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Re: Boehm & Albert systems

About the preponderance of the Boehm-system clarinet:

"There can be little doubt that there were many advantages in the new system of
fingering not only from the point of view of technical facility, but of acoustic
soundness of arrangement."  (Jack Brymer: "Clarinet" [Yehudi Menuhin Music 
Schirmer Books 1977).

Surely, the Boehm-system instrument represented an improvement over the
Albert-system horns which had been in universal use, but its advantages most
likely availed only to an orchestral player. The popularity of the Albert-system
clarinet in non-academic music results not only from economic considerations, 
from an evolutionary imperative of the music which the instrument supports.  
Statman, in the liner-notes to "Klezmer Music," alludes to Naftule Brandwein's
"secret fingerings," which he claims to have "rediscovered."  In my days of
clarinet-hope, I drooled over a pair of Albert-system horns in the glass
display-case of a friend who sells wind-instruments.  Those, he said, were not 
sale.  Those, he said, were the bequest of his teacher, Sidney Bechet.  The bore
of Albert horns, he said, was larger; the tone more insistent, more malleable,
quicker to shed the stuffiness of the orchestral pit.  Bechet is known as the
avatar of the Bb soprano saxophone, which he came to prefer for jazz music, and
whose fingerings recall clearly the Albert clarinet.

So, I don't  know what the hell I'm talking about, as usual, but I'd very much
like to introduce you to my dear friends, Mr. Chicken and Mr. Egg.  I'm sure you
have a lot to discuss.  If you need me, I'll be hanging out over by the 

Owen Davidson, the Bore of Albert Horns.  Hey, I like that!  Makes me sound

"Paul M. Gifford" wrote:

> Khupenikes (at) aol(dot)com wrote:
> > These instruments
> > were also played in Russia, and many klezmorim learned to play this system.
> > Most of them switched  to the more common Boehm system in the US, except for
> > Brandwein and Tarras.
> Actually when did the Boehm system start to dominate in the U. S. and
> when did the Albert system fade? My uncle's first clarinet was an
> Albert system (probably bought around 1914), and my father, who was
> younger, used to urge me to find someone with an Albert system E-flat
> clarinet to play square dance music on, because of its distinctive
> sound. Maybe the Albert was fading in the '20s and the Boehm started
> to be the favored instrument then? If klezmorim  started to favor the
> Boehm, maybe it was due to the preferences of clarinet teachers, and
> it would depend on when they started to play. Any ideas?
> Paul Gifford

Owen Davidson
Amherst  Mass
The Wholesale Klezmer Band

The Angel that presided o'er my birth
Said Little creature formd of Joy and Mirth
Go Love without the help of any King on Earth

Wm. Blake

---------------------- jewish-music (at) shamash(dot)org ---------------------+

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