Fred Morgan’s fingering charts for ‘Ganassi’ type recorders

Table 1. Facsimile

As promised in an earlier article, I’ve been collecting some information about Fred Morgan’s work with the intention of making it publicly available. Both for practical and historical reasons, but also for the valuable and highly interesting data contained in his documents: I’m sure they will be handy for today’s players and makers as a useful reference source.

So here are three of the fingering charts that he made over the years for his “Ganassi”- type recorders. They’re incredibly accurate and detailed, surely an extension of the immense amount of thought he put into the development of his own “Ganassi” model (from which most contemporary recorder makers have derived their own ones), and well worth having on hand—ironically, they may be harder to find nowadays than Ganassi’s 1535 ones.

Table 1. Basic fingerings for F.G. Morgan Ganassi type descant recorder in g’. May 1987

Note [1st 8ve] Note [2nd 8ve] Note [3rd 8ve]
I g’ 0123 4567 VIII g” 02 XV g”’ 0123 4567
II a’ 0123 456 #VIII g#” 12 #XV g#”’ 0123 467
bIII bb’ 0123 456 IX a” 2 XVI a”’ 0123 7
III b’ 0123 45 bX bb0123 456 bXVII bb”’ 023 & 0123 56 K
IV c” 0123 46 X b” 0123 45 XVII b”’ 0123 56
#IV c#” 0123 567 XI c”’ 0123 46 XVIII c”” 012 45
V d” 0123 #XI c#”’ 0123 56 #XVIII c#”” 012 4
#V d#” 012 456 XII d”’ 0123 XIX d”” 0123 46
VI e” 012 #XII d#”’012 4 #XIX d#”” 013 56
VII f” 013 4 & 013 56 XIII e”’ 012 XX e”” 013
#VII f#” 01 XIV f”’ 013 56
#XIV f#”’ 01 56 & 01 7

This table is organised chromatically and contains all the notes of the instrument (two octaves and a sixth), to which could be perhaps added #I/bII (g#’/ab’, 0123 4567).

☞ A scan of the original document can be found here.


Table 2. F. G. Morgan “Ganassi”-type recorder in g’

See here a similar table by Fred with a different disposition that closely follows Silvestro Ganassi’s original charts in chapter 3 of Fontegara (“Regola apertenente a tutte le voce di esso instrumento”). Since it practically contains identical information as table 1 (see point 3 below), it’s not reproduced here. However, there are a few things worth mentioning about its structure:

  1. First staff includes “The First Thirteen Notes” (or “l’ordine del soprano in la proprieta di be quadro”, as Ganassi puts it), excluding accidentals. Fingerings are identical to Ganassi’s except for two notes:

    1.1. VIII (f”): Ganassi gives 013 67 & 013
    1.2. IX (a”): Ganassi indicates all holes open instead of closed hole 2

  2. Second staff includes “Ganassi’s Seven Notes More” (“le sette voce de piu”) in the third octave, comprising notes XIV (f”’) to XX (e""). Unlike Ganassi’s original high notes charts, this one excludes three of the accidental notes (namely: #XIV (f#”’), #XV (g#”’) and bXVII (bb”’), but they are added in a third staff (table 2b below) that also follows Ganassi’s chart organisation (see his “ordine de la sustentation” chart) in which both are devoted to accidental notes.

  3. Finally, comparing Fred’s own tables 1 & 2 above, there’s only one tiny difference between them: table 2 (the “Ganassi-like” one) adds a small knee shadow (“K ½”, literally) to note XIX (d"" 0123 46 K ½).

Table 2b. Chromatic Fingerings for Aron Meantone

Note [1st 8ve] Note [2nd 8ve] Note [3rd 8ve]
#V d#” 012 4567 bXIII eb”’ 0123 567 #XV g#”’ 013 467
bVI eb” 012 456 #XIV f#”’ 01 567 #XVI a#”’ 023
bXVII bb”’ 0123 56 K

Table 2b is the second part of table 2, and it gives the fingerings of the accidental notes for Pietro Aron’s meantone temperament. Fred’s document contains fourteen notes, though only seven (the Aronized ones) are included in table 2b, since the rest are just identical to those in table 1 above.

☞ A scan of the original document can be found here.


Morgan vs. Ganassi charts for chromatic notes: a comparison

When comparing table 2b to Ganassi’s chart for accidental notes (“ordine de la sustentation”), the following differences can be observed:

  1. #V/bVI (d#”/eb”): Both Ganassi and Morgan specify two different fingerings for the #V/bVI note. Morgan gives a very low one for the #V note (d#” 012 4567; slightly higher in table 1: 012 456), and a higher one for bVI (eb” 012 456). Ganassi gives also high and low fingerings for such notes but, curiously enough, his lower one equals Morgan’s higher sounding fingering (012 456), and the high one sounds indeed very sharp: 012 45. Ganassi only uses sharps in his chart, but we could probably assume that his lower fingering could be applied to the #V note (d#”).
  2. #VII (f#"): This note differs from Ganassi’s chart, but just because there must be a mistake in Ganassi’s book, since all the holes in Fontegara’s recorder image corresponding to this fingering are open, giving the impression that this particular fingering was unintentionally left blank. So, the correct fingering should probably be 01, just the same as in Morgan’s chart.
  3. #VIII (g#”): We find here exactly the same problem as before, the finger holes in Fontegara’s recorder image corresponding to this fingering seem to have been unintentionally left blank. Considering that two of the most common Renaissance fingerings for this note (0 & 12) would be pretty close to a recorder image with the finger holes not filled in (all holes open), this hypothesis seems reasonable.
  4. #XI (c#”’): Same fingerings but Ganassi gives also a second, higher one (0123 5).
  5. #XII/bXIII (d#”’/eb”’): Opposite case as before, it’s now Morgan who gives a second fingering for this note, making a distinction between a lower d#”’ (012 4) and eb”’ (0123 567), although this fingering can actually be pretty flexible depending on how much you close hole 7.
  6. Ganassi’s chart for chromatic notes does not go up beyond note #XII (d#”’), since his fingerings for the third octave are found in another place: his “Seven Notes More” (“le sette voce de piu”) chart.

Table 3. Fingerings for Ganassi type soprano in c”

[1st 8ve] [2nd 8ve] [3rd 8ve]
c” 0123 4567 c”’ 02 c”” 0123 4567
d” 0123 456 d”’ 2 d”” 023 7
e” 0123 45 e”’ 0123 45 e”” 023 56
f” 0123 46 f”’ 0123 46 f”” 012 45
g” 0123 g”’ 0123
a” 012 a”’ 012
b” 01 b”’ 01 567

Accidentals:

[I] [II]
f#” 0123 567 f#”’ 0123 56
g#” 012 456 g#”’ 012 4
bb” 013 4 & 013 56 bb”’ 013 567
c#” 12 c#”’ 013 46
d#” 0123 456 & 23 456 d#”’ 023 56 + Bell closed.

As can be seen, this table has another layout again but still follows Ganassi’s logical way of organising notes and fingerings by separating natural and chromatic notes, and then by different octaves. All the fingerings here are included and do not differ from those in table 1, with the following exceptions:

  1. The g Alto bX note (bb”, see table 1 above) is now actually #IX (d#”) on the soprano, which can also be fingered as 23 456.
  2. The g Alto #XIV note (f#”’) is now natural XIV (b”’), fingered 01 567.
  3. The g Alto XIV note (f”’) is now bXIV (bb"’), which gets here the slightly lower fingering 013 567.
  4. The g Alto #XV note (g#”’) is now c#”’ (also #XV), but gets the slightly higher fingering 013 46.
  5. The g Alto bXVII note (bb”’) is now actually #XVI (d#”’), fingered 023 56 + Bell [completely] closed.
  6. The g Alto XVI note (a”’), equivalent to d”” in the soprano, gets now the easier fingering 023 7.
  7. Same for the g Alto XVII note (b”’), equal to e”” in the soprano, which gets now the easier fingering 023 56.
  8. And finally, the g Alto XVIII note (c””), equivalent to f”” in the soprano, which gets now the easier fingering 012 45.

“Playing in”

The following text about ‘playing in’ and maintenance of a new instrument is included in the original document below the fingering chart:

“This instrument has been blown for some hours and adjusted as needed to ensure that it will play for about one hour at a time without significant movement occurring in the windway. It may, and should, be blown for about one hour at a time from the very beginning. If it is played for substantially longer periods without being allowed to dry, some change may be noticed in the sound.
The bores have been sealed with a polyurethane varnish, then re-reamed and oiled with Raw Linseed Oil, or Flaxseed Oil as it is also known, which is a drying oil. The instrument should be oiled every few months, or more often if the bores look very dry.”

☞ See a scan of the original document here.


Note: underlined numbers (ex. 0) always mean partially closed holes. Due to the numerical characters design of the specific typeface used in this website, underlined numbers 3 & 7 have been replaced in some instances by strike through numbers (3 & 7) to make them more readable, but both methods always mean partially closed holes.

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