The recorders of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance
are significantly different from their High Baroque suc-
cessors both in appearance and sound. Differences are
to be found both in their internal bore and outward
appearance. Like so many of the instruments today con-
sidered to be European, the recorder has its roots in the
Oriental-Asian area. It was introduced to Europe on the
one hand by the Moors via Spain and on the other hand
by slaves from the East. It is to be found in many shapes
and forms in illustrations, sculpture and literary descrip-
tions. The form always used in art music had a thumb
hole at the back and seven finger holes on the front. The
number of holes varies widely in instruments used in folk
and popular music (sometimes without a thumb hole),
and the instruments are often made of reeds. Players
of recorders were often associated with the attributes
"disreputable" and "lascivious". The instrument was
frequently considered to be a tool of the devil. Unfortu-
nately only fragments of recorders from the Middle Ages
still exist. Two complete instruments from the 14th and
15th centuries respectively have been preserved, but
unfortunately they are unplayable. Thus reconstructed
instruments have to be based solely on the inter-
pretation of preserved specimens, illustrations and