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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000464.txt from 2005/05

From: "danyel" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Bb versus C Clarinet?
Date: Tue, 31 May 2005 21:56:03 -0400

Hi Willy,
The first Clarinets were usually in D. Later in the 18th c. players used to
have sets of up to 7 instruments to play in all keys. Still later, as the
mechanics evolved, the Bb and A were retained and the others gradually
discharged. Bb and A clarinets are quite convenient in size for an adult
player and have a very agreeable sound. The low G survived in late Ottoman
Greek/Turkish music and the C mostly in Klezmer and rural music of the
Alpine and east European areas, now almost extinct. It is considerably
brighter in sound. Today it is almost exclusively made and used as a
starting instrument for children (for whom the stretch on the Bb is too
I use a nice old Arthur Uebel C to play vocal parts, such as the
Winterreise. I like the sound -- unless you blow too hard.
Best wishes,

----- Original Message -----
From: "willy kostucki" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, June 01, 2005 2:17 AM
Subject: [kl] Bb versus C Clarinet?

> Hello,
> Can someone explain to me the real "advantages" of the Bb compared to
> the C clarinet?
> Some questions:
> -Historically spoken is the Bb anterior or posterior to the C? Do we
> need to consider the Bb an evolution or an improvement of the C?
> -The C clarinet allows one to play the "real" notes and not notes
> that are one whole tone of difference with the non-transposing
> instruments. Isn't this an "advantage"?
> -Is the fingering system easier on a Bb than on a C for the usual
> scales in west music?
> -Why do so few clarinetists play on Bb (beside the fact most of the
> classical pieces are writen for Bb).
> -Is the C clarinet more likely to be out of tune than a Bb because of
> construction differences (smaller)?
> -Why is most classical music writen for Bb and not for C?
> -Who buy today a C clarinet and for what purpose?
> -Other comments welcome.
> Thanks forwards,

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