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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I taught myself to play clarinet a while ago.. Not sure of which fingering is "correct" for a few notes:

first,

Low D#/Eb (&, for that matter, high A#/Bb): as a sax player, my instinct is to think that
LH: 1+2
RH: Side Key

is the correct fingering.

As a flute doubler, my brain tells me that 1+1 in each hand is the correct fingering.


Is the distinction to be made whether it's chromatic/diatonic/intervallic? Or is there a primary fingering which should always be used for this note? OR is it just about whatever's convenient?

Also: since the break is a little painful coming from a sax background, I understand that I'm "supposed to" go into the higher register at middle B. This feels to me like the first overtone of low B on sax, & is pretty much just fine.. But, seeing as the low register of the clarinet goes all the way up to C, is it okay, for the sake of consistency, to play that high in the low register so long as I don't go any further, or will any clarinetist scoff at this fingering?

Thanks!
 

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The fingering you are using is correct in that it's the default fingering for those notes. It usually has the best intonation.
You can also use 1+1 or 1+2+the sliver key under 2. Be sure you're including the thumb tone hole with ALL of these fingerings.
There is no 'absolute right' fingering. You use what falls naturally within the notes before and after. Kinda the same as using the bis key, 1+1,... on sax.
I'm sure that you've noticed that the clarinet has LOTS more alternate fingerings than the saxophone. Learning them all, and where to use them is part of the fun of learning, and playing the clarinet.

As for the second part of your question.... I'm a little confused as to what you mean, but I think I will have to answer "that fingering is fine no matter if you are below or above the break."
I use it practically ALL THE TIME! :)
 

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Also: since the break is a little painful coming from a sax background, I understand that I'm "supposed to" go into the higher register at middle B. This feels to me like the first overtone of low B on sax, & is pretty much just fine.. But, seeing as the low register of the clarinet goes all the way up to C, is it okay, for the sake of consistency, to play that high in the low register so long as I don't go any further, or will any clarinetist scoff at this fingering?

Thanks!
Are you meaning is it ok not to use the register key from B2 up? If so, I would say get used to using it correctly. Correct technique on register/throat notes/break crossing is one of the absolutely crucial areas on clarinet. Generally, finger technique has to be accurate and well thought out whereas you can botch it to an extent on saxophone and still sound pretty good.
 

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I knew I was confused about something...

YES, you HAVE to use the register/octave key when you play middle B and above.

I thought the question was still regarding the Eb/A# (1+2+side key).
 

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Langenus part 1 exercise 25.

B A B A repeat

A B A B repeat

B A G A B A G A repeat

G A B A G A B A repeat

All of the above to be played whilst fingering the B and moving only the left index finger and thumb.

C A C A C A C A

A C A C A C A C

The above the be played fingering a C and moving only the left index finger and thumb. Index finger does not move onto the A key but stays positioned as for F# and the edge of the index finger nudges the A key.

B G B G B G B G ( to be played whilst wearing tight white flares and pirate shirt)

G B G B G B G B

For the above, finger the B and move only the left index finger and thumb

Continue with

C B A B C B A B

A B C B A B C B

Etc, etc

When this is smooth clean and fast, change the C to a C#.

Then change the B to a Bb etc etc.

Then use the other pinky for C, B, C# etc.

Takes stuff all time to run through this exercise once you've learned it and I make all my kids do exercise 25 as a warm up every lesson. They can all play back and forward over the break without a problem and can't understand what all the fuss is about.
 

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B G B G B G B G ( to be played whilst wearing tight white flares and pirate shirt)
Enjoyed that one!

Thanks for taking the trouble with this very helpful post: will file it away for when I get back to clarinet. (Keep meaning to, but there's so much else on the to-do list....)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hey, thanks for the exercise, dogpants! Yeah, I suppose I'm just a little baffled by the transition from A to B (you must admit it's awfully cumbersome).
 

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On most all the clarinets I have played, the 1+1 or 1+2 fingerings for Eb are quite sharp. I generally avoid those as do most clarinetists. In the upper register the Bb is fine with those for a variety of uses. Don't forget about using the LH little "sliver" key. It can be very handy.
 

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If you like bells and whistles you can get a clarinet equipped with a forked Bb/Eb mechanism. Then you can trill G-Bb (or C-Eb). And various arpeggios are easier to play.
 

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Clarinets with extra mechanisms like forked Bb/Eb, articulated G#/C#, etc., are usually pricey pro models. But occasionally I hear about someone getting a sweet deal on a used model.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I would do it if there were big band gigs in the forseeable future, but I don't really know anybody in that scene.. Until then, I'll have to hope to get hired on my three horns
 

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Deciding which fingering to use in each musical situation is similar to the Bb fingerings on the sax and is based on common sense.

Clarinet Low Register
When Eb goes to or from low C use the side key
When Eb goes to or from low D use the sliver key
When Eb goes to or from low Bb or B use the 1 - 1 or 1 - 2 respectively
 

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Clarinet Low Register
When Eb goes to or from low C use the side key
When Eb goes to or from low D use the sliver key
When Eb goes to or from low Bb or B use the 1 - 1 or 1 - 2 respectively
Hmm. I must admit I nearly never use the sliver keys (except maybe for a trill); instead I use the side key in both "C" and "D" situations. But that's a personal preference, and YMMV. Probably depends on the size of your fingers, and the spacing of the tone holes (Eefer, anyone?)
On the other hand, I often use 3rd trill plus A for a middle-line Bb (instead of Reg + A), especially on potato notes.
 

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Clarinet Low Register
When Eb goes to or from low C use the side key
When Eb goes to or from low D use the sliver key
When Eb goes to or from low Bb or B use the 1 - 1 or 1 - 2 respectively
Not necessarily. Use whatever comfortable and/or based on how it sounds (if there's a difference in the way a certain player plays it). I use the side key almost always in all three of your examples. I know of players who use the banana key the most, I almost never use it. I use the 1-1 fingering only for fast notes where it is really much more comfortable, I remember using it for example in the Saint Saens sonanta. Even in pretty fast runs from Bb I'd mostly use the side key. Which doesn't mean anyone else should use the same fingerings I do.
 
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