Classical Clarinet Technique: Documentary Approaches

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Presents a comprehensive synthesis of documentary information on clarinet technique, focusing on French players between c.1770 and c.1820, but including reports of visiting German players published in Paris. In particular, the technique in France of performing with the reed fastened above the mouthpiece is investigated and assessed, together with the remarks on articulation, phrasing and breathing that are found in numerous published 'tutors' or 'methods'. The principal players documented are (in no order of importance) Friedrich (Frédéric) Berr, Joseph Beer, Michel Yost, Xavier Lefèvre, Hostié, Iwan Müller, Valentin Roeser, Philipp Meissner, Joseph Froelich, F. J. Blatt, Amand [Armand] Vanderhagen, J. G. Tromlitz, J. G. H. Backofen, and the English player T. L. Willman. The period is characterised by diversity and change, not the simple opposition of national schools, and the dominance of Lefèvre's influence at the Paris Conservatoire was balanced by the influence of Müller's playing and his new instruments, as well as the techniques of Heinrich Baermann (who visited Paris in 1817-18) and F. Berr.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-406
Number of pages11
JournalEarly Music
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1988


  • Paris, eighteenth century, clarinet performance

Cite this