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Topic: Bass clarinet to Bb swap: time needed?

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  1. #1

    Bass clarinet to Bb swap: time needed?

    Any clarinetists out there who have switched off between bass clarinet and standard clarinet during performances? My question is, what is the minimum time you would need to comfortably switch from bass cl to Bb cl?

    The switch in question occurs within the first 45 seconds of a work, so any reed preparation might be affected by that. I have a gap of about 10 seconds. Is that too much to ask, or is that an easy switch?
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  2. #2

    Re: Bass clarinet to Bb swap: time needed?

    I'm mainly a sax player, but I've doubled on clarinet/bass clarinet in pit orchestras. If a real clarinettist disagrees with me then feel free to take their advice over mine.

    There is some adjustment involved, but someone who is used to doing it can change embouchure pretty much instantly. Since clarinet and bass clarinet fingerings are virtually identical, there's no need for any mental re-calibration, just a wider mouth and a change in air and lip pressure.

    As long as there is enough time to carefully put one instrument down on a stand and pick up the other one, the change shouldn't be too bad. Don't forget that the bass clarinet also involves a neck strap, but if this and the peg are pre-set then it can be set up pretty quickly. Ten seconds is definitely on the tight side, but it's doable if the player is prepared. In general I'd recommend giving a player a little bit more time to get the mouthpiece situated in his mouth.

    If the switch were to occur much later in the piece, I would recommend giving more time to re-soak the reed, but since it happens so early, this shouldn't be a problem.

    chris.

  3. #3

    Thumbs up Re: Bass clarinet to Bb swap: time needed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skysaw
    Any clarinetists out there who have switched off between bass clarinet and standard clarinet during performances? My question is, what is the minimum time you would need to comfortably switch from bass cl to Bb cl?

    The switch in question occurs within the first 45 seconds of a work, so any reed preparation might be affected by that. I have a gap of about 10 seconds. Is that too much to ask, or is that an easy switch?
    10 seconds should be enough time, because the soprano clarinet is small and easy to deal with. I would want a lot more time if switching between bass clarinet and bari sax or bassoon. The player will have prepared the reed before starting your piece, and the reeds should not dry out appreciably in under a minute.

    Grant
    ==============================
    Grant Green ||| www.contrabass.com
    Sarrusophones and other seismic devices

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