A and Bb, and switching

Subject: A vs. Bb

> Mr Friedland,
> I am a 15 year old junior, beginning to find it necessary to play on my
> clarinet in the key of A more often. I have been having a bit of trouble
> lately with the transition to my A clarinet. I find it more difficult to
> play than Bb, and I require more air to make a decent tone quality.
> Unfortunately, most of my orchestral repitoire has an A part, not to
mention
> the fact I am beginning to play the Mozart concerto. Besides plenty of
air,
> do you have any suggestions that would solve this problem? The instrument
> itself is not a new model, so this may also play a part in my troubles.
>
> Thanks.
> Aaron
>

Hi Aaron:
and thanks for your comments on the A clarinet. It is a very common
problem for the A to play with more difficulty than the Bb.
Many times, an infequently used A will need to be really played a lot, and
sometimes they may be out of adjustment.

The A is longer and bigger and therefore takes more support.

Years ago, many A clarinets were not as good as Bb, but now that is not the
case. All of my A clarinets have been terrific and I frequently choose to
play passages written on the Bb on the A. It simplifies many difficult
passages, and the sound, you will find is more lovely, luxuriant, if you
will. The transposition is simple after you get used to it.

When I studied in Rosario’s Mazzeo’s Master Class, there were many players who played everything on the Bb, utilizing a full-boehm instrument with the low Eb. I did not subscribe to that, however it opens ones mind, playing things on clarinets in different keys.

What I did, as a young clarinetist was to practise for a while only on the A
clarinet, supporting well all the notes. That will do the trick and when you
play your Bb it will feel simple to fill up by comparison.

Keep switching until they play the same, and then you will have it made, as
they say.

Good luck, sherman friedland

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