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Ganassi

Renaissance recorders

Sylvestro Ganassi (1492-mid 16th century) was a recorder and viol virtuoso in the 16th century. He wrote a famous treatise called 'Opera intitulata Fontegara (Venice 1535)' in which he describes among others the art of diminution. He also gives fingering charts for the recorder. This book is very important for recorder players since it is the first 'recorder method' ever written. Besides that it gives us good ideas about the performance practice in the 16th century.

It is not sure if Ganassi was a recorder maker himself but the late Australian recorder maker Frederick Morgan found an alto recorder in G in Vienna (Austria) which can be played with the fingerings described in 'La Fontegara'. Frans Brüggen played the copy that Morgan made and many recorder players followed his example. This is the reason why modern recorder makers make socalled 'Ganassi recorders', which are mostly based on Morgans replica, but each maker makes her or his own adaptations.

The renaissance recorders after Ganassi are very well suited for music from the 16th century (for example diminutions and recercares by among others Bassano, Ortiz, Virgiliano), 17th century (canzonas and sonatas by composers like Castello, Fontana, Uccellini) and the 20th century (works from among others Eggert, Moser, Tsoupaki).

The sound is very open and direct. The low register is especially strong. These instruments have a range of more than two octaves.

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