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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001462.txt from 1999/01

From: (Tony Pay)
Subj: [kl] The concept of 'forked' fingerings
Date: Fri, 29 Jan 1999 14:56:55 -0500

On Fri, 29 Jan 1999 10:45:16 -0600 (CST), said:

> On Fri, 29 Jan 1999, Tony Pay wrote:
> > No it doesn't: a forked fingering is one that has an open hole above
> > the final closed one.
> I've always heard these referred to as "cross fingerings." The fork
> fingering (1 + 3) would be one type of cross fingering, but there are
> others, especially on the bassoon. I hope my definition is
> acceptable, because I used it profusely in my doctoral dissertation at
> Indiana University, which was bassoon-related. Everyone on my
> committee seemed to agree that the definition was acceptable.

Surely in a dissertation, if you say what you mean by something, and are
consistent in how you refer to it, then that's all that's required. So
it looks like you're OK.

But as appears below, in some ways it's not so easy to say what we
really mean by 'forked', even though usually that doesn't cause us much

The point I *thought* I was trying to make was that Jack Brymer seems to
suggest (I don't think he meant to, but just wrote an ambiguous
sentence) that the Acton mechanism made the B/F# a note that was just a
closed tube plus an open tone-hole lattice, which is what I thought I
meant by the term, 'unforked'.

Whereas actually, what happened was that RH1 hole became smaller, and
another hole lower down opened. So if we called it 'forked' before the
modification, we have to call it 'forked' after the modification too.

Now, what used to be the case on old clarinets was that first finger
right hand gave *neither* B/F# *nor* Bb/F. There was a B/F# key opening
below RH1 that made B/F# what I was wanting to call a 'non-forked' note,
being played with RH1 + the key. Bb/F was 'forked', being RH1 + RH3.

(As an aside, one clarinet I've seen and played had a mechanism that
kept this B/F# key open unless you put down the RH third finger, so you
could play B/F# with just the first finger of the RH, and Bb/F still had
the usual RH1 + RH3, but this wasn't the norm.)

*Then* they added a Bb/F key below RH2, played with RH3, so the
fingering was RH1 + RH2 and the key -- so now that note was 'unforked'
as well.

So with this type of early clarinet, both B/F# and Bb/F are 'unforked'.

And we commonly say that, on the other hand, the standard Boehm clarinet
has Bb/F unforked, and B/F# forked.

BUT NOW -- of course you can imagine the RH2 hole filled in! Then the
fingering for B/F# would be just the LH, which surely under any
reasonable view, has to count as unforked! So what has gone wrong?

The difference is that now you have an *unevenly spaced* open tonehole
lattice beneath the final closed hole. Any definition of forked
ultimately has to include some characterisation of this unevenness.
Which would be hard to do, consistently.

So the whole distinction breaks down, if you push it hard enough.

_________ Tony Pay
|ony:-) 79 Southmoor Rd
| |ay Oxford OX2 6RE GMN family artist:
tel/fax 01865 553339

Believing Truth is staring at the sun
Which but destroys the power that could perceive.

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