Clarinet Fingering Commentary: other systems

Excerpts from a letter to a friend in Oregon:

You know, I have mastered the Mazzeo Clarinet and its improvements and found a tremendous amount of derision, criticism, and almost hysteria at the picture of me playing those clarinets.
I had accepted a summer playing job with theAmerican Wind Symphony (1959) and had to learn the horn within three or four days of my arrival in Pittsburgh, so needless to say I was practising almost constantly for that time.

Basically,you know what the Mazzeo system is, a way or actually 309
different ways of fingering the throat Bb, for any combination of keys or rings and the a spatule opens the side Bb , and that is it.

My Mazzeo clarinets also had an innovation that was for me even as
important: playing the notes from middle B to C# in exactly the same manner
as B to C, in other words, playing them both then lifting the B. There was
an articulation there as well, as well as a connetion between the left hand long Eb and the G#.
These were full-boehm Mazzeo System.
Full Boehm incidentally has been around for years and is played only in a few countries. The prime improvement there for me is not having a flat low e which is a terrible curse if you are playing Mother Goose, or even Peter and the Wolf. The articulated g# is so great, and it never failed me, not once.
So, the price for the Mazzeo System was the flexibility of being able to shade or color different notes around the break of the instrument, as any number of fingers can be put down for any number of passages. The cost: one cannot leave fingers down, for if one does you will get a blip as the A closes. These are the facets both good and not so desirable when playing the Mazzeo system.
Now I have read that there was a similar problem with the Stubbins, though much smaller for there are a couple of springs that must be balanced or can be problematic.
As far as improvements are concerned, they can considered improvements or refinements or they can be looked at in a belligerent manner.
There is a basic thought that is seldom if ever spoken. The clarinet is an old instrument going back several hundred years and has developed from one or two or three keys to the current 17-6. I played professional concerts on Recorder, Classical (three-keyed_ clarinet) in addition to the hundreds I have played on whatever you want to call the regular Boehm or Mazzeo. The reason I have not played Stubbins was Mazzeo, simple as that, so I cannot really comment on it, except to report what I have read.
So, in conclusion, perhaps it is this sense of the tradition of the clarinet expressed subliminally by those who reject so-called improvements as being
absurdly unnecessary.
The three-keyed clarinet I played taught me more about clarinet fingerings
through the use of the harmonic overtone system than any clarinet I ever played and I still use them from time to time.

Advertisements

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: