Mazzeos 309 Fingerings for Bb

Hi Sherman,
I have a Selmer Signet Mazzeo coming to me and I was
wondering if I could get a breakdown of the facets of the horn that are not found on Standard Boehm clarinets. Do you have a graphic fingering chart or such that I could reference? Plus, are there really309 fingerings for throat Bb?

Regarding your note concerning the Mazzeo Signet clarinet you are awaiting and the question concerning the 309 fingerings for the throat Bb, let me explain :
The point is not to say “Yes, there are 309 fingerings for the throat Bb”, but simply explain the Bb mechanism and the principal involved in executing any of these fingerings.
If you will close the 2nd ring of the left hand and watch closely, the third trill key will open giving you a rather fuzzy throat A. If you add the A key you will have the best and clearest Bb available on the boehm clarinet. The third trill key is opened by an articulation. In fact any combination of rings and the A key will give you this best of all Bbs for the same articulation occurs with each key or combination that is depressed.
Moving into the upper register is really terrific because you finger the Bb with the combination of fingers for the note following the Bb, that is to say ,if you are going to play f on the 5th line, you depress the A key and the register for the Bb, and you also add the first finger of the right hand
When you go to the F all you do is to move from the A key to the fingering you have already depressed, the index finger of the right hand and the 2nd and third fingers of the left.
You have just made a lovely and simple legato move from the Bb to the F, not an easy or fluid motion on the plain boehm clarinet, especially for the younger player.
It is the same for any of the notes on the instrument: depressing any key or combination of keys opens that third trill automatically, the finger you add will give you the desired note, a very simple movement requiring much less motion.
One of the more difficult gestures on the clarinet is moving from the throat Bb to the B, the long B involving placing all of the finger down plus the lever for the B.On your Mazzeo Clarinet you finger the B prior to playing it,however you have already prepared to play the B. The Bb is again perfect and all you do to get the long B is to allow the A spatule to close.
It is an utterly simple system. It is the most simple way to cross the so-called break of the clarinet and not emit a sharp and fuzzy,incorrectly fingered Bb. Now there have been improvements to the plain boehm clarinet, especially in the area of the throat Bb, however there is no plain boehm that simplifies the physical motion of entering the upper register from below than does the Mazzeo. You can talk about the various double vents or opening holes that have been added by various makers, however they are more troubling than is the Mazzeo and they do not use the fixed problem as Rosario does to enter the upper register without the tumult caused within the mouth, which is rendered totally unnecessary by the Mazzeo System clarinet. Turning the process around, going down from the upper register is a relatively simple operation. You cannot leave fingers down or the trill key will open. This motion I was able to eliminate within three days, and I was able to trill from the natural A to B with no blips whatsoever. This I did while on a professional engagement. But then again, nobody ever said practice is eliminated with this innovation.
On the plain boehm, the register key does double duty and it does not
“multitask” well, as it produces a sharp Bb because the register key is for moving up a 12th and is not well-located for the throat Bb.
The best location for the venting of the Bb is the third trill key, a
difficult fingering simplified by the Mazzeo Clarinet,opening this key with any combination of fingers depending upon the note following the Bb, and yes, there are 309 ways to do this.

Write if you have any further problems.
Play well.



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