was developed during the renaissance era and is distinguishable for having a smaller fourth hole than fifth. It is favored by many schools for its better tuning, although finger positions can become rather uncomfortable when playing with this configuration. The examples of the Baroque style within this ranking are the EastyGold Descant Flauta, Eastar ERS-21BN, Eastar ERS-31BM, Asmuse Baroque, Hohner 9550, and the Hohner 9532.
Alternatively, you may opt for the German fingering style, which features a simplified configuration, and is more comfortable for beginners to play. Developed in the 1920s, this style is distinctive from the Baroque recorder for having a larger fourth hole than fifth, and it is essential that students clarify which type of instrument they should purchase, especially if they will be playing as part of a group. The German fingered models in this ranking are the Eastrock Set, Eastar ERS-21GP, and the Yamaha YRS-23Y.
Another consideration when choosing a recorder is the type of windway (the hole in the mouthpiece), as you have a choice of straight or curved. Straight windways make it easier to produce consistent pitches and are considered to be better suited to beginner to intermediate players, whereas the curved windway offers more wind-resistance and can produce more subtleties in tone for the experienced player. Straight windway models in this ranking include the Yamaha YRS-23Y, and Eastar ERS-21GP, whereas curved windway models include the Yamaha YRS-302BIII, and the Hohner 9532.
Mollenhauer Denner Pearwood The Mollenhauer family of instrument makers has a long tradition dating back to 1822, and they are known for producing some of the world's finest woodwind instruments. This high-end recorder is built using the finest materials, and is notable for its stable sound and agile response, making it an ideal choice for the virtuoso musician. mollenhauer.com