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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000459.txt from 2005/08

From: "Shaw, Kenneth R." <>
Subj: [kl] Low Eb in Brahms Symphony
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2005 16:22:44 -0400

We can take it as given that Brahms knew the range of the clarinet,
though, of course, even Brahms nods. It seems to me that the most
likely explanation for the low Eb in a C clarinet part is that he
intended the part to be played on Bb, but wrote out the movement as if
the clarinet were in C, to make it simpler to hear the music in his head
or play it on piano without the mental hazard of keeping the
transpositions straight.

If that's what happened, then the copyist who extracted the individual
parts from the full manuscript score may have copied it as written,
without transposing, and labeled it for C clarinet.

The only way to find out is to examine the manuscript. If Brahms, in
the other movements, wrote the clarinet lines a step higher, for the Bb
instrument, that would be good evidence that he when he wrote at C
pitch, he wanted the C clarinet. If he wrote all the lines in C, that
would be good evidence that the copyist forgot to transpose it.

=46or more on out-of-range notes and copyist's errors, see:


Ken Shaw


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