It’s time to play everybody’s favourite quiz game, “What the hell is this?” Featuring me! And a found musical instrument at an estate sale*, which I rescued, and which appears to be some kind of recorder variant. But doesn’t entirely act like the recorders I’ve known. Is there a name for this thing? Check it out:

Your Mystery Guest

It’s in F! For FEAR ME. Which really should be PH for PH33R M3 but it’s probably too old for that. The head is totally recorder-like:

That’s a recorder reed right there

But it has keys! And thing is, there was a recorder right next to it, which did not have keys, but was in the same size and has the usual double-holes at the bottom, and which also sounded a lot more like a standard recorder.


This doesn’t sound completely unlike a recorder – it’s still obviously a woodwind and all that – but there’s just some qualities of it which sound different. Maybe that’s just being what I suspect is at least partially hand-made – check out these holes, they look like ones you find on handmade bamboo flutes, only shorter. Also, the upper octave is played – in my experiments trying to figure it out so far – unlike a normal recorder.

Handmade or just sloppy?

Anyway, it’s clearly some sort of recorder variant, but does it have a name?

* IF THIS HELPS: the estate was of a Jewish couple originally from South Africa. There’s acres of old original-8mm-size movie film marked things like “Rhodesia road trip, 1954,” and a projector for the film. Also acres of slides going back 60 years. And pottery supplies priced in South African Rand. If you’re a visual artist, contact me, I’ll tell you where.