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 Panic of a low clarinetist
Author: Reese Oller 
Date:   2024-01-31 00:38

Okay, since I haven't posted here in a while, I'll start with a status update:

1) I have several auditions for colleges lined up

2) I just finished performing in the ILMEA Honors All State band, in which I was principal chair bass clarinet

3) My fingers are feeling much better now than before!

Anyway, the thing I'm excited yet worried about:

Whenever I play an auxiliary clarinet, it is always LOWER than the Bb (alto, bass, contrabass) but never HIGHER. I have virtually zero experience on the Eb clarinet. However, just today an Eb part was put in front of me, and not only that, it's a very high part! And on top of that, I have to switch to it from 1st Bb halfway through the piece, and this worries me. How can I switch in four measures from a bigger instrument to a very tiny, cold instrument, and nail those altissimo notes?



Post Edited (2024-01-31 00:47)

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 Re: Panic of a low clarinetist
Author: Hunter_100 
Date:   2024-01-31 05:11

What piece is this for?

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 Re: Panic of a low clarinetist
Author: super20dan 
Date:   2024-01-31 05:40

this is indeed a pickle. the little eb is not for the novice

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 Re: Panic of a low clarinetist
Author: Reese Oller 
Date:   2024-01-31 06:23

Luckily for me, it's a slower piece, but very lyrical so tuning is important. It's called "The Old Boatman," by Florence Price.

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 Re: Panic of a low clarinetist
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2024-01-31 06:38

Just do it,switching back and forth often. In my senior year in high school I'd switch from EEb contra-alto to Eb soprano on alternating days. You get used to it pretty quickly.

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 Re: Panic of a low clarinetist
Author: Hunter_100 
Date:   2024-01-31 18:59

You can keep the eb warmed up by blowing air through it at any chance you have in rests during earlier pieces and holding it in your hands or put in under an armpit. The barrel and first inch or too of the top joint are going to be the most critical to warm up. If that is not possible, you need to set up the instrument with a short enough barrel so it plays in tune when its still cold. Hopefully you don't have a bunch of throat notes right at the start, those are usually flat on eb anyway.

I google that music, it seems that the eb part is separate from the 1,2,3 Bb parts. Are you being asked to cover an eb solo or something like that? Usually bands either have an eb clarinet player or they skip the part completely. It seems unusual to me that they would just drop the eb part on you when you aren't an eb player. If the eb part stays at or below written altissimo D, you could always just play it transposed on Bb since that only takes you up to the Bb's altissimo G which I assume you can play.

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 Re: Panic of a low clarinetist
Author: Hunter_100 
Date:   2024-01-31 19:09

I found a youtube recording of that piece that has the score, what a stupid arrangement regarding the eb part. The eb rests for the entire piece and only plays the last 9 measures where it is just doubling the flute part. That song would be annoying even for a dedicated eb player.

After seeing that, I would suggest you consult your conductor and find out if they really, really need that part played at all. Odds are the flutes will be sharp by that point so tuning is going to be a nightmare for you. The highest note is a written D so you very well could just play it on your Bb and have another player on 1st Bb cover the normal written part which is down an octave.

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 Re: Panic of a low clarinetist
Author: Connor1700 
Date:   2024-01-31 20:24

I agree with Hunter. What's the point of an Eb in this piece? I couldn't hear it in the youtube recording.

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 Re: Panic of a low clarinetist
Author: Reese Oller 
Date:   2024-01-31 20:46

I don't even know why there is an Eb part, and I'm tempted to just play the Eb part on clarinet. I can transpose parts on sight, anyway.

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 Re: Panic of a low clarinetist
Author: m1964 
Date:   2024-02-01 23:40

Reese Oller wrote:

> I don't even know why there is an Eb part, and I'm tempted to
> just play the Eb part on clarinet. I can transpose parts on
> sight, anyway.

Whatever you decide to do, I'd clear that with the conductor first.
I think any reasonable conductor would understand your points about switching to a cold, potentially poorly tuned instrument for just nine measures, just to double flutes.



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 Re: Panic of a low clarinetist
Author: Reese Oller 
Date:   2024-02-02 00:12

I'll see how it goes and decide from there, I think.

I am going to need experience on "le smol" for college and this is an excuse, I guess!


Oh yeah, speaking of nicknames, these are some of mine for different ones:

The Power/ Panzer Tank --- Contrabass clarinet

Clarinet of Chonk --- Bass clarinet

ol' Unreliable/easy mode--- Eb Alto Clarinet

Regular, if you've got it --- Bb clarinet

And now a new one!

Le Smol--- Eb sopranino clarinet

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 Re: Panic of a low clarinetist
Author: Reese Oller 
Date:   2024-02-02 03:03

Whoof

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 Re: Panic of a low clarinetist
Author: Reese Oller 
Date:   2024-02-02 03:08

Okay, I guess it didn't work:




Long story short, I recorded myself playing very very badly



Post Edited (2024-02-02 03:16)

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 Re: Panic of a low clarinetist
Author: m1964 
Date:   2024-02-02 05:30

Well, there at least two good points:

1. You hear the deficiency in your playing;
2. You want to get better.

I imagine it's difficult, esp. for a for a young player, to be good playing bass, soprano and now Eb clarinet.
Anyway, good luck in your auditions!

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 Re: Panic of a low clarinetist
Author: kurth83 
Date:   2024-02-02 05:30

Can't help you with your Eb issue, but I am glad you are still able to play. :-)

Aging classical trumpet player beginning to learn clarinet as a second.

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 Re: Panic of a low clarinetist
Author: Reese Oller 
Date:   2024-02-02 06:54

Yes, I definitely want to do better!


I don't want to be a one-hit wonder at the clarinet, I want to be proficient in them all, if at all possible!

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 Re: Panic of a low clarinetist
Author: Reese Oller 
Date:   2024-02-27 05:24

Ok, I think I'm doing quite well on the little Eb clarinet! I opted not to do any college auditions on the little beast.


Speaking of auditions, I auditioned for both Eastern and Western Illinois universities last week, and the professors seemed very impressed with my playing! This may be the break I've been needing as my 18th birthday looms next month. The only downside is that everyone I have talked to says I really need to replace my ailing old Signet as it is apparently holding me back in some respects.

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