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 Bach Cello Suites for Eb bass clarinet
Author: tdufka 
Date:   2024-05-20 03:37

Hi again,

I am aware of the Alea Suites transcribed for bass clarinet which require an extended instrument (down to low D) and have previously played the originals in bass clef on an extended instrument, which result in the piece sounding a whole tone lower than the original.

What I am looking for is a published version of the six suites for bass clarinet that utilizes the low Eb of the smaller bass clarinet as the lowest note (i.e. concert C#/Db)

I realize that this would mean that the pieces would sound a semi-tone higher than as written for cello.

Is anyone aware of such a thing?

Does anyone have any experience with any of the four versions listed here besides the Alea: https://www.grothmusic.com/p-41852-6-suites-bwv-1007-1012-transcribed-for-bass-clarinet.aspx

thanks for any help!

Post Edited (2024-05-20 20:15)

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 Re: Bach Cello Suites for Eb bass clarinet
Author: Reese Oller 
Date:   2024-05-20 20:52

I suppose you could scan one of your existing parts and use software to transpose it up a half step.

Reese Oller

Clarinet student (soon to be a performance major in college)

I can play bass clarinet, Eb clarinet, BBb contra, alto saxophone, bassoon at a decent level, and flute in a pinch.

Post Edited (2024-05-20 20:53)

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 Re: Bach Cello Suites for Eb bass clarinet
Author: Hank Lehrer 
Date:   2024-05-20 21:42


I use the Larry Clark Six Cello Suites from Carl Fischer. Clark explained the transcription and editing process he used in detail.

My library contains the saxophone edition of the compositions as well. I use both of them on clarinet and this will really challenge you around the break and up into the upper register. The keys are different but if you view these transcriptions as something you always include in your practice sessions, you will enjoy them even more.

One problem is using a wind instrument to play the compositions rather than a cello, you are going to have to be creative on how you do the breathing.

I once heard Suite 1 played on a very large marimba, The performer was a well-known percussionist for a major symphony orchestra. He took many liberties with the phrasing and how it relates to a wind player taking a breath.

But if you can do circular breathing, no worries. My wife usually says to me after listening to a jazz player doing circular breathing "why can't you just do that..."


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 Re: Bach Cello Suites for Eb bass clarinet
Author: tdufka 
Date:   2024-05-22 03:35

Hi Hank,

Thanks for the tip! I will pick up the Clark edition for Bb clarinet. Apparently this only goes down to low E on the low-Eb bass, but that should be low enough.

I also play tenor sax and have the Trent Kynaston version of the Suites for sax but had not considered playing them as written on bass clarinet. Should be interesting!


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 Re: Bach Cello Suites for Eb bass clarinet
Author: Hank Lehrer 
Date:   2024-05-22 20:04


I think you will have an enjoyable time with both the clarinet and the sax books.

One thing that the late, great GBK and I agreed on was using the Arban Book for trumpet with our best clarinet players. We both felt that was a really great way to improve dexterity around the break.

On clarinet, this is also a great way to practice using the RH and LH pink keys. Where you might go LRL for a series on notes, us the LH Eb/Ab key if you have it.

The beauty of using the Bach Suites is you will get some unusual passages that you might not experience using specially transcribed bass clarinet music. It will be harder at first but will pay great dividends in the long run.

Who really cares what your actual pitch is since these are unaccompanied works.


PS Do not be afraid to slip in a few of the lower notes (C#, D, and C) when you see an opportunity. A little extra challenge is always a bonus.

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