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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000060.txt from 2002/06

Subj: Re: [kl] Why play the Period Clarinet?
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 2002 23:55:46 -0400

I just bought a period clarinet.

It's a six-key boxwood clarinet, pitched (as well as I can yet determine) in the key of Bb. It has no maker's trademark stenciled anywhere on the body of the instrument. It appears very similar to clarinets made in London in the 1820's, as they appear in various publications. There is a photo of such a clarinet in the old Rendell book, for example.

I plan to write a journal about my experiments with this instrument. I hope to restore it to playing condition, perform on it, and measure it in order to e able to reproduce it, if that seems desireable. I'll be posting some pic on my website soon.

Back the the central question - why play on a period clarinet?

1. Well, they look interesting. I have been, in effect, drooling over clarinets that looked like that for over 30 years. Back then, I never thought I'd OWN one. I thought all such things were in museums.

2. Intellectually, I could see how the clarinet evolved from an instrument of "recorder type" simplicity, to what it is today. Ever wonder WHY the modern clarinet has a TWO tone holes that are covered when you put down the right hand first finger. Play a scale or two on this clarinet, and you begin to see why.

3. I want to play some of the earliest pieces for clarinet on the instrument they were written for. Things like the Wanhal Sonata have never appeared totally convincing when played on the modern clarinet. If fact, to my ear, they sound "wrong". Maybe searching back to the the clarinet's roots will help explain to me - in a totally visceral manner, if this feeling is in anyway musically justified.

More issues will occur to me as I work this out intellectually. Anyway, it looks like it's going to be a lot of fun.

More later -
Walter Grabner


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