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 Clarinet standing in for sax
Author: mmatisoff 
Date:   2019-03-16 23:10

I am not sure how to ask this question in a clear and concise way.

A few of us want to start a band. We have a drummer, a keyboardist, a base guitar, and a clarinet (me). Most music we've considered is written for tenor sax. Can I just play the sax parts (as both instruments are Bb transposing instruments), or do I need to arrange the music so that clarinet "fits" with the other instruments?


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 Re: Clarinet standing in for sax
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-03-16 23:26

As it's tenor sax music you're playing from, you'll have to transpose as much of it down an 8ve on clarinet so the voicing of the writing isn't changed. That means if you play it all as written, you might have an inside part that's now above the melody line and that might not sit well.


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 Re: Clarinet standing in for sax
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-03-16 23:36

Unless the lead ends up being played by the keyboard player, you'll probably have the tune (melody) when you're playing. You may have to change the octave to your preference for the style and mood of the music (if it's a dark, moody ballad, maybe play in a lower octave, it it's up-tempo Dixieland or "modern" then maybe you want to be in the upper register and even in the altissimo (where a conventional tenor part won't go). As long as you stay out of the keyboard's way during his solos, you can do whatever seems idiomatic to the clarinet.

But, no, you don't have to do anything to account for the Bb transposition and, yes, you may need to transpose an octave lower, depending on the context, if you want to be at the same pitch level as the original tenor part.


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 Re: Clarinet standing in for sax
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-17 01:05

You may be asking an orchestration question. With the combination of instruments (besides the wind part) the sound that best stands up to that would be tenor sax (may God forgive me). Also, if you are playing for "others" (bar mitzvahs, weddings, coffee bars) no one will be expecting the timbre of the clarinet. So if you're asking the opinion of which instrument to use, I vote sax.

.................Paul Aviles

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 Re: Clarinet standing in for sax
Author: shmuelyosef 
Date:   2019-03-17 03:58

If you are playing tunes from the <American Songbook> genre, you can go on YouTube and find these played by woodwinds of all ilk fronting a piano trio (piano, bass, drums) including clarinet (Pete Fountain, Eddie Daniels, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Sidney Bechet, etc...) as well as a larger collection of soprano, alto and tenor saxophone. Just listen and see how you like the various approaches

e.g. Autumn Leaves

Do this kind of listening for a half dozen songs you want to play and let YOUR ears inform you...

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 Re: Clarinet standing in for sax
Author: John Morton 
Date:   2019-03-17 23:54

I have played clarinet in various small combos. If the music is written out, the tenor parts will be mostly OK. That said, you should always play what "fits". If you must write out your part, you may be going back to the drawing board a few times to get it right. Playing by ear, you'll be OK after running through it with the band a few times.

In my experience, drums and bass (and any brass) have always meant you don't hear the clarinet. There are clarinetists who play extraordinarily loud, but for most folks I suggest a clip-on mic.

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