MoBa Alternate Fingerings for Throat TonesBy Ricardo Morales
IntroductionThe purpose of this booklet is to maintain our collective curiosity about the myriad of possibilities to be expressive with the clarinet. There have been many books on fingerings printed in the past. Hopefully, there will be many more in the future. However, if you are able to find even one fingering useful, the mission of this booklet will be accomplished. More than anything, I would like to encourage you to use your imagination to further expand on the information given. There are several pages in the back of this booklet with blank fingering diagrams for you to discover your own alternate fingerings, or to share with your colleagues. It should also be noted that some fingerings may vary in effectiveness, depending on the brand of instrument and mouthpiece played, and ultimately, the ability and sensitivity of you, the artist.
How to Use This BookletThe highlighted tone holes are those that need to be covered. Please keep in mind that, at times, alternate fingerings will call for semi-closed tone holes. The highlighted keys are the ones that need to be actuated.
It is very important to understand that, while having alternate fingerings is useful, they are only as useful as one’s level of musicianship and sensitivity. This is a guide to encourage critical musical thinking and, as such, it should remind us to think of the clarinet as a tool of expression.
Principal Clarinet, The Philadelphia Orchestra Co-Developer, MoBa Clarinets and Accessories by Backun Clarinet Faculty, The Curtis Institute of Music Clarinet Faculty, Temple University
About Throat Tone FingeringsBecause the throat notes use the shortest amount of the bore to resonate, it is advisable to use resonance fingerings that can elongate the tube to improve the tone, solidify the intonation and smooth the transition to the upper register. In this case, it is advisable to choose fingerings that can be used consistently.
Fingerings for Open G1. A warm and clear fingering that helps lower the intonation,
while adding a little resistance helpful in register changes.
Example: Sibelius, Symphony No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 39, First Mvt. – m10
Brahms, Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90, First Mvt. –
mm23–24, Solo m36
Debussy, Première Rhapsodie – m2, m14
2. A dark, clear and focused fingering, good for transitions. Can be used without the left-hand 3rd finger to make it a little darker, but sharper.
Example: Schubert, The Shepherd on the Rock, D. 965
Weber, Variations, Op. 33 – m13
Brahms, Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90, First Mvt. –
3. Similar to Fingering 2, but easier transitioning to the upper register.
1 2 32a1 2 32a1 2 32a1 2 32a1 1a 2 31 1a 2 3
Fingerings for Throat A♭
1. A warm, solid fingering that can be the “standard” fingering, as it blends well, and works well the with A and B♭. This fingering also slurs well to the upper clarion and matches, in color, with long B and C.
Example: Debussy, Première Rhapsodie – m5
Bartok, The Miraculous Mandarin – m14
(through the rest of the solo)
1a. For the excerpt below, use this alternate fingering.
Example: Brahms, Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90, First Mvt. – m36
(if performed on B♭ Clarinet)
2. A duller fingering that can be used to ease the transition to the upper register.
3. The clearest, most powerful and versatile fingering for A♭.Example: Nielsen, Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, Op. 57 [D.F.129] –
Shostakovich, Symphony No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 10:
1. First Mvt. – First 3 measures after Rehearsal 1
2. Second Mvt. – Five measures after Rehearsal 1
1 1a 2 31 1a 2 31 1a 2 31 1a 2 31 1a 2 31 1a 2 3
Fingerings for Throat A
1. A very warm and useful fingering, and one that works especially well on the neighboring half-steps A♭/B♭ to create evenness and smoothness. This fingering transitions well to the upper register.
Examples: Debussy, Petite Pièce – m1
Debussy, Première Rhapsodie – m12
Beethoven, Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68, First Mvt. –
Solo Before G, mm291–297 and Solo After K, m477, mm480–481
1a. Similar to above with a slightly different resonance.
2. Dark and focused, this fingering also tends to have more glow and works well slurring to C and B. It tends to be a little sharper than Fingering 1.
Example: Weber, Concertino in E♭ Major, Op. 26 – Introduction
2a. Similar to above with a slightly different resonance.
3. A very resonant, dark and clear fingering. While it may be a bit awkward, with practice it can become one of the standards. It slurs well to the upper register and is extremely stable for intonation and is flexible in color.
Ricardo Morales is one of the most sought after clarinetists of today. He joined The Philadelphia Orchestra as principal clarinet in 2003, having held the same position with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra since the age of 21, under the direction of James Levine. His virtuosity and artistry as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician have been hailed and recognized in concert halls around the world. He has been asked to perform as principal clarinetist with the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and at the invitation of Sir Simon Rattle, as principal clarinet with the Berlin
Philharmonic. He also performs as principal clarinetist with the Saito Kinen Festival Orchestra and the Mito Chamber Orchestra, at the invitation of Maestro Seiji Ozawa.
A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Morales began his studies at the Escuela Libre de Musica, along with his five siblings, who are all distinguished musicians. He continued his studies at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and Indiana University, where he received an Artist Diploma.
He has been a featured soloist with many orchestras, including: the Metropolitan
Opera Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, the Seoul Philharmonic and the Flemish Radio Symphony. During his tenure with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Mr. Morales soloed under the baton of James Levine in Carnegie Hall and on two European tours. He made his solo debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra in 2004 with Charles Dutoit and has since performed as soloist on numerous occasions.
An active chamber musician, Mr. Morales has performed in the MET Chamber Ensemble series at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall with James Levine at the piano, at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the Seattle Chamber Music Summer Festival, the Saratoga Chamber Music Festival, on NBC’s The Today Show, and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He has performed with many distinguished ensembles such as: The Juilliard Quartet, the Pacifica Quartet, the Miró Quartet, the Leipzig Quartet and The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio. He has also collaborated with: Christoph Eschenbach, André Watts, Emmanuel Ax, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, James Ehnes, Gil Shaham and Kathleen Battle. Mr. Morales is highly sought after for his recitals and master classes, which have taken him throughout North America, Europe and Asia. In addition, he currently serves on the
faculties of Temple University and the Curtis Institute of Music.
His performances have been met with critical acclaim. The Philadelphia Inquirer hailed his appointment to The Philadelphia Orchestra, stating that “in fact, may represent the most salutary personnel event of the orchestra’s last decade.” He was also praised by The New York Times as having “... fleet technique, utterly natural musical grace, and the lyricism and breath control of a fine opera singer,” Mr. Morales was also singled out in The New York Times review of the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Berlioz’s Les Troyens, describing his playing as “exquisite” and declared that he “deserved a place onstage during curtain calls.”
His debut solo recording, French Portraits, is available on the Boston Records label. Morales’ recent recordings include performances with The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio and also with the Pacifica Quartet, which was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award. In 2004, Mr. Morales joined forces with internationally recognized musical instrument designer, Morrie Backun, to develop MoBa, a line of professional clarinets and clarinet accessories by Backun Musical Services.
“I have always believed that artists should never make compromises in their technique, their equipment and, most importantly, in their music making.”
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Barrels as Unique as the Artists Who Play Them
MoBa Barrels produce a full-bodied resonant sound that is flexible throughout the clarinet’s tonal spectrum. Ease of articulation in the upper range and exceptional sound quality are just a few characteristics of this collaboration between Morrie Backun and Ricardo Morales.
Models: Adaptable for both B♭ and A Clarinets - Woods: Ethically and Sustainably Harvested Grenadilla or Cocobolo - Available in various lengths for: Buffet, Leblanc, Yamaha, Selmer Paris and Other Clarinets
Visit the Backun Musical website, or contact your local dealer, to learn more about MoBa Barrels.
A Force to be Reckoned With
Big halls are no match for the MoBa Bell. Designed by Morrie Backun and Ricardo Morales, this Bell is a powerhouse that is well suited to large orchestral and solo stages. With a taper unique to the MoBa product line, and a thick pronounced bell curve, the MoBa Bell offers players exceptional versatility and projection.
Models: Adaptable for both B♭ and A Clarinets - Woods: Ethically and Sustainably Harvested
Grenadilla or Cocobolo - Fits: Buffet, Leblanc, Yamaha, Selmer Paris and Other Clarinets
Visit the Backun Musical website, or contact your local dealer, to learn more about MoBa Bells.
True Harmony in Craftsmanship
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For a detailed list of MoBa Mouthpiece models, as well as a sizing and comparison chart, visit the Backun Musical website, or contact your local dealer.