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 Alternate Eb/Bb
Author: Heidi 
Date:   2003-03-26 18:34

Hello all!

Today in my lesson, my teacher advised me to get to know and practice the alternate Eb/Bb for my chromatic scales and a particular orchestral excerpt. This is the little sliver key in the left hand under the 2nd finger hole.
I have NEVER used this key before and find it (at least at the moment) very hard to wrap my fingers and brain around. He said that most professional clarinetists use this fingering rather than the "D with the lowest side key" one. I was just curious as to whether this was true? Thoughts??


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 Re: Alternate Eb/Bb
Author: GBK 
Date:   2003-03-26 18:56

Facility with the alternate Eb/Bb fingering is a powerful technical skill to have.

Many teachers believe that keeping all fingering motion confined to one hand will create a smoother change between notes, thus the reason for using this key.

To familiarize my students with the use of this key, I first have them learn the cadenza to Scheherazade very slowly - paying careful attention to finger coordination using the L3 Eb/Bb key. As they gain facility, we increase the speed.

Eventually, they see the advantages of using that particular fingering, and thus apply it to other similar passages...GBK

Post Edited (2003-03-26 22:45)

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 Re: Alternate Eb/Bb
Author: William 
Date:   2003-03-26 21:46

Yes--most of us use it, but only for chromatic passages. Mostly, I use the side key fingering and almost never the "one & one" alternate.

Also recommended, is to use the first finger F#/Gb in chromatic runs rather than the two side key alternate. This requires a "flip-flop" from thumb to forefinger, but the theory (again) is to keep the action in one hand whenever possible. (A Marcellus recommendation)

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 Re: Alternate Eb/Bb
Author: Hank Lehrer 
Date:   2003-03-26 21:59


I wish two of my teachers (Gigliotti and Bonade students) would have had the wisdom of Marcellus as I had to struggle with the alternate F#/Gb chromatic. I still use it from time-to-time in Fred and Ed's memory :-).


The sliver chromatic for Bb/Eb is a good one Heidi.

Post Edited (2003-03-27 02:16)

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 Re: Alternate Eb/Bb
Author: Tom Piercy 
Date:   2003-03-26 23:56

Use of "alternate Eb/Bb"

As usual, it depends on where you're coming from and where you're going and what you're doing while you are there; your teacher is correct in having you learn it.

You should be familiar and at ease with both fingerings you mentioned. In general: Be able to choose which fingering to use depending on the technical needs and not your level of comfort - or discomfort at this point.
Work enough using both that both become "easy."

Tom Piercy

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 Re: Alternate Eb/Bb
Author: Dee 
Date:   2003-03-27 01:20

Actually I was taught the sliver key version first and used it unless it wasn't technically feasible. To me, the side key fingering is the alternate!

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 Re: Alternate Eb/Bb
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2003-03-27 03:39

Like Dee, I never use the "flip/flop" method, but always the "two side trill key things" method. I don't like the chance of having that G just pop on up there. I figure it's the same thing as if having the flip/flop method on your lower right hand instead of using the sliver key. It's simply less convenient and less smooth.

As to when I use that key, the answer is, I have no idea. I don't remember EVER using it. I was debating having it removed and the hole plugged. Also, there are a handful (not many, but a few) reputable clarinets from reputable companies that don't even include that key to begin with. Look for a 16 key 6 ring clarinet (I think I remember Leblanc having a clarinet or two like this as well as Patricola if I'm correct). That will be the key that's missing. The others are much more important.

A response to the thought of keeping all the action in one hand. I understand where this is coming from, but lets look at other examples. How often has someone played a run in the upper register in an key with one or more flats? Then they know that the sidekey Bb must be used. Or how about a trill from F/Bb to G#/C#? Without the articulated G# mechanism (which I vow my next clarinet will have specifically for this reason). I'm sure with practice you've gotten that trill down pat. I know I have by now. My fingers move at exactly the same moment. So why feel the need to keep the action in one hand? While you COULD learn the F to F# with a flick of your index and thumb, wouldn't it be just more feasible to learn it without moving the thumb and just moving your other index? Less movement and NO chance of a G popping out. Just my thoughts.


US Army Japan Band

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