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Clarinet in A
Last post Tue, Feb 17 2015 by GoranTch, 3 replies.
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Posted on Sat, Feb 14 2015 15:37
by MusicianInProgress
Joined on Sat, Feb 14 2015, United Kingdom, Posts 7

Hi VSL community. New member here.

I'm probably a complete idiot for asking this, but I was wondering why there isn't a clarinet in A on this site. VSL has clarinets in B-Flat and E-Flat, so where's the clarinet in A? B-Flat and A clarinets are the most common clarinets, and the lack of an A clarinet surprised me. Or is the VSL bassett horn transposed to A? Thank you for your time.

Posted on Sat, Feb 14 2015 19:28
by Dominique
Joined on Fri, Aug 08 2008, Posts 178

Most probably the VSL people see it as redundant. In todays orchestras the clarinet in B-flat is the standard instrument. The players tend to switch to the clarinet in A when they play passages with many sharps, simply because it is easier to transpose that way. With a virtual instrument there is no need to transpose - therefor you don't really need a clarinet in A if you have one in B-flat already.

The clarinet in E-flat is shorter than the clarinets in B-flat and A and has a different timbre. It's a different instrument really, while the other two can be seen as the same instrument simply with different tunings.

That being said I would like to see a clarinet in A from VSL. Eventhough it is not a very pronounced difference the clarinet in A has a slightly mellower and softer timbre than it's higher pitched brother. That's why it has been used quite often in chamber music.

Posted on Tue, Feb 17 2015 09:56
by GoranTch
Joined on Tue, Mar 14 2006, Berlin, Germany, Posts 524

A personal remark adding to what Dominique wrote above: for me, the difference in timbre between the Bb and A clarinets was always so slight, that I could never conisder these two to be two distinct timbral variations of the same instrument. As Dominique pointed out, it's a completely different story with the Eb clarinet though - that is a "proper" different sounding instrument of its own.

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