Definition and background:
A wind instrument of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Baroque eras. The recorder is a simple instrument related to the flute; it is sounded by blowing into one end and the pitch is adjusted by covering finger holes. This instrument does not have a reed but is voiced simply by forcing air through a whistle mouthpiece as a duct flute. The Renaissance recorder differed from that of the Baroque in that the Renaissance recorder had a more cylindrical bore, while the Baroque recorder had a more conical bore. During the Baroque era, this instrument began to be overshadowed by the transverse flute. Also [Eng.] recorder; [Fr.] fl'te' bec or [Fr.] fl'te douce; [Ger.] Beckfl'te or [Ger.] Blockfl'te or [Ger.] Schnabelfl'te; [It.] flauto dolce or [It.] flauto diritto; [Sp.] flauta de pico. a type of reed less woodwind instrument, made in a variety of sizes. Sopranino, descant, treble, tenor and bass. The recorder was used heavily between the 16th-and 18th-centuries, but gave way to the side-blown flute. Revived in the 20th-century, it is often the first instrument taught to children.
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary