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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000351.txt from 1997/09

From: Roger Garrett <rgarrett@-----.edu>
Subj: Re: Well, here we go again
Date: Mon, 8 Sep 1997 14:00:10 -0400

I warned you Deborah!

Roger Garrett

PS...oops...forgot, I am not supposed to post an exclamation with a
reposting of material....it makes for a tough time with those who don't
have time to scan through it all.....my apologies!

> Deborah, you have succeeded in confusing me. You say you agree
> with Roger, but all he said was that he was "dazed" and "amazed."
> I can't tell much from that, but it's a statement that contains
> no criticism or kudos. Roger may mean these things, but I simply
> can't figure out which it is without further information.
>
> So how can you be in agreement with him?
> First you would need to explain what it was he said in order to
> let us know what it was you are in agreement with.
>
> I am pleased that you dedicate yourself to excellence. That is a
> good thing and one that I could never criticize. But I am not
> sure what that means. Could it be that you dedicate yourself
> to those things that you are culturally led to believe are
> a pursuit of excellence? We may have different perceptions of
> what that word means and whether your road to it is better,
> worse, or different than mine. Bottom line, is that the sentence
> relieves you of no obligations that generations of your predecessors
> have shouldered. In effect, it's a cop out. Easy to say. Impossible
> to tie down.
>
>
>
>
>
> > Roger Garrett wrote:
> > >
> > > I am simply amazed.....dazed.....but amazed. I really had fun reading
> > > this!
> > >
> > > Roger Garrett
> > >
> > > On Sun, 7 Sep 1997, Dan Leeson: LEESON@-----.edu wrote:
> > >
> > > > Don Yungkurth has said, "...if you want to play in an orchestra,
> > > > you had better own an A and be able to transpose C parts. I think
> > > > that discussions in the past on Klarinet would tend to support
> > > > the view that professionals transpose as necessary, C parts on
> > > > Bb as well as A on Bb and Bb on A now and then."
> > > >
> > > > This subject and its status causes me to think that we ought to
> > > > have a KLARINET equivalent of the American Civil Liberties
> > > > UNION. The purpose of the ACLU is to focus on the meaning
> > > > of the constitution and the bill of rights. That this is
> > > > necessary is both clear and unambiguous. Without constant
> > > > watching, democracies turn into dictatorships, almost overnight.
> > > > Fundamental rights get trampled onand the interpretation of
> > > > what constitutes the rights of people gets smashed to hell.
> > > > So we have such a group in the ACLUand they constantly
> > > > remind us what the constitution and bill of rights say as
> > > > different organizations attempt to change, dilute, and subvert
> > > > the text and its meaning.
> > > >
> > > > So what does this have to do with C, B-flat, and A clarinets?
> > > >
> > > > It is a matter of perspective and of something called the
> > > > "orchestral palette of sound."
> > > >
> > > > Like studying geometry, we have to lay out the basic
> > > > principles:
> > > >
> > > > (1) unless strong evidence is given to the contrary,
> > > > I presume that the composer of a composition is in
> > > > the best position to tell the performer what he
> > > > wants. Thus, I presume that a clarinetist being
> > > > directed by the composer to perform on a clarinet
> > > > of a certain ptich, is being told by the composer
> > > > to perform on a clarinet of a certain pitch and for
> > > > a reason that, perhaps, neither s/he, nor you, nor
> > > > I will ever know. All we know for certain is what
> > > > the composer said. We don't know what the composer
> > > > meant. It is a national game for the performer to
> > > > say, "what s/he REALLY meant is ..." But the fact
> > > > is that we don't know. We guess, speculate,
> > > > conjecture, and fudge. We only know what is written.
> > > > It is a problem in performance notation. The
> > > > composer says, "Use this" and we have no way to find
> > > > out "Why?".
> > > >
> > > > (2) performers presume that directions to them
> > > > may be interpreted differently in certain respects,
> > > > and these different interpretations have no
> > > > consequences. Don infers that the practice of
> > > > clarinet substitution (C on B-flat, A on B-flat,
> > > > B-flat on A, etc.) has no negative consequences.
> > > > That is to say, though the composer may have
> > > > requested a clarinet of a certain pitch, there are
> > > > almost an infinite number of reasons why these
> > > > clear, explicit, and unambiguous communications
> > > > from a composer may be ignored. Or at least we
> > > > have talked ourselves into that position for the
> > > > last century.
> > > >
> > > > (3) the influence of a particular instrument on
> > > > the orchestral palette of sound is important, but
> > > > not critical when other factors combine to
> > > > require the performer to make substitutions of
> > > > this nature.
> > > >
> > > > So it is natural that when the question arises about the necessity
> > > > to learn to transpose (a requirement that I fully recognize),
> > > > the KLARINET equivalent of the ACLU is off doing something else
> > > > and does not have an opportunity to remind everyone that
> > > > clarinet substitution is an abbertation, often done without
> > > > consideration of the consequences involved, demonstrable of
> > > > a monumental arrogance on the part of clarinet players who
> > > > do not give sufficient consideration to their actions, and,
> > > > finally, not what was asked of the performer by the composer.
> > > > To be blunt, it is the equivalent of suggesting that the
> > > > composer does not know what the hell he is talking about, so
> > > > we're going to do it the way it needs to be done.
> > > >
> > > > There is an alternative to transposition, namely the owning
> > > > of clarinets pitched in C, B-flat, and A. The argument
> > > > that clarinet substitution is necessary because of
> > > > peculiarities in the part writing is now offered as
> > > > justification for doing anything. In some cases, players
> > > > do everything on one instrument so that they do not have to
> > > > carry additional instruments. Somehow this strikes me as
> > > > disingenuous. Sort of a performance practice dictated by
> > > > the weight of load.
> > > >
> > > > There probably are passages so poorly written that changing
> > > > clarinets as directed presents logistical and mechanical
> > > > problems of a significant nature, but not nearly so many
> > > > as we are led to believe.
> > > >
> > > > Frankly, I think the whole environment is out of control.
> > > > The matter is influenced by musical taste ("I can't STAND
> > > > the sound of the C clarinet, so I don't use it"), cost
> > > > ("Do you realize how much money I'm going to have to spend
> > > > to own all those instruments?), and a genuine ignorance
> > > > of the history of clarinet development.
> > > >
> > > > If one is going to play clarinet seriously, one has to come
> > > > to grips with this problem eventually; i.e., who is the
> > > > boss, me, or the composer?
> > > >
> > > > Don is correct when he said (at an earlier point in his note),
> > > > something like, "You don't hear conductors insisting on the
> > > > called-for clarinet, do you?" And that's a correctly stated
> > > > point, to be sure, but irrelevant to the issue. Conductors
> > > > have bigger fish to fry and have fallen into the same
> > > > musical trap as clarinet players. No one has ever slammed
> > > > them up against a wall and said, "Schmuck!!! Do you know
> > > > what the hell it is you are doing?"
> > > >
> > > > Conductors also need a conductorial equivalent of the ACLU.
> > > >
> > > > But who wants to make their musical decisions based on
> > > > what conductors don't know? That would be too enormous a
> > > > problem to solve.
> > > >
> > > > But has anyone noticed what a thoughtful orchestral clarinet
> > > > section plays when the music says, "Clarinet in C"? Like
> > > > the Chicago Symphony, for example?
> > > >
> > > > For the newer members of this list, you will now see the
> > > > equivalent of the famous vulgar joke about "Where were you
> > > > when it hit the fan?" And to which I will respond, as
> > > > I have done 4 years ago and 3 years ago and 2 years ago, and
> > > > now, "Schmuck!!! Do you know what the hell it is you
> > > > are doing?"
> > > >
> > > > It never ends. It just never ends. The minute you relax
> > > > your guard, clarinet players go bezerk, invent things, and
> > > > thumb their noses at yesterday. On one hand that is a good
> > > > characteristic to have. But there are some negative
> > > > consequences to it, too. And this clarinet substitution
> > > > business is just one of them.
> > > >
> > > > As I said. The environment is out of control
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > =======================================
> > > > Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California
> > > > Rosanne Leeson, Los Altos, California
> > > > leeson@-----.edu
> > > > =======================================
> > > >
> =======================================
> Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California
> Rosanne Leeson, Los Altos, California
> leeson@-----.edu
> =======================================
>

   
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