Klarinet Archive - Posting 000796.txt from 1998/04
From: Agrenci <Agrenci@-----.com>
Subj: Re: wind instruments and circus tricks
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 20:49:06 -0400
In a message dated 4/15/98 3:28:15 PM, Daniel A. Paprocki wrote:
>breath (well normally) throughout the movements. He's almost always
>circular breathing AND you can hear it AND it is annoying and detracts from
>the music. I do realize this is the latest trick that everyone wants to
>master (along with double tonguing) but why??? We are playing a wind
>instrument that people like to compare to the human voice so why do we have
>to circular breath?
> Who first started to circular breath? Was it for the sake of the
>music or as a circus trick? A friend of mine in Europe likes to refer to
>people like that as real tricksters - in a noncomplimentary way. It still
>amazes me that at the clarinet conventions, tricksters will get standing
>ovations and someone that ONLY plays musically will just get applause. Why
>can't we look past the flying fingers, tonguing, and aqualung breathing and
>be able to tell when we hear truly great musicians?
You seem to state two seperate issues here. The first is that you disagree
with Charlie Neidich's use of circular breathing in a particular piece. The
second is that his use of circular breathing turns his performances into a
As one who studied with Charlie for several years I have heard him criticised
as a "trickster" by many. In general my opinion has been that those who hear
him that way fall into two categories: 1. They are simply not listening, or 2.
They are too jealous of his skills to be objective. Again, my opinion - while
he can do things technically with the clarinet that no one else can, he is not
a mere circus performer. He brings a level of historical knowledge, analytical
understanding and emotional depth to music making which is seldom matched by a
performer on any instrument. So much for my defense of a great artist.
Now for the real question. Dan brings up an interesting topic. When was
circular breathing developed, and how appropriate is its use in various
musical styles? It is my belief that this is by no means a new technique (the
same for double tounging.) In some cultures (Asia?) I believe it has been
around for centuries. I really have no idea when it was introduced to Western
music, or to clarinet playing. Does anyone know for sure?
BTW, I have so far been too lazy to perfect that "circus trick", circular