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How do I know whether to use English or German fingerings for my recorder?

Not by the two double holes, as many people still believe.

It is standard today for both types of recorders, those with English fingerings and those with German fingerings, to have double holes. They are needed to play a good C# and D# (on a Soprano). In the past very cheap recorders had no double holes at these positions and in Germany these cheap recorders very often had the German fingering. At that time the recorders for advanced players had both double holes and English fingering.

To identify which fingering you have, examine holes 4 and 5 at the front of the recorder. The holes are counted from the top down. Holes 4 and 5 are covered by the right hand's index and middle finger.

German fingering

English fingering
Questions & Answers
FingDiff (Upd 2011-11-29) - 74.34-02.11.2016