Attention: Always check the SEARCH BAR on this site

October 28, 2007

Clarinet Corner Query: Undertones and Airiness
Dear Mr. Friedland,

I apologize in advance for any bother I may cause you. ^_^

I am a seventeen-year-old student and I have been playing the clarinet for nine years (not very long, I know, but I figured it might be useful to know). I’m not sure what type of mouthpiece I use because all it says is “2” on it, and nobody can tell the type. It came with a clarinet that was new to me, though 30 years old. The mouthpiece is plastic, whilst the clarinet is wood. I use a #3 Vandoren reed. I used Rico when I first started, switched to Mitchell Lurie two years ago, and then at the beginning of this year, a clarinet professor at UNC told me to switch to Vandoren.

Here’s my problem: regardless of reed change, I sound airy on every single note. Also, when I tongue even moderately fast, I get undertones. I always play with a straight posture and both feet flat on the floor, but that is not helping the aforementioned problems in any way. I have tried tonguing with different parts of my tongue (the tip, farther back, etc.) but I still get the undertones and all the air. The undertones begin when I play the B-flat concert scale, but donʼt happen when I get up to the C#, D, and F (the really high ones).

If there’s any advice that you have for me on fixing these problems, I would greatly appreciate it!! The professor told me to whistle a C# and play with my mouth in that position, but I have noticed no difference (though is most likely because I am doing it incorrectly).

Thank you very much for considering my questions. I will gladly accept any instructions and/or advice you can offer. Thank you again!

Dear Sarah:
Thank you for your note. I understand your problems and would love to hear you play so that I can help to fix them for they are common and are basic as well.
On my site, there is a search bar. It is on the lower right hand side of the front page.
Go there and put the words, embouchure, tonguing, and mouthpiece, each word separately and read all that comes up. I have been writing this site for at least 10 years and I know I have discussed the same problems with many players.
If you are helped by anything you read, please let me know.
In any case, please write to me again should you have further problems. It is not your mouthpiece, nor your clarinet, nor your reed. It is most probably you and the fact that you do not have a private teacher who is a clarinetist to guide you.
Without seeing you play, much less hearing you, I cannot tell if you have a good embouchure, which is critical.
Anyway, I am concerned about your problems. Please take my suggestions and get to me if you have any further questions. Please do not forget that all of these changes will take time.
Good luck, and let me know how you are doing.

best wishes, sherman


John A. Bavicchi A Composer of great importance to all clarinetists

October 22, 2007

John A. Bavicchi was born in 1922 and has been a professor of composition at the Berklee College of Music in Boston for more than 45 years. Of his many works , 36 are prominent to clarinetists, and include the following:

(Violin, Clarinet & Trombone)

1. Allegro Composed: 1950 1st perf., 6/4/1951
2. Poco adagio Boston, Massachusetts
3. Allegro molto Duration: 9 min.
4. Allegro
Available from
BKJ Publications

TRIO NO. 1, Opus 4

(Viola, Clarinet & Piano) Composed in 1951 1st perf., 1/12/1952
Boston, Massachusetts
1. Molto allegro Duration:
2. Poco adagio 15 min. 30 sec.
3. Cadenza: moderato
Available from
BKJ Publications


(Two Clarinets) Composed in 1952 1st perf., 11/19/1952
Boston, Massachusetts
1. Allegro molto Duration:
2. Andante 5 min. 30 sec.
3. Poco adagio
4. Allegro moderato Published by
5. Allegro molto Oxford Press


1. Espressivo e con licenza Composed in 1954 1st perf., 5/14/1958
2. Ritmico Boston, Massachusetts
3. Riposato; energico Duration: 20 min. Felix Viscuglia, soloist
Roger Voisin, cond.
Piano Score
Published by
Oxford Press
Full score on rental from Oxford Press

TRIO NO. 2, Opus 13

(Cello, Clarinet & Piano) Composed in 1954 1st perf., 3/17/1955
Boston, Massachusetts
1. Comodo Duration:
2. Sentito 17 min. 30 sec.
3. Vivo
Available from
BKJ Publications

SONATA NO. 3, Opus 20

(No. 1 for unaccompanied clarinet) Composed in 1956 1st perf. 1/6/1957
Boston, Massachusetts
1. Very fast and rhythmic Duration: 6 min.
2. Slowly and expressively
3. Fast with spirit Published by
Oxford Press

SIX DUETS, Opus 27

(Flute and Clarinet) Composed in 1957 1st perf., 4/25/1957
Providence, Rhode Island
1. Non Troppo allegro Duration: 11 min.
2. Deciso
3. Moderator Published by
4. Spiritoso Oxford Press
5. Adagio
6. Con Vigore

TRIO NO. 4, Opus 33 (33A)

(Violin, Clarinet & Piano) (or Harp) Composed in 1958 1st perf., 1/13/1963
New York, New York
1. Comodo Duration:
2. Quieto 12 min. 30 sec.
3. Lesto
Available from
BKJ Publications

FANTASY, Opus 36

Harp & Chamber Orchestra Composed in 1959 1st perf., 3/18/1960
Fl, ob, cl, bn, hn, Strings New York; Cooper Union Orch.
Duration: 10 min. Assunta dell�Aquila, solo harp;
Howard Shanet, cond.
Available from
BKJ Publications
SONATA NO. 9, Opus 38

(No. 2 for unaccompanied clarinet) Composed in 1959 1st perf., 9/2/1960
Concord, Massachusetts

1. Comodo Duration: 7 min.
2. Sentito
3. Lesto Published by
Oxford Press


Flute (Alone and with FL, Ob, Composed in 1960
Cl, Bn, & Pf)
Duration: 9 min.

Published by
Minus 500 Publishing

QUINTET NO. 1, Opus 43

(N0. 1 for Woodwind Quintet) Composed in 1961 1st perf., 5/19/1963
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Milwaukee Symphony Woodwind Quintet. G. Carey, Flut;, S. Flesher,Oboe;S. Friedland,Clarinet;.R. Pandolfi,Horn;David Beadle, Bsn.

1. Precipitoso Duration:
2. Espansivo 14 min. 30 sec.
3. Agitato
4. Vigoroso Available from
BKJ Publications

SUITE NO. 2, Opus 46
for clarinet ensemble

(Eb. 3Bb, Alto, Bass, Contrabass) Composed in 1961 1st perf., 11/16/1966
Eugene, Oregon
1. Robusto Duration: R. Wagner, cond.
2. Spiritoso 9 min. 30 sec.
3. Misterioso
4. Ardito e misurato Available from
BKJ Publications


(for Recorders, Opus 47A) Composed in 1962 1st perf., 5/6/1969
Lexington, Massachusetts
No. 1-6 (Duets Eb, 2Bb, Bass) Duration: 10 min.
No. 7-10 (Trios Eb, 2Bb, Alto, Bass)
No. 11 (Quartet Eb, Bb, A, Bass) Published by
BKJ Publications

Fl, cl, hn, Bar. Voice ad lib, one perc. Composed in 1962
player (Ty, plus perc.) pf and strings
19 min. 30 sec.

Available from (Commissioned by
BKJ Publications Robert Joffrey Ballet)

SONATA NO. 11, Opus 57

(Clarinet & Piano) Composed in 1969 1st perf., 4/1/1969
Plymouth, New Hampshire. Sherman Friedland,Kenneth Wolf

1. Feroce Duration: 14 min.
2. Molto adagio e con licenza
3. In modo di chorale: Available from
allegro moderato BKJ Publications

QUINTET NO. 2, Opus 58

(Prelude, Fugue & Coda for Composed in 1968 1st perf., 6/16/1973
Woodwind Quintet) Stafford, England

Duration: 4 min.

Available from
Seesaw Music Corp.


1. Amabile Composed in 1973 1st perf., 4/27/1976
2. Leggermente Birmingham, England
3. Sentito Duration: 12 min.
4. Serioso
Available from
BKJ Publications


Fl, Cl solos with wind Composed: 1972-5 1st perf., 5/5/1976
ensemble Boston, Massachusetts
Duration: 11 min.
Boston Conservatory
Available from Wind Ensemble
BKJ Publications John Corley, cond.


(fl, ob, cl, bn) Composed in 1976 1st perf., 3/10/1977
Boston, Massachusetts

1. Deciso Duration: 10 min.
2. Con moto
3. Sentito Available from
4. Moderato BKJ Publications

(Trio No. 10)

1. Molto moderato Composed in 1983 1st perf., 12/7/1983
2. Allegro molto Boston, Massachusetts
3. Adagio assai Duration: 8 min.
4. Con brio
Available from
BKJ Publications


Picc, 2Fl, 2Ob, 2Bn Composed in 1984 1st perf., 1/28/1986
4Cl, Bass Cl., 2Alto,   Titusville, Florida
Tenor, Bar, Solo Clarinet Duration: 16 min.
4Cnt (Trpt.), 4Hn, 3Trb, M.I.T. Band
Bar, Tuba, Timp, Available from John Corley, cond.
mallet, perc. BKJ Publications Sherman Friedland, solo

CANTO II, Opus 102

Solo Clarinet Composed in 1990 1st perf., 6/19/1993
Camden, Maine
Duration: 7 minutes

Published by
BKJ Publications


Mezzo Soprano, Clarinet in Bb, Composed in 1991 First Perf., 4/3/1993
and Piano Boston, Massachusetts
Duration: 10 min.

Published by (Commissioned by the
(Poem of Richard Watson Gilder) BKJ Publications Harvard Musical Association)


Clarinet in Bb, String Quartet Composed: 1992-95

1. Amabile Duration: 14 minutes
2. Adagio-Allegro-Adagio Recording: CD-4
3. Allegro Assai (Commissioned by  Sherman Friedland)
BKJ Publications

SIX FOR TWO, Opus 125

Clarinet in Bb, Piano Composed in 2005 1st perf., 9/27/2007
Boston, Massachusetts,Sherman Friedland, clar, Jun Toguchi, Pf

1. Amabile Duration: 11 minutes
2. Moderato
3. Molto Adagio           
4. Allegro Moderato
5. Semplice  
6. Allegro


A Career in the Military? The choice is yours

October 20, 2007

Hi my name is Nichole and I am a 24 year old looking to making a career out of music by playing the clarinet in the military. However, I have gotten many advice as to stay clear from the military as its not a good way of making a career out of playing the clarinet. I am confused and wonder what your advice would be, should I ignore everyone ideas and just go with the military as I can’t really afford private music lessons or go to college.

Hello Nichole:
Thank you for your question about playing in the military as a career for a clarinetist.
I was in the same position as you are now, at least somewhat the same. I had joined the Army to play in the 4th Army Band in San Antonio, Texas, had really a very good time there and met many friends and learned a lot as well.
When my enlistment ended, I was presented with the opportunity to re-enlist, an opportunity which I turned down.
There were many reasons for my decision, however it was made because the reputation of the Army at the time was not that good and the atmosphere around the band was that re enlisting was for idiots.
It certainly was not, however I had plans to play in an orchestra and wanted to go back to University, both of which I did.
But I frequently wonder what would have happened had I stayed in the Army. Certainly my life would have been different than it has, however I am not terribly unhappy with the choices I made.
You are young enough to have choices and that makes you in a good position. It all depends on the kind of person you are.
If it is an attractive thing for you, to play in the military situation?
Would you be happy to be part of an organization which can be quite regimented and follows a strict schedule?
Are you interested in total personal care? Food, lodging, medical and dental care, and uniforms for the life of your enlistment?
Are you a good player? Are you satisfied with your playing?
What all of this says is that this kind of choice is really a personal choice. Take all of the considerations in mind. You must make your own decision.
It is my understanding that the benefits of enlistment are currently extensive. It is far from the worst thing a musician could do.
I have known many young people who joined the service as musicians and are currently playing in service organizations quite happily. Consider all of the advantages and the disadvantages. Make your choice.

If you decide on the military it will not be a bad choice, simply the choice that you have made. Good luck to you.

most sincerely, Sherman

When is a “Sonata”?

October 15, 2007


I have never played a clarinet or ever owned one, but I just have the urge to buy and play one (I know I could rent). I’m always stopping and looking at them in shops etc. and I have seen what to me looks an excellent piece of craftsmanship in a second hand shop. Its marked up on the instrument as a ‘Sonata’. A quick Google took me to the ‘Leblanc Sonata’ and it seems it is a very good instrument. Is there any way to see if the instrument is actually a ‘Leblanc Sonata’ and not just a copy or some other manufacturers’ model etc.? It is all cased up (soft leather – there is no reed etc.) the body and keys etc. feel and look great – no chips marks or tarnishing and the corks look fine to me. I’m not even a musician but if the price on the internet and shops is anything to go by I could have found a nice buy �50/$100. Any help would be appreciated, especially where to find the manufacturers marks or model numbers etc.


TM – Hopeful player

Hello TM:
first, there are several Sonatas, and in order for it to be a Leblanc Sonata, it needs to have both words on the top joint in the front. It should also say France as well.
The serial number will be on the back of the bottom of the top joint and the same with the bottom joint.
The bell will also say Leblanc.
Usually the trademarks are inlaid in the wood, but sometimes not.
On a few Sonatas, there is a smaller inlay.
The instrument is fairly recent and should look pretty good. The silver rings around the ends of the joint should be smooth not ferruled. That was a innovation of Tom Ridenour, the designer responsible for the Sonata and other Leblanc models. He is a personal friend whom I admire greatly.
Of course, I could tell in seconds if that is the horn at which you are looking.
Might you be able to send me a closeup photo of the top joint? If you can give me the number as found I can date this instrument as well.
The number needs to be on both joints.
The stuff that looks like cork is not important and easily replaced. The pads are also easily replaced but only by a craftsman, Still they are generally inconsequential.
More important is the condition of the wood and of the keys.Sonatas had the numerical connotation 1020, and with silverplated keys, 1020S. But these numbers do not appear on the clarinet
I hope that this helps.

good luck, Sherman Friedland

“Dog Clarinet, and Piano” (1965) by Linda Friedland

October 12, 2007

Hi Sherman,
I have an odd question for you or anyone who can answer
or has experience this. When I practice my Clarinet in
the same room as my Dog and play High pitched notes my
Dog gives out what sounds like a moaning sound. My
question is does anyone know if these high pitched
notes are painful to her (My Dog)? I don’t want to
hurt her but need to know whether to practice
somewhere else.
Thanks, Bobby

Yes, I can answer the question although it is a matter of opinion as to why the dog sings.

First, let say that we have lived all our lives with dogs, and they do react differently to the sound of playing the clarinet.

We had a dog named Taffy who was a border collie and should always reply to my practicing with a howl that was between a high g and Bb.

Finally, my wife wrote a piece for dog, clarinet and piano, and she still has the manuscript and the recording we made. Although Taffy has retired

We think it is an irritant to the dog. They hear so much higher than do we and their ears may be more sensitive as well.

I don’t think the howl is for joy, so a bit of irritant is my answer.

If you have another room in which to practice try that.

OR, you could change mouthpieces or reeds or teachers, or something.

Good luck, Sherman

Tennis Elbow from the clarinet.? yes indeed

October 10, 2007

Hi Sherman,
Ever heard of this one? Tennis elbow, (left arm), from playing the clarinet!
I started playing about 3 years ago, and have played daily for at least an hour, with no problems. Then a couple of months ago I started to get a sort of cramp in the elbow after playing about 20 minutes. I persisted for a week or so, but finally gave up, and had 4 weeks holiday without the clarinet, thinking it just needed a rest.
But as soon as I played again, the problem was back.
Since then I’ve been having medical treatment, for about 4 weeks now, with much improvement, until I pick-up the clarinet again.
Two factors I should perhaps mention: I’ve been playing in a band recently, and perhaps a bit of tension has crept into the arms; and also I started playing an old tenor sax, which has a stiff register key for the left thumb, which might have triggered off the problem, though I did not play it much.

I’m a great fan of your Clarinet Corner, and even bought myself an Arioso. I had it shipped out here to France, and am very happy with it.
Keep up the good work,

Thank you for your kind comments concerning this site.I’m happy that you obtained an Arioso from reading about it on the site. It is an excellent acoustical development, perhaps the best in many years

Tennis elbow, if that is it, can be an extremely painful situation of which the only thing that helps is rest and change. Do not touch the Tenor unless your life depends on it.
But in the left arm, one can consider it more interesting. I think that it must be part or all of your left hand positioning as you play. It is even more so the changing position of your left arm.There are many mannerisms which creep into our playing position without our even knowing them . The results of these unconscious developments can certainly include “tennis elbow”
Clearly to me, it would seem that you are holding out the left elbow when you play. Just slightly more than necessary can do the deed.
Rest your arms against your side as you play and do not extend the left arm in any degree whatsoever. But consciously keep it relaxed despite any inclination, musical or other wise to change it. That may be the problem.
Very relaxed hand and arm position. Do not move your arms when you play. Many do, and TE is the possible result.
good luck,

September 24-27 07, Back to Boston and Berklee

October 5, 2007

Boston was my home for a number of the early years, having graduated from Brookline High School, then crazily accepting a scholarship to attend Sam Houston State Teacher College (the name at the time)in Huntsville, Texas, on a dance band scholarship. This is an entry all to its own, having to do with wanting to get away from home, wanting to live in the West,and being something of a bungee-jumping person, having never played the saxophone to any extent,going downtown in Boston and recording “More then you Know, and I’m in the Mood for Love” solo on the alto saxophone, receiving the telegram….”scholarship granted”, and taking the bus for 66 hours to Texas. An exciting and weird three years, ending with enlisting for the 4th Army Band, then in San Antonio.

I found a great education in traveling and enjoyed myself immensely.
I learned to read there, having never ever seen a lead alto part in manuscript for a fast moving “chart”. One learns to read fast Oh my, very fast indeed.
After those years, I returned to Boston to Boston University to study with Gino Cioffi, and then to the New England Conservatory for 6 years with Rosario Mazzeo.

One of the many jobs I had while in school was driving a cab. There was a place behind the NEC , a Yellow cab place and I took a job there, a great and horrible adventure. One learns , if one is a cabbie, not to drive into tunnels or underpasses, because the fares don’t go there.
Yes, I went to many concerts of the Boston Symphony Orchestra,playing as well listening to all of those wonderful players, and received a Grant from The Rockefeller Foundation to Play New Music for Lukas Foss,. Well I could go on and on as I am wont to do, however this is about returning to Boston to play at the Berklee College of Music.
Originally to have been an entire concert of new music, written for me by Berklee College Composers, it turned out to be a performance of only two, “Arabesque Giocoso”, but Thomas McGah, and “Six for Two”, by John Bavicchi.(Another long and tedious university story. Nothing ever changes)
Berklee is a wonderful school located on the Corner of Mass Ave and Boylston Street where an old Theater, a Hotel and the State Street Bank were all purchased by Berklee.And, like other schools the students are the most wonderful.The school has 4300 students and 460 faculty, the best ratio of just about any school within the US.
I have never seen such a vibrant group of students working at all hours of the morning, noon and night.
While we were very short of rehearsal space and grand pianos, my accompanist Jun (pronounced June) Toguchi seemed to do well, though I would have played more had I had the chance.
This had been created as a vehicle for me to play the music of Berklee Composers, however it turned into quite something else, including an amplified piano, not my cup of keys.
Driving to Boston from Ontario we got lost in the middle of the Adirondack mountains and were treated to the most intensely contrasting and beautiful festival of fall colors we had ever seen. We stayed lost until we drove into Lake Placid Olympic training grounds and finally found our way to Route 87, until 90, and then Boston quite quickly.
It was really a beautiful week, punctuated by the Boston Redsox winning the Pennant. We were taken for lubrification after the concert and each time the Sox would score a big firebell would be struck.
Prior to this event, I had played literally hundreds of concerts, having learned many things, one of which being, “a concert completely filled with new music is not preferable… anything”. People cannot really appreciate all new music on a concert; it just doesn’t work. Perhaps one day people will learn and accept that. One would hope so. This was similar to yet another couple of years in Buffalo playing only new music in Buffalo and then repeating them in Carnegie Recital Hall.
But there is an interesting addenda. I met my wife in Buffalo and, as I mentioned to her this morning, “we met because of new music”
In any event, we all had a wonderful time. John Bavicchi mentioned that I had developed ” aseptogenarian charm”. I spoke to his composition class and played for them as well.
Boston is a wonderful place to play.
best regards, sherman