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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000212.txt from 2007/12

From: "K S" <>
Subj: [kl] Legato Finger Motion
Date: Mon, 31 Dec 2007 11:28:52 -0500

A couple of months ago, I had an epiphany while studying the Gunlogson
treatise on Stanley Hasty
I was won over by Hasty's ideas on legato finger motion, which I had
let pass by when I read about them from Bonade, Marcellus and Portnoy.

At treatise pp. 124-127, Hasty describes how open holes on the
clarinet make a true legato possible, in a way that it's not possible
on the oboe with plateau keys. You close or open a hole slowly,
without a "pop." You do this by balancing muscle tension in your
fingers. You feel as if your finger motion continues down into the
wood. When you raises a finger, it feels as if it comes out of the
wood and continues up, binding consecutive notes together as if you
were singing. You "squash" into it, as if your fingers were "moving
in heavy oil."

Hasty said that Ralph McLane did this "to the nth degree," making a
legato "like liquid." When I listen to Larry Guy's fabulous McLane
and Bonade excerpt CDs, I now hear their wonderful legato as well as
their perfect technique, tone and phrasing.

Contrast this with the otherwise amazing playing by Venancio
Rius-Mart=ED in his performance of the Lovreglio Fantasia da Concerto.
Go to <> and click on
Recordings and then on the Lovreglio. I hear (and am bothered by) the
constant clicks and pops as his fingers slap down.

Listen again to Marcellus's Mozart Concerto. There's not a single
finger pop as he moves from note to note.

I also hear this in the performances by the great violinists.
Heifetz, Stern, Kreisler -- they all bind their legato from note to
note. In fact, they often slide from one note to the next with the
same finger, and when they put down a different finger, they make, not
a smear, but a liaison.

I now think that this is one of the differences between clarinet
players I like and don't like. I'm working on my scales in thirds all
over again, to make the intervals "liquid" as well as clean.
Who else has thought about this or is working on it?

Ken Shaw


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