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 Clarinet does not sound correct
Author: Nux 
Date:   2018-08-13 23:14

Hi everyone

I recently ordered the student Bb clarinet from Gear4Music and received it 4 days ago. I am new to the clarinet but am familiar with the ocarina and I play the piano. The reason I come here is because the clarinet does not sound correct, and by that I don't mean the sound is not good, but if I refer to the fingering charts for Bb clarinet that i found, I can tell by hear and by verifying with my piano and another piano on my computer that there is a 2 semitone difference. When I place my left thumb and my three fingers, it plays a Bb (And, referring to the fingering charts, it should play a C) and this goes for everything in the instrument. While I was searching for a problem in my specific instrument, I found that the demonstration video that is on their website for this specific clarinet also has the same problems: if i compared her hands position to the note played, there is a 2 semitone difference.

My questions are: - Am I correct, did I make a mistake, is the clarinet finally sounding great ?
- I rewrited the charts and modified it with the 2 semitone difference, and for some songs who required only "white keys", it is way more difficult in terms of fingering, so where could i find a cheap -and still great- (I'm only a student) Bb clarinet ?

Thanks a lot for your time and help.

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 Re: Clarinet does not sound correct
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2018-08-14 00:03

That is why it is called a Bb clarinet. If you finger C, it will sound Bb on a piano. Same for all other instruments that do not finger a 'concert' pitch. Eb clarinet, finger C and it is Eb on a piano, which is called 'Concert' pitch.

BTW, you have a good ear to notice the difference. Good luck with your clarinet experience and visit here often to get clarinet information. There is a nice membership that live here and give good and kind advice.

Post Edited (2018-08-14 00:33)

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 Re: Clarinet does not sound correct
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-08-14 00:08

The Bb clarinet is a "transposing" instrument. You can Google the history of the clarinet or use the search utility here to find explanations. But the upshot is that a C fingering on the clarinet sounds the pitch of Bb on a non-transposing instrument like a piano, a flute, an oboe, any of the strings and other instruments. Non-transposing instruments are called "concert-pitch" instruments - their notes sound at "concert pitch."

Your clarinet is playing as it was designed to play - each written (fingered) note sounds a step (2 semi-tones) lower than its notated pitch - a written C sounds "concert" Bb (which is why your instrument is called a Bb clarinet), written D sounds like a piano's ("concert") C, etc...


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 Re: Clarinet does not sound correct
Author: Nux 
Date:   2018-08-14 01:48

Okay, thank you guys. Since i'm learning all by my own, I was not aware of these non-concert-pitch instruments. I'm gonna keep it, then, but i'll have much more problems with the fingering, which was a lot easier !
Anyway, it doesnt really matter to play a D instead of a C when i am alone, because the song itself is the "same" (in terms of steps), but when i'll come to play with friends, i'll have to pay attention to that !
Anyway, i'll definitely check guides on the site if i need tips or exercises, but yet, i'm trying to have a constant blow, good-sounding notes, and to not let any air leak when i use the keys (which is hard for some keys, i have to admit !)
BTW, even if it may not be the place to ask, is there any "common" daily exercise that would make me master the instrument better ? I never had to do this for the piano but i feel like the clarinet is a tougher instrument to start with, not to mention this "register key", i don't want to touch it yet, i'm staying in the low notes !
See you guys !

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 Re: Clarinet does not sound correct
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2018-08-14 02:36

Hi Nux - I'd recommend that you check out Clarinet Mentors on Youtube if you are not getting direct instruction from a good teacher. Michelle Anderson's instruction there is great at breaking things down in a clear and entertaining way when it comes to the basics of the clarinet.

You'll make much better progress much more quickly by knowing what to focus on and the common mistakes to avoid.

You are forming many habits automatically as begin to play. It really pays to know what is helpful and what is not, because the non-helpful habits will take quite a bit of work to fix later.

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