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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000907.txt from 2003/06

From: "Patricia A. Smith" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Left, Right or mixed handed?/George Kidder
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 17:38:09 -0400

George Kidder wrote:

> I believe that some of the very early clarinets were made so that they
> could be played either hand up, either by duplicating the lower pinky
> holes and plugging the unwanted one with wax, or by having this hole
> in a separate joint which could be rotated. The few keys were
> centered, so they could be played with either hand. This does not, of
> course, answer the question of why the choice was made to put the
> right hand on the lower joint when such things became standardized.
> Maybe (I have no data) by analogy with the flute, when the upper joint
> became asymmetrical and could be blown only with the body of the flute
> extending to the right, then (obviously) the right hand had to be the
> lower one.

I would think that it would depend upon which system of fingering the
flute was using at that particular period of time, as well as whether or
not there was a particular placement for the mouthpiece of the flute (I
forget atm what the thing around the breath hole of the flute is). It
would appear that the flute also evolved in some way that the direction
to which to hold it transverse blown must have been standaradised at
some point. (I hope THAT made sense).

Oh well, it is something I may check out when I have more time to devote
to the question.

Patricia Smith

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