Clarinets and Ornaments of all kinds

The following was posted in response to a question as the the ways of executing trills, shakes and ornament in historical times.

I have had a brief life as both a recorder player and a player of the Classical Clarinet. I had a lovely set of clarinets that started as the original three keyed model, then added a section which converted it to A, then kept adding keys until I had 13. And recorders were a part of every recital I played, a Sonata of Wanhal to begin, continuing with a Handel for Recorder, intermission, then either Brahms f minor or Hindemth.
Along the way one has to learn about the historical aspects of playing ornaments and trills and/ or shakes.
Learning this takes you to a place where the execution of the ornament
depends upon the time of the composition.
For instance and only as an example, for this is a long topic to start on, the execution of any ornament during the Baroque period was always done with an appogiature above the note in question on the beat, that iis to say, taking the melody note of G, one will play first the A above it for half of the time written, with an accent on the appogiatura.Playing it on the beat is difficult for many players and it is frequently played incorrectly, or before the beat.
If this precedes a note that is marked trill, the letters “tr”not coming into fashion for a while, it is played differently, and frequently, it is up to the performer to execute the ornament or the trill in the proper manner, and it is frequently argued as to which particular execution is correct.
What is terribly interesting about all this is that there are no recorded examples floating around.
There are treatises that go into the execution, however they are subject to opinion and discussion.
Actually, we are talking about a time when there was both much ornamentation and improvisation used in performance. More improvisation than there is in Jazz, using similar principles, and more different ways of executing the famous dotted eighth and sixteenth than hens teeth.
So, to conclude, yes I am or have been a performer of early repertoire and the above in general is part of the understanding I have come to know about it’s execution.
As early as the Mozart Concerto there is still much discussion concerning the execution of trills, whether on the note or prior as an appogiatura.
That does not even enter into a discussion as to what clarinet to use, and for what clarinet did Mozart write it.

Sherman Friedland


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: