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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000392.txt from 2003/06

From: "rien stein" <>
Subj: [kl] key and mood
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2003 12:05:47 -0400

Hello to all

A lot of time has been spent on this subject, I didn't even read it all. But
I just want to share with you two experiences I had today.

The first one deals with the "minor vs major" topic.

Our band had a demonstration in an elementary school today. When I
demonstrated the claribass, I played "Twinkle, twinkle little star" in C
major. When I demonstrated my soprano I played the same piece, but in c
minor. Promptly some pupil asked me whether the soprano always sounds so
sad. A 7-years old child with no previous musical training except for the
rubbish on those commercial radio stations her mother has on all day.

Before going to that school, I played the rondo of Mozart's concerto. I
usually do so on my B-flat soprano, as my A-horn is in a rather bad shape,
and I cannot afford another one (Sorry, Dan, but so are the facts, and
probably I am doomed to play it without any accompinament, so it doesn't
really matter). But today I played it on my claribass.

Same key (sounding). Different piece. Not in the tune, but in the feelings
it aroused in me. After the first eight or so bars I had to force myself to
be aware it WAS the same piece.

These two facts mean something.

First, that Dan's opinion, that minor vs major keys is not essential is not
true, minor keys tend to be more sad or pensive in character, though his
statement that many pieces have been written in a minor key that do elicit a
gay emotional response, is not denied by this statement.

And second, that it is not the key that is important. The emotional response
is even more dependent on different characteristics of the instrument.
Dvorak did not choose an english horn in the slow part of his New World
symphony because he was so fond of the look of it! It is the characteristics
of the instrument, that change not only from the type of instrument you
play, but even when playing on one instrument in different registers, that
is important. I happened to explain to the children today about the "warm,
dark" sound (Dan, excuse, I had to use some description) of the low clarinet
register, the "bright" sound of the clarinet register and the "thin" sound
of the altissimo. It is now too late (almost one o├žlock at night) to try to
make the experiment, but I wonder what this same rondo sounds like if I play
it on my soprano an octave up!


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