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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000098.txt from 2001/07

From: "David B. Niethamer" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Long-Bb fingering
Date: Tue, 3 Jul 2001 22:44:35 -0400

on 7/2/01 8:43 AM, Dirk Kussin wrote:

>Since I am a late beginner and only play for about three years I never
>used this fingering so far.
>1. Do professionals use it often, and in which situations and why? Is
> only the long Bb used, or also the long Eb?
I use the LH1/RH1 fingering a good bit for clarion Bb in places where it
makes the fingering more convenient. It *is* important to have the bridge
key mechanism adjusted properly, and sometimes the problem is the reverse
of what you might think - the upper pad closes, but the one above the 1st
finger RH still is not well sealed. You can easily check this with a thin
strip of cigarette paper, and a good repair tech can adjust the
appropriate pads and the bridge key cork to make the connection perfect.

For me (and many of my students as well) this 1+1 Bb is a bit lower in
pitch than the "standard" fingering (LH thumb, register, 1,2, side key)
and also a bit less flexible. If I try to lip it up to pitch, it gets
stuffier, but not always sharper. Checked on a tuner, the 1+1 Bb is
closer to the "correct" tuner pitch than the "regular" fingering, which
wants to crawl sharp, as LH clarion notes like to do. As someone already
pointed out, the color of the 1+1 fingering is a bit more subdued, which
gives the fingering another use as well.

I almost never use the Eb 1+1 in the chalumeau, because it is incredibly
sharp. There's one instance in the Francaix concerto where a tremolo
needs the Eb to work, but otherwise it really doesn't work very well for
me (or my students).

>2. On my clarinet (RC Prestige) this note is very resistant and also
> too sharp (with RH finger 2 it is much too sharp), and also the
> sound I do not like. The resistance (in particular compared with
> the alternative fingerings and the neighbor notes) makes it
> difficult to play for me, in particular the response is
> critical. Is this a characterization of this fingering which is
> well-known, or it is some defect of my special
> clarinet/mouthpiece/embouchure?

In Hamelin "Gammes et Exercises" he uses the 1+2 fingering for A# leading
tones because it *is* sharper in pitch.


David Niethamer
Principal Clarinet, Richmond Symphony

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