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 Eb or Bass clarinet?
Author: moute 
Date:   2017-10-06 05:01

I'm studying the clarinet in my city conservatoire and I have a hard choice to make. Either I take the bass clarinet as a second instrument or the Eb clarinet. I actually started on the bass so I'm quite good at it and I love it! But, the orchestra I'm in needs someone to play Eb and I'm the only clarinetist who is willing to learn. My teacher wants me to choose between the two because he doesn't me to overwork and neglect one of them.

So my question : which is better to learn if I want to be a professional?

Thank you very much and sorry for my english, it's not my first language!

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 Re: Eb or Bass clarinet?
Author: jdbassplayer 
Date:   2017-10-06 05:24

Why not both?

If your orchestra is in need of an Eb clarinet I would go with that first but in my experience it is easier to find gigs if you play bass. Again I would try to practice on both.

-Jdbassplayer

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 Re: Eb or Bass clarinet?
Author: Jordan Selburn 
Date:   2017-10-06 08:21

I believe (but have not researched) that bass is somewhat called for more in orchestral music than Eb. I'm certain that it's called more in musical theater (though you'll also want to learn sax, flute, etc.).

Jordan

Post Edited (2017-10-06 08:21)

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 Re: Eb or Bass clarinet?
Author: Roxann 
Date:   2017-10-06 18:47

As a music librarian, I've found that there is ALWAYS a score for bass clarinet and there is rarely a score for Eb unless the music is quite old. Rarely in modern music is there a part for Eb clarinet. HOWEVER, Eb is a blast to play IF you have small fingers. The fellow who plays 1st clarinet with me can't play the Eb because his hands are too big. On the other hand, I was asked to play Bass clarinet for a musical theater gig and couldn't because my hands are too small and I'm too short. I'd suggest playing both for a couple of weeks before committing. Listening to, and taking the advice from your teacher is always prudent.

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 Re: Eb or Bass clarinet?
Author: cigleris 
Date:   2017-10-06 19:36

If you want to be a professional it’s best to be proficient on both.

Peter Cigleris

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 Re: Eb or Bass clarinet?
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-10-08 12:58

Eddie Palanker might pop in, former member of the Baltimore Sym. I think he would push you in the right direction. Also retired from Peabody Institute. He most likely would suggest mastering one of the 2. I would suggest bass clarinet if you have a good teacher.

Kind of a friend, we surely know each other well is John Bruce Yeh. At the age of 19 he won the bass clarinet position with the Chicago Symphony. On youtube you can see him playing with Stanley Drucker. He's a monster player. Plays double lip too!

So Eddie would surely want you to master another instrument because you'd have a greater chance like John did with getting into a major orchestra.


DESIGNER OF - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist 2015




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 Re: Eb or Bass clarinet?
Author: Hurstfarm 
Date:   2017-10-09 17:02

As others have said, over time you should try to get experience in both, so if you're already proficient on bass the Eb would do more to broaden your skills. Can you borrow one to try, and see how you get on with it?

There are some important orchestral Eb parts (see, for example, what's included in Hadcock's Orchestral Studies http://www.nemusicpub.com/store/product.aspx/productId/176/Orchestral-Studies-for-the-Eb-Clarinet/), but less repertoire than you'll find for bass. There are plenty of interesting Eb parts in the wind band literature, where you'd normally find yourself the only Eb player, rather than several players to a part on Bb.

Because of their different contributions to the ensemble the 2 instruments offer very different styles of playing. On bass, you are anchoring the chord structure and providing tonal colour, particularly in the lower end of the range, with occasional prominent solos. On Eb, you will more often be contributing decorative "sparkle", often towards the higher end of the range. The technical challenges are different, in particular correct intonation to blend with the flutes and picc, and control issues.

Both can be rewarding to play. On Eb you're more likely to be noticed - for good or bad!

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 Re: Eb or Bass clarinet?
Author: rmk54 
Date:   2017-10-09 21:08

As a music librarian, I've found that there is ALWAYS a score for bass clarinet and there is rarely a score for Eb unless the music is quite old. Rarely in modern music is there a part for Eb clarinet.

---------------------------------------
???????????????

You must be talking about band music. There are many modern orchestral works that use E-flat clarinet.

See:

Mason Bates
John Adams
Reza Vali
Elliott Carter
John Corigliano
John Williams

...for starters.

And what do you mean by quite old? I've also seen a lot of 20th C. band music with E-flat parts.

Maybe you mean E-flat *alto* clarinet, but there is also modern band repertoire that uses that instrument, such as Percy Grainger and the famous alto clarinet cadenza in the Ingolf Dahl Sinfonietta.

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 Re: Eb or Bass clarinet?
Author: Ebclarinet1 
Date:   2017-10-09 23:00

I find that more players are uncomfortable playing Eefer so the chance for getting that 2nd/ Eb slot is a bit better. I play BOTH and find that really more than doubles your chances for playing. Picking up some basset horn or contra is a help. I've even entered concert band groups on alto as they're generally really happy to hear that someone can play it well.

Eefer guy

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 Re: Eb or Bass clarinet?
Author: KenJarczyk 
Date:   2017-10-10 07:32

Too bad it seems to be an either/or choice here. Absolutely Love Bass, and really enjoy every minute on Eb.

Orchestral Bass is much more interesting than most Concert Band/Wind Ensemble Bass work.

Eb in Orchestra is usually an important solo part, so a lot of fun, also stays quite fun in Wind Ensemble/Concert Band work.

Get the reed book job in West Side Story? Bb, Eb & Bass clarinet! Plus sax.

Ken Jarczyk
Woodwinds Specialist
Eb, C, Bb, A & Bass Clarinets
Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Baritone Saxophones
Flute, Alto Flute, Piccolo

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 Re: Eb or Bass clarinet?
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2017-10-10 16:30

Do what I did, I learned both while in conservatory, and I did them at the sometime. It should be easy for you if you already play bass, it's just a matter of havinging one of each. Anything you learn and practice on one will advance the other. Although I spent the majority of time on my lesson material I would devote and hour or two each week, usually on the weekends on Eb and another on bass and still put in my three plus hours those days on my clarinet practice. It worked out great for me. It's all a matter of desire and talent. Most of my Eb and Bass time was spent on learning excerpts as well as bass clef for bass.

ESP eddiesclarinet.com

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 Re: Eb or Bass clarinet?
Author: Grabnerwg 
Date:   2017-10-10 17:31

I echo what Eddie says - why not learn both?

When I was young and eager to "break in", I took every penny I had and bought both Eb and Bass clarinets. I practiced hard on both, and like Eddie says, really learn bass clef. (Also don't forget a clarinet transposition)

I made sure I was always "in practice" on all instruments and had good reeds.

Soon, I was getting calls from contractors, because they knew I could handle everything they could throw at me.

Walter Grabner
www.clarinetxpress.com
Need good instruments for consignment sales!

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 Re: Eb or Bass clarinet?
Author: Barry Vincent 
Date:   2017-10-11 01:46

Which Eb Clarinet is being referred to here ? Eb Alto or Eb Sopranino ?

Skyfacer

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 Re: Eb or Bass clarinet?
Author: Hurstfarm 
Date:   2017-10-11 18:44

The latter.

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 Re: Eb or Bass clarinet?
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2018-03-22 06:12

In my career I played all the clarinets including the Basset Horn. Play them all and whatever clarinet is needed, you can try for it. You are a more valuable player that way.

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 Re: Eb or Bass clarinet?
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2018-03-22 16:54

When I went to conservatory I leaned both beginning in my second year. Eb is easier to learn since it's just a small clarinet, just have to make an adjustment in voicing and use your ear more for intonation. I used to practice Eb a few hours a week learning some excepts. Bass took more time but well worth it, I became the bass clarinet player of the BSO for 50 years and even then had several opportunities to play Eb. I was able to audition for all orchestra positions when I graduated. 1st, 2nd, 2nd and Eb, ass. and Eb, bass and clarinet. Practicing each only enhanced my clarinet playing as well, it didn't distract from it. Just have to schedule your time to prepare your lessons.

ESP eddiesclarinet.com

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 Re: Eb or Bass clarinet?
Author: Brad Behn 
Date:   2018-03-26 04:38

In my experience a great Eb player is by default also a great Bb player. Not necessarily the case however on the low end. A great bass clarinetist ins't necessarily a master of the Bb. Sadly.

While I urge all to learn both, don't underestimate the importance of good Eb skills.

Brad Behn
http://www.clarinetmouthpiece.com

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 Re: Eb or Bass clarinet?
Author: Brad Behn 
Date:   2018-03-26 04:38

In my experience a great Eb player is by default also a great Bb player. Not necessarily the case however on the low end. A great bass clarinetist ins't necessarily a master of the Bb. Sadly.

While I urge all to learn both, don't underestimate the importance of good Eb skills.

Brad Behn
http://www.clarinetmouthpiece.com

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