Posts Tagged ‘clarinet’

Clarinet and Saxophone

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016



Clarinet and saxophone, in house performance and presentation on instruments of the clarinet and saxophone families of instruments, for education.



As part of our touring schedule, we are encouraging education facilities to receive us.So to perform and promote instruments of the clarinet and saxophone families. A good thing to instrument students and the learning musician.



Clarinet and Saxophone



Clarinet and Saxophone



Clarinet and Saxophone





Clarinet and Saxophone



Clarinet and Saxophone



Clarinet and Saxophone



Clarinet and Saxophone



Clarinet and Saxophone



Clarinet and Saxophone



Clarinet and Saxophone



Clarinet and Saxophone



Clarinet and Saxophone



Clarinet and Saxophone



Clarinet and Saxophone



Clarinet and Saxophone



Clarinet and Saxophone



Clarinet and Saxophone




Wednesday, May 11th, 2016


The clarinet is a musical-instrument family belonging to the group known as the woodwind instruments. It has a single-reed mouthpiece, a straight cylindrical tube with an almost cylindrical bore, and a flared bell. A person who plays a clarinet is called a clarinetist (sometimes spelled clarinettist).

The word clarinet may have entered the English language via the French clarinette (the feminine diminutive of Old French clarin or clarion), or from Provençal clarin, “oboe”. It would seem however that its real roots are to be found amongst some of the various names for trumpets used around the renaissance and baroque eras. Clarion, clarin and the Italian clarino are all derived from the medieval term claro which referred to an early form of trumpet. This is probably the origin of the Italian clarinetto, itself a diminutive of clarino, and consequently of the European equivalents such as clarinette in French or the German Klarinette. According to Johann Gottfried Walther, writing in 1732, the reason for the name is that “it sounded from far off not unlike a trumpet”. The English form clarinet is found as early as 1733, and the now-archaic clarionet appears from 1784 until the early years of the 20th century.


While the similarity in sound between the earliest clarinets and the trumpet may hold a clue to its name, other factors may have been involved. During the late baroque era, composers such as Bach and Handel were making new demands on the skills of their trumpeters, who were often required to play difficult melodic passages in the high, or as it came to be called, clarion register. Since the trumpets of this time had no valves or pistons, melodic passages would often require the use of the highest part of the trumpet’s range, where the harmonics were close enough together to produce scales of adjacent notes as opposed to the gapped scales or arpeggios of the lower register. The trumpet parts that required this speciality were known by the term clarino and this in turn came to apply to the musicians themselves. It is probable that the term clarinet may stem from the diminutive version of the ‘clarion’ or ‘clarino’ and it has been suggested that clarino players may have helped themselves out by playing particularly difficult passages on these newly developed “mock trumpets”.

Johann Christoph Denner is generally believed to have invented the clarinet in Germany around the year 1700 by adding a register key to the earlier chalumeau. Over time, additional keywork and airtight pads were added to improve the tone and playability.

These days the most popular clarinet is the B♭ clarinet. However, the clarinet in A, just a semitone lower, is commonly used in orchestral music. Since the middle of the 19th century the bass clarinet (nowadays invariably in B♭ but with extra keys to extend the register down a few notes) has become an essential addition to the orchestra. The clarinet family ranges from the (extremely rare) BBB♭ octo-contrabass to the A♭ piccolo clarinet. The clarinet has proved to be an exceptionally flexible instrument, equally at home in the classical repertoire as in concert bands, military bands, marching bands, klezmer, and jazz.

The cylindrical bore is primarily responsible for the clarinet’s distinctive timbre, which varies between its three main registers, known as the chalumeau and clarion. The tone quality can vary greatly with the musician, the music, the instrument, the mouthpiece, and the reed. The differences in instruments and geographical isolation of players in different countries led to the development, from the last part of the 18th century onwards, of several different schools of clarinet playing. The most prominent were the German/Viennese traditions and the French school. The latter was centered on the clarinetists of the Conservatoire de Paris. The proliferation of recorded music has made examples of different styles of clarinet playing available. The modern clarinetist has a diverse palette of “acceptable” tone qualities to choose from.


Bass Clarinet

The A clarinet and B♭ clarinet have nearly the same bore, and use the same mouthpiece. Orchestral players using the A and B♭ instruments in the same concert could use the same mouthpiece (and often the same barrel) for both (see ‘usage’ below). The A and the B♭ instruments have nearly identical tonal quality, although the A typically has a slightly warmer sound. The tone of the E♭ clarinet is brighter than that of the lower clarinets and can be heard even through loud orchestral or concert band textures. The bass clarinet has a characteristically deep, mellow sound, while the alto clarinet is similar in tone to the bass (though not as dark).


Main articles: clarinet family, E-flat clarinet, soprano clarinet, alto clarinet, bass clarinet, basset-horn, contra-alto clarinet and contrabass clarinet

Clarinets have the largest pitch range of common woodwinds. The intricate key organization that makes this range possible can make the playability of some passages awkward. The bottom of the clarinet’s written range is defined by the keywork on each instrument, standard keywork schemes allowing a low E on the common B♭ clarinet. The lowest concert pitch depends on the transposition of the instrument in question. The nominal highest note of the B♭ clarinet is a semitone higher than the highest note of the oboe. Since the clarinet has a wider range of notes, the lowest note of the B♭ clarinet is significantly deeper (a minor or major sixth) than the lowest note of the oboe.

Nearly all soprano and piccolo clarinets have keywork enabling them to play the E below middle C as their lowest written note (in scientific pitch notation that sounds D3 on a soprano clarinet or C4, i.e. concert middle C, on a piccolo clarinet), though some B♭ clarinets go down to E♭3 to enable them to match the range of the A clarinet. On the B♭ soprano clarinet, the concert pitch of the lowest note is D3, a whole tone lower than the written pitch. Most alto and bass clarinets have an extra key to allow a (written) E♭3. Modern professional-quality bass clarinets generally have additional keywork to written C3. Among the less commonly encountered members of the clarinet family, contra-alto and contrabass clarinets may have keywork to written E♭3, D3, or C3; the basset clarinet and basset horn generally go to low C3.

Defining the top end of a clarinet’s range is difficult, since many advanced players can produce notes well above the highest notes commonly found in method books. G6 is usually the highest note clarinetists encounter in classical repertoire. The C above that (C7 i.e. resting on the fifth ledger line above the treble staff) is attainable by advanced players and is shown on many fingering charts, and fingerings as high as G7 exist.

clarinet david

The range of a clarinet can be divided into three distinct registers. The lowest register, from low written E to the written B♭ above middle C (B♭4), is known as the chalumeau register (named after the instrument that was the clarinet’s immediate predecessor). The middle register is known as the clarion register (sometimes in the U.S.A. as the clarino register from the Italian) and spans just over an octave (from written B above middle C (B4) to the C two octaves above middle C (C6)); it is the dominant range for most members of the clarinet family. The top or altissimo register consists of the notes above the written C two octaves above middle C (C6). All three registers have characteristically different sounds. The chalumeau register is rich and dark. The clarion register is brighter and sweet, like a trumpet (clarion) heard from afar. The altissimo register can be piercing and sometimes shrill.

clarinet woman


Sound wave propagation in the soprano clarinet
Sound is a wave that propagates through the air as a result of a local variation in air pressure. The production of sound by a clarinet follows these steps:

The mouthpiece and reed are surrounded by the player’s lips, which put light, even pressure on the reed and form an airtight seal. Air is blown past the reed and down the instrument. In the same way that a flag flaps in the breeze, the air rushing past the reed causes it to vibrate. As air pressure from the mouth increases, the amount the reed vibrates increases until the reed hits the mouthpiece. At this point the reed stays pressed against the mouthpiece until either the springiness of the reed forces it to open, or a returning pressure wave ‘bumps’ into the reed and opens it. Each time the reed opens, a puff of air goes through the gap, after which the reed swings shut again. When played loudly, the reed can spend up to 50% of the time shut. The ‘puff of air’ or compression wave (around 3% greater pressure than the surrounding air) travels down the cylindrical tube and escapes at the point where the tube opens out. This is either at the closest open hole or at the end of the tube.

More than a ‘neutral’ amount of air escapes from the instrument, which creates a slight vacuum or rarefaction in the clarinet tube. This rarefaction wave travels back up the tube.

The rarefaction is reflected off the sloping end wall of the clarinet mouthpiece. The opening between the reed and the mouthpiece makes very little difference to the reflection of the rarefaction wave. This is because the opening is very small compared to the size of the tube, so almost the entire wave is reflected back down the tube even if the reed is completely open at the time the wave hits.

When the rarefication wave reaches the other (open) end of the tube, air rushes in to fill the slight vacuum. A little more than a ‘neutral’ amount of air enters the tube and causes a compression wave to travel back up the tube. Once the compression wave reaches the mouthpiece end of the clarinet ‘tube’, it is reflected again back down the pipe. However at this time, either because the compression wave ‘bumped’ the reed or because of the natural vibration cycle of the reed, the gap opens and another ‘puff’ of air is sent down the pipe.

The original compression wave, now greatly reinforced by the second ‘puff’ of air, sets off on another two trips down the pipe (travelling 4 pipe lengths in total) before the cycle is repeated again.

The cycle repeats at a frequency relative to how long it takes a wave to travel to the first open hole and back twice (i.e. four times the length of the pipe). For example: when all the holes bar the very top one are open (i.e. the trill ‘B’ key is pressed), the note A4 (440 Hz) is produced. This represents a repeat of the cycle 440 times per second.

In addition to this primary compression wave, other waves, known as harmonics, are created. Harmonics are caused by factors including: the imperfect wobbling and shaking of the clarinet reed, the reed sealing the mouthpiece opening for part of the wave cycle (which creates a flattened section of the sound wave) and imperfections (bumps and holes) in the clarinet bore. A wide variety of compression waves are created, but only some (primarily the odd harmonics) are reinforced. These extra waves are what gives the clarinet its characteristic tone.

The bore of the clarinet is cylindrical for most of the tube with an inner bore diameter between 14 and 15.5 millimetres (0.55 and 0.61 in), but there is a subtle hourglass shape, with the thinnest part below the junction between the upper and lower joint. The reduction is 1 to 3 millimetres (0.039 to 0.118 in) depending on the maker. This “hourglass” shape, although not visible to the naked eye, helps to correct the pitch/scale discrepancy between the chalumeau and clarion registers (perfect 12th). The diameter of the bore affects characteristics such as available harmonics, timbre, and pitch stability (how far the player can bend a note in the manner required in jazz and other music). The bell at the bottom of the instrument flares out to improve the tone and tuning of the lowest notes.

Most modern clarinets have “undercut” tone holes that improve intonation and sound. Undercutting means chamfering the bottom edge of tone holes inside the bore. Acoustically, this makes the tone hole function as if it were larger, but its main function is to allow the air column to follow the curve up through the tone hole (surface tension) instead of “blowing past” it under the increasingly directional frequencies of the upper registers.

The fixed reed and fairly uniform diameter of the clarinet give the instrument an acoustical behavior approximating that of a cylindrical stopped pipe. Recorders use a tapered internal bore to overblow at the 8th (octave) when its thumb/register hole is pinched open while the clarinet, with its cylindrical bore, overblows on the 12th. Adjusting the angle of the bore taper controls the frequencies of the overblown notes (harmonics). Changing the mouthpiece’s tip opening and the length of the reed changes aspects of the harmonic timbre or voice of the instrument because this changes the speed of reed vibrations. Generally, the goal of the clarinetist when producing a sound is to make as much of the reed vibrate as possible, making the sound fuller, warmer, and potentially louder.

The lip position and pressure, the shaping of the vocal tract, the choice of reed and mouthpiece, the amount of air pressure created, and the evenness of the air flow account for most of the player’s ability to control the tone of a clarinet. A highly skilled musician will provide the ideal lip pressure and air pressure for each frequency (note) being produced. They will have an embouchure which places an even pressure across the reed by carefully controlling their lip muscles. The air flow will also be carefully controlled by using the strong stomach muscles (as opposed to the weaker and erratic chest muscles) and they will use the diaphragm to oppose the stomach muscles to achieve a tone softer than a forte, rather than weakening the stomach muscle tension to lower air pressure. Their vocal tract will be shaped to resonate at frequencies associated with the tone being produced.

Covering or uncovering the tone holes varies the length of the pipe, changing the resonant frequencies of the enclosed air column and hence the pitch of the sound. A clarinetist moves between the chalumeau and clarion registers through use of the register key, or speaker key: clarinetists call the change from chalumeau register to clarion register “the break”. The open register key stops the fundamental frequency from being reinforced and the reed is forced to vibrate at three times the speed it was originally vibrating at. This produces a note a twelfth above the original note. Most instruments overblow at two times the speed of the fundamental frequency (the octave) but as the clarinet acts as a closed pipe system, the reed cannot vibrate at twice the original speed because it would be creating a ‘puff’ of air at the time the previous ‘puff’ is returning as a rarefaction. This means that it cannot be reinforced and so would die away.

The chalumeau register plays fundamentals, whereas the clarion register, aided by the register key, plays third harmonics, a perfect twelfth higher than the fundamentals. The first several notes of the altissimo range, aided by the register key and venting with the first left-hand hole, play fifth harmonics, a major seventeenth (that is a perfect twelfth plus a major sixth) above the fundamental. The clarinet is therefore said to overblow at the twelfth, and when moving to the altissimo register, a seventeenth. By contrast, nearly all other woodwind instruments overblow at the octave, or like the ocarina and tonette, do not overblow at all). A clarinet must have holes and keys for nineteen notes (a chromatic octave and a half, from bottom E to B♭) in its lowest register to play the chromatic scale. This overblowing behavior explains the clarinet’s great range and complex fingering system. The fifth and seventh harmonics are also available, sounding a further sixth and fourth (a flat, diminished fifth) higher respectively; these are the notes of the altissimo register. This is also why the inner “waist” measurement is so critical to these harmonic frequencies.

The highest notes on a clarinet can have a shrill piercing quality and can be difficult to tune accurately. Different instruments often play differently in this respect due to the sensitivity of the bore and reed measurements. Using alternate fingerings and adjusting the embouchure help correct the pitch of these higher notes.

Since approximately 1850, clarinets have been nominally tuned according to twelve-tone equal temperament. Older clarinets were nominally tuned to mean-tone. A skilled performer can use his or her embouchure to considerably alter the tuning of individual notes or to produce vibrato, a pulsating change of pitch often employed in jazz. Vibrato is rare in classical or concert band literature; however, certain clarinetists, such as Richard Stoltzman, do use vibrato in classical music. Special fingerings may be used to play quarter tones and other micro-tonal intervals. Around 1900, Dr. Richard H. Stein, a Berlin musicologist, made a quarter-tone clarinet, which was soon abandoned. Years later, another German, Fritz Schüller of Markneukirchen, built a quarter tone clarinet, with two parallel bores of slightly different lengths whose tone holes are operated using the same keywork and a valve to switch from one bore to the other.

The construction of a clarinet (Oehler system)

Clarinet bodies have been made from a variety of materials including wood, plastic, hard rubber, metal, resin, and ivory. The vast majority of clarinets used by professional musicians are made from African hardwood, mpingo (African Blackwood) or grenadilla, rarely (because of diminishing supplies) Honduran rosewood and sometimes even cocobolo. Historically other woods, notably boxwood, were used.

Most modern, inexpensive instruments are made of plastic resin, such as ABS. These materials are sometimes called resonite, which is Selmer’s trademark name for its type of plastic. Metal soprano clarinets were popular in the early 20th century, until plastic instruments supplanted them; metal construction is still used for the bodies of some contra-alto and contrabass clarinets, and for the necks and bells of nearly all alto and larger clarinets. Ivory was used for a few 18th-century clarinets, but it tends to crack and does not keep its shape well.

Mouthpieces are generally made of hard rubber, although some inexpensive mouthpieces may be made of plastic. Other materials such as crystal/glass, wood, ivory, and metal have also been used. Ligatures are often made out of metal and plated in nickel, silver, or gold. Other ligature materials include wire, wire mesh, plastic, naugahyde, string, or leather.

The Reed

The instrument uses a single reed made from the cane of Arundo donax, a type of grass. Reeds may also be manufactured from synthetic materials. The ligature fastens the reed to the mouthpiece. When air is blown through the opening between the reed and the mouthpiece facing, the reed vibrates and produces the instrument’s sound.

Basic reed measurements are as follows: tip, 12 millimetres (0.47 in) wide; lay, 15 millimetres (0.59 in) long (distance from the place where the reed touches the mouthpiece to the tip); gap, 1 millimetre (0.039 in) (distance between the underside of the reed tip and the mouthpiece). Adjustment to these measurements is one method of affecting tone color.

Most clarinetists buy manufactured reeds, although many make adjustments to these reeds and some make their own reeds from cane “blanks”. Reeds come in varying degrees of hardness, generally indicated on a scale from one (soft) through five (hard). This numbering system is not standardized—reeds with the same hardness number often vary in hardness across manufacturers and models. Reed and mouthpiece characteristics work together to determine ease of playability, pitch stability, and tonal characteristics.

Note: A Boehm system soprano clarinet is shown in the photos illustrating this section. However, all modern clarinets have similar components.

Clarinet reed, mouthpiece, and ligature
The reed is attached to the mouthpiece by the ligature, and the top half-inch or so of this assembly is held in the player’s mouth. In the past clarinetists used to wrap a string around the mouthpiece and reed instead of using a ligature. The formation of the mouth around the mouthpiece and reed is called the embouchure.

Bb Clarinet reed and mouthpiece.
Problems playing this file? See media help.
The reed is on the underside of the mouthpiece, pressing against the player’s lower lip, while the top teeth normally contact the top of the mouthpiece (some players roll the upper lip under the top teeth to form what is called a ‘double-lip’ embouchure). Adjustments in the strength and shape of the embouchure change the tone and intonation (tuning). It is not uncommon for clarinetists to employ methods to relieve the pressure on the upper teeth and inner lower lip by attaching pads to the top of the mouthpiece or putting (temporary) padding on the front lower teeth, commonly from folded paper.

Barrel of a B♭ soprano clarinet
Next is the short barrel; this part of the instrument may be extended to fine-tune the clarinet. As the pitch of the clarinet is fairly temperature-sensitive, some instruments have interchangeable barrels whose lengths vary slightly. Additional compensation for pitch variation and tuning can be made by pulling out the barrel and thus increasing the instrument’s length, particularly common in group playing in which clarinets are tuned to other instruments (such as in an orchestra or concert band). Some performers use a plastic barrel with a thumb-wheel that adjusts the barrel length. On basset horns and lower clarinets, the barrel is normally replaced by a curved metal neck.

Upper joint of a Boehm system clarinet
The main body of most clarinets is divided into the upper joint, the holes and most keys of which are operated by the left hand, and the lower joint with holes and most keys operated by the right hand. Some clarinets have a single joint: on some basset horns and larger clarinets the two joints are held together with a screw clamp and are usually not disassembled for storage. The left thumb operates both a tone hole and the register key. On some models of clarinet, such as many Albert system clarinets and increasingly some higher-end Boehm system clarinets, the register key is a ‘wraparound’ key, with the key on the back of the clarinet and the pad on the front. Advocates of the wraparound register key say it improves sound, and it is harder for moisture to accumulate in the tube beneath the pad. Nevertheless, there is a consensus among repair techs that this type of register key is harder to keep in adjustment, i.e., it is hard to have enough spring pressure to close the hole securely.

The body of a modern soprano clarinet is equipped with numerous tone holes of which seven (six front, one back) are covered with the fingertips, and the rest are opened or closed using a set of keys. These tone holes let the player produce every note of the chromatic scale. On alto and larger clarinets, and a few soprano clarinets, key-covered holes replace some or all finger holes. The most common system of keys was named the Boehm system by its designer Hyacinthe Klosé in honour of flute designer Theobald Boehm, but it is not the same as the Boehm system used on flutes. The other main system of keys is called the Oehler system and is used mostly in Germany and Austria (see History). The related Albert system is used by some jazz, klezmer, and eastern European folk musicians. The Albert and Oehler systems are both based on the early Mueller system.

Lower Joint of a Boehm system clarinet
The cluster of keys at the bottom of the upper joint (protruding slightly beyond the cork of the joint) are known as the trill keys and are operated by the right hand. These give the player alternative fingerings that make it easy to play ornaments and trills. The entire weight of the smaller clarinets is supported by the right thumb behind the lower joint on what is called the thumb-rest. Basset horns and larger clarinets are supported with a neck strap or a floor peg.

Bell of a B♭ soprano clarinet
Finally, the flared end is known as the bell. Contrary to popular belief, the bell does not amplify the sound; rather, it improves the uniformity of the instrument’s tone for the lowest notes in each register. For the other notes the sound is produced almost entirely at the tone holes and the bell is irrelevant. On basset horns and larger clarinets, the bell curves up and forward and is usually made of metal.

Theobald Boehm did not directly invent the key system of the clarinet. Boehm was a flautist who created the key system that is now used for the transverse flute. Klosé and Buffet applied Boehm’s system to the clarinet. Although the credit goes to those people, Boehm’s name was given to that key system because it was based on that used for flute.

The current Boehm key system consists of generally 6 rings, on the thumb, 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th holes, a register key just above the thumb hole, easily accessible with the thumb. Above the 1st hole, there is a key that lifts two covers creating the note A in the throat register (high part of low register) of the clarinet. A key at the side of the instrument at the same height as the A key lifts only one of the two covers, producing G♯ a semitone lower. The A key can be used in conjunction solely with the register key to produce A♯/B♭.


4-key boxwood clarinet, ca. 1760.
The clarinet has its roots in the early single-reed instruments or hornpipes used in Ancient Greece, old Egypt, Middle East, and Europe since the Middle Ages, such as the albogue, alboka, and double clarinet.

The modern clarinet developed from a Baroque instrument called the chalumeau. This instrument was similar to a recorder, but with a single-reed mouthpiece and a cylindrical bore. Lacking a register key, it was played mainly in its fundamental register, with a limited range of about one and a half octaves. It had eight finger holes, like a recorder, and two keys for its two highest notes. At this time, contrary to modern practice, the reed was placed in contact with the upper lip.

Around the turn of the 18th century, the chalumeau was modified by converting one of its keys into a register key to produce the first clarinet. This development is usually attributed to German instrument maker Johann Christoph Denner, though some have suggested his son Jacob Denner was the inventor. This instrument played well in the middle register with a loud, shrill sound, so it was given the name clarinetto meaning “little trumpet” (from clarino + -etto). Early clarinets did not play well in the lower register, so players continued to play the chalumeaux for low notes. As clarinets improved, the chalumeau fell into disuse, and these notes became known as the chalumeau register. Original Denner clarinets had two keys, and could play a chromatic scale, but various makers added more keys to get improved tuning, easier fingerings, and a slightly larger range. The classical clarinet of Mozart’s day typically had eight finger holes and five keys.

Clarinets were soon accepted into orchestras. Later models had a mellower tone than the originals. Mozart (d. 1791) liked the sound of the clarinet (he considered its tone the closest in quality to the human voice) and wrote numerous pieces for the instrument. By the time of Beethoven (c. 1800–1820), the clarinet was a standard fixture in the orchestra.

The next major development in the history of clarinet was the invention of the modern pad. Because early clarinets used felt pads to cover the tone holes, they leaked air. This required pad-covered holes to be kept to a minimum, restricting the number of notes the clarinet could play with good tone. In 1812, Iwan Müller, a Baltic German community-born clarinetist and inventor, developed a new type of pad that was covered in leather or fish bladder. It was airtight and let makers increase the number of pad-covered holes. Müller designed a new type of clarinet with seven finger holes and thirteen keys. This allowed the instrument to play in any key with near-equal ease. Over the course of the 19th-century makers made many enhancements to Mueller’s clarinet, such as the Albert system and the Baermann system, all keeping the same basic design. Modern instruments may also have cork or synthetic pads.

Oehler system clarinets use additional tone holes to correct intonation (patent C♯, low E-F correction, fork-F/B♭ correction and fork B♭ correction)

The final development in the modern design of the clarinet used in most of the world today was introduced by Hyacinthe Klosé in 1839. He devised a different arrangement of keys and finger holes, which allow simpler fingering. It was inspired by the Boehm system developed for flutes by Theobald Boehm. Klosé was so impressed by Boehm’s invention that he named his own system for clarinets the Boehm system, although it is different from the one used on flutes. This new system was slow to gain popularity but gradually became the standard, and today the Boehm system is used everywhere in the world except Germany and Austria. These countries still use a direct descendant of the Mueller clarinet known as the Oehler system clarinet. Also, some contemporary Dixieland players continue to use Albert system clarinets.

Use of multiple clarinets
The modern orchestral standard of using soprano clarinets in both B♭ and A has to do partly with the history of the instrument, and partly with acoustics, aesthetics, and economics. Before about 1800, due to the lack of airtight pads (see History), practical woodwinds could have only a few keys to control accidentals (notes outside their diatonic home scales). The low (chalumeau) register of the clarinet spans a twelfth (an octave plus a perfect fifth), so the clarinet needs keys/holes to produce all nineteen notes in that range. This involves more keywork than is necessary on instruments that “overblow” at the octave—oboes, flutes, bassoons, and saxophones, for example, which need only twelve notes before overblowing.

Clarinets with few keys cannot therefore easily play chromatically, limiting any such instrument to a few closely related key signatures. For example, an eighteenth-century clarinet in C could be played in F, C, and G (and their relative minors) with good intonation, but with progressive difficulty and poorer intonation as the key moved away from this range. In contrast, for octave-overblowing instruments, an instrument in C with few keys could much more readily be played in any key.

This problem was overcome by using three clarinets—in A, B♭, and C—so that early 19th-century music, which rarely strayed into the remote keys (five or six sharps or flats), could be played as follows: music in 5 to 2 sharps (B major to D major concert pitch) on A clarinet (D major to F major for the player), music in 1 sharp to 1 flat (G to F) on C clarinet, and music in 2 flats to 4 flats (B♭ to A♭) on the B♭ clarinet (C to B♭ for the player). Difficult key signatures and numerous accidentals were thus largely avoided.

With the invention of the airtight pad, and as key technology improved and more keys were added to woodwinds, the need for clarinets in multiple musical keys was reduced. However, the use of multiple instruments in different keys persisted, with the three instruments in C, B♭, and A all used as specified by the composer.

The lower-pitched clarinets sound more “mellow” (less bright), and the C clarinet—being the highest and therefore brightest of the three—fell out of favour as the other two clarinets could cover its range and their sound was considered better. While the clarinet in C began to fall out of general use around 1850, some composers continued to write C parts after this date, e.g., Bizet’s Symphony in C (1855), Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 (1872), Smetana’s overture to The Bartered Bride (1866) and Má Vlast (1874), Dvořák’s Slavonic Dance Op. 46, No. 1 (1878), Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 (1885), Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 (1906), and Richard Strauss deliberately reintroduced it[clarification needed] to take advantage of its brighter tone, as in Der Rosenkavalier (1911).

While technical improvements and an equal-tempered scale reduced the need for two clarinets, the technical difficulty of playing in remote keys persisted, and the A has thus remained a standard orchestral instrument. In addition, by the late 19th century, the orchestral clarinet repertoire contained so much music for clarinet in A that the disuse of this instrument was not practical. Attempts were made to standardise to the B♭ instrument between 1930 and 1950 (e.g., tutors recommended learning the routine transposition of orchestral A parts on the B♭ clarinet, including solos written for A clarinet, and some manufacturers provided a low E♭ on the B♭ to match the range of the A), but this failed in the orchestral sphere.

Similarly there have been E♭ and D instruments in the upper soprano range, B♭, A, and C instruments in the bass range, and so forth; but over time the E♭ and B♭ instruments have become predominant.

The B♭ instrument remains dominant in concert bands and in jazz. Both B♭ and C instruments are used in some ethnic traditions, such as klezmer music.

Classical Music

A pair of Boehm system soprano clarinets—one in B♭ and one in A.
In classical music, clarinets are part of standard orchestral and concert band instrumentation.

The orchestra frequently includes two clarinetists playing individual parts—each player is usually equipped with a pair of standard clarinets in B♭ and A, and clarinet parts commonly alternate between B♭ and A instruments several times over the course of a piece or even, less commonly, of a movement (e.g., 1st movement Brahms 3rd symphony). Clarinet sections grew larger during the last few decades of the 19th century, often employing a third clarinetist, an E♭ or a bass clarinet. In the 20th century, composers such as Igor Stravinsky, Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, and Olivier Messiaen enlarged the clarinet section on occasion to up to nine players, employing many different clarinets including the E♭ or D soprano clarinets, basset horn, alto clarinet, bass clarinet, and/or contrabass.

In concert bands, clarinets are an important part of the instrumentation. The E♭ clarinet, B♭ clarinet, alto clarinet, bass clarinet, and contra-alto/contrabass clarinet are commonly used in concert bands. Concert bands generally have multiple B♭ clarinets; there are commonly 3 B♭ clarinet parts with 2–3 players per part. There is generally only one player per part on the other clarinets. There are not always E♭ clarinet, alto clarinet, and contra-alto clarinets/contrabass clarinet parts in concert band music, but all three are quite common.

This practice of using a variety of clarinets to achieve coloristic variety was common in 20th-century classical music and continues today. However, many clarinetists and conductors prefer to play parts originally written for obscure instruments on B♭ or E♭ clarinets, which are often of better quality and more prevalent and accessible.

The clarinet is widely used as a solo instrument. The relatively late evolution of the clarinet (when compared to other orchestral woodwinds) has left solo repertoire from the Classical period and later, but few works from the Baroque era. Many clarinet concertos have been written to showcase the instrument, with the concerti by Mozart, Copland, and Weber being well known.

Many works of chamber music have also been written for the clarinet. Common combinations are:

Clarinet and piano (including sonatas)
Clarinet trio; clarinet, piano, and another instrument (for example, string instrument or voice)
Clarinet quartet: various combinations including four B♭ clarinets, three B♭ clarinets and bass clarinet, two B♭ clarinets, alto clarinet and bass, and other possibilities such as the use of a basset horn, especially in European classical works.
Clarinet quintet, generally made up of a clarinet plus a string quartet.
Reed quintet, consists of oboe (doubling English horn), clarinet, alto saxophone (doubling soprano saxophone), bass clarinet, and bassoon.

Wind quintet, consists of flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn.
Trio d’anches, or trio of reeds consists of oboe, clarinet, and bassoon.
Wind octet, consists of pairs of oboes, clarinets, bassoons, and horns.


The clarinet was originally a central instrument in jazz, beginning with the New Orleans players in the 1910s. It remained a signature instrument of jazz music through much of the big band era into the 1940s. American players Jimmy Hamilton, Sidney Bechet, Alphonse Picou, Larry Shields, Jimmie Noone, Johnny Dodds, were all pioneers of the instrument in jazz. The B♭ soprano was the most common instrument, but a few early jazz musicians such as Louis Nelson Delisle and Alcide Nunez preferred the C soprano, and many New Orleans jazz brass bands have used E♭ soprano.

Swing clarinetists such as Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and Woody Herman led successful big bands and smaller groups from the 1930s onward. Duke Ellington, active from the 1920s to the 1970s, used the clarinet as lead instrument in his works, with several players of the instrument (Barney Bigard, Jimmy Hamilton, and Russell Procope) spending a significant portion of their careers in his orchestra. Harry Carney, primarily Ellington’s baritone saxophonist, occasionally doubled on bass clarinet. Meanwhile, Pee Wee Russell had a long and successful career in small groups.

With the decline of the big bands’ popularity in the late 1940s, the clarinet faded from its prominent position in jazz. By that time, an interest in Dixieland or traditional New Orleans jazz had revived; Pete Fountain was one of the best known performers in this genre. Bob Wilber, active since the 1950s, is a more eclectic jazz clarinetist, playing in several classic jazz styles. During the 1950s and 1960s, Britain underwent a surge in the popularity of what was termed ‘Trad jazz’. In 1956 the British clarinetist Acker Bilk founded his own ensemble. Several singles recorded by Bilk reached the British pop charts, including the ballad “Stranger on the Shore”.

The clarinet’s place in the jazz ensemble was usurped by the saxophone, which projects a more powerful sound and uses a less complicated fingering system. The requirement for an increased speed of execution in modern jazz also did not favour the clarinet, but the clarinet did not entirely disappear. A few players such as Buddy DeFranco, Tony Scott, and Jimmy Giuffre emerged during the 1950s playing bebop or other styles. A little later, Eric Dolphy (on bass clarinet), Perry Robinson, John Carter, Theo Jörgensmann, and others used the clarinet in free jazz. The French composer and clarinetist Jean-Christian Michel initiated a jazz-classical cross-over on the clarinet with the drummer Kenny Clarke.

In the U.S., the prominent players on the instrument since the 1980s have included Eddie Daniels, Don Byron, Marty Ehrlich, and others playing the clarinet in more contemporary contexts.

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

The clarinet is uncommon, but not unheard of in rock music. Jerry Martini played clarinet on Sly and the Family Stone’s 1968 hit, “Dance to the Music”; Don Byron, a founder of the Black Rock Coalition who was a member of hard rock guitarist Vernon Reid’s band, plays clarinet on the Mistaken Identity album (1996). The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Aerosmith, Billy Joel, and Tom Waits have also all used clarinet on occasion. Modern day clarinetist include the likes of Matthias Muller, David Jean-Baptiste and Felix Peikli to name a few.

Clarinets feature prominently in klezmer music, which entails a distinctive style of playing. The use of quarter-tones requires a different embouchure. Some klezmer musicians prefer Albert system clarinets.

The popular Brazilian music styles of choro and samba use the clarinet. Prominent contemporary players include Paulo Moura, Naylor ‘Proveta’ Azevedo, Paulo Sérgio dos Santos and Paquito D’Rivera.


Even though it has been adopted recently in Albanian folklore (around the 18th century), the clarinet, or gërneta as it is called, is one of the most important instruments in Albania, especially in the central and southern areas. The clarinet plays a crucial role in saze (folk ensemble) that perform in weddings and other celebrations. It is worth mentioned that the kaba (instrumental Albanian Isopolyphony included in UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list) is a very characteristic play of these ensembles. There are many clarinet players in Albania; arguably the most famous are Selim Leskoviku, Gaqo Lena, Remzi Lela (Çobani), Laver Bariu (Ustai), and Nevruz Nure (Lulushi i Korçës).

The clarinet is prominent in Bulgarian wedding music, an offshoot of Roma/Romani traditional music. Ivo Papazov is a well-known clarinetist in this genre. In Moravian dulcimer bands, the clarinet is usually the only wind instrument among string instruments.

In the Republic of Macedonia, old-town folk music -called chalgija (“чалгија”), the clarinet has the most important role in wedding music; clarinet solos mark the high point of dancing euphoria. One of the most renowned Macedonian clarinet players is Tale Ognenovski, who gained worldwide fame for his virtuosity.

In Greece the clarinet (usually referred to as “κλαρίνο”—”clarino”) is prominent in traditional music, especially in central, northwest and northern Greece (Thessaly, Epirus and Macedonia). The double-reed zurna was the dominant woodwind instrument before the clarinet arrived in the country, although many Greeks regard the clarinet as a native instrument. Traditional dance music, wedding music and laments include a clarinet soloist and quite often improvisations. Petroloukas Chalkias is a famous clarinetist in this genre.

The instrument is equally famous in Turkey, especially the lower pitched clarinet in G. The western European clarinet crossed via Turkey to Arabic music, where it is widely used in Arabic pop, especially if the intention of the arranger is to imitate the Turkish style.

Turkish clarinet
Also in Turkish folk music, a clarinet-like woodwind instrument, the sipsi, is used. However, it’s far more rare than the soprano clarinet and is mainly limited to folk music of the Aegean Region.

Groups of clarinets

Contrabass and contra-alto clarinets
Groups of clarinets playing together have become increasingly popular among clarinet enthusiasts in recent years. Common forms are:

Clarinet choir, which features a large number of clarinets playing together, usually involves a range of different members of the clarinet family (see Extended family of clarinets). The homogeneity of tone across the different members of the clarinet family produces an effect with some similarities to a human choir.

Clarinet quartet, usually three B♭ sopranos and one B♭ bass, or two B♭, an E♭ alto clarinet, and a B♭ bass clarinet, or sometimes four B♭ sopranos.

Clarinet choirs and quartets often play arrangements of both classical and popular music, in addition to a body of literature specially written for a combination of clarinets by composers such as Arnold Cooke, Alfred Uhl, Lucien Caillet and Václav Nelhýbel.

Extended Family of Clarinets

There is a family of many differently pitched clarinet types, some of which are very rare. The following are the most important sizes, from highest to lowest:

Piccolo clarinet A♭ Now rare, used for Italian military music and some contemporary pieces for its sonority;

E-flat clarinet (soprano clarinet) E♭ It has a characteristically shrill timbre, and is used to great effect in the classical orchestra whenever a brighter, or sometimes a more rustic or comical sound is called for. Richard Strauss featured it as a solo instrument in his symphonic poem, Till Eulenspiegel. It is much used in the concert band repertoire where it helps out the piccolo flute in the higher register and is very compatible with other band instruments, especially those in B♭ and E♭.

Soprano clarinet in D This was, to the high pitched E♭ instrument, what the A clarinet is to the B♭. Advances in playing technique and the instrument’s mechanism meant that players could play parts for the D instrument on their E♭ thus making this instrument more and more expendable. Though a few early pieces were written for it, its repertoire is now very limited in Western music. Nonetheless Stravinsky included both the D and E♭ clarinets in his instrumentation for The Rite Of Spring.

Soprano clarinet in C
Although this clarinet was very common in the instrument’s earliest period, its use began to dwindle and by the second decade of the twentieth century it had become practically obsolete and disappeared from the orchestra. From the time of Mozart, many composers began to favour the mellower, lower pitched instruments and the timbre of the ‘C’ instrument may have been considered too bright. Also, to avoid having to carry an extra instrument which required another reed and mouthpiece, orchestral players preferred to play parts for this instrument on their Bb clarinets, transposing up a tone. It is enjoying a resurgence in popular musical styles such as Klezmer; as an instrument in schools, and in more historically accurate interpretations of the classical and Romantic repertoire such as the First and Fifth Symphonies of Beethoven.

B♭ clarinet The most common type: used in most styles of music. Usually the term clarinet on its own refers to this instrument. It was commonly used in early jazz and swing. This was the instrument of renowned and popular figures such as Sidney Bechet, Benny Goodman, Woody Herman and Artie Shaw.

Basset clarinet A is a Clarinet in A extended to a low C; used primarily to play Classical-era music. Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto was written for this instrument, though it is frequently played in a version for the ordinary A clarinet. Basset clarinets in B♭ also exist; this instrument is required to play the obbligato to the aria “Parto, parto” in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito.

Basset-horn in F Similar in appearance to the alto, but differs in that it is pitched in F, has an extended range to low C, and has a narrower bore on most models. Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto was originally sketched out as a concerto for basset horn in G. Rarely used today.

Alto clarinet E♭ Sometimes referred to as the tenor clarinet. Its greater size and consequently lower pitch give it a rich, dark sonority but it lacks the projection of the larger bass clarinet. It is used in chamber music and concert bands, rarely in orchestras.

Bass clarinet in B♭ Invented in the 1770s it only became popular around a hundred years later when it contributed to the rich orchestral palettes of composers such as Wagner and the late Romantics. It has become a mainstay of the modern orchestra. Originally the third clarinet would double on bass but now most orchestras employ a specialist devoted principally to this instrument.

It is used in concert bands, contemporary music, and enjoys, along with the B♭ clarinet, a considerable rôle in jazz. Eric Dolphy was one of its more remarkable exponents.

clarinet dolphy

Contra-alto clarinet (also called E♭ contrabass clarinet) EE♭ Used in clarinet choirs and is common in concert bands.

Contrabass clarinet (also called B♭ subcontrabass or double-bass clarinet) BB♭ Used in clarinet choirs and is common in concert bands. It is sometimes used in orchestras. Arnold Schoenberg calls for one in his Five Pieces for Orchestra.

clarinet contra

Experimental EEE♭ and BBB♭ octocontra-alto and octocontrabass clarinets have also been built. There have also been soprano clarinets in C, A, and B♭ with curved barrels and bells marketed under the names saxonette, claribel, and clariphon.

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail


Clarinet Family

Saturday, May 7th, 2016

Clarinet Family

Clarinet Family

The clarinet family of instruments family includes the well-known B♭ clarinet, the slightly less familiar E♭, A, and bass clarinets, and other clarinets as well. The standard B♭ and A clarinets are the best known, however, there are many other clarinet types in clarinet family, which are less common.

Clarinet Family Instruments

A very special link on the Clarinet Family sent to me and created by a very special person in Paris, enjoy and have fun, David


Clarinet Family Instruments

Octave clarinets

Very rare. Pitched around an octave higher than the B♭ clarinet.
A♭ piccolo clarinet.

E♭ clarinet/E♭ sopranino clarinet Fairly common in the United States and western Europe; less common in eastern Europe.

D clarinet — Rare in the United States and western Europe. Required in Molter’s very early clarinet concertos.

Rendall lists the E♭ and D clarinets, along with obsolete instruments in G, F, and E, as sopranino clarinets.

Shackleton lists the E♭ and D clarinets, along with obsolete instruments in F, and E, as sopranino clarinets.

The E♭ and D clarinets are commonly called piccolo clarinets in eastern Europe and Russia.

BeFunky_Melanie 2.jpg

C Clarinet

This instrument became practically obsolete in the orchestras of Europe and the United States in the early twentieth century. The inclusion of the C clarinet, however was not unusual in orchestral scores from the era of Haydn and Mozart right through to the early 20th century. Mahler certainly included them up until his fourth symphony. Much of the orchestral repertoire of Beethoven and Schubert requires the C clarinet. This being the case, the nineteenth century clarinetists were faced with the difficult task of maintaining and alternating between instruments in A, B♭ and C. Since this was not always necessary or desirable for a first rate clarinetist, who could transpose easily between instruments and may not have wished to change from a warm to a cold instrument, the tendency has been to reduce, with the result that the usage of the C clarinet has gradually declined from the standard classical orchestra.

Recently, however, the C clarinet is enjoying a resurgence, as there is now a renewed interest in playing older works on their authentic instruments. This applies to orchestral music and also to popular folk styles such as klezmer music. At the same time there has been an innovation in Britain to use a simplified cheaper version of the C clarinet as the principle wind instrument for young learners, a position until recently, enjoyed (or suffered) by the recorder.

The clarinet in C is sometimes called for in clarinet choirs, often as a substitute for the oboe.
B♭ clarinet The most common type of clarinet.

A clarinet Standard orchestral instrument used alongside the B♭ soprano.

G clarinet Also called a “Turkish clarinet”

Primarily used in certain ethnic music. This type of clarinet is rare.

Rendall lists the C, B♭, and A clarinets along with the obsolete instrument in B as sopranos, and the clarinette d’amour in A♭ and G and the clarinet in G as obsolete altos.

Shackleton lists the C, B♭, A, and G clarinets along with obsolete instruments in B and A♭ as sopranos, noting that the A♭ and G often occurred as clarinette d’amour in the mid-18th century.

Rice classifies G clarinets with flared bells as altos, with pear- or bulb-shaped bells as clarinets d’amour.

Basset clarinet, Essentially a soprano clarinet with a range extension to low C (written).

A basset clarinet — Most common type. Basset clarinets in C, B♭, and G also exist

Rendall includes no basset clarinets in his classifications. Shackleton has three in his collection: Numbers 5389 (B♭ and A set) and 5393 (in A). See Catalogue of the Sir Nicholas Shackleton Collection, Edinburgh University Collection.

Basset horn Alto-to-tenor range instrument with (usually) a smaller bore than the alto clarinet, and a range extended to low (written) C.

F basset horn — Most common type

Rendall lists basset horns in G (obsolete) and F as tenors.
Shackleton lists also basset horns in G and D from the 18th century.

Neither Rendall nor Shackleton lists A, E, or E♭ basset horns though these apparently existed in the eighteenth century.

Alto clarinet, Pitched a perfect fifth (or, rarely, a perfect fourth) lower than the B♭ soprano clarinet.

E♭ alto clarinet — Most common type. Range usually down to low E♭ (written).

Rendall lists the E♭ alto and F tenor clarinets as tenors (along with the basset horns).

Shackleton lists the F alto clarinet as obsolete.

Bass clarinet an octave below the B♭ clarinet often with an extended low range.

B♭ bass clarinet — The standard bass

A bass clarinet — Very rare today, more common around 1900.

C bass clarinet — Obsolete.

Rendall and Shackleton list C, B♭, and A; Rendall lists only C as obsolete, while Shackleton calls A “rare”. Rendall groups these in baritone and bass.

Contra-alto clarinet An octave below the alto clarinet

EE♭ contra-alto clarinet, also called EE♭ contra-bass clarinet.

Rendall lists “contrabasset-horns” in G, F, and E♭ (none marked obsolete), grouping these in baritone and bass.

Shackleton lists only E♭ contra-bass clarinet, grouping it in contrabass (pedal) clarinets.

Contra-bass clarinet An octave below the bass clarinet

BB♭ contra-bass clarinet.

Rendall lists also contra-bass clarinet in C as obsolete, and groups it and the BB♭ contra-bass in baritone and bass.

Shackleton lists only the BB♭ contra-bass, grouping it in contra-bass (pedal) clarinets.

Two larger types have been built on an experimental basis:
EEE♭ octocontra-alto An octave below the contra-alto clarinet. Only three have been built.

BBB♭ octocontra-bass An octave below the contra-bass clarinet. Only one was ever built.

Have fun with it…

The clarinet family

Clarinet Family

    Music and Best Practice of Karma

    Saturday, April 30th, 2016



    Music and Best Practice of Karma





    The 12 Laws of Karma



    Music and Best Practice of Karma


    The Twelve Laws of Karma

    (An excerpt from ‘Flow Centre’ by David Jean-Baptiste)

    Music and Best Practice of Karma


    1. The Great law
    ‘As you sow so shall you reap’. There is nowhere to hide. This law is often known as the law of cause and effect. Whatever you do will come around full circle, irrespective of what other people think of you or say. Go about your business and treat all men, women and things in the world with respect, and things will come around for you the right way.



    2. The Law of Creation
    We ourselves are in control of the various elements in our lives and the situations we find ourselves in. You are not separate from the universe, we are all connected as a tiny part of one great moving universal system. Creation of the world you live in is born of the mind, your thoughts, mental pictures with emotion supporting those pictures, and beliefs become your physical world.



    3. The Law of Humility
    Acceptance is the key to change and growth. What you refuse to accept will continue for you, until you have enough humility to accept the truth of your situation to yourself at a deep level. When you have enough humility to accept your current situation to those you love, cheer and desire good for you, this can be a powerful catalyst to rapid change.
    When another person behaves in an inappropriate manner, we may need enough humility to take the higher ground.



    4. The Law of Growth
    ‘Where ever you go you take yourself with you’. As human beings we live in the physical world of now, experience thought in the mental world, and expand awareness through the spiritual world. To grow we must change, as we are the only ones who can do it. A burning desire to grow may be all you need. Raise the vibration of thought, give from the heart, and watch your life change for the better.



    5. The Law of Responsibility
    Situations and events in life reflect how we are and how we behave. When something turns for the worse in our world, we have to take responsibility for it. Sometimes shit happens. We mirror our surroundings and our surroundings mirrors us; this is a universal truth.



    6. The Law of Connection
    Everything we do matters even if you think it is irrelevant, it is all connected. Take care of the small money and the big money will take care of itself.

    It is of massive importance that you take action to start the journey to make those changes you desire to see happen in your life.

    Step by step, each step you make brings you a little closer. Celebrate each milestone you reach and enjoy the moment. Learning and growth acquired along the way is even more valuable than reaching the destination. Every particle and wave in the physical, mental and spiritual realms is connected as a form of energy.



    7. The Law of Focus
    Power comes through focusing the mind completely on something. Think about the power a pointed arrow has to penetrate a hard surface. This is the power of meditation. Meditation, ‘to concentrate on something for an extended period of time’.



    8. The Law of Giving and Hospitality

    ‘To know and not to do is the same as not to know’.

    There is another saying that says, ‘give and you shall receive’.

    Giving ten percent of what you earn to a charity or organization you believe in is known as tithe. The word tithe can be looked upon as ‘tie thee’. Ten percent of your talent in the real world becomes a seed to tie you to your universal presence; so that the next cycle of the decimal system can grow. It is the zero that matters. You tie 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, then you tie thee to the presence. Tie thee makes a tie, a link to the universe and your source of supply. By giving a tenth you are planting a seed that makes your supply grow into the next cycle.



    9. The Law of Here and Now

    ‘The point of power is in the present’.

    Looking either backward or forward must only be used as a resource to build upon our present situation.



    10. The Law of Change
    History repeats itself until we get leverage and interrupt the pattern of behavior that repeats. The ego is a powerful thing which entire existence depends on keeping you where you are. Gradually loosen the grip the ego has over you by practicing external awareness, through the practice of meditation of all descriptions, practicing no-mind and regular visualizing.
    Nerve cells that fire together wire together, a bad habit may give a person pleasure as a secondary gain. All neurological patterns are designed to move you from pain to pleasure, both positive and negative ones. Interrupt the negative pattern. Smoking cigarettes may give a person relaxation, get leverage and learn to relax without the cigarette. Being depressed may get someone attention from other people, scramble this pattern and create a new alternative by getting attention when feeling awesome. ‘You cannot solve a problem with the same thinking that created it’. Nerve cells that don’t fire together don’t wire together, you have the power to change the limited pattern of behavior. Try doing something you don’t expect, the more off the wall it is the more effective it will be.

    Scramble the sensations we link to our stupid patterns of behavior beyond recognition, and reinforce with new and better ones. Your brain cannot tell the difference between something intensely imagined or what is experienced in reality because the same neural nets fire for both.
    The law of reinforcement, any pattern of emotion or behavior that is continually reinforced will become an automatic response. Creating new choices of behavior or response without reinforcement won’t last. Continually reinforce attitude behind the shifts you desire to make, and the changes will appear.



    11. The Law of Patience and Reward
    Anything worthwhile requires work to begin with. True satisfaction comes through working towards something we value, and enjoying the process; knowing that the rewards will eventually appear.



    12. The Law of Significance and Inspiration
    People get back from something what has been put into it. The true value of something is a direct result of the energy expended.

    Albert Einstein’s groundbreaking equation E=MC2 is interesting to look at in view of what it means in daily life. E as Energy, M as Mass and C as the Constant of Proportionality. Mass energy is proportional to mass. Twice as much mass means twice as much energy, therefore no mass means no mass energy. C2 does the job of converting from the unit of mass to the unit in which energy is expressed. In a similar way C2 is a price. It is energy per unit mass.
    Let’s change it to C=SP2 C being the cost of shares, is equal to the number of shares S multiplied by the price per share P.


    • Turn on the passion through the love of music.


    • Get a new perspective on personal relationships.


    • Reach your critical net worth with Intention in Motion Milestones.


    • Enjoy a range of solutions for burnout and stress.


    • Life changing opportunities for the newly divorced.


    • Save time and money and avoid stress with accelerated learning techniques.


    • Tune into the needs of your ideal client with Avatar Alchemy.


    • Benefit from talent fulfillment strategies.


    • Achieve your burning intention with passion, warmth, focus and adventure.



    (click on images to visit site)

    Music and Best Practice of Karma



    Music and Best Practice of Karma



    Music and Best Practice of Karma



    Music and Best Practice of Karma



    Music and Best Practice of Karma



    Music and Best Practice of Karma



    Music and Best Practice of Karma



    Music and Best Practice of Karma



    Music and Best Practice of Karma



    Music and Best Practice of Karma



    Music and Best Practice of Karma



    Music and Best Practice of Karma



    Music and Best Practice of Karma



    Music and Best Practice of Karma



    Music and Best Practice of Karma



    Music and Best Practice of Karma



    Music and Best Practice of Karma



    Playing Music with Passion

    Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

    Playing Music with Passion


    What drives your passion positively?

    Playing Music with Passion

    Passion sometimes reaches boiling point. What happens when your passion for something, someone or a situation in your life was so intense it was on fire, burning inside you with life?
    Passion is it!!!
    You need to locate your passion button and turn it on. Can you think of a time when you felt passionate towards something you did or someone in your life?
    Passion is the magical elixir that makes things happen.
    What are you positively passionate about?
    What do you love?
    What gives you strongest feeling positively?
    What makes you sizzle?
    What melts you?
    Where are you?
    What are you doing?
    Explain the scenario in detail.

    What do you hear see and feel?
    What’s in the picture?
    How are you dressed?
    Is there any color you focus on the most?
    As you think of it is it a movie or a picture in still frame?
    Is it in color or in black and white?
    Is the image on the right, the left or centre weighted?
    Is the image positioned up, middle or down?
    Is the image bright, dim or dark?
    Is the image life-size bigger or smaller than life-size?
    Is the image near you or further away?
    How does your level of pleasure change when you bring it closer to you?
    Is the speed of the image fast medium or slow?
    Is there a particular element focused on consistently?

    Are you in the picture or watching it from afar?
    Does the image have a frame or is it picture panoramic?
    How does making your picture 3 dimensional change the level of pleasure you feel?
    Is there a particular color that impacts you the most?
    From what viewpoint are you looking at the picture, are you looking down on it, up at it, from the left or right or at an angle?
    Is there anything else that triggers strong feelings?
    Find the zoom lens of your camera and zoom in.
    Are there sounds in the picture? Is there a sound that impacts the level of pleasure you feel the most?
    Are you saying something to yourself or hearing it from others? How do you hear or say it?

    What specifically do you hear or say? How many sounds are there, and where do they come from?
    If you are imagining the sound of someone’s voice experiment with different inflections and accents.
    What does raising the volume do to the level of pleasure you feel?
    What tonality is it? Are there deep and bass sounds and or higher ones?
    Are they even or changing sounds?
    At what pace do you hear it, how fast is it?
    Can you feel the music in your body?
    How does the rhythm and vibration impact the level of pleasure you feel?
    Does it speed up or does it slow down?
    Where is the sound coming from?
    Is the sound melodic or unmelodic?
    Is the sound in harmony or noisy?
    Is the sound regular or unusual?

    Do you hear it more in one ear than the other?
    If there is a voice is there inflection in it?
    Are certain words emphasized?
    How long does the sound last?
    Is there something unique about the sound?
    Is there anything else that triggers strong feelings?
    Now double the feeling and the passion…and then again.
    As you remember this pleasurable experience, how does changing the feeling elements intensify or decrease your pleasure?
    Does raising the temperature intensify the level of pleasure you feel?
    Did you notice a texture change, rough or smooth?
    Is the sensation on touch rigid or flexible?
    Is there vibration?
    How intensely do you feel the vibration?
    Is there an increase or decrease of pressure?

    Where was the pressure located?
    How was your pulse rate?
    Was there an increase of tension or relaxation?
    Was there movement if so what was the direction and speed?
    How was your quality of breathing, deep and even? Where did it end/start?
    Enjoy the weight, possibly of your feet on the ground, are they heavy or light?
    Are the feelings steady or intermittent?
    Did it change size or shape?
    We’re feeling coming into body or going out?
    What is the quality of air on skin, thicker than air?
    Lighter than water?
    Is there anything else that triggers strong feelings?
    Was the aroma sweet, musty or fragrant? Was the aroma uplifting or relaxing?
    Find your passion button, step into it and fire up your intention in motion.

    David Jean-Baptiste

    The Wellness Clarinet LTD


    Playing Music with Passion

    Clarinet Family Instruments

    Friday, April 15th, 2016



    Clarinet Family Instruments

    A very special link on the Clarinet Family sent to me and created by a very special person in Paris, enjoy and have fun, David

    Clarinet Family Instruments

    Haary Sparnaay, The Bass Clarinet

    Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

    Haary Sparnaay, The Bass Clarinet


    The bass clarinet – A personal history

    El Clarinete bajo – una historia personal

    Published by Periferiamusic -Barcelona









    The Bass Clarinet – a personal history    Book and CD

    ISBN: 978-84-938845-0-5 / Price: 69 EUR









    El Clarinete bajo – una historia personal,  Libro y CD

    ISBN: 978-84-938845-1-2 / Precio: 69 Euro


                                         Excerpts from the book

                                        page 7 – Table of Contents













    page 14 – Chapter 3: From the very beginning until now













    page 31 – Chapter 4: Concise history of the bass clarinet













    page 57 – Chapter 6: Range

    Part 6b:The high notes













    page 138 – Chapter 8: Special techniques/effects

    Part 8n: Multiphonics













    page 143 – Chapter 8: Special techniques/effects

    Part 8n: Multiphonics













    page 248 – Chapter 15: Biography













    Comments, Critics and Reviews


     Ana Lara – composer / Mexico

    I’ve always admired Harry Sparnaay.

    First of all because he has convinced everyone that the bass clarinet is a great instrument capable of doing everything imaginable and unimaginable and has created a very extensive repertoire. And then also because he formed a new generation of not only virtuosi, but also of great bass clarinettists.

    He is the great master of the bass clarinet.

    Everything about the instrument he knows and is using all his sound possibilities with an immense enthusiasm.

    All he needed to do was writing the long-awaited book on his instrument and he did so.

    And the book is wonderful, funny and profound. All you have to know about the instrument is included, written with the same lightness and depth it’s author has. Many examples, many stories but mostly this book is him, with his charm, intelligence and talent.

    This is a must for music lovers and musicians (performers and composers).

    Harry Sparnaay has the great talent to combine his personal experiences (not without humor) with essential information for those who want to write for or to play the bass clarinet.

    Thanks Harry for this book. The title says it all, it is a reflection of the passion for your instrument, music and life, a life you have spent to share with us the beauty and power of the bass clarinet.

    Thank you so much for this great gift you gave to us all.


    Luiz Rocha – bass clarinettist / Brasil

    I have been fortunate to read your book already, I bought the first edition in English.
    I loved the quality of your book, the depth of the technical part and the personal tone of the narrative. Many congratulations.


    Ernesto Molinari – bass clarinettist / Switzerland

    Your book arrived a few weeks ago and I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading it.  It is not only informative but entertaining as well!  Your passionate journey and your quest to fathom new worlds of sounds, notations and techniques has inspired clarinetists and bass clarinetists (including myself!) and continues to do so.  I wish there had been a book like yours while I was beginning my own quest over twenty years ago.  I will recommend your book to all of my students and introduce it in my master classes in Darmstadt and Graz  because it is a genuine personal history of the bass clarinet journey still under way.  Thank you for taking the time and effort to write a book while still continuing a full concert and teaching schedule and for sharing your experiences, your discoveries and your passion for music!  

    Congratulations, Harry!!!


    David Bennett Thomas – composer / USA

    I just finished your amazing book.  I can’t imagine a more informative
    and helpful book for anyone wanting to play or compose for the bass
    clarinet.  I read all of the text on the train, and finally had a minute

    to listen through the musical examples.  I’m so glad I did!  It
    was amazing to hear those sounds.  There were some effects that I
    didn’t even know were possible.  The book is very well written, in an
    enjoyable and sometimes humorous style.  Who would have thought that a
    book about the bass clarinet would be such a page-turner!
    Now if we can just get someone to write a similar book for every other
    instrument to help those wanting to compose.


    Sungji Hong – composer / Korea

    A vast amount of experience is collected within this book, where we find a wide range of extended techniques explained with diverse examples of contemporary music.

    It leads us into the musical journey of Harry Sparnaay, whose career is a true history of contemporary bass clarinet music.
    ‘The Bass Clarinet’ by Harry Sparnaay will certainly be an inspiration for all clarinettists and composers who are seeking for a deep knowledge of the instrument.


    Oğuz Büyükberber – bass clarinettist / Turkey

    I remember the day my uncle brought a student model bass clarinet for me from Paris. It was the first bass clarinet I had ever seen in my whole life until then! In Turkey, it was so hard to have access to the right material in those days: Instruments, recordings, books… I was so lucky to travel all the way to study with you personally. But this book you wrote gives the possibility to musicians from all over the world to enjoy and benefit from your incredible knowledge, unprecedented experience and great personality. The high standard you set for this lovely instrument that I have so much passion for will only be clearer and better understood as a result of this book.

    Thank you so much!


    Jane O’Leary – composer / Ireland

    A great reference book when writing my next piece for bass clarinet! It is a
    wonderful achievement-congratulations.  With a life as full and rich as
    yours, it’s so important to have it recorded in this way. Great fun to read
    and hear all your stories. It feels like having a conversation/meeting with you when reading it….very nice!

    It’s lovely!


    Hugo Queirós – bass clarinettist / Portugal 

    Thank you very much for writing your book. So easy and so exciting, for me it has been a pleasure to read and follow the great adventure that was your life with the bass clarinet!

    Thank you for sharing so much valuable information and I hope you will continue sharing so much knowledge that you have about this noble instrument…

    During your live you inspired great musicians and composers and with this book you will reach much more…

    Congratulations for this masterpiece!


    Daniel Schröder – (bass) clarinettist / Germany

    I really enjoyed that your book is written from such a personal point of view. It is so much nicer to read if you got an impression what a special subject means to the person who is telling you about it. Then it is like a story that is told and you like to listen to.


    Al Wegener – composer-bass clarinettist / USA

    It is a great book … like all your reviewers say. And I have found it very useful for my bass clarinet composing and performance. The book cost me $135 U.S. dollars. That, here in the U.S. and now, is just a lot of money but the book is well worth. Perhaps a good idea to put up some selected pages from the book on your web site to give folks a taste, perhaps including some audio too? Buying the book blind this will make sales easier.

    Thanks for everything you do for the bass clarinet!


    Roderik de Man – composer / the Netherlands

    “Maybe the bass clarinet has been waiting all these years for Harry Sparnaay” wrote William Littler (Toronto Star) in the seventies.

    We may now add: This certainly is the book bass clarinettists and composers have been waiting for all these years.

    The book is a real gem!!!


    Sarah Watts – bass clarinettist / England

    When you would expect that as it is Harry Sparnaay writing a book it will be absolutely full of contemporary music and nothing else, than you will be really pleasantly surprised that it is so much more. It isn’t just a personal history; it covers everything about the bass clarinet.

    Harry Sparnaay – a personal history, is really a must for everyone who wants to know more about the bass clarinet. It is a huge wealth of information from the history of the instrument to information on general techniques, contemporary techniques and repertoire. Also it is full of information about other players and I like the way that contact details are included for many players from around the world and products associated with the instrument. It is written from the heart with much affection and humor.


    Luc Lee – bass clarinettist / Taiwan

    This book is bass clarinetist’s gift!!

    It includes so much bass clarinet information.

    Let me learn more about bass clarinet. I enjoyed it very~~~ very much!!

    I love this book.

    Bravo!! Bravo!!!!


    Sergio Blardony – Sulponticello, Revista on-line de música y arte sonora / Spain

    Periferia Sheet Music surprises the music world with this book by the bass clarinettist Harry Sparnaay, that, far from being limited to mere theoretical and technical treatise, introduces the composer, performer and musician in general, to the world of his instrument from a personal and analytical point of view. It is a very well presented edition that includes a CD with multiple examples of the techniques discussed.


     To write a review about a theoretical treatise on an instrument (if that is indeed what we can call this book!) can tend to be complex and often be boring for the reader. However, the present case, the Periphery Sheet Music edition of “The Bass clarinet”, bass clarinetist Harry Sparnaay, dispels these fears from the very first page. Firstly, it is observed from the very beginning that this is a personal approach, living up to the caption that accompanies it (“a personal history”). Secondly, the author (without doubt, one of the most important players of the bass clarinet) has managed to reconcile, on the one hand, extreme seriousness and technical rigor with irony and a frequent sense of humor, which makes the reading quite agreeable, on the other hand. This is something highly unusual in a book of this kind. These factors give to the written text something which, as I shall try to convey in this article, makes this editorial proposal both atypical and quite valuable. It is definitely a book addressed equally to performers and to composers, but the later will always be indebted to it. I will try to delve into why this is observed to be so, and precisely from the composer’s perspective, about which I am able to speak from experience.

    Usually, when faced with an instrumental treatise, the composer’s main concern is, and in this order, 1) if it deals with the extended or contemporary techniques (something which that is generally not rare in any text of this kind) in case our own language proficiency is limited, 2) in which language is written and if it is “readable” (this generally is not considered a major problem); and finally 3), the abundance of tables and examples of the techniques (one is always on the hunt for a good table multiphonics …). If the text meets these needs, and does it well, it will be eligible to sit on the shelf of reference books in instrumentation. However, time and experience tells us that many treaties, for various reasons are not as useful as they might seem at first sight. In many cases, it is not so much that they contain incorrect or inaccurate information (of which there is generally a bit of that), but that over time the current techniques become a bit moldy or out of date. It is not uncommon to find that a multiphonics example cannot be realized due to small changes in the instruments or in the reeds, that are no longer used as commonly as in the time the books were written. These aspects are of great importance for the composer, as an inadequate organization of multiphonic examples in  a publication can mislead the composer into believing in a deceiving kind of soundscape where practically everything that appears in a table can be done exactly as the book says. We must also bear in mind that many of these books have been made in research settings in which the starting point was “possible” rather than “reason”, primarily because the motive was to study the physical and acoustic potentials of the instrument, rather than from the perspective of genuine usefulness for the composer (in these cases, good judgment and experience are to be expected of the composer, since there is no reason to limit a comprehensive technical or investigative text out of concern for the composer’s lack of understanding about the instrument).

    The Bass Clarinet emerges from a completely different point of view than that of a purely investigative text or compilation of material. It emerges from the perspective of
    ​​being a useful book for composing precisely because it warns the creative mind of the illusions, very precisely setting limits on those techniques and aspects of the instrument that may be conflictive. One could argue that this route is dangerous or limiting because it tends to restrain the impulse to create and explore freely on the instrument, but nothing is further from the truth. Sparnaay makes it clear that almost anything is possible on the instrument, and what is not possible, can be generally be achieved with work and inquiry. This may be. However, the concept of “almost anything is possible” should be taken into careful consideration, because it is not productive to expected-limited possibilities from the instrument, or to cultivate an excessive confidence in the capabilities of the player to solve these challenges. Because the composer then falls into the trap of trespassing the very real technical impossibilities of the instrument.


    From this perspective, I can cite a number of passages that clearly illustrate the focus of the book. For example, Mr. Sparnaay says of trills, tremolos and bisbigliando: “In general, playing trills does not pose major problems for us, but a trill c to c sharp in the low register is-on almost all bass clarinets-almost impossible”. Another example about the quarter-tone: “Also playing a phrase in an insanely high tempo, flying over three octaves, fortissimo and ‘Flatterzunge’, and full of quarter tones is meaningless. The result will be a terrible roar hawking without any discernible pitch. It looks nice and well thought-out, but it does not function at all! ” Or on multiphonics:” There are completely written out books with multiphonics which may give the impression to composers that actually all the notes sound clearly notated and equally and that you as composer can just go ahead. However this is a fallacy and seems to be misleading for many composers.” These quotes make clear the points about the book that I have tried to expose and explain, and the importance of a book like Sparnaay’s for realizing a logical and effective manner of writing for the instrument.


    In addition to these aspects, perhaps the most relevant from a practical point of view, including theimportant collection of samples and examples contained on the CD that accompanies the book, andas I mention at the beginning of this article, is the particularly pleasing style in which the book iswritten. We feel as if we are privy to a very personal musical experience, and this implies the risk of coming across at times as excessive But Sparnaay dispels this through an effective combination ofthe essential objectives of the text. In other words, it is both completely original and personal and, at the same time equally effective from a “technical” point of view, all the time not coming across as labored or contrived. In this sense, it comes across as seamless in a very satisfactory way.


    In regards to the organization of the book by chapter: in addition to a significant amount of textdevoted to forms of notation, instrumental ranges, extended techniques, use of the instrument in an electro-acoustic context, etc., we also find chapters which are to be considered less common and which result very interesting and entertaining.  From the Personal introductionand “From the verybeginning until now”,  to a journey through the history of the latest music, going all the way to achapter devoted to programming of works for bass clarinet, there is even a section dedicated tostories and anecdotes that will give the reader a good laugh. On the practical level are the sectionsdedicated to repertory, publishers and music information centers, or to composers who have writtenworks for the instrument, with various references to them, including the web.

    In short, this is an essential book on the bass clarinet for the composer or performer, but it is also highly recommended to other music professionals who can find in this text transversal aspects which, above all, offer the occasion for reflection on ideas that transcend the specific study of an instrument.


    Núria Giménez Comas – composer / Spain

    For me it was the discovery of a fascinating personal history closely tied to development and sound research for an instrument that is (thanks to the dedication) very rich in possibilities. Consequently I think it is a practical tool for composers and performers through numerous examples and comments, resulting out of a huge experience in the field, making it a very important tool, we could say an obligatory one. I’m using the book very often now, it is very clear and practical!

    Thanks Harry!


    Marij van Gorkom – bass clarinettist / the Netherlands

    I have read your book several times and enjoyed it very much. I find it very personal and very recognizable.

    I dreaded a little bit to go through a multiphonics chart again, since it usually takes ages and ages because not everything works etc. 

    But it only took me a quarter of an hour!

    Great and really wonderful to have a chart which you can just pass on with the message that it really works and also for me as a Selmer player. 

    Without doubt it’s clear to me that I will strongly recommend this book to every composer.

    So, thanks again and again. 


    Jacobo Durán Loriga – composer / Spain

    Books on instrumental techniques can be very dry and boring. Lucky are they who are interested in the bass clarinet, because with “The bass clarinet” by Harry Sparnaay they have a book which is comprehensive and entertaining as well. On almost every page there’s a reason to smile, or laugh even, for example when he lists various remote regions of the globe that are ideal for studying the very high notes that can usually cause problems with family and neighbors.
    The advice given to composers and musicians is priceless. Advices based on experience, not just on theory. It is the strength that comes from knowing what you are talking about and to argue from practical experience. With his guidance composers will know what can be done and how, and what best to be avoided, the way to use notation with advantages and disadvantages explained. All documented with photos, sheet music, fingering chards and a CD.

    There is only one thing that would surpass this book. To have the author at your side to be consulted at any time, although I suspect that he would sometimes use his own book to have the most complete and reliable reference.


    Petra Stump/Heinz-Peter Linshalm – bass clarinettists / Austria

    We received your book about a week ago and read all the chapters by now.

    It is not only a comprehensive encyclopaedia about the bass clarinet and its techniques but also an inspiring story of a life dedicated to the bass clarinet.  Complete in every respect!!!                Thank you for all your efforts!!!


    Laura Carmichael – bass clarinettist / USA

    You have written a superb book, with comprehensive examples, fingering charts, repertoire lists and stories of his forty-plus years of work with the bass clarinet. What stands out the most to me is the way your personal voice is heard throughout; the reader is exposed to the various sides of you: demanding and focused, funny and self-deprecating, energetic and sharp. Your stories, opinions (often dosed out with humour), and way of living with the bass clarinet are interwoven with a plethora of technical information. You let the reader in on your personal perspective, your thinking, motivations and drive. I cannot think of another clarinet book which achieves this combination of practical information with such a compelling informal voice. In the section about notation, “The Confusing Notation” and “The Really Bad Notation” I had to laugh out loud. The book is a rich resource, definitely a must have reference for bass clarinettists and composers, and no doubt useful to anyone interested in the development of the bass clarinet as a contemporary music solo instrument over the last forty years.


    Montse Martínez Gracía – Consultant Feng Shui Traditional / Spain

    What fantastic reviews and comments your book received!
    Surely the fundamental value of the work is YOU, your personality and LOVE, in capital letters, your feelings for the music and your instrument.
    This love is in everything you say when you speak about them, or during teaching or through anecdotes and it is certainly reflected and transmitted through reading your book.
    Hence it isn’t an other music book . . . it is something different and very special.


    Josep Barcons Palau – Revista Musical Catalana – / Spain

    It is no exaggeration to say that Sparnaay has opened Pandora’s Box of the bass clarinet, giving the instrument a privileged place in the music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, thus redeeming it from the secondary role it was sentenced to in the orchestras. This Pandora’s Box is now presented in a book that is like a Bible of the bass clarinet.

    Like the Bible, consisting of several books, Sparnaay’s book contains several books in one: a technical book indispensable for both composers and instrumentalists (covering everything from the reeds to the notation of multiphonics), a history book, a catalogue of compositions, a collection of special effects and examples (with a CD attached), a multimedia reference source, and an autobiography.

    The novel approach of the book is that even though the paragraphs and chapters are fully indexed and sorted, the contents know no boundaries and circulate freely from the beginning until the end.

     The text is like a sponge, having absorbed the lively, provocative and humorous style of the author; in the midst of a technical explanation, anecdotes and personal assessments appear.  

    This book is suggested for anyone who wants to approach the world of contemporary music, the bass clarinet, or musical culture in general.

    Sparnaay’s book crosses the same borders that the bass clarinet itself has crossed. He is the most authoritative voice on the art and history of bass clarinet, and now the fact that he has written about the instrument has become a significant historical event itself.


    Ilse van de Kasteelen – singer-composer / the Netherlands

    I have spent the past days with your book. BRAVO, what a wealth of information, what an adventure. And written as you are, driven and with a great sense of humor. Many people here will, like me, learn a lot from it. It is a privilege to be included.


    Ainhoa Miranda – bass clarinettist / Spain

    Not only seeing all what you have done for this amazing instrument but also to read all your experiences adds joy and fun to play it.

    You make playing not difficult but interesting. Any new challenge becomes a trip through the sound and possibilities of an instrument that thanks to you is admired.

    I am so happy for you writing this book!

    A book that makes the bass clarinet to be alive


    Gérard Pape – composer / France

    How nice to find a book on the bass clarinet that does not
    forget that there is a person behind the instrument! Not only the history of the instrument but also that of the instrumentalist! That your book is a “personal” history means a lot for me as it makes your advice to young instrumentalists to play with their soul, to find a sound that comes from who they are all the more important!! While your book is very helpful as to what is possible or
    not on the instrument, you admit that the impossible does exist!

    While you have found and describe many wonderful possibilities for the instrument, you also tell that certain things are really not so possible which is also quite honest and helpful!
    So, I come to the conclusion thanks to your book that writing for an instrument s
    hould also include a phase of testing one’s ideas with the player. Research in music is a real collaboration between player and composer. Your book is an invaluable report on many years of research and collaboration with composers.
    Best wishes and thanks


    Stephan Vermeersch – bass clarinettist / Belgium

    I have been enjoying your book for the last two weeks; a must for every bass clarinettist and composer who wants to write for this beautiful instrument.

     I cannot think of any item that is not included, the recordings also are straightforward: no tricks.

    Thank you very much for this beautiful work!


    Jaap Bosman – bass clarinettist / the Netherlands                                                                   

    I immediately copied the support strap Harry describes in chapter 7, “Playing position”. In this way the book paid itself. The strap is really great, much more comfortable than all the other ones. The bass clarinet literature list is the solution for the lonely bass clarinettist searching for new pieces. Everything you cannot find on the net is in the book, and the personal way of writing makes it an enjoyable book to read and use.


    Didier MASSIAT – Copyright Department, Gérard Billaudot Editeur SA / France

    I have just received your book, and all I could say can be summed up: congratulations for such a work!

    The result is really marvellous.


    Jetle Althuis – bass clarinettist / the Netherlands

    The book is grand in many respects: it presents a good overview of not only the possibilities- but also the impossibilities of the bass clarinet. (For me as bass clarinettist is comforting to see some things are just not possible).

    Here someone speaks with not only a wealth of knowledge and experience, the passion for the bass clarinets radiates from every passage you read.
    On every page you sense the bass clarinet holds no secrets for Harry Sparnaay. To me it is most remarkable the book reads as if the writer is speaking directly to you. 

    Harry Sparnaay is speaking!

    This book is a must have for every (bass) clarinettist and is strongly recommended to composers.


    Hans Joachim Hespos – composer / Germany

    Many thanks for the wonderful book, the compendium of your life’s work
    – you and your instrument -. It will be a standard work for many young musicians.

    Many congratulations!


    Gabriel Brnčić – composer / Spain

    An excellent book. Amongst so many absurd and badly composed books this truly is a breath of fresh air. Many congratulations to you and your co-workers.


    Anton Willems – bass clarinettist / the Netherlands

    Congratulations on your beautiful book. I have it and I’m still reading it with great pleasure. It is an inspiring book, especially because it has a relaxed and often humorous personal style (I think so, but so your lessons often were), but really to the point regarding the possibilities and impossibilities, and everything is told with passion. The CD sounds very beautiful and natural in terms of sound. For me it is a very valuable addition to the bass clarinet literature. Often these books are quite business like and dry thus boring to read. It really surprised me.
    I hope the book finds its way to the musicians well.


    Frans Moussault – bass clarinettist / the Netherlands

    I adore your book. The best thing I bought over the last years.
    When I read it I hear you talking. The next week I’ll go through it and study the
    standard techniques in the book and they will undoubtedly inspire me.
    I am a proud disciple of the writer.


    Sarah Watts – HARRY SPARNAAY INTERVIEW FOR CASSGB (Clarinet & Saxophone Society of Great Britain –

    In May I went to see Harry Sparnaay perform a concert in Barcelona and also to interview him about my research on multiphonics. During my trip I also made time to talk to Harry about his new book ‘Harry Sparnaay, the bass clarinet – a personal history’.

    SW: My first question to you is why did you decide to write this book?

    HS: Why did I write it? Well first of all I have to be honest already years ago they asked me  to do something and I said no. Now this is very interesting – it has nothing to do with music. I have one problem. When I have to do something in my house or something else I make a list. And I love to do this! So I make a list and when I have finished everything on the list … the satisfaction!! And that is the mistake of what I did!! Two years ago Roderik de Man (the composer) asked me and said you have to do it! I said no. The next day I was sitting at the computer and I made a list of what I thought had to be included in the book. And that was the mistake! The next day I was speaking with my wife about something and I said wait a moment and I went to the computer – that was a mistake and from that moment on it was nearly every day and of course I have so many things that have happened, so many pieces written. So first I wrote what came in my mind and then I was doing this until the day before going to print. So that was the reason.

    SW: I expected and I think many people in the UK would expect that as it is you writing a book it will be absolutely full of contemporary music and nothing else. And it was really pleasant that it was so much more. It wasn’t just your personal history, it covers everything about the bass clarinet … was that your intention?

    HS: Yes. That was my intention. That’s why I am really pleased and I am especially pleased with the critics and comments on the book because everybody is mentioning what you are saying and that was what I wanted. I have read a lot of serious books and that’s not me – I love jokes, I love life. I cannot write a complete serious book because when I was writing for example about quarter tones immediately I was thinking of the bad things! That’s why I said that I didn’t want to write a book about the bass clarinet – I wanted to do it a personal way. I think I succeeded quite well. Still when I look at it and read it I am still laughing.

    SW:  You have many musical examples in your book. How did you go about selecting them?

    HS: I was talking for example about notation and then I thought wait a moment I have a memory that is incredible. You say slap tongue on high F sharp and I remember a piece. I was writing quarter tones and I thought that piece is a beautiful example or there is that piece where they are not working. So it was always about what I wrote and then the piece came. I did not choose because it was a friend .. no no no. Or sometimes I had a piece that was so badly written down- but I love the composer. One piece for bass clarinet and harp was handwritten – so I cleaned it myself. It is very important that the music is very good in a book so the paper is beautiful, the book is beautiful and also the examples have to be beautiful.

    SW: I also thought it would be full of contemporary extracts, but you have chosen all types of music from orchestral, to lyrical…

    HS: But when you listen in my car I have Jazz music. I love Jazz music. I play contemporary musicbecause I like it very much to play, but believe me in my house we nearly never listen to contemporary music.

    SW: Looking to the future. One aspect I really like about the book is that it is full of information about other players so it is not at all a book just about you. I like the way that contact details are included for many players around the world.

    HS: That is important and really I mean it.  When I started and became more known the only thing I always had in mind was that I was afraid that when I stopped there would not be another idiot who is going on with the instrument. I do not worry anymore.  I said in my book that we really have so many who are playing bass clarinet.  But that was not when I started.

    SW: I always say to my audiences that to be a bass clarinetist you have to be crazy!

    HS: Yes you have to be crazy, but you will see I did not mention everybody that would be impossible. But you can see how many players we have now. People who are really playing bass clarinet and not just just because they have to play in orchestra. They really go on and influence composers. The only really selfish thing in the book is the repertoire list. It is my repertoire. That is the only thing that is me alone. Already that is 14/15 pages.  But the rest  … I was so happy when your recording came and I included it immediately in the book because I thought this is interesting because I don’t have a recording of that piece as it is not my repertoire.  Do I ignore them? No, that would be stupid. I have an ideal of what is good – but that may not be others ideals. I don’t play Schoeck (sonate), but that doesn’t mean it is a bad piece of course – my students play Schoeck. I don’t play in orchestra, but my students are using Michael Drapkin’s orchestral excerpts books.

    SW: Do you have any nice memories of concerts in the UK

    HS: What I loved was the series with the composer Barry Anderson.  He was the director of the West Square Electronic Music Group. And also Stephen Montague was there. I played a beautiful piece by Barry Anderson for bass clarinet, string quartet and electronics. I loved it very much and we played about 20 concerts all over the UK with the Arts Council. I also played the SOLO by Stockhausen and Monodies by Jonty Harrison. I love to be in England to play and we did a lot of things like when Jonathan Harvey wrote his Trio (Riot for bass clarinet, flute and piano).  But I must be honest – the last ten years I did not visit England

    Harry Sparnaay – “ A Personal History”,  is really a must for everyone who wants to know more about the bass clarinet. It is a huge wealth of information from the history of the instrument to information on general techniques, contemporary techniques, repertoire, players from around the world and products associated with the instrument. It is written from the heart with much affection and humour.

    The book is published by Periferia Music                                            It can also be purchased in the UK at Howarths Music Shop in London.

    Herbert Noord – music critic / the Netherlands

    In pop music, especially in English a biography or autobiography of a famous pop star or group, is an accepted phenomenon. In recent decades dozens of those books have appeared. Keith Richards, Patti Smith and Sammy Hagar were recently responsible for this kind of book. Also in jazz it is not unusual to write a book about the live and times of an interesting musician. I have books in my library from Mingus and Miles to Chet Baker and Ben Webster

    Biographies or autobiographies of Dutch (jazz) musicians are very rare, the only one I own are those of  Cees Schrama and Rein de Graaff! In front of me is now a special edition. Special in multiple meanings. It is an autobiography of a Dutch musician who wrote at the same time a biography about an unusual instrument: the bass clarinet. The book is originally written in Dutch, translated into English and then published by a Spanish publisher.

    Books written by musicians are not that usual, they are rare birds. Harry Sparnaay is such a rare bird. In this fascinating book, he describes his development to become an internationally acclaimed musician, his discovery of the bass clarinet and his contribution to the recognition of this instrument, often regarded with suspicion by the established musical elite.

    What makes this book a special book? Not just the fact that in the Netherlands almost no books are and were written by musicians and published, but also the fact that reading is fun even for those readers who don’t belong to the order of bass clarinet players .

    Why a review of this book is in a magazine that is mainly involved in jazz, is due to the link which exists between the writer and jazz. Harry made music for years with celebrities in the Amsterdam Bohemia Jazz Quintet and brought it later to performances with Theo Taldick’s famous big band. Although Harry’s musical life started with an accordion on his belly, his first love was the tenor saxophone. To become a jazz saxophonist was his dream. Young Harry heard the music of all the saxophonists that he could get his hands on, from Stan Getz to Coltrane and Hawkins to Young, to make that dream a reality. When he took his first steps in the Dutch jazz scene, it was with a tenor saxophone tied round his neck. But not after his father had decreed that he also should gain a solid musical background by studying at the Amsterdam conservatory. At that time, late fifties, early sixties, the tenor saxophone was a highly suspect instrument at the conservatories. The overall thought was that those kind of instruments were essentially played in dark cellars. It was “not done”.

    Harry was allowed to do an entrance exam and played on his sax “Well You Need It” composed by Monk. His choice raised the eyebrows of the examination committee. Fortunately a member of the committee recognized a true musician and on the condition that Harry switched to clarinet they admitted him to become a conservatory student.

    He studied clarinet diligently when at one point the teacher came in with a bass clarinet and invited his students to try this instrument. Harry tried also and discovered at the same time that this should become ‘his’ instrument. He became hooked on this wonderful instrument. The bass clarinet originated sometime between 1730 and 1750. It was the great Adolphe Sax in 1835, who made some important modifications and who set the standard that led to the current instrument.


    Harry describes in his book, his relentless struggle for adequate modern repertoire for the bass clarinet. There were almost no written pieces for bass clarinet, and if they were aware of the instrument they had to be forced to compose for this instrument. Because of this lack of written material Harry created a self-imposed task, namely to encourage composers to write for his instrument. He succeeded wonderfully well. Keep in mind that the first concert for bass clarinet dates from 1955! There are now hundreds of compositions written for this instrument and more appear on a weekly basis. Harry may be blamed for this success.
    There is an ample amount of this material by Harry recorded on sound carriers. So he is also featured on the newly released recordings of the Theo Loevendie consort. In this last group he had made his move to the bass clarinet and played with the tenor Hans Dulfer.

    On another CD Harry had recorded a tribute to Eric Dolphy a bass clarinettist highly admired by Harry. The beautifully illustrated book includes many examples of notations, fingering diagrams for directions and advice concerning ‘How to build a repertoire’ and a clear explanation of the techniques of  “circular breathing” and “multiphonics”.

    What makes the book attractive not only for bass-clarinet musicians but also for a general reader is the clear but curiosity provoking way this matter is made accessible.

    And for those who thought it was all very serious there are a lot of pages with wonderful stories and anecdotes.

    “At the first rehearsal the conductor greeted me with the smell of a Scotch whisky distillery around him that almost floored me. It seemed to me that he already swallowed half the annual production of this Scottish distillery. I hoped that he would skip his drinking before the concert, but that was a bit naive, to put it mildly.

    Indeed my hope proved to be thoroughly idle the next day. The conductor had consumed the other half of the annual production. There was a strong Scottish influence on changes and tempo. A strict supervision from the conductors-stand was out of the question.

    As a soloist you can still get away at such a disaster but how about an entire orchestra? It ended up in one big cluster”.


    Harry Sparnaay -The bass clarinet / a personal history                                                                   Published by


    ISBN 978-84-93884-50-5


    Jazz Clarinet Players

    Thursday, March 31st, 2016

    Jazz Clarinet Players

    When you hear the phrase, “New Orleans jazz,” what three instruments immediately come to mid? That’s right: cornet, trombone, and clarinet. In those early jazz combos, the clarinet provided a soaring, high register obbligato that enhanced, and, in the hands of the amazing Sidney Bechet, challenged, the cornet’s lead line. A decade or so later, the clarinet occupied a rightful place as one of the signature instruments of the big band era, serving as a distinctive tone color in the ensemble and an important solo voice. After all, the so-called “King of Swing,” Benny Goodman, was a jazz clarinet player.

    But starting with the bebop era, the clarinet inexplicably began to fall out of fashion in jazz. Despite the persistence of such gifted boppers as Buddy De Franco and Jimmy Hamilton, by the end of the 1950s the instrument had all but disappeared from the music’s mainstream. None of the important small bands of the day, and, with the exception of Duke Ellington, very few big bands, featured a clarinetist. As a consequence, few pure clarinet players – as opposed to saxophonist doublers – came to prominence in jazz in the post-war period.

    Today, many (perhaps most) jazz listeners regard the clarinet as a relic of the past, the property of moldy figs and swing-era diehards. Nevertheless, though the 1960s and 1970s the avant-gardists, in their quest for new sounds (as well as old ones), rediscovered the instrument, at least in a limited way. Some even began to feature members of its extended family, like the alto, bass, and contrabass varieties, occasionally in multi-clarinet ensembles. And during recent decades, this music has been enriched by a handful of dedicated clarinet specialists, like the late John Carter, Alvin Batiste, and Don Byron, who have fought to keep their instrument in the forefront of creative jazz.

    Sidney Bechet: The Best of Sidney Bechet (Blue Note, 1994; original recordings, 1939–1953)
    This New Orleans-born master dominated every ensemble he ever played in with his florid, vibrato-driven bravura. Among its treasures, this collection includes two genuine jazz masterpieces: Bechet’s soulful clarinet blues, “Blue Horizon,” and “Summertime,” featuring his inimitable soprano saxophone.

    Jimmie Noone: An Introduction to Jimmie Noone: His Best Recordings, 1923–1940 (Best of Jazz,1997)
    Originally a New Orleans contemporary of Bechet, Noone made his mark in Chicago as both a blues specialist and a singular interpreter of such popular tunes as “I Know That You Know” and his lovely theme song, “Sweet Lorraine.” He also was an early and important influence on the young Benny Goodman.

    Barney Bigard: Barney Bigard Story, 1929–1945 (EPM,1996)
    Bigard brought the New Orleans Creole clarinet tradition into Duke Ellington’s orchestra, where, from 1928 to 1942, his fleet solos and intricate embellishments lent color and character to countless jazz classics. His long post-Ellington career included a stint with Louis Armstrong’s All-Stars (1946–55).

    Benny Goodman: Complete RCA Victor Small Group Master Takes (Definitive,2000; original recordings, 1935–1939)
    Although his big band defined the Swing Era for millions of fans, over the years Goodman played his best jazz with his various all-star small groups. This two-CD set spotlights BG’s original trio (with pianist Teddy Wilson and drummer Gene Krupa) and quartet (which added Lionel Hampton on vibes).

    Buddy De Franco: Mr. Clarinet (Verve,1953)
    De Franco emerged from mid-1940s big band reed sections (notably that of Tommy Dorsey) to become the essential bebop clarinetist. This typically brilliant session features his stellar working quartet of the day with pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Milt Hinton, and drummer Art Blakey.

    Jimmy Hamilton: Can’t Help Swingin’ (Prestige,1961)
    For 25 years (1943–1968) this technically superior musician served as Duke Ellington’s principal clarinet soloist. Hamilton plays both clarinet and his Ben Webster-inspired tenor saxophone on these tracks, which also feature two all-time jazz giants, trumpeter Clark Terry and pianist Tommy Flanagan.

    Eric Dolphy: Out There (New Jazz/OJC,1960)
    More than anyone else, this visionary multi-reedplayer established the bass clarinet as a jazz instrument. On this pianoless quartet date with Ron Carter on cello, Dolphy is heard on bass (“Serene” and “The Baron”) and B-flat clarinets (Charles Mingus’ “Eclipse”), as well as flute and alto saxophone.

    John Carter: Castles of Ghana (Grammavision,1986)
    A gifted instrumentalist and an important composer, Carter helped carve a niche for the clarinet in the jazz avant-garde. This recording, the second movement of his monumental five-part epic Roots and Folklore: Episodes in the Development of American Folk Music , is regarded by many as Carter’s finest work.

    Clarinet Summit (Alvin Batiste, John Carter, Jimmy Hamilton, David Murray): In Concert at the Public Theater (India Navigation,1981)
    Formed by John Carter, this quartet united three hardcore modernists – Carter, Batiste (who lives and works in New Orleans), and Murray (on bass clarinet) – with respected veteran Hamilton. Their now legendary debut concert offered a wide-ranging repertoire of Ellingtonia, bebop, and free playing.

    Hamiet Bluiett: The Clarinet Family (Black Saint,1984)
    This eight-clarinet ensemble (plus bass and drums) truly encompasses the instrument’s entire family, from the tiny E-flat sopranino to the large contrabass. This one-time-only live performance features Bluiett on alto clarinet, along with such accomplished clarinetists as Buddy Collette, Don Byron, and J.D. Parran.

    Don Byron: Music for Six Musicians (Nonesuch,1995)
    Committed to bringing the clarinet back into the forefront of creative jazz, Byron respects no musical boundaries. His creed is, “If it can be played, it can be played on the clarinet” – swing, klezmer, lieder, show tunes, funk, or, on this sextet session, skronky, Afro-Cuban-inspired original compositions.

    Paquito D’Rivera: The Clarinetist: Vol. 1 (Music Haus,2001)
    On this rare all-clarinet recording, the Cuban-born reed virtuoso performs with a chamber orchestra and a Latin jazz rhythm section, and in trio with piano and cello. D’Rivera skillfully bridges the gap between classical and jazz, with a healthy helping of tango á la Astor Piazzola mixed in.


    Jazz Clarinet Players

    The Magic of The Performance

    Monday, March 7th, 2016

    10513532_10202115082709508_3606363460575573529_nDavid Jean-Baptiste In Conversation with Anton Weinberg

    Anton Weinberg a student of Hans Keller has held international professorships of music at Indiana University, professor of clarinet at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London’s Barbican Centre, a professor in the new Gulbenkian and Leverhulme Trusts, and a member of the faculty for the government-sponsored National Youth Orchestra of Spain.

    He has been a professor at Darlington International Summer School under the directorship of Peter Maxwell Davies, a faculty member at the National Centre of Orchestral Studies in New York, and a visiting professor at the Conservatories of Peking and Shanghai, where he gave lectures as part of the first Anglo/American cultural visits. He is also an authority on the sociology and psychology of music.

    Anton’s book ‘Unfinished Sentences,’ with a preface from Lord Menuhin, stands as a testament to mastery.

    ‘Brilliant concepts, I recommend Anton Weinberg as a marvellous musician, interpreter, teacher and thinker’. (Lord Menuhin)

    ‘The most versatile of us all, he can be regarded as an expert in so many different fields. In addition he is unusually articulate revealing matters which many of us can only hope to demonstrate’. (Jack Brymer O.B.E)

    I met with Anton one early autumnal evening in Paddington station, over a coffee to discover what light this man may be able to shine on mindset in relation to performing. Naturally I have my own practical techniques on this. Other than the obvious one of visualizing a perfect performance, I approached the meeting with one main question…What can a performer do mentally in preparation for a performance, to increase the likelihood of giving the audience a wow! Moment…a moment of magic?

    A moment of magic can best be described as a point in time where thoughts disappear and the viewer is suddenly in another world.

    Performing to an audience as I see it is a multi-directional wave of consciousness connecting everyone in the room. A connection comprised of sounds, bodily sensations and impressions. The performer creates a moment of magic when in such a state of complete flow that they draw the audience into a moment of total awareness.

    Anton agreed, adding that a performance mindset that creates magic is totally instinctive, and the essence of art is interaction. He talked of Andres Segovia and how he would take a passage or phrase of music and interpret it in thirty different ways in preparation. This was certainly an ah ha moment and struck a chord with me.

    He spoke of cellist Rostropovich and Sting how they can summon these great musical moments with a jazz like improvisatory flair. How Katya Labeque plays chords so improvisatory, formal and simple with an unexpected quality; as Beethoven and Bach used to improvise at parties.

    Anton told stories from the lives of actors and comedians Sid James, Morecombe and Wise, and Tony Hancock; stories of situations that created moments of magic in comical genius. He talked of Pushkin and that audiences in all forms of art seek these moments of magic be it literature, dance or visual art.

    Indeed I thought, these special moments have the power to enlighten people and change the course of their lives.

    “The instrument is just a vehicle, sense the audience, feel the corporate character of the audience,” he said. “It is something you can’t really prepare for, in fact too much preparation can be counter productive. When Leopold Stokowski the British born conducter conducted, if there was a fidgety audience he would play quieter and slower. Dynamics in the music have nothing to do with volume and everything to do with character. A silent whisper can be infinitely more potent than an outburst. Maintain a positive mindset question everything and believe nothing.”

    In my mind it had been a very satisfactory meeting, as Anton had totally over delivered on my question. Leaving me plenty to think about and had created ample growing room for me to improve on my own performance.

    We both agreed that performance is where the money is, as these days what is expected of the top players has become homogeneous in terms of sound, technique and musicality. Now unlike the past it is becoming harder to tell one top player from the other on recordings.

    “Everyone is a genius but if you end up measuring a fishes ability by his ability to climb trees he’ll end up thinking he’s stupid” (Einstein)

    So to summarise, to harness the power to create moments of magic do everything to play with increasing awareness and never over prepare. Ask yourself often, how can I create a moment in the now? Knowing in your ability to do this. The more we think of our own individual abilities to create magical moments, the stronger these thoughts will become and the more often they will happen.

    Have Fun David

    © The Wellness Clarinet Ltd 2016

    theGrio’s 100: Anthony McGill and Demarre McGill, brothers making it big in classical music

    Friday, February 8th, 2013

    Who are Anthony McGill and Demarre McGill?

    McGillsAnthony McGill and Demarre McGill are brothers who, although born and raised on Chicago’s tough South Side, have both achieved stellar levels of success in the world of classical music. While Anthony currently serves as the principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York City, his older brother Demarre serves as principle flute of the Seattle Symphony. Both brothers have famously played as members of prominent orchestras across America, including the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and New Jersey Symphony between them. They got their start as part of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra…(Read more)