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 Stubborn?
Author: Al 
Date:   1999-09-14 22:43

For many years, I've believed that the left-hand Ab-Eb lever would become standard equipment. It would solve so many problems. Are we all so stubborn that just because we've "mastered" the instrument without an Ab-Eb lever that we must continue to dogmatically proclaim that it's not necessary? Are all of the Boehm alternates also not necessary? We accept them as improvements, yet we continue to impose only the right-hand Ab-Eb key on beginners and budding clarinetists.

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 RE: Stubborn?
Author: Kontragirl 
Date:   1999-09-15 03:00

Some of us (like me) would love to have a clarinet like that, but are stuck with what they've got for now. Oh well...my clarinet works and even though it's a clunky plastic horn, I love it.

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 RE: Stubborn?
Author: Kontragirl 
Date:   1999-09-15 03:03

Kontragirl wrote:
-------------------------------
Some of us (like me) would love to have a clarinet like that, but are stuck with what they've got for now. Oh well...my clarinet works and even though it's a clunky plastic horn, I love it.


It's actually not fair to call it "clunky", it's a wonderful horn even if it's not wood. Oh well, whatever you call it, I love all of my precious clarinets. Okay, I really need to shut up now. Bye!


Kontragirl

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 RE: Stubborn?
Author: Mary Beth 
Date:   1999-09-15 03:08

I have an Ab/Eb lever on the left, and i rarely use it. After mastering the RLR and LRL and sliding combinations, I just find that it takes too much thought to use. Honestly, if someone is a good player without it... it doesn't make a difference. Besides, how many situations do you really need it in???

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 RE: Stubborn?
Author: Dee 
Date:   1999-09-15 03:13

I really think it is more of a cost versus benefit thing. At least at this time, you can only get such a key on a premium pro grade horn or as an extra cost, special order option on a standard pro horn. I too think it ought to be more readily available but I can't see shelling out the extra bucks. Cost is even more of an issue on beginner grade clarinets so at the very time that it would be beneficial to learn to be proficient with this key, you are looking at parents who don't want to put too much money at risk if the student drops out.

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 RE: Stubborn?
Author: Albert 
Date:   1999-09-15 03:41

I still wonder about the first guy who decided to make left alt keys, and said "Nah, let's just leave that one out." Why was it such a hassle not to put that key on? If you were going to make alt keys, why not make them all? Was there not enough room? Is there a reason why this certain key was never standard?

]

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 RE: Stubborn?
Author: Rick2 
Date:   1999-09-15 04:22

For me, the only time it would be useful is for sight reading something in a key far from C major. Otherwise, you have the time to figure out the correct fingering combinations so the extra key is unnecessary.

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 RE: Stubborn?
Author: Mark Charette 
Date:   1999-09-15 12:00

Rick2 wrote:
-------------------------------
For me, the only time it would be useful is for sight reading something in a key far from C major.
-------------------------------
Rick - stupid question, probably. Do you have the extra key on your clarinet? The reason I'm asking is that I believe that those of us who _don't_ have the extra key aren't in a position to comment on it. We learn tricks to get around its absence.

I'd like to hear comments from people who _have_ the extra key and either use it or have made a good effort ( > 1 year, I'd presume - old habits die hard) to try & use it.

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 RE: Stubborn?
Author: Al 
Date:   1999-09-15 15:22

Mary Beth: That's the whole point. "AFTER MASTERING......"
I'm not talking about us guys who are used to not having that lever. Albert's comment is exactly what I'm talking about. Who decided to leave off the alternate Ab-Eb lever when the left hand F-C lever was added, and why? To make it harder for beginners?

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 RE: Stubborn?
Author: Ginny 
Date:   1999-09-15 15:31

I have the lever, but since I only have had it about 7 months... and I'm at best an intermediate player...

I have one piece that I have found it to be VERY VERY HELPFUL. I would still be clunking over the passage, and it flows with the extra key. I can see it being very beneficial overall. I suppose i could just get an A clarinet for bad keys, or a clarinet in each key...an extra lever is pretty cheap compared to that.

I say, why not! It seems trivial to add and helpful. So it costs an extra 100 bucks, over the 20-30 years I hope to use the clarinet I got this is nothing.

Ginny


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 RE: Stubborn?
Author: Meri 
Date:   1999-09-15 16:26

Actually, there are passages where a duplicate Ab/Eb lever is necessary, to avoid sliding. I can't think of the pieces right now, but I have seen at least 4 or 5 pieces where the combination is impossible starting with one alternate, and cannot be done without sliding on the other.

However, these tend to be advanced pieces, often at at least a moderatly fast tempo.

Meri

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 RE: Stubborn?
Author: ted 
Date:   1999-09-15 17:08

Meri,
The first movement of Weber's Grand Duo Concertant requires sliding if you don't have the left-hand Eb key. It occurs half-way down the second page in the equivalent of a sixteenth note run, since the movement is cut time.

I've had to slide in some other pieces too, and have not found it terribly difficult. I find the G# key (aboove the staff) to be a more troublesome one to play smoothly, particularly when going from a note that I use my right hand to finger. I personally like the idea of the articulated G# key, though I haven't gotten the chance to play a clarinet with one.



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 Got It, Love It or Leave It
Author: paul 
Date:   1999-09-15 18:02

I have a clarinet with the left hand Ab/Eb key. I personally prefer to call it a left hand key rather than an "auxilliary" key because it isn't auxilliary to me.

To put things into a fair context, I'm still stuck in the middle of Baermann III as an adult novice, scale drill after scale drill after scale drill. You get the idea. Boring but absolutely essential stuff. And, at my lowly level of skill, the drills go v-e-r-y slowly. Agonizing. Squeaking. Squawking. Wrong fingering, wrong register, wrong page, wrong planet (oops, went too far ;) ). Again, you get the idea. All of a suddenly, I'm doing thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, sevenths, octaves, arpeggios, etc. in the key of Ab (4 flats) or E (four sharps). The left hand Ab/Eb key comes in really handy in this series of drills.

However, the left hand Ab/Eb key is not the panacea of all ills. I still have only one C#/G# key, requiring the left hand fingering. So, even with the left hand Ab/Eb key, I still have to be careful to use the right hand keys when the C#/G# key is needed.

And, whether I like it or not, I'll still have to learn how to slide to fetch the correct note. The left hand Ab/Eb key just helps me delay the inevitable.

The main idea here is to practice and practice and practice some more to know your horn's advantages and disadvantages so you can get the most out of it. Most of all, the practice will help you become a better player, no matter what horn you play.

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 RE: Stubborn?
Author: Don Poulsen 
Date:   1999-09-15 18:29

Regarding Mary Beth's comment that the left-hand Ab/Eb lever takes too much thought to use, my new bass clarinet comes with one and I use it occasionally. Initially, you have to think about using the lever, as a beginner has to do with every key and fingerhole. But, after a while of using it, the Ab/Eb lever should become as natural to use as most any other key.

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 RE: Stubborn?
Author: Sara 
Date:   1999-09-16 02:36

My festival has tha extra key and but I just got it at the begginnig of July and I haven't realy worked with the key yet. On several occasions it has been of some use to aviod sliding. The only problem I see is that my band director keeps telling us the way he wan't us to slide, because I'm the only one with the extra key and I don't do it the way he shows us, but that's not really a problem. I'm sure once I get the hang of using the A flat key using it willl come naturally just like all the other pinky keys.
Sara :)

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 RE: Stubborn?
Author: Mike B. 
Date:   1999-09-16 19:27

From a slightly different perspective -

Saxophones have no alt. keys for the similar fingerings. None. All alternate fingerings are done by "sliding". This works adequately (as an example, listen to Charlie Parker, no speed problem there). To be fair, however, they do have rollers to facilitate this.

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 RE: Stubborn?
Author: Daniel 
Date:   1999-09-16 20:17



Mike B. wrote:
-------------------------------
From a slightly different perspective -

Saxophones have no alt. keys for the similar fingerings. None. All alternate fingerings are done by "sliding". This works adequately (as an example, listen to Charlie Parker, no speed problem there). To be fair, however, they do have rollers to facilitate this.



I've seen some modified and some older clarinets that have rollers on the (RH) F/C and/or G#/D# keys. And also on the (LH) E/B and/or F#/C# lever. Although clarinet keys are smaller and sliding is easier, especially with a little forehead grease on your pinky.

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 RE: Stubborn?
Author: Al 
Date:   1999-09-16 22:02



Mike B. wrote:
-------------------------------
From a slightly different perspective -

Saxophones have no alt. keys for the similar fingerings. None. All alternate fingerings are done by "sliding". This works adequately (as an example, listen to Charlie Parker, no speed problem there). To be fair, however, they do have rollers to facilitate this.

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 RE: Stubborn?
Author: Al 
Date:   1999-09-16 22:13



Mike B. wrote:
-------------------------------
From a slightly different perspective -

Saxophones have no alt. keys for the similar fingerings. None. All alternate fingerings are done by "sliding". This works adequately (as an example, listen to Charlie Parker, no speed problem there). To be fair, however, they do have rollers to facilitate this.

Mike B. wrote:
-------------------------------
From a slightly different perspective -

<<Saxophones have no alt. keys for the similar fingerings. None. All alternate fingerings are done by "sliding". This works adequately (as an example, listen to Charlie Parker, no speed problem there). To be fair, however, they do have rollers to facilitate this.>>

However, Saxophones don't have this key problem in the MIDDLE OF THE STAFFf! C, C#, D,Eb no sweat. Only at the very bottom and less used notes do the rollers have effect. Old clarinet had rollers too........but they were IMPROVED,alas, without the Ab-Eb lever. My bass clarinet has a forked Ab-Eb played with the 1st and 3rd fingers of the right hand. This comes in very handy when playing from note Eb and lower( down to low C).

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 RE: Stubborn? Yes
Author: Nakata 
Date:   1999-09-16 22:23

I think why most people don't like the
LH key is because they are not used to,
when they first start playing clarinet,
they were not trained to use that key and
after they have master other method like
key sliding, they are proud of their skill
and think the key is unnecessary and want
to keep their key sliding skill necessary
and thus valauble. also the key position
will be slightly different with the Eb lever
however it is all because they were not trained
to use the key, come on clarinetist, open up
your mind and your next generation clarinetist
can learn much quicker in sight reading. you
just don't need to think of the patterns of
the notes and which key to use, you can always
start with the key you are used to when you
practice your scale.
anyway many people will fire at me after that
*sigh* ... playing clarinet without the LH lever
key is just like eating pasta without a spoon
you will still be able to eat it, and if you
are not used to use the spoon in addition to
the fork, you will hate it..hahahahaha

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 RE: Stubborn?
Author: JEff 
Date:   1999-09-17 02:17

I just played a Selmer Signature with that key tonight, and it seemed to get in the way when I was trying to do a fast chromatic scale. I could probably get used to it if I bought one of these horns and got rid of my plastic clarinet! It just seemed weird playing with that extra key there.


Desperately Hoping for a New Clarinet,

JEff

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 RE: Stubborn?And Fast Chromatic Scale
Author: paul 
Date:   1999-09-17 21:19

Jeff:

As I said above, I have the LH Ab/Eb key. I practice chromatic scales as a fundamental part of my warm-up drill every night. I do chromatic runs with it and without it up and down several times during the warm-up. I am learning the basic scale drills with an 18 key/6 ring (18th key is the LH Ab/Eb key) horn because it's the only horn I have. I personally see no significant difference between the 18th key and any other. I use it when I can and I avoid it when I need to. As an adult novice with limited practice time, it's taken me years to get where I am right now, but at least I know this key's strengths and weaknesses on an otherwise Standard (i.e. 17 key/6 ring) Boehm system clarinet.

There has been and probably will always be a raging debate on the utility of this key. So, let me put this debate into historical context. I have a popular clarinet drill book that was originally published in 1918. The writer specifically referenced the 18th key and said that he didn't see any particular benefit to it. Yet, the 18th key survived through the years and it's now standard equipment on some of the popular brands and models of recent and current vintage premium pro-grade horns. That means there is an obvious market demand for it. Go figure.

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 RE: Consider the Full-Boehm!
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   1999-09-18 22:22

Under the heading of Buffet Clarinet below, I attempted to describe the function and usefullness of the additional 3 keys and one ring [with added pad] to the usual 17/6 cl. Having bought my first teacher's F B Penzel Mueller , which he played in movies [before sound!!], I grew up with it in school bands and orchs and found good use for all the extras, some only occasionally. To me, the lack of popularity of the additions is due certainly to the added cost, key weight and length [for low Eb]. Also the little- recognized "Resistance-to-Change" we all have, may be the most important factor [IMHO] but I must admit I play the 17/6 unless I find passages where the F B is needed. I'm amazed but happy to see all of the above discussion, carry on ! Don

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 RE: Stubborn?
Author: Erin :) 
Date:   1999-09-20 23:48

I have the Ab/Eb lever on my clarinet, and I find that it definately comes in handy. I did have to get used to it, but after that it is just like any other key. You ask if it is necessary, and I have to say that for me, yes, it is. I have small hands, so I find that some of the sliding techniques are difficult simply because it is just too far to go. (Same with the side trill keys...) I don't see why clarinets aren't built with all the extras. Oboes have an alternate key for just about everything, but no one questions whether they should or not...

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