Playing historical clarinets

Pearson, I. E. (2000) Playing historical clarinets. In: The Early Clarinet: A Practical Guide. Cambridge Handbooks to the Historical Performance of Music . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 41-62. ISBN 9780521624596 (hardback) 9780521624664 (paperback) e-book (9780511059780)


The clarinet underwent a remarkable transformation during the century which separated the publication of Carl Baermann's Vollständige Clarinett-Schule from Roeser's Essai d'instruction of 1764. Indeed, the instrument moved from the periphery of art music to a position of preeminence amongst the orchestral winds. This chapter examines the principal primary sources for playing technique, with particular emphasis on methods currently available in facsimile or reprint, such as those by Roeser, Vanderhagen, Lefèvre, Backofen, Fröhlich, Müller, Klosé and Baermann. They contain advice on many issues, including posture, embouchure and reed-position, articulation, fingering, reed selection and maintenance, care of the instrument, ornamentation, and other practical and aesthetic consideratons.

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