Shall a beginner start on the C clarinet?

Dear Mr. Friedland:

I am thinking of buying another/better clarinet. I have one my in laws bought in china but I have been looking at Ridenour’s Lyrique clarinets and I have been thinking about a C clarinet. I am just learning to play the clarinet on my own. Have a book by Benny Goodman and I am following his advise (dont let your top teeth touch the mouthpiece) by playing without my false teath. Anyway the question is why don’t everybody use a c clarinet? Is there something wrong with them? Why have your written notes not agree with the sound produced? As a beginner should I learn on a B flat then the c later if I want to?
Dear Sir:
To answer your last question first, playing on the Bb is mostly a tradition, as is switching to an A clarient when the part is in enough of a key signaure to challenge. Though they have each a different character of tone, it is basically a question of tradition.

Many thanks for your letter and for its main question which can be indeed provocative and is certainly something to carefully consider.
The C clarinets of today, The Lyrique, The  Amati, and the Forte and the others all play quite well indeed, and the mouthpieces are the same that one uses for the Bb. They play well, are quite well in tune and sound well. And you never have to worry about transposing a Bb clarinet part because you can play any part written for a C, or a concert instrument, a great comvenience, especially for someone such as yourself.
You can play Handel or Bach works for transverse flute and recorder, and literally all violin music. Chamber music is an absolute pleasure to consider because there is nothing out of your realm, saving the occasional part which is in the stratosphere where the instrument can be a bit difficult with both sound and tuning. Incidentally, your Benny Goodman book must stress the douple lip embouchure, wherein you put both lips over the teeth, the most natural way to play the clarinet, though there are those wo may dispute. 
So, without any reservation I say just get a C clarinet and have a lot more fun. You can always pick up a Bb should you need one and it will not be difficult to pickup,and you may save yourself a good bit of money as well.
You know, I wish I had one myself. I learned the clarinet many years ago and play everything on the bb clarinet or the A clarinet. I learned the transposition for C clarinet quite early on and it is not difficult, however I fully recommend that you start on the C. Make sure you get a good mouthpiece, either Selmer, Van Doren, Fobes, Hawkins, Gennusa, all of which will suite you quite well. Try each with the same reed and select the one that sounds and feel the best.
Good luck and best wishes.
Sherman Friedland



One Response to Shall a beginner start on the C clarinet?

  1. […] Shall a beginner start on the C clarinet? Sphere: Related Content Ask a Question […]

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