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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001330.txt from 1998/03

From: "Dan Leeson:>
Subj: Av Galper and Neil Leupold
Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 17:40:43 -0500

Both Av and Neil wrote interesting notes on this matter of instrumental
substitution. Actually, that's not exactly correct. Most people
wrote interesting notes, but Av's and Neil's dealt with points that
I felt could be followed on, and maybe we can all learn from something.

Av's points were punctuated with references to older and respected
players doing the very things that I have taken such objection to.
And as much as I love and respect Av, I cannot accept as a valid
argument that because player A did something in the 1930s, then this
has settled the matter for all times.

It is our duty to question everything that is put in front of us. Every
one of the students on this list would get an answer of "I want you
to be a critical thinking person" from their teacher if they asked
"What is it that you want me to be at the end of my education besides
being a good clarinet player?"

So to cite Rufus Airie's practice of using on a B-flat clarinet and
transposing everything as justification for a continuation of this
practice flies in the face of his (and my) desire to make every person
on this list rethink everything he was told by anyone with respect to
clarinet playing.

Neil's very cogent letter could be summarized by saying "Don't offend
the entrance committee." Good advice. He was concerned about what
the committee might think if someone showed up with a C clarinet. Or,
in the extreme, the case he used was that if someone showed up with
a B-flat and A bass clarinet (fat chance), then the committee might
think that that person could not transpose.

I do hope that education has not gotten to the point where its
objective is to get tolerance from the committee. A person should,
during his or her education, be an iconoclast. That is an idol-
breaker for those not familiar with the term. It was an old fashioned
way of saying, "Don't trust anyone over 30."

The suggestion that we not offend the entrance committee is tantamount
to saying that we only want vanilla students, and certainly not anyone
who might go against the system or introduce a new idea (which is nothing
more than reintroducing a very old idea when it comes to C clarinets).

If this list serves any purpose, it is not in its influencing the
pros on it. Our minds are fairly much set in our ways and not much
is going to make major changes in our way of thinking. But if
the younger players start getting the idea that our opinions on these
matter constitute orthodox fact, then we inculcate an entire
generation to believe that to think in a way that violates orthodoxy
is somehow disinguenuous to the whole clarinet playing business.

>From what I can see, we turn out better technicians and players now
than at any time in the history of clarinet playing. And we also
turn out people who don't think very much beyond the necessity of
technical facility. That many are also fine musicians is also true
( and that is even harder to teach), but that most are unaware
of the historical problems of their instruments (as seen by the
astonishment whenever the C, D, clarinet business comes up) is
clearly evident.

So what I read in Av's and Neil's comments were: don't be an
iconoclast. What was done in the past and what is being done now
is OK and you should not consider changing this aspect of clarinet
playing. Don't rock the boat.

I'm exaggerating, of course. I respect and like both the men involved.
I think that we all need to understand that we are sailing in
different directions, no one has a pipeline to the infinite, and there
are many valid perspectives of one issue, not a single way to look at

Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California
Rosanne Leeson, Los Altos, California

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