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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000634.txt from 2001/07

From: Cindy Christensen <>
Subj: [kl] Point of curiosity
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2001 04:48:14 -0400

I have thought about this question a lot and have come to the conclusion
that you can't really tell which system one is playing if both are
played equally well. The only differences may be certain idiosyncrasies
of the instruments themselves. With the years, the differences have
become less too. 20 years ago, I think it was possible to tell, maybe
even 10 years ago. The instruments have all gotten so much better. For
example, the full Oehler system has a key for raising the pitch of low e
and f. Earlier, it was possible to tell what system was being played
just by listening to those particular notes. It was also possible to
tell if a German player was using the key or not. Now the French system
has improved so much that that key is not necessary on better models so
it's impossible to tell from that any more.

Soon after we switched back to playing Boehm system, my husband had a
gig playing Weber's "Freischutz". The conductor, who my husband
regularly plays under, did not notice he had changed systems. And you
can't get more German than that opera. We have asked various other
musicians we play regularly with and no one noticed any difference in
our playing.
My family has recorded using German system clarinets and later using
Boehm system and I don't think it's possible to tell from the sound
which system was used.

I see absolutely no problem for a "Musik-Hochschule" professor to teach
either system. The main work he'd have to do is to learn fingerings for
the high register for various situations to help the students.
Otherwise, teaching would be basically the same for either system. And
it's no problem learning the differences enough to teach well. I'm sure
Chen Halevi could handle that just fine. He sounds like an excellent
musician. Hope they take him.
Cindy in Germany

> Point of curiosity: Given a musician, equally capable on both the
> German &
> French clarinet, (perhaps difficult to acquire?) what is the difference
> in
> the sound? In a blind test, for example, could a person with a good
> musical
> ear actually distinguish the difference between the two systems? (This
> is a
> serious question, by the way. I don't recall ever hearing a German
> clarinet
> played live.)
> Jim Hobby

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