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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000072.txt from 2001/04

From: Daniel Leeson <>
Subj: Re: [kl] REsponse to Stewart
Date: Thu, 5 Apr 2001 05:30:19 -0400

Hi Roger,

To answer your specific question, you are not going to find a single
word in the entire Mozart literature about using a vibrato on a
clarinet. It's too narrow a target. But you will find in the Mozart
letters, in the books on singing from ca. 1750-1800, from the general
history of music of the era, a ton of stuff about the purpose of the
vibrato in vocal music. Personally, I don't consider the human voice
and the techniques that are used to amplify andd beautify its nature,
much different from those used for the clarinet.

The main function spoken of by the castrati of the period was that the
vibrato was to singing as trembling was to human love. As great passion
makes us tremble or vibrate, it is a wonderful way to express that
emotion when playing; i.e., through trembling or at least a simulation
of it.

But you should already know this. You are an educated guy, you know the
history of music, you probably have read books on vocal production, so
none of this should be strange to you.

Dan wrote:
> At 11:58 AM 4/4/01 -0800, you wrote:
> >We have a responsibility to the music. I am confident that you feel that
> >also. Those responsibilities force us into constant questioning about why
> >and how we are doing things. A paid performer cannot take the position
> >that "some people like asparagus and some don't," or at least I
> >suggest that the paid performer should not do that with respect to how
> >s/he plays.
> This is more philosophical than it is helpful in terms of vibrato. But -
> to be fair - where in any of the Mozart scores does it suggest the use of
> vibrato? Just to be wild about it - let's include everything he ever
> wrote.........
> That should give us a starting point.
> Now, let's add to that anything written down from that time period that
> refers to vibrato being used on clarinet, basset clarinet, basset horn or
> anything clarint-like and discuss that too...........
> I guess I would ask Dan Leeson to respond to that especially - because of
> the continued discussion of having a responsibility to the music for use of
> vibrato on the clarinet.
> >As an example, I mention Vladimir Horowitz, an extraordinary technician
> >who could do anything on the piano, but one who, in my opinion, had no
> >musical idea of what he was doing. And that is because, whenever he
> >approached a piano, all he had was 7 tons of technique and no
> >understanding of the music he was about to perform.
> Could I ask what you thought of Toscanini? Afterall, Horowitz married his
> daughter - and Toscanini, considered a superb musician and judge of
> musicians by many, used Horowitz frequently.
> >But I suggest that before anyone uses or refuses to use vibrato on a
> >clarinet, there is a great deal of personal baggage that has to be thrown
> >away, and a serious investigation made of the purpose, use, and character
> >of the technique.
> This is wonderful advice. But it really has nothing to do with if someone
> enjoys listening to vibrato in a performance of a work - or even more
> specifically, if they don't like the WAY vibrato is used - not just the use
> of vibrato.
> >See, no acrimony. Two nice people expressing their views on something.
> Yup.
> Best wishes,
> Roger Garrett - the non-guilty feeling, modern basset horn user
> Roger Garrett
> Clarinet Professor
> Director, Symphonic Winds
> Advisor, Recording Services
> Illinois Wesleyan University
> School of Music
> Bloomington, IL 61702-2900
> (309) 556-3268
> "A man never discloses his own character so clearly as when he describes
> another's."
> Jean Paul Richter (1763-1825)
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** Dan Leeson **
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