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 Bb Bass & Eb Soprano
Author: EbClarinet 
Date:   2019-09-06 00:45

27-years ago I was in college studying Bb Clarinet to be a band director. I didn't know much about orchestra then because I couldn't play in the university's orchestra due to scheduling problems. The clarinet professor told us that (I guess from her experiences) that we would have to audition on Bb to get in an orchestra. She told us that there were no jobs for Bb Bass Clarinet or Eb Clarinet. I play both. I know the standard equipment is Bb and A for orchestra jobs but within the last few years, I've seen permanent bass clarinet players and Eb clarinet players in orchestra. I know things have changed within almost 30 years but I've looked up jobs online for bass and Eb and I see that orchestras are having auditions for them. There's even excerpt books available for audition requirements. Could some 1 that has orchestra experience or experience in the field please educate me about this? I didn't say any thing 2 my professor back then but I felt what she told the clarinet class wasn't completely true. I just don't think she liked playing bass or Eb and I love both of them. Please help, aid and advise.

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 Re: Bb Bass & Eb Soprano
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-09-06 01:27

You have to be proficient on soprano clarinet as well. You CAN make better your chances getting an orchestral job if you play really good soprano AND can wail on bass and Eb, but not the other way around.

And here is were Ed Palanker should chime in.

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

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 Re: Bb Bass & Eb Soprano
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2019-09-06 03:27

Eddie Palanker posts here often. He was a professor at Peabody Conservatory and a member of the Baltimore Symphony for 50 or 60 years I think, more maybe? He was the bass clarinetist and also a Bb clarinetist with the orchestra. His specialty was not just teaching students to play the Bb clarinet at a very high professional level, but also give his students the ability to learn the bass clarinet as well to help them land a symphony position.

Another friend is John Bruce Yeh who plays with the Chicago Symphony. He was accepted into the orchestra at the age of 19 I think on the bass clarinet and he just celebrated his 40th year with the orchestra. In 1978. It's actually 41 years for him now.

Needless to say the more assortment of clarinets you play well you have a greater chance of acceptance.

I started the clarinet in the 4th grade and the sax in the 5th. I can play both very well and I've enjoyed playing both professionally. So go after any and all positions you see and want.

To answer your question, your teacher was a jerk. If we get away from classical music for a second look at all of the famous rock musicians who can play several instruments well.

Designer of - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces and the La Vecchia mouthpieces

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 Re: Bb Bass & Eb Soprano
Author: Ed Palanker 
Date:   2019-09-07 17:29

The big major orchestras have four clarinet players. A principal and second of course, then an Eb player that is usually also an assistant or associate principal, they somewhat split the 1st book, and a bass clarinet player that has to be proficient on clarinet as well and often plays some second in rotation. Many bass orchestral parts are third and bass on one part.
An orchestra that has only three players doesn't have a separate ass. 1st player and usually then the second player plays Eb and may play some 1st parts or the bass clarinet player is also the ass. principal. It varies from one orchestra to another. Small orchestras that only carry two players usually hire a bass and or Eb player on a as needed bases per service. Those orchestra are usually not full time orchestras.
When I taught at Peabody i encouraged all my performance majors to learn either bass or Eb or even both as I did. Bass often require some lessons to help with voicing because it's so different from Bb clarient, Eb usually just requires practicing to learn the voicing. I gave my students lessons on either when needed. I took up the Bass and Eb in my third year of conservatory so i could compete for any position in an orchestra. Worked out pretty well for me.


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 Re: Bb Bass & Eb Soprano
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-09-07 17:48

I would add to Ed's breakdown of the typical assignments in most symphony orchestras (at least in the U.S.) I'd add that I can't remember ever seeing an audition notice that didn't require the prospective players to play soprano clarinet in the audition. The point is that in the orchestral world, the entry is through Bb and A clarinet before you get a chance to show your bass or Eb skills because the player may have to play soprano competently in some situations.

However, the band world is, in practice, very different, and I've known a number of bass players who played in bands with me who couldn't play soprano clarinet so that anyone would want to listen to it (and wouldn't have wanted to try). But in the U.S. outside of the military bands there's not much of a professional band market. A music teacher who only wants to play in local pick-up or community bands can get in on a lot of playing.


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