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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000174.txt from 2007/12

From: "Daniel Leeson" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Mendelssohn Reformation Symphony
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2007 14:42:47 -0500

Ann, if you want to read the entire scholarly paper on the subject, see:

1998, Mozart Jahrbuch, pp. 139-152, "Mozart's Deliberate Use of Incorrect
Key Signatures for Clarinets" (with Robert Levin, coauthor).

It not only discusses the underlying impetus for having clarinets in varying
keys, but it shows how Mozart, in an astonishing bit of underhanded moneying
around, obeys the rules of clarinet key use by deliberately writing for the
clarinet in wrong key. For example, he has a B-flat clarinet playing in the
concert key of C (for which he should be using a C clarinet but doesn't have
enough time for the needed change). So he writes the part in the wrong key
of C, but he writes the sharp symbols for all the C's and F-sharps. In this
way, he does not violate the rule of having the clarinets play in a key
requiring 2 sharps.

This also happens in the overture to Don Giovanni where it goes from minor
to major without a clarinet change, which forces him to write the piece in
the wrong key for both clarinets, but with all the accidentals written out
in the part. To this day, EVERYBODY plays the clarinet part to the overture
to Don Giovanni in the wrong key at the change from major to minor.

Dan Leeson
SKYPE: dnleeson

-----Original Message-----
From: Ann Satterfield []
Sent: Tuesday, December 25, 2007 10:17 AM
Subject: [kl] Mendelssohn Reformation Symphony

Robert's argument carried to fullest extent would have us only play on
instruments available at the time of composition.

I greatly enjoy the differences in timbres of each type and pitch
clarinet, and when I don't have the instrument listed in score, I make
the sound as close to the timbre inherent in composer's selection.

It is not a perfect solution, but is best combination of artistic and
practical in a specific instance.

I once played a couple of movements [Gran Partit(t)a] in good
volunteer group where the basset horn parts were played on Bb and the
1st player made the sound so much like a basset horn that I turned
around to see if he had the offfical instrument.

DAN, Thanks for the information about the teaching of clarinet key choices!


Ann Satterfield / Florida
Adjunct clarinet/woodwinds; Hillsborough, Polk Community Colleges
Principal Clarinet, Imperial Symphony Orchestra



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