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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000221.txt from 2001/04

From: eric james <>
Subj: [kl] Re: [Re: [kl] C clarinet]
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001 15:04:07 -0400

Many thanks to all for thoughtful and quick reponses to my quandary. I d=
that the publisher will go for extra transposed parts, plus the originals=
=2E =

The work in question is already quite long, 15 movements divided into two=

volumes. From the responses it appears that, although I would prefer to =
everything as written, the clarinets should appear completely in Bb. Dan=

Leeson is, of course, right in guessing that the parts, because of their
transpositions, have no more than one flat or sharp in the key signatures=
=2E So
now, players will see a lot of D major in their parts. Dan, do I gather =
your note that since tonal quality wasn't an issue, clarinet players from=

Mozart's time would have done the same as today, i.e, played the parts on=

whatever instrument was most comfortable for them?

Alright, I dig in my heels about the horn parts--they remain as written, =
both instruments in their original keys in the score, and put the individ=
clarinet parts totally in Bb.

Again, many thanks to all. I'm off to find bassoon players to talk about=

Eric James

Daniel Leeson <> wrote:
> Eric, you have a complex problem on your hands in which both sides are
> right. =

> =

> From the publisher's point of view, they will lose sales if the parts
> are not printed for clarinet types in general use. Horn players are
> expected to be able to transpose anything, but not clarinetists. So th=
> publisher's point of view is strictly economic, not historical. =

> Besides, despite advances over the years, most clarinet players do not
> have C clarinets in any case. =

> =

> On the other hand, you are absolutely correct in suggesting that the
> parts be printed as they were written, and it is not a trivial point. =

> First, I will bet you $10 sight unseen, that, when using the clarinets
> specified in the original, no clarinet will be required to play in any
> key signature of more than 1 sharp or more than 1 flat. And that is th=
> main technical and historical reason why C and B-flat and A clarinets
> were used at that time, not for tonal characteristic, but to assure tha=
> no clarinet played outside of the range of proscribed key signatures. =

> (By the way, I sense in your note the assumption that when a clarinet
> player sees "Clarinet in C" his/her business is to transpose the part. =

> Nonsense!!! It is his/her business to execute the part on a clarinet i=
> C.)
> =

> Even though the decision of which clarinet to use was not made on the
> basis of sound character, selecting a clarinet different than that
> specified will produce a sound character different than that for which
> the arrangement was made. That may not be a big thing to you (and it
> certainly is of no import whatsoever to the publisher), but it is a fac=
> that cannot be challenged. The best one can say is that it's true but
> unimportant. I happen not to agree with that, but so what?
> =

> You have only one option: provide the clarinet parts in both the
> original and (where necessary) the transposed version. This satisfies
> your historical accuracy as well as keeping the publisher happy. True,=

> the parts will be thicker and thus the printing costs higher, but charg=
> another $5 per set and that will cover that.
> =

> eric james wrote:
> > =

> > Hi to all clarinettists:
> > =

> > I wonder if any of you can help me with a C clarinet problem I have. =
I am
> > the process of getting a work published. It is Harmoniemusik from th=
time of
> > Mozart and deals with both horns and clarinets in various keys. The
> > alternate between Bb and C instruments. The publisher wants all the =
> > be printed for Bb clarinet and F horn. As a horn player, I know that=
> > actually more confusing to play music of this sort that has been
> > The notes just don't look right. But I wonder how clarinettists see
> > They have much more complex parts than horns. Is preferable to have =
> > clarinet parts transposed to Bb or to play from the original C parts?=

> > =

> > My own preference is to publish the parts in their original keys and =
> > performers make of them what they will. This would also address the
> > proliferation of "authentic" performance groups. I've no idea what a=

> > classical C clarinettist would make of a Bb part. Any thoughts on th=
> > would be greatly appreciated.
> > =

> > Eric James
> > =

> > Get free email and a permanent address at
> > =

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> -- =

> ***************************
> ** Dan Leeson ** =

> ** **
> ***************************
> =

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