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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000053.txt from 2008/05

From: "Forest Aten" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Shameless Plug Reflux, oops, I mean Redux
Date: Sat, 10 May 2008 09:21:49 -0400

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Keith []
> Sent: Saturday, May 10, 2008 3:40 AM
> To:
> Subject: RE: [kl] Shameless Plug Reflux, oops, I mean Redux
> Britten's Albert Herring has an extended bass clarinet/alto flute duet in
> the entr'acte, which uses high D. Two other of his chamber operas use the
> same combination though I am not sure how high they go. (After ending this
> really exposed solo on a low note, three bars later you have to pick up
> the
> Bb clarinet and come in on the extreme B !). But it is used as contrast
> with
> the previous passage and makes sense.
> I don't have great difficulty with the high clarion or the altissimo on my
> bass (Buffet Prestige low C, model previous to the current one), nor on my
> basset horn. I think it depends on the design of the register key holes.
> The
> little hole on LH1 is the essential register key for the altissimo.
> I agree it is an undesirable part of the b.c. range!
> Keith Bowen

Hi Keith....

Your versatility has always been a strength!

I believe that this issue of range has to do with how one is "taught" to
think when playing the bass clarinet. It's a clarinet, a clarinet, a
clarinet....NOT some kind of weird beast.

The altissimo should be as well in hand as any other register of the
instrument. In North American band programs (clearing throat as another
blast to public school music 'education' is fired across the bow), most of
the time, the kids start on clarinet (size advantage) and as time goes
on....the band directors almost always move the weaker clarinet students to
the bass. A sad affair. Most of the accomplished bass clarinet players in
America...have come from strong clarinet backgrounds and make the move to
bass later in their careers. I believe strongly that bass clarinetists
should continue to play clarinet daily. No cubby holes to hide in....

Dr. Richard Shanley, at Baylor University....forces his "hot shot" clarinet
players to 'suffer' through a semester of bass clarinet...performing in
university ensembles, recitals..etc. on the bass clarinet, just to season
his students. It's a good concept in my opinion.




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