3.7 Recorder Ergonomics

The variety of instrument sizes in the recorder family results in different weights and strains. It is mainly the right hand and the contact with the lips that stabilise the instrument. The placement of the right thumb on the rear of the instrument is crucial for the strain on the right hand/arm/shoulder. For the thumb to be in a position directly opposite the index finger usually decreases tension in the hand and wrist. If the thumb is overstretched in its joints while playing, muscle tension will also increase around the base of the thumb and around that area of the wrist.

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Illustration 3.7.1. If the joints of the thumb are overstretched, the thumb will be more tense and locked in its middle joint, and this affects the tension in the wrist.
 

With larger instruments, such as the bass and great bass recorders, supporting the weight on a spike or a rest on the floor will ease the strain considerably. If you support the weight when seated by resting the instrument on your feet, the torso will more easily sink inwards and your breathing capacity will decrease.

The significance of the mouthpiece becomes clear with bass recorders, as the position of the mouth becomes more relaxed when you turn the mouthpiece.

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Illustration 3.7.3. Illustration text: This mouthpiece causes the lips and mouth to become very tense.
 

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Illustration 3.7.4. Illustration text: By turning the mouthpiece, the conditions in the mouth become considerably more relaxed.