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Topic: Clarinet Question

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  1. #1

    Clarinet Question

    This question concerns the range of the orchestralclarinet. This is almost always the Bb clarinet, even though much classicalmusic calls for the A clarinet. The Bb clarinet’s lowest note is the D onthe bass clef, while the A clarinet gets down one note lower, to the C#. I'venever seen an A clarinet in any sound library, and I have occasionally beenstymied by not having this note available to me in my orchestral writing. SometimesI have had to give a line to the bass clarinet instead. But this could be aproblem if the line goes up high, where the timbre will bedifferent.
    I just happened tohave purchased the Vienna Strings Special Edition 1, a very basic library. Iwanted to see if it could supply me with a few better sounds than I alreadyhave. (For the record, I use GPO, EWSO Gold, plus a few sounds that come withSonar. I like EW, but find I still use mostly Garritan. Especially thewoodwinds, they are simply exquisite. I have found the Vienna basses to be verygood, also the bassoons and trumpets. I'm still experimenting with it. It demandsa lot more work to get it to sound right, and to blend with other libraries).
    Anyway, the Bb clarinet in Vienna library goes down, notjust to C#, but all the way to C! No clarinet in A or Bb does this, as far as Iknow. I have posed this question on the Vienna forum, but so far have notgotten a reply. I'm hoping that perhaps a clarinet player on this forum mightbe able to inform me as to the actual lowest note of these two instruments. In any case, I can now use the Vienna clarinet as if it were an A clarinet, even though it's actually a Bb. It will go down to the C#. I won't use C however, unless someone can assure me that real clarinets can actually play this note.
    Thank You,

  2. #2

    Re: Clarinet Question

    Actually, I was sure the Bb Clarinets lowest note was E below middle C

    Note what is written, and what the sound is. If you were to display it at concert pitch, it would be the lower stave in the image (as sounds). But as you would commonly see it written if looking at a score, the lowest note is the E.

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  3. #3

    Re: Clarinet Question

    I play clarinet and have played the Bb, A and Eb clarinets along with the Bass Clarinet. I have not ever had seen written a concert C pitch at the lowest end of either the A or Bb clarinet and I have a masters in performance on clarinet. That doesn't mean someone hasn't written for that pitch or that some clarinetist has altered their clarinet for an extended range like flute players and their B foot. I do know that some bass clarinets have an extended range to a low C concert but I have never played one. I think your best bet for a low concert C# is to write the piece for A clarinet.

    I am surprised that there is not a sampled set for the A clarinet as its timbre is different than the Bb clarinet. It does have a darker more "woody" quality probably due to its slightly larger bore size.
    [Music is the Rhythm, Harmony and Breath of Life]
    "Music is music, and a note's a note" - Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong

    Rich

  4. #4

    Re: Clarinet Question

    Thanks, Rich. This validates what I thought to be the case. I agree, I would love to have a true "A" clarinet in in my sound library. For years I have read in orchestration books that it has a darker sound than the Bb, and I have yearned to hear this sound. I have even gone online in search of it, but so far have not found anything. It's always the Bb that is played in sound clips. If there is really a significant difference, I would think somebody would have put it in a sound library. Oh well, I'll use the Vienna clarinet, when I need that low C#-Db.

  5. #5

    Re: Clarinet Question

    To Graham: Yeah, I always understood it that way. I wonder if someone in that sound library took the actual lowest note of the Bb clarinet - D - and mistook it for the written note, and then lowered it down to C, as the transposition would require. That could explain it, as then a written D would yield a C, but would of course be incorrect. I mean, it's hard keeping all that transposition stuff straight, unless you're a performer, and such a mistake could easily occur. It's kind of like a typo, which I make in every sentence!

  6. #6

    Re: Clarinet Question

    You might be right, but an odd mistake to make as they would have to have sampled the note, then pitch it down.

    Thankfully Rich knows his clarinets! :-)
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  7. #7

    Re: Clarinet Question

    I knew I had seen libraries which include Clarinets in A, but I couldn't remember the name. Here's the link:

    http://www.wallanderinstruments.com/?mode=products

    I can't vouch for the quality of them, though. Perhaps someone who has tried one of them will let us know.

    Allegro Data Solutions

  8. #8

    Re: Clarinet Question

    Quote Originally Posted by ejr View Post
    I knew I had seen libraries which include Clarinets in A, but I couldn't remember the name. Here's the link:

    http://www.wallanderinstruments.com/?mode=products

    I can't vouch for the quality of them, though. Perhaps someone who has tried one of them will let us know.
    Wow, thanks for the tip. ejr. I could get it in the WIVI package, and very affordable!

  9. #9

    Re: Clarinet Question

    Hi, some folks from the Vienna Forum got back to me with the following info:
    There are clarinets that have an extra key that allow it to play down an extra half tone to a written Eb instead of E. This key is mainly used on Bb clarinets so they can transpose from an A clarinet part and still hit the low written E on the A. The extra key is not an attachment, the instrument is built with the extra key. The instrument also has to be a bit longer to accommodate. (From "Babe")


    This might be helpful, too:
    http://www.vsl.co.at/en/70/3161/3173/3175/5581.vsl (From "Dietz")

  10. #10

    Re: Clarinet Question

    When I was learning clarinet at school ( very early 60's) one of my class mates had a C clarinet. Never seen one since but as an 11 year old it was a delight to play because it was smaller and therefore easier to finger for small boys.

    Wonder what happened to my clarinet, I think I lent it to someone.
    Derek
    Things may come and things may go but the art school dance goes on forever
    NOW WITH Cubase 5, JABB,GPO, Fender Strat, Ibanez RG, Yamaha Fretless Bass, Framus Archtop, The Trumpet and Mr T Sax, together with GREEN SEALING WAX


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