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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000178.txt from 1995/03

From: Josias Associates <josassoc@-----.COM>
Subj: Re: eb sop. clar.
Date: Mon, 6 Mar 1995 18:43:14 -0500

As a frequent player of the Eb soprano clarinet for many years,
I have been trying to find time to add some comments to the interesting
ongoing discussion.


I play a Buffet instrument, and started out on a Kasper
mouthpiece, which played fairly well in tune but produced a strident
sound. I next attempted playing a Kanter mouthpiece, which produced an
acceptable sound but was flat in the altissimo register. I now play a Van
Doren B44, which seems to combine the Kasper intonation with the Kanter
sound. I read with special interest Fred Jacobowitz's high regard for the
stock Buffet mouthpiece, which he prefers to the B44. Since I bought my Eb
second hand and it came with the Kasper mouthpiece only, I never had the
chance to try the Buffet. I will, however, try to locate some and try them out.

I use a custom barrel about 2 mm shorter than the standard stock
barrel. After frequent accidental openings of the right-hand sliver key,
I removed it and cemented a cork into the hole normally covered by its
pad. I am convinced that that part of the Eb clarinet does not scale down
successfully from the larger instruments and that many adult hands are
unable to avoid occasional accidental hits on the key.

A couple of years ago, I discovered a strange effect, which I believed
at the time to be peculiar to my instrument but could apply to other Eb
Buffets. The only time I was having intonation problems was during
performances, which, coincidentally, was the only time I used cork
grease. The lubricated cork above the register key was squeezing the
barrel outward, and within a couple of minutes of initial assembly and
tuning, the barrel was far enough out to destroy the tuning. I now
assemble that joint comparatively dry, and that problem has gone away.


One of the playing tips I received several years ago that helped
me with pitch constancy was taking a lot of mouthpiece. In my case, I
take most of the tapered section.


Like others who have contributed to this discussion on the list,
I have benefited from use of some of the fingerings in Peter Hadcock's
orchestral excerpts book (Roncorp). As other players have indicated,
one should work with a tuner and, especially in the upper register,
select the fingering -- at times, new invented ones -- that work for
each player. As others have said, no single fingering works for


I have played a considerable amount of Eb clarinet band
literature and some orchestral parts. Of my limited orchestral
repertoire, the Eb part in the Shostakovich 10th Symphony was the most
demanding. My favorite band selections featuring the Eb clarinet are
Gordon Jacob's "An Original Suite" and Robert Russell Bennett's "Three
Symphonic Songs." Jacob's "William Byrd Suite" is fun also.

A more singular fact, though, is that I've played three
chamber-music recitals with important Eb-clarinet parts, including
one selection for Eb clarinet and piano by William Bolcom that I had

In early February, I received an off-line request for listings of
Eb-clarinet music from a list member at Indiana State University. I sent
a list of mostly chamber music and solos from my library (which had been
notably enriched by mailings from Jerry Pierce) plus one less-well-known
orchestral selection. I'd be happy to forward that limited list to
anyone interested.


Conrad Josias
La Canada, California

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