CHAPTER 4 - Other Resources
A variety of sounds (definite pitch, indefinite or approximate pitch) are possible on the clarinet that also contain percussive elements. Most of these percussive sounds are fairly soft; some must be amplified to be clearly heard. This is another area that has only been lightly investigated by composers or performers.
Richard Boulanger asks the clarinetist to alter a gesture that is gradually becoming softer (dim.), despite the dynamic markings, from sound, to air, to key clicks in Construction #1 (Example #76).
Example #76 (click on music for mp3)
Richard Boulanger CONSTRUCTION #1
All rights reserved
Used by permission from the composer
Helmut Lachenmann has developed a more complex system in Dal Niente . The notation, described below, includes a symbol for blowing on the reed with the instrument held a short distance from the mouth (Example #78).
These subtle filtered color changes are exploited in numerous phrases; the music is very expressive, despite few standard pitches! In the following example ( Dal Niente ), note the interaction of fine changes in color between inhale/exhale, S/F consonants, short tube (G3) to long tube (E2), and dynamics/attacks (fffp - pp - p cresc.) (Example #79)
Example #79 (click on music for mp3)
Helmut Lachenmann DAL NIENTE
Copyright 1974 by Musikverlag Hans Gerig, Koln/Cologne
1980 assigned to Breitkopf & Hartel, Wiesbaden
The sound of a finger striking a tone hole can also invoke a pitch. These sounds can be best produced by one of the three fingers of the left hand, while fingering notes from C3 to E2. They can also be sounded simultaneously with a very soft conventional tone (Table #4).
Table #4 (click on measure for mp3)
Double trills on the clarinet can be achieved by rapidly and alternately trilling the first and second fingers of the left hand. The sound created (soft dynamic level) is one of implied pitch, over which one hears a sound similar to a muffled tom-tom roll. These trills are possible for fingerings from B3 to E2, from which implied pitches between D-sharp3 and D3 are derived (if the register key is depressed, the implied pitches lie between F-sharp 3 and F3). There is also a timbre conversion towards darker sounds as one fingers lower pitches (Table #5). An etude by the author, found at the end of this chapter, exploits several of these trills.
Table #5 (click on measure for mp3)
Akira Nishimura effectively writes a short cadenza of double trills in Madoromi III . In the example below, these trills emerge from and return into the ringing piano chords. This delicate texture allows the very soft subtleties of these sounds to be heard.
Example #88 (click on music for mp3)