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While the recorder today is primarily an instrument performed by school children, this family of instruments has a long history, and was once more popular than the flute. This paper examines when, why, and how the Western transverse flute surpassed the recorder in popularity. After an explanation of the origins, history, and overlapping names for these various aerophones, this paper examines the social and cultural, technical, and musical reasons that contributed to the recorder’s decline. While all of these factors undoubtedly contributed to this transition, ultimately it appears that cultural, economic, and technical reasons were more important than musical ones, and eventually culminated in the greatly developed popular contemporary flute, and the unfortunately under respected recorder.