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North Queensland Recorder Society Newsletter December 2010

Annual General Meeting

The AGM was held on October 17th. The main business was a decision to incorporate the Society. This offers a number of benefits as outlined in the last newsletter. If you have any questions about this, please contact the Secretary/Treasurer, John Batterham.

The new committee elected at the AGM is:
President - Heather Coleman
Treasurer/Secretary - John Batterham
Minutes Secretary - Patricia Reynolds
Members - Lynn Saunders, Valerie Huston

Non committee help includes Jean Dartnall (newsletter editor, play day organiser and library cataloguer) and Malcolm Tattersall (library host and web master).

Heather hc4816@bigpond.net.au
John john@batterham.id.au
Jean jeandartnall@gmail.com

The End of 2010

Sneak Preview of 2011

Your Committee is planning for next year. These are the plans to date: a play day in first term, a weekend workshop in second term, possibly a workshop with David Lawrence in third term if it can be arranged to fit in with his commitments with the Barrier Reef Orchestra, a play day in fourth term, and some kind of carol-playing activity to finish the year. We are planning to have a guest tutor for the weekend workshop, which will probably be held in Townsville the third weekend in May.

The next play day will be on March 13th at St Joseph’s School, Mundingburra, 2.30 – 4.00. Please note the date and look for more details in the February newsletter.

In case you were wondering ... Malcolm Tattersall has agreed to do a column for each issue of the newsletter about questions that members may come across in their playing. If you have questions that you would like him to tackle please contact the newsletter editor, jeandartnall@gmail.com. Here is his first contribution.


In response to a reader’s question (Yay! We have a reader!), I will try to clarify the signs used in our music to show how notes are joined or separated. The general term is ‘articulation’ and it is also used to talk about speech (if you are mumbling, your articulation is poor) and about trucks (semi-trailers are articulated vehicles).
There are differences in the way articulation is marked or interpreted by different instruments. For instance, string players understand a slur to mean all the notes under it are played in one bow-stroke, which is nearly the same effect as our slur, but pianists cannot slur in anything like our way and interpret a slur as phrasing or as legato playing. For wind players, including us as recorder players, articulation means tonguing. The ratio of sound to silence can vary from 100:0 (slurs) to about 25:75 (staccatissimo).
Our ‘default’ ratio - ‘normal’ playing - is legato: Start each note with a light tongue stroke and end it with the preparation for the next note so the gap is very short. This ‘normal’ articulation is not usually defined but the ratio of sound:silence is about 95:5.
How do I know? Marvels of modern science. My notation software lets me set the ratio in its playback preferences and a bit of experimentation showed me that anywhere close to that ratio sounds reasonably natural.
How is it marked? It isn’t.

The other common articulations are:

Less common, but still clear:

Finally, the confusing or ambiguous articulation markings:

Notated examples of various articulations

There is so little difference between portato and mezzo staccato in practice that it is no surprise they are sometimes shown the same way. I suspect that both came to us from string playing, where the difference between them is a matter of bow direction rather than sound.
In all cases, but especially where there are no articulation markings, listen and think and experiment. Articulation markings were hardly used until the baroque and have often been used inconsistently since then!


Are you a financial member? Memberships are due from January 1st 2011 and can be paid at the first playday.
Benefits of membership include:

Membership fees: $15 (Single), $25 (Family), $10 (student).

Newsletter compiled by Jean Dartnall

Page created Dec 29, 2010