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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000842.txt from 1998/04

From: Fred Jacobowitz <>
Subj: Re: wind instruments and circus tricks
Date: Thu, 16 Apr 1998 11:50:10 -0400

Watch out for those generalizations!! Just because Charlie Neidich
makes noticeable noise when he circular-breathes, doesn't mean others do!
I circular-breathe with no noticeable noise.
As for why do it, 1) Many of the pieces we play are NOT originally
for wind instruments so the phrasing is different. 2) I don't use it to
the exclusion of breaths. I agree that breaths are often provided by the
composer in a musical fashion. However, much of the time, the breaths are
at musically-correct-but-physically-improbable times, forcing the player
to take gasping breaths and distort the phrasing/dynamics in order to be
able to breathe. One example is the Brahms Clarinet Quintet where any
breath in the slow movement seems completely un-musical. Let's not forget
the Debussy Rhapsody. 3) I take regular breaths. However, I'd rather take
them where it is physically comfortable and musically unobtrusive.
The fact that a player uses circular breathing does not mean that
the absence of breaths will be unmusical. It simply means that the player
has not done his/her homework and made the phrasing completely natural.
Violins don't have to stop for breath. Are they unmusical????

Fred Jacobowitz
Clarinet/Sax Instructor, Peabody Preparatory

On Wed, 15 Apr 1998, Daniel A. Paprocki wrote:

> I know this will bring out the flame throwers but so what. I just finished
> listening to a couple of recordings of the Schumann 3 Romances. I wanted
> to hear different interpretations and where everyone breathed. The three
> CDs were Richard Stolzman, Paul Meyer, and Charles Neidich. Everything was
> fine until I listened to the Neidich disc with headphones. Neidich doen't
> 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?
> Dan
> *********************************************************************
> Daniel A. Paprocki
> Instructor of Clarinet & Music, Malone College
> Adjunct Professor of Clarinet, Kent State University - Stark Campus
> **********************************************************************

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