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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000259.txt from 2001/04

From: David Glenn <notestaff@-----.de>
Subj: Re: [kl] Re: [Re: [kl] Re: [Re: [kl] C clarinet]]
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 17:04:16 -0400

eric james wrote:

> Dan,
>
> I would like to keep everything as written, simply because to do it any other
> way gives a distorted view of things. As far as horn players go, every one
> I've talked to, save for the most inexperienced, prefers the original keys. I
> feel I can safely argue that point. But I'm not a clarinettist and I was
> trying to get a consensus as to what players prefer nowadays. I'd like to be
> able to tell the publisher they are wrong in thinking they're making things
> more attractive to either horns or clarinets. I'm new at the publishing game.
> I've many more pieces of this kind which I would like to bring forth and am
> not sure whether or not to compromise on a point like this. Your input has
> been has been most valuable and welcome.
>
> Regards.
>
> Eric James
>
> Daniel Leeson <leeson0@-----.net> wrote:
> > Eric, your assumption about what players of Mozart's time would have
> > done is 180 degrees out of phase with what they did. EVERYBODY had
> > three clarinets and they always played C clarinet parts on a C. In
> > fact, there is hard evidence that Stadler had three basset clarinets,
> > one in C, one in B-flat, and one in A.
> >
> > Make no mistake about the matter. Playing a C clarinet part on anything
> > other than a C clarinet was then (and in my opinion is now) a serious
> > historical error at best and a serious musical error at worst. I
> > recognize that many players don't have them today, but that is neither
> > here nor there in terms of what was done then or what is the right thing
> > to do. Use of a B-flat (or an A) in place of a C and transposing, is a
> > financial issue; i.e., you don't have to buy and maintain another
> > clarinet. There is no other reason for doing it. And the same thing
> > occurs in small Italian villages where youngsters play everything on one
> > clarinet because of cost.
> >
> > I understand why you are doing what you are doing and said in my earlier
> > note that both you and the publishers were correct, though for different
> > reasons. But you should not interpret my understanding with
> > concurrence.
> >
> > Dan
> >
> > eric james wrote:
> > >
> > > Many thanks to all for thoughtful and quick reponses to my quandary. I
> doubt
> > > that the publisher will go for extra transposed parts, plus the
> originals.
> > > 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
> keep
> > > 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.
> So
> > > now, players will see a lot of D major in their parts. Dan, do I gather
> from
> > > 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,
> keep
> > > both instruments in their original keys in the score, and put the
> individual
> > > clarinet parts totally in Bb.
> > >
> > > Again, many thanks to all. I'm off to find bassoon players to talk about
> the
> > > contrabassoon.
> > >
> > > Eric James
> > >
> > > Daniel Leeson <leeson0@-----.net> 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
> the
> > > > 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
> the
> > > > 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
> that
> > > > 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
> in
> > > > 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
> fact
> > > > 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
> charge
> > > > 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
> > > in
> > > > > the process of getting a work published. It is Harmoniemusik from
> the
> > > time of
> > > > > Mozart and deals with both horns and clarinets in various keys. The
> > > clarinets
> > > > > alternate between Bb and C instruments. The publisher wants all the
> parts
> > > to
> > > > > be printed for Bb clarinet and F horn. As a horn player, I know that
> it
> > > is
> > > > > actually more confusing to play music of this sort that has been
> > > transposed.
> > > > > The notes just don't look right. But I wonder how clarinettists see
> > > things.
> > > > > They have much more complex parts than horns. Is preferable to have
> C
> > > > > 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
> let
> > > > > 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
> the
> > > matter
> > > > > would be greatly appreciated.
> > > > >
> > > > > Eric James
> > > > >

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Again, I'm behind in answering emails but just want to say this:

Please Eric, if you are really barbarizing the parts as you seem to be planning,
the least you can do is make a note exactly which changes have been made.

Best regards,

David

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