Eb Alto Clarinet

Eb Alto Clarinet

Eb Alto Clarinet    15:20 on Tuesday, April 17, 2007          

(3 points)
Posted by Evan0g

I am playing the Alto Clarinet for our high school band. I normally play good-old Bb Clarinet but decided to be adventurous. Anyways, I am trying it out but the clarinet always either sounds scratchy or has a squeak tone to the note. Is this normal for a new player? I can get all the notes out but it sounds so dull. In case this helps it is a very old school instrument that apparently had some service done on it recently.

Re: Eb Alto Clarinet    21:04 on Tuesday, April 17, 2007          

(217 points)
Posted by Hump

That sounds about right for an alto! Thats why nobody uses them anymore, they just sound bad. It helps to have an awesome mouthpiece, but most are very old and warped/nicked. You might find a better mouthpiece, have yours re-faced, or buy a new custom one. There are a mpc few makers out there these days.

I have a wooden LeBlanc with pads as tight as can be, and it's still hard to play well. Not fun, so I don't use it. I prefer bass clarinet, because basses can play as high and way lower than an Alto, but with a better sound, too.

Good luck!

Re: Eb Alto Clarinet    21:07 on Sunday, May 06, 2007          

(732 points)
Posted by timerick

I would beg to differ. Most people think the alto clarinet sounds bad because the only alto clarinets they have ever heard are old school instruments that have been abused and neglected for decades. If all you heard of Bb clarinets was an old metal one that had sat in storage for ten years, you might not be a fan.

Get the right instrument in the right shape, and you'll love the alto. If you can stand amateur recordings of northern Pakistani songs, take a listen to <http://timerick.mm.st/compositions/Zabuur.mp3 ... I used three alto clarinets, three English horns, and some other less-used instruments, such as the Eb soprano flute. Enjoy!

Hope you love the alto clarinet someday.

Re: Eb Alto Clarinet    15:54 on Wednesday, May 16, 2007          

(16 points)
Posted by debrae64

I have played the Bb clarinet forever, and I have recently acquired an alto clarinet. I LOVE it! It takes a totally different embrouchure and a totally different mindset to play it, but it can sound absolutely beautiful! It is more difficult to play than the Bb clarinet, and it takes more patience and practice. Put a little more mouthpiece in your mouth than you would with a Bb clarinet, and relax your embrouchure. Granted, the fingerings are the same, but the embrouchure changes make them totally different instruments or at least, totally different techniques.


As a reference for the embrouchure....I've tried to copy the embrouchure that I see my husband use when he plays alto, tenor or bari sax, and it seems to work. It's totally different than what you use with your Bb clarinet, but given a chance, it's a lot of fun!

Re: Eb Alto Clarinet    18:48 on Wednesday, May 16, 2007          

(16 points)
Posted by debrae64

And, BTW: Timerick....loved the composition, esp. with the instruments used! Great job!

Re: Eb Alto Clarinet    06:55 on Thursday, May 17, 2007          

(732 points)
Posted by timerick

Thanks. If you would like your band to play the piece (Zabuur 66), I've posted the score and parts here on the forum.


You're free to print them out and use them. I recommend the score be printed on Tabloid size paper, which you can do at a copy shop like FedexKinkos.

I've uploaded six pieces, three for intermediate band, and three for advanced, all of which are scored for full band, including nice alto (and contra-alto) clarinet parts.



Re: Eb Alto Clarinet    04:49 on Monday, June 25, 2007          

(1 point)
Posted by boosey

for the Alto clarinet one should not too much grip the mouth until feeling the vibration of the sheer on the lower lip.
it is necessary égalemnet to take in proportion less nozzle below and more nozzle above.
As for the saxophone.
And thus the sound is good.


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