Recorder Music

recorder music
Recorder players need recorder music. There is a lot of it, some is great, some is not. Here is a brief guide to the better recorder music.

Some is freely available online. Click here for a selection. All good, however bound editions are nicer to play from than loose printed sheets. So buy some music at least. In particular, beginners are best served by books with graded recorder music, better still they have audio as well. The recorder music library on this site has many beginners (and more advanced) pieces, with audio players included.

Most of the great recorder music was written in the 17th and 18th century. 17th century manuscripts, like the one below on the left, are not easily read. 18th century ones (below right) are better, but still a challenge. Modern editions of this old music are far easier for us to read.

Modern editions come from modern editors. Ones like F.J Giesbert, Edgar Hunt and Heinz Kaestner produced great collections for beginners, drawn from works by Handel, Corelli, Telemann and others. New players should try these pieces as soon as possible, to become familiar with the great baroque masters and experience the beauty of their music.

When buying music, a little care gets a lot more. In particular, never buy a single sonata when a volume with three is available for the same price. The titles below have been selected on this basis. If you buy all of them, you'll have an excellent library.

For Beginners

Once you can read music and play simple pieces, like the preliminary ones on this site or in similar beginners books, then you are ready to start your music collection. The titles below are classics, for good reason. Some are duets, but are fine for solo playing.

Method for the Recorder 100 dance tunes and melodies
F.J. Giesbert
A classic. Out of print, but available on Amazon
Arcangelo Corelli
Easy Pieces
Miniature pieces from the great master, arranged as sporano/alto duets
Available here
Geoge Philip Telemann
Easy Pieces
More sporano/alto duets, from perhaps the greatest recorder composer.
Available here
G.F Handel Pieces and Dances
Handel's recorder music is amongst the best. Easy soprano/alto duets
Available here
The Complete Country Dance tunes from Playford's Dancing Master
From 1650, these simple tunes are still widely played
Available here
Jacobean & Restoration Musicke for Recorder
Arrangements for two, three and four recorders
Available here
The Purcell Collection
Simple charming pieces from the great composer.
Soprano recorder and keyboard
Available here
Elizabethan & Shakespearean Musicke for Recorder
Arrangements for two, three and four recorders
Available here


The line between intermediate and advanced is blurred. The notes in the pieces here are more easily reached than the advanced pieces. Correct style, particularly for Boismortier, is another matter altogether.

6 Duets Op 1
6 Easy Duets Op 17
6 Easy Sonatas
Six Sonatas
Esprit Philip Chedeville
6 Galant Duos
English Duets
18th century duets, for amateur players
O'Neill's Music of Ireland
1895 fiddle tunes, many sit nicely on recorder
Available here


While these pieces reflect my taste, there is general agreement that these guys are the ones to know. The pieces listed merely scratch the surface, particularly so for Telemann, whose output was prodigious.

Jacob Van Eyck
Der Fluyten Lust-Hof
The Baroque Solo Book
Dolce ed Bernard Thomas
The alto solo repertoire. A great edition.
Available here

Free Online Recorder Music

Petrucci Music Library
Vast and extraordinary. Downloadable out of copyright music.
Dolmetsch Online
Many pieces for three, four, five and more recorders
Available here
Steve Hendricks
A large collection of renaissance scores
Available here