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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000320.txt from 2005/07

From: Roger Hewitt <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Wind Band Music: Solo Clarinet vs. Clarinet 4
Date: Wed, 27 Jul 2005 22:29:18 -0400


I have been librarian for a wind band for many years and have seen lots
of diffierent arrangements and interpretations of the line-up.

Holst Suites use Solo,1,2,3 as you say and 1st is not nearly as much as
99% same as Solo, and often has extra cues for (e,g, 2nd Eb).

Many modern arrangements have only 1,2,3 when Solo and 1st players will
both play 1st (and 1st part is much more often divisi than 2nd or 3rd).

If you look at the "classic" arrangements of Duthoit, Winterbotham & Co
you usually get Solo, 1st (or Rep) 2nd, 3rd, but here you will often
get Solo parts with divisi (and the lower part is usually crucial), yet
other sections of music with 1st duplicating Solo (maybe at the
octave). The other problem you get is that Eb parts are commonly
provided on top - often divisi as well - although they generally double
flute or oboe or Solo Cl, and any solos will certainly be cued in flute
or Solo Cl.

Some arrangements do indeed have 1,2,3,4 and these I would always
allocated as though for Solo,1,2,3. The worst is when you get 3 parts
labebelled "1st", "2nd" and "3rd/4th". Then you have to decide how to
distribute and sometimes it will be best to copy the 3/4 part and label
1 part as play upper notes the other as play lower notes. The worst I
have seen, though, is a dumb librarian who gave solo and rep the 1st
part, 2nd the 2nd, 3rd the 3rd and ignored 4th altogether!

I suppose the bottom line is that most librarians will either look at
the parts and do the best option or dish out all the parts and let the
section sort it out for themselves.

Just to throw a complete spanner in the works, I know one librarian
(many years ago) who relabelled all parts (in heavy felt tip!) as A1,
A2, B, C when four parts (=S,1,2,3) or simply A,B,C when three parts.
This, he felt, removed any stigma from parts for "4th clarinet" and
simplified the whole thing. Hmm.

So what is my advice? Well best is really to do 1 (with divisi), 2, 3
as this generally gets the most even distribution. My arrangements,
though, do S,1,2,3 if I really want four parts or just 1,2,3, thus
ignoring my own advice!

Hope this helps ...
Roger H

--- Adam Michlin <> wrote:

> Dear List,
> I am in the process of finishing off a wind band transcription of an
> orchestral piece. For various reasons, I ended up with 4 Soprano Bb
> clarinet parts and am trying to decide whether to indicate them as
> 1-4 Bb
> Clarinet or Solo, 1-3 Bb Clarinet.
> Historically, the designation of "Solo Clarinet" seems to be not what
> the
> phrase would appear to mean at first sight. Looking at both Holst
> (the
> Suites) and Copland ("An Outdoor Overture",) lead me to be tempted to
> use
> the designation Solo Clarinet (the Copland is even published with 3
> copies
> of the "Solo" clarinet part). I seem to recall Grainger, on the other
> hand,
> using the designation Bb Clarinets 1-4. I'm leaning towards Bb
> Clarinets
> 1-4, if only to minimize the confusion often found in band music with
> parts
> labeled "Solo Clarinet". The Holst "Solo" clarinet parts are about
> 99% the
> same as the 1st part, the Copland varies a little bit more.
> I don't know the history of the term "Solo Clarinet" in wind band
> music, so
> I'm happy to consider arguments either way. I realize this is
> probably just
> a semantic argument, but I though I would put out the question just
> in case
> I was missing something.
> -Adam
> -------------------------------------------------------------------
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