2 thoughts on “Yamaha YRF-21 Fife, Key of C

  1. Nathan Shirley
    81 of 82 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Excellent, Invaluable, June 13, 2008
    By 
    Nathan Shirley (Marion, NC United States) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Yamaha YRF-21 Fife, Key of C (Electronics)
    This is not a typical 6 hole fife, but instead has 8 holes. There are many variations of fifes in existence, and as far as I can tell, this one seems to be fairly new. It is really a unique instrument, a sort of hybrid between a recorder and flute. It shares many of the better aspects of both instruments- like the flute you can control pitch independent of volume, the C major scale is fingered the same logical way as the flute. Like the plastic soprano recorder it is very small/portable, and likewise very inexpensive. Like both the flute and recorder it overblows at the octave.

    It seems to be an ideal instrument for children transitioning from recorder to flute (as the finger holes are similar to a recorder and the blowing technique required is similar to the flute). Once the blowing and fingering techniques are learned, this instrument is very dynamic and responsive with a very nice range similar to the soprano recorder.

    One slight drawback- the instrument is fully chromatic, but D#s (and the low C#) are more difficult to produce than the other tones as they requires a half hole, and their tone is thus inferior. And of course it produces its accidentals (in C major) in a similar manner to the recorder, manly using cross or ‘fork’ fingerings (but unlike the ‘baroque’ recorder notes ‘F’ and ‘C’ are fingered like the flute, simple, with no cross fingerings). Also, unlike the recorder it doesn’t have double holes on ‘C’ and ‘D’ to produce C# and D#, so they must be produced by other means. This addition would be a great improvement.

    A fine instrument, you must get one or two. It comes with a fingering chart and bag.

    One more comment- I wish Yamaha would also produce a sopranino and alto version of this fife- a garklein, and even tenor would be nice too.

    If Yamaha made double holed soprano, sopranino, and alto fifes in this style, it would be a minor revolution in instrument making. Just imagine, a family of 3-5 flutes, INCREDIBLY inexpensive, able to play the most simple or complex music desired, with a fine range and dynamic control??? Yamaha needs to make these, and launch an ambitious marketing program behind them. I’d even be willing to write a method book and ensemble book for them!

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  2. Daeld
    59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Not a true fife but very nice sound, January 7, 2011
    By 
    Daeld

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Yamaha YRF-21 Fife, Key of C (Electronics)
    I was interested in this “Fife” and at the price I could not resist. Here are the quick pros and cons:

    Pros:
    Beautiful, “pure” sound. Not too breathy. Good esp for the price.
    Great for transitioning from a recorder/pennywhistle to a transverse woodwind instrument (eg flute, fife, irish flute, piccolo, etc)
    The plastic feels sturdy
    Tight two-head construction allows for it to be somewhat tuneable

    Cons:
    This is not a true Fife. It is actually a transverse recorder. A “true” fife is a Bb “simple” system flute with only 6 holes and no thumb hole. A bit like a small irish flute.
    However, it is not a typical transverse recorder either due to unusual fingering.
    In fact, if it was a true transverse recorder, I would have given this 5/5. The main cons really have to do with the rather awful choice of where to put the holes.
    In adult hands, the fingering is rather tight and can cause cramping due to the thumb hole being in an unusual spot.
    The fingering to reach notes is very different from the recorder and different enough from a real fife to make this essentially an entirely different instrument to learn. As I can’t think of any other instrument with this fingering (particularly for the 2nd octave/register), I guess I would not recommend this as a first woodwind instrument (unless you plan to only play the Yamaha “Fife”

    Overall:
    Well, at the price, it is really hard to fault it too much. The sound more than makes up for the uncomfortable playing experience and as such I am happy with it and I would buy it again. However, Unless you like collecting instruments, which are a little unusual (as I do), you might want to give this a miss. However, at this price, you might also want to give it a go anyway!

    Suggested Alternatives:
    For a first woodwind instrument, either a soprano recorder (in C) or a tin whistle (in D). The recorder is by far the most commonly used in schools and probably the most useful to teach basic principles of music making and particularly woodwind music making. Most student recorders are very good. Yamaha make cheap ones that sound nice and so does Shepherd (but harder to find in some places). I recommend avoiding the wooden ones for beginners as they are more expensive and most new players will damage their recorder some way! The tin whistle is by far the cheapest with good fingering and good teaching tool for many music principles. It also has a wonderful sound. I would recommend either a Clarke Sweetone or a Walton Little Black; both have very nice sound and are very forgiving on the learner. I think the Sweetone has a superior sound than the Walton, but that’s just my opinion. The Generaton range are readily available but sound is not as nice and can have problems with poor tuning. Clarke make a very cheap whistle called the “Meg” but the quality is a bit variable (I have two: one is only just OK and the other is excellent).

    For a first transverse instrument, most recorder or tin whistle players don’t need a “transitioning” instrument unless they are quite young. If a flute is too big or too expensive, one could try a dixon irish flute (keyless), which can be found for about half the price of the cheapest silver flutes. Alternatively one could start with a proper fife, but some people would argue that these are a little harder to play than a regular flute.

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