“Full Boehm ,will one day rule the world”

The Full Boehm Clarinet seems to be enjoying somewhat of a renaissance amongst the clarinet students simply a repeat of what is circuitous . I’ve been noticing posts on other sites which seem to point to a key-adding trend beginning again, I mean by adding, more than the standard 17-6 arrangement. Full-Boehm consists of at least 20 keys and 7 rings, making Bb-Eb possible easily with the seventh ring as well as a G# which is articulated making it simple to play trills from f#-g# without the world of false fingerings, (read out-of-tune), and a world of other possibilities. For those interested it makes playing everything on one full-boehm clarinet possible and not having to switch to A clarinet, or a C instrument either.
The title of this article comes from a posting I saw on another website. Since I played full-boehm Selmer Mazzeo System clarinets for about 30 years, I thought it may be of interest to talk about this wonderful compehensive system of fingering.
Full Boehm has ruled the world prior to now, and may again as you say, one day.
I played full Boehm Mazzeo System(Selmer) clarinets from about 1959 until ca 1997 or so interspaced with everything else as well. I had a wonderful full boehm Buffet, brand new, and several sets of others as well. In Boston in the 50s and 60s virtually everyne played either full boehm selmers or the model 55 which was then played by Gino Cioffi, Principal in the BSO, who played a full boehm without the low Eb, which he considered to be better intune then the ful boehm and lighter, which it was in the latter but not in the former because the low E he always played quite flat, which would not have been the case had he had the low Eb. When the orchestra played Mother Goose, by Ravel, which they seemed to do every other week, there is a big clarinet solo that goes down to low E forte and we, all of the students used to wait with unholy glee for him to be flat on the note and he never disappointed.
Curiously,many wonderful young guys and girls played everything on one clarinet, a full boehm which made just about everything written playable on the one, including Peter and the Wolf, both for the main solo, and for the cadenza when the Cat Climbs Up the Tree. That was fun because it made one learn to transpose and once I played the Pines of Rome on the Bb clarinet, not the A for which it is written. With full-boehm Mazzeo System, it makes all of those large intervals much easier than the A. My clarinets, the Mazzeos system also had a covered thumb which many trills much easier and also covered the open sound of the g somewhat, and an articulation between the long B abd C# making it the same fingering as the B to C. In B to C one puts both little fingers down and picks up te b to get the c. On the Mazzeo system addition, one puts the B and the C# down simulaneously and then simply picks up the B, leaving a clean C#.
I often yearn for full boehm again. The criticism then was that they got out of adjustment, but I never found that the case, or perhaps I made it my business to make sure my business worked.
Full Boehm, we await thee for yet another coming.

Sherman Friedland


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