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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000506.txt from 2001/04

From: "Lacy, Edwin" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Highest Clarinet Notes -- ReReReVisited
Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2001 11:53:36 -0400

Bilwright wrote:

<<<A4 @-----.>>>

As George Gershwin said, "It Ain't Necessarily So!" There are many ways of
designating the octaves. There is the Helmholz method, the American Bureau
of Standards method, and others. For a good reference, look at "The
Acoustical Foundations of Music" by John Backus, published by W. W. Norton.

I've been on a very long campaign to get woodwind players to standardize our
octave designation. In this method, the lowest C on the instrument is C1,
and the octave from that note to the next highest note is C1, C#1, D1, etc.
The next octave is C2, C#2, etc. Any notes below the lowest C are called
the "O" (zero) octave. Thus, the usual lowest note on the clarinet is E0.
Middle C (written) is C1. The altissimo G with which many fingering charts
end is G3. The super-altissimo note which Benny Goodman played and which
has been under discussion is D4.

Middle C is C1 on the flute, oboe, clarinet and saxophone. That's
convenient. (It is C3 on the bassoon.)

Does anyone see any benefits to this system? (Note: I didn't invent it
-the first use I ever saw of this method was in a doctoral dissertation at
the University of Michigan written by Paul Lehman. I don't where he might
have gotten it.)

Ed Lacy

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