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 bass clarinet altissimo
Author: han 
Date:   2007-09-15 20:00

I recently started playing bass clarinet. Initially I had some problems with the clarion register. I found it hard to produce a well projected tone, but by changing slightly my embouchure and after a lot of practise, I improved a lot.
I do have some problems with the altissimo register. I found out that the Bb fingerings work untill D, but then it gets all squeaky What I try instead is to simply overblow the notes, without any change in fingering, just by changing my voicing. This works , but it is quite random and not always secure.
Is this the right way to do it, or are there proper fingerings to play the altsissimo?

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 Re: bass clarinet altissimo
Author: LarryBocaner 2017
Date:   2007-09-15 20:19

Are you using the "half-hole" vent -- first finger left hand for notes above high C?

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 Re: bass clarinet altissimo
Author: han 
Date:   2007-09-15 21:14

I used it until D, but it doesn't work for me when I go higher . So I just leave my left hand finger down and overblow the note...

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 Re: bass clarinet altissimo
Author: bill28099 
Date:   2007-09-16 00:04

A related question for LarryBocaner. Do you "half-hole" C#? I've seen finger charts with it both ways. I was taught DO NOT half hole C#.

A great teacher gives you answers to questions
you don't even know you should ask.

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 Re: bass clarinet altissimo
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2007-09-16 04:47

>> Do you "half-hole" C#?

Depends on your bass I guess. On my bass the C# is a little better without the half hole (the finger off the key completely) but works good with the half hole too if easier in the moment (for example D C# D). On a Selmer 35 I tried recently it was also better without the half hole.

Han, sorry but it is not entirely clear if your bass clarinet has the half hole or not. That is a very small hole in the middle of the key for your first finger of left hand (sorry if I explain something you already know, but I couldn't tell from your posts if you knew what it was). If you have it then it is best for D and up to close the key but leave this hole open. If you don't have it then most likely that at least D# and up will sound better with this key closed. Leaving this key completely open will almost definitely not work.

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 Re: bass clarinet altissimo
Author: han 
Date:   2007-09-16 09:39

thanks clarnibass !
My bass does have the half hole, but I didn't know that I should use it as you explained. This makes things a lot clearer to me. Thanks

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 Re: bass clarinet altissimo
Author: LarryBocaner 2017
Date:   2007-09-16 14:03


Clarnibass already answered your question. To quote Duke Ellington: "If it sounds good it is good!" Use whichever fingering works best for you on your particular instrument. I find myself using the half-hole some of the time for high C# -- also use first finger plus register key -- no thumb.

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 Re: bass clarinet altissimo
Author: nahoj 
Date:   2007-09-16 21:57

Hi han,

This might be a good fingering chart to try out:
I tried Terje's contra-fingerings quite succesfully up to G#. Further up probably need lots and lots more practice on the contra...

By the way, are you the Han from DAAU?

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 Re: bass clarinet altissimo
Author: han 
Date:   2007-09-17 07:14

thank you nahoj,
yes that's me

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