A few notes for Klezmerists

Subject: Klezmer “sound”

Hello – the ‘Klarinet” site furnished your name to me.

I am a dermatologist, who started playing the clarinet in 5th grade (I am 61). I am strictly an amateur. I have been playing a large bore LeBlanc B flat for the past 25 years or so, and just purchased an 8 year old Buffet R13 B flat (3 days ago). I am VERY impressed with the latter’s ergonomics, and ‘mellifluous’ tone. I am using my old Vandoren V360 on it, and a Vandoren B45 on the LeBlanc, with #3 reed on latter, and 3 1/2 on the Buffet. Do you suggest a Vandoren M15 for the Buffet? (If so, which of three types?)

My current question involves a question re a Klezmer ‘sound’.
Reading the web, I see that there is a sense that an Albert system clarinet has a ‘jazzier’ sound, but that a metal clarinet can come close. I would appreciate your opinion.(I plan to play something at our daughter’s wedding, this June.)

I also understand that quarter tone playing is part of the texture of Klezmer, and so a more open mouthpiece is part of the setup.
Would an A flat Clarinet, of any particular type (metal?) or system (Albert) better approximate that sound?

Thank you, Joe, Arizona
you for you note and the question(s). This is what I can tell you based upon many years of professional playing experience.
No particular clarinet has a sound as such. They are inert objects and only become somewhat alive when players breathe into them using proper or even improper equipment.
The difference between the measurement of a small bore clarinet or a large or larger bore instrument is infinitesimal.
These are terms tossed about by self -anointed cognoscenti. They are meaningless but serve only as fodder during “coffee”.
The value of an Albert System Clarinet or a metal clarinet has absolutely no influence upon the sound one makes on the instrument.
One could substitute a boxwood instrument or even an early three-keyed instrument. Quarter-tone playing as such is not used in Klezmer playing, though bending notes is one of the hallmarks, the two being totally different.
The best advice I can give you is to listen to your favorite players and copy their mannerisms, and their styles.
Finding a teacher for Klezmer may be difficult in Arizona, but you never know.
best regards,
Sherman Friedland


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