Qustion from Dutch Clarinet Magazine (C Clarinet)

Dear mr. Friedland,

While searching the internet, I found your site. What a lot of interesting information is there to find!

I’m the editor of the Dutch Clarinet Magazine (from The Netherlands and Belgium) and in our two-monthly magazine we always have a small section in which one of our readers can ask a (clarinet) question. For the answer to the question we ask a professional teacher or clarinet specialist.
I would like to ask you to answer the next question.

“I recently found an c-clarinet which I like to play. What reeds are best for c-clarinets ( I can’t order c-clarinet reeds?). And what mouthpiece should I use?”

If it’s possible for you to answer these questions (in general) and you are willing to help us with it, please send the answer in an e-mail? We’ll translate it into Dutch. Of course we’ll have your name in the section and also a short cv (can take some information from the site?).

Hope to hear from you soon!

Yours sincerely,

Karin Vrieling

Dear Ms. Vreiling:

In response to the question concerning C clarinets and reeds for that instrument, I can answer that first, it depends upon the mouthpiece which fits on the instrument. I own and play a C and use the same mouthpiece as I do for the Bb clarinet. Most who do play this instrument use the Bb mouthpiece, which sounds as well, and makes the choice of reeds much simpler. One simply uses the same reeds as one uses for the Bb. If one has a smaller mouthpiece, the reed of choice will be an Eb clarinet reed.

There is virtually no difference in the quality of sound, or the response, however the Clarinet in C has a slightly more refined response than does the Bb, and there is no pitch differentiation. Playing the C clarinet is quite enjoyable , the repertoire being refreshing to both the ear and the fingers of the clarinetist. While most clarinetists can play parts written for C instrument at sight, (this technic is taught to all who pursue the instrument) playing on the C clarinet eliminates any possible transposition difficulties and one can play violin music at sight.

The only deviation to my response has to do with older models of the C clarinet which may require a slightly smaller mouthpiece. I owned one of these, an instrument made in the UK especially for younger players, called the Lyons Clarinet. It was made of all plastic parts, easily replaceable, was contained in a narrow round case and sounded lovely. I inquired of Mr Lyons of his instrument and he actually sent me one. It played beautifully, but required a smaller mouthpiece which was built to fit into the clarinet.

I later sent this instrument to William Ridenour, of Texas USA, who has designed some excellent clarinets made from hard rubber, including a C clarinet, but using the Bb mouthpiece. If you have to use a different mouthpiece,you must change, and usually have but one.If you play the C clarinet using the Bb mouthpiece, one is always prepared should the occasion arise.

I hope that this answers the question.

best wishes, sherman friedland

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