Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2008
Joined
·
1,497 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a 10 year-old student that is really good and got a tryout in the HS all city orchestra. The conductor gave all the clarinet players A parts.
1)Shouldn't the publisher have alternate Bb parts?
2)Is it standard to have an A clarinet in High School?
3)Would an extra long barrel turn a Bb horn to A?
I'm a band guy so I'm clueless with orchestra:?
Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
216 Posts
No. An extra long barrel would give you an excruciatingly out of tune Bb clarinet.

To turn your Bb into an A, all you need to do is just completely reposition and resize all of the tone holes, reconfigure the bore dimensions, and of course add about 2.5 inches to the body of the horn BEFORE you start moving around tone holes ;-)

Yes, for something like an All-City (All-State, All-County, Youth Orchestra, what have you) symphony orchestra, it is absolutely standard to have an A clarinet.

Fortunately, there are now several options for inexpensive and good A clarinets.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
Joined
·
19,215 Posts
The only way to turn a Bb clarinet into an A, is to trade it in for an A clarinet.
Once a Bb, ALWAYS a Bb.

1) Some early publishers show Clarinet 1 as Clarinet A. Unless it stated "Clarinet IN A".

2) Most High Schools unless they have an Orchestra, do not have an A clarinet. Band arrangements available today RARELY have an available part for Clarinet in A. Same goes for Eb soprano clarinet.

3) An extra long barrel will only give you a HORRIBLY FLAT Bb clarinet. There are differences in the placement of the tone holes in addition to the added length.

You may want to contact the Conductor for clarification as to the part issued to your student. Generally for audition, you are given 1st part and are selected and placed according to your performance.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,312 Posts
A full Boehm clarinet can cover the A clarinet parts as it has a low Eb that equals the A clarinet's low E. But it's probably better and simpler to have an A clarinet to go along with the Bb.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
13,033 Posts
They probably expect the part will be played on a Bb horn and in Bb too. If you really wanted to WOW them, transpose the part (if you don't need the lowest note) and play in the real key.
 

·
Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
Joined
·
17,204 Posts
If he does not have access to an A clarinet, and one is expected, then I agree, transpose the A clarinet parts down a semitone, and play them on Bb.

Or become involved with pit playing. Pit music is all (to my knowledge) written for Bb clarinet.

As an aside, one of my customers was once playing professionally in a concert season - opera I think, and there was so little music for A clarinet that she did not want to go to the problem of getting it out and attempting to keep it warm to be in tune. She transposed the 'A' music for Bb clarinet.

And she got me to make an extension for her Bb clarinet so that the one concert Db note could be played on the Bb. The extension consisted of an extra, old bell, with cork around it so it could plug into her present bell, much the same as a trumpet mute does. She plugged this in, just for the phrase with the concert Db, which did not include the now messed up concert D Natural. All other notes on the clarinet still worked fine. (She used the side key fingering for concert A at the break)

This barrel was actually a little more elaborate than explained above. It included a section of bell tenon and another 3/4" of the body of an old clarinet, slightly modified and left inside the additional bell. This made the bore shape more regular, and enabled a little more adjustment of tone and pitch. Large holes were also drilled in the side of the bell. I've forgotten whether these were to raise the pitch of the concert Db, or to improve the pitch/tone of concert Eb, and concert Bb at the break.

It was more for an interesting experiment than anything else. It certainly drew the attention of other players, playing a clarinet with 2 bells! I've just tried playing the thing again, and it works well enough for orchestral concert performance.

Don't look too closely. This was just 'knocked up' very quickly.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2008
Joined
·
1,497 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
woodwindNYC said:
Fortunately, there are now several options for inexpensive and good A clarinets.
The cheapest one at WWBW
was the Woodwind A Clarinet
Item# 99310
Our Price: $479.00
List Price: $845.00
You Save: $366.00 (wuupdy doo)
This is a plastic clarinet !!

If you want wood the least expensive one at WWBW
is the Buffet E11 A Clarinet
Item# 16944
Our Price: $1,459.00
List Price: $2,432.86
You Save: $973.86
 

·
Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
Joined
·
17,204 Posts
Any comments on the quality/playability of that cheap one?

I wonder if Omar Henderson of Forte clarinet fame, could be talked into getting supplying one, between those prices.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,771 Posts
If you're buying an A clarinet for an All-City orchestra, get a decent one. The E-11 is a pretty good clarinet, if I remember correctly.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member and Old King Log
Joined
·
801 Posts
The unfortunate thing is that A clarinets don't tend to get turned over that frequently. Most people buy one once, and hold on to it forever. I haven't used mine in many years other than bringing out once in a while to make sure it still works. (I haven't done much soprano classical work in the last twenty years.)

The good thing is that most A clarinets that you will find after market will be in excellent condition. That's because those who do own them are quite careful about their treatment (being a bit more committed to the life musical than serious high school students), and thus they will be in a A-1 condition.

Of course, there's always the old string down the back of the bore trick. It works, but not very well.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Technician
Joined
·
3,112 Posts
I've just been given a load of bass clarinet parts for a forthcoming orchestral concert, and one of them is for a bass clarinet in A.

No, it's not Wagner, Mahler or Rachmaninov - but Elgar - though it is in treble clef.

I'll probably write the part out (it's in concert D, so it's only 4 sharps) as I find transposing downwards tricky (even if it's only a semitone), though I have no problems transposing upwards from concert pitch parts on a Bb,A,F or Eb instrument.

I doubt anyone in the area has a Selmer A bass clarinet I could borrow, but that just means more gear to lug around (as I'm already playing Bb/A, bass and alto sax for this concert).
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
13,033 Posts
Chris Peryagh said:
I've just been given a load of bass clarinet parts for a forthcoming orchestral concert, and one of them is for a bass clarinet in A.

No, it's not Wagner, Mahler or Rachmaninov - but Elgar - though it is in treble clef.

I'll probably write the part out (it's in concert D, so it's only 4 sharps) as I find transposing downwards tricky (even if it's only a semitone), though I have no problems transposing upwards from concert pitch parts on a Bb,A,F or Eb instrument.

I doubt anyone in the area has a Selmer A bass clarinet I could borrow, but that just means more gear to lug around (as I'm already playing Bb/A, bass and alto sax for this concert).
I've found that by the time you get into the second page of transposing, you no longer need to write the part out. It takes so much time to write it out and after the first run through the part can be played by ear with the score as a reference. Then again I hate writing out parts as I find it extremely time consuming.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top