July 18, 2007

Dear Mr Friedland

I hope you can find the time to answer my question. About 6 years ago I started playing the clarinet, specifically because I wanted to play Klezmer music. I now master most of the common Klezmer techniques with the exception of portamento or glissando. When looking up references on the internet some say you do this by a combination of pitch bend by air pressure (which I am familiar with) and sliding the fingers off the keys. Others say you do the same in combination with playing a chromatic scale. So what is it? Simply sliding fingers off the keys or playing a chromatic scale?
Could you please give me some suggestions?
Thanking you in advance
Kind regards
The Netherlands
Thank you for your note with its question concerning glissando.
Actually, you do emply sliding your fingers off the keys as well as the chromatic scale, depending upon where you are starting and finishing your glissando.
I think the best advice I can give you is first to do some serious listening to the glisser of your choice. Really , get it into your ear, perhaps the most important thing to do. Then, simply copy what you hear. Actually, you will find that it is a combination of the factors you already mentioned, plus listening and copying and one other: that of opening your throat, and possibly lowering your jaw ever so slightly, then retensioning and lifting it again.
Lowering your jaw while playing lowers the pitch, and the opposite is true.Finally, I think it will be the listening that helps you most. You already have the impetus, you want to play Klezmer. Using the above, you are but a
couple of steps away.
good luck.
Sherman Friedland


A Clarinet needed between 2000 and 3000 dollars

July 16, 2007

Dear Sir,
I am begining my senior and am looking to buy a new clarinet. Currently i am playing a buffet what i believe is a student model and is wood. I have been playing for seven years now going on eight and i plan on playing in university. I was wondering what your suggestion may be on what clarinets i should look into purchasing. I am looking for something in the price range between 2000 and 3000 dollars.
Thank You,
Hi Chrissy:
Thank you for your inquiry concerning a clarinet to purchase for college at between 2000 and 3000 dollars.
That is a fairly easy response as far as I am concerned and my suggestion will be the Yamaha cs clarinet. It is one of the best intune instruments and also has a superb warantee and is an excellent company with a long history of excellent manufacture.
Of course, should you wish to save a considerable amount of money I would suggest the Ridenour Lyric Custom Instrument, which is simply one of the finer clarinets available today at any price. His site can be found on your browser.

Good luck,
Sherman Friedland

Competition for Clarinet Jobs, or advanced degrees.

July 16, 2007

What is the competition like in order to find a job plaing the clarinet in a symphony Orchestra? Also,how can I find an A clarinet?

I think the choice of which A clarinet to buy is the least of your worries.

The question I would like to answer is that of training. You need no degree from anywhere to play the clarinet professionally, one only need to be able to play and win the audition for the job. As you have said the busines is extremely competitive. The orchestra business is fading out even more quickly, some folding or failing each week. The New York Times had an interesting editorial concerning this aspect of classical music by Edward Kozinan a few weeks ago.
The reasons for this are manifold; they are not just the many many clarinetists. We have developed to the point of competing with ourselves by creating perfect recordings, with electroncally enhanced solo passages,
so much so, that the sound of a commercial recording is far superior to that of the performance in person.
In addition there are many of us aho are creating samples of our playing for synthesizers. The sounds are then juxtaposed in various ways and that creates further competition.
This competition is unbeatable and in order to beat it and get a job, you have to play very well, even better than that. There are many universities where that cannot happen. A teacher cannot give you that special something.
Instead, what frequently happens as you have said is the further march up the degree ladder, a Masters, than the DMA or similar. Does one improve with the degree? But, wait a moment. When working for an advanced degree in clarinet you are into a different and in a way, much more dangerous ballgame. Teachers who may have influence at another university can be helpful in getting a University Job, but I feel that here we can have the most horrible kind of situation. That is right. From singling yourself out as a superior player, to studying with someone who may have influence but really does not know what to do in an orchestra. Universities abound in poor players with big mouths. Playing in an orchestra is simply being better than anyone else. Simple by comparison to the horrors of being placed within a University and not knowing anything. Achieving a terminal degree in clarinet, you will most likely be in search of great letters of recommendation, and these are gotten in much different ways than just playing beautifully. The world of university teacher is indeed a labyrinth, or it can be. I have done this and attest to the fact that you are in a different world within the University.

That job that was open a while ago, the Tuscon Symphony. That would be a place to start. I don’t mean to sound in any way depressing, merely realistic. Let us say for example, that you work yourself up by moving up to better and better orchestral jobs. Then, a University may ask you to teach for them. This is the best possible choice, however the most difficult to attain.

Nadia Boulanger told many of her students what to do in the manner of a question.
“Would you just as soon die if you could not play your instrument? ” If the answer was yes, she would say ,”then you may, you must go on”.

Good luck with your A clarinet, and you career, wherever it leads you.

Sherman Friedland

Look in the search box on this site for Ridenour A Clarinet, your best bet, with no question.

Resistance in the high register

July 7, 2007

Dear Mr. Friedland:
I sent you a recent query about purchasing a new clarinet. After reading a large number of your postings,I have a clearer idea about the playing characteristics of different models. I was a strong clarinetist in high school,and I played one year in college. I spent 37 years as a history teacher,and I scarcely touched the clarinet. I retired two years ago, and I began playing in a large wind ensemble at a local college. I am thoroughly enjoying the experience, but I have some minor problems with my clarinet. I am playing a Leblanc Symphonie III from the early sixties. It has been overhauled by a reliable repairman but I am experiencing resistance with the upper clarion register and the altissimo above the high F. I don’t change my embochure, nor do I decrease my air flow. I
don’t think there is an inherent problem with the clarinet. It was
evidently one of Leblanc’s better clarinets at the time it was produced.
My mouthpiece is a Vandoren M13. It is the only mouthpiece that maintains a tonal focus. I have used a B45, a Morgan R10 and a Blayman E facing. All of these play sharp. The M13 is the exception. If you have the time, I would appreciate your insights into the problem.
Thank you,
Hi Carl:
Yes, I am conversant with both the Leblanc Clarinets of that period and I played the M13 mouthpiece for many years.
I am assuming that the clarinet is tight and well adjusted. Many times, it will need adjustment even after a professional overhaul, or something could be amiss (hopefully) temporarily.
You could also check for any blockage in the register key vent itself by removing the key and passing a pipe cleaner through the vent. Even a small amount of dust or dirt can cause difficulty.
There is always a possibility that you are tensing up in that part of the instrument, always a possibility after not playing for a long while.
The mouthpiece sounds like it is OK and as a mouthpiece I think it is one of the better Van Dorens, especially for tuning.

Those are three possibilities. I hope that one of them nets you some relief.
Good luck.

A set of Buffet R13s, Bb and A,, 1963

July 3, 2007

I inherited a matching 1963 buffet r-13 clainet A and B flat set from my late cousin’s husband. He was clarintet prof and Washinghton U in St. Louis in the past. They are in the original case and have 4 barrels one which is a Lee springer/chicago. Also, there are several mouthpieces/ligatures one which is a custom Goldbeck mouthpiece. I play clarinet myself but am partial to my own R-13. I am wanting to sell the set and am looking for an estimate of some sort. Would you have any idea of the value?
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks so much, Lindsey
and thank you for the note and your question. This set of Buffet R13s would be of absolutely highest value, since the year of manufacture , was considered a very good year for the R13. I would not hesitate to say that the worth of these instruments, pending condition, should be more than 1500 or perhaps even 2000.00 for the set, the better the condition, the higher the price.Actually, perhaps as much as 2500.
It would be difficult to comment on the mouthpieces, however considering their provenance, the worth would be considerable as well.

good luck,
Sherman Friedland