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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000142.txt from 1999/01

From: Grant Green <>
Subj: Re: [kl] klarinet quartet help
Date: Wed, 6 Jan 1999 00:10:21 -0500

Doug McGee inquired:
>I am an amateur musician. For the past four years I have a clarinet quartet
>consisting of three soprano's and myself on bass. In building up my
>library, I have encountered a problem in transposing the odd arrangement in
>which the third chair is written alto clarinet in Eb. I have two excellent
>pieces by David Bennett, Clarinet Rhapsody and Argentine. Both have the
>third chair in alto Eb. First, does anyone on the list have this in Bb. I
>would relish a copy. Failing this, can the professionals please tell me how
>to properly transpose the third chair Eb to Bb in order to make this part
>fit in with rest of the quartet.

Solution #1: buy a 2nd hand alto clarinet. You can often find old Bundys
and Vitos for sale on the web. WW&BW ( and Charles
Fail Music ( often have them for around
$300-400. Also, you can often pick one up at eBay (the online auction
site), for prices ranging from around $200 to around $800 (the latter price
for wooden Leblancs, etc., rather than the plastic student models).

Solution #2: Transpose. From Eb alto to Bb soprano, you down a fourth.
So, if the alto part has written G (open), the soprano plays written middle
C. If the alto part has middle C, the Bb soprano plays low F. For notes
below the alto's low B, you'll of course have to transpose up an octave
(after going down a 4th). This may throw off the chord voicings, or warp
melodic/contrapuntal lines, so you may want ...

Soultion #3: Transpose for a second Bb bass. The transposition would be
the same as for Bb soprano, except that you would then move everything up
an octave (not including anything you had to move up due to the soprano's
range). This would at least get the notes in the correct octave at all


Grant Green

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