The bass clarinet - a personal history
El clarinete bajo – una historia personal
Published by Periferiamusic - Barcelona
|The bass Clarinet: a personal history
Book + CD
ISBN: 978-84-938845-Price: 69 EUR (Shipping costs not included!)
|El clarinete bajo - una historia personal
Libro y CD
ISBN: 978-84-938845-1-2 / Precio: 69 Euro (Gastos de envío no incluidos!)
The book is for sale on-line at:
El libro está a la venta on-line en:
and / y
England / Inglaterra - Howarth / London (www.howarth.uk.com)
Finland / Finlandia - Ostinato / Helsinki (www.ostinato.fi)
USA / EEUU - Van Cott Information Services / Las Vegas (www.vcisinc.com)
The Netherlands/ Países Bajos - Houtschild Booksellers / RijsWijk (www.houtschild.com)
Van der Heijde Bladmuziek / Rotterdam (www.vdhbladmuziek.nl)
|BV Muziekhandel Saul B Groen / Amsterdam (www.saulbgroen.nl)|
Singapore / Singapur- UBS Library Services - (www.ubspress.com)
Spain / España - Mundimusica Garijo / Madrid (www.mundimusica.es)
Piles Music / Valencia (www.pilesmusic.net)
Audenis / Barcelona (www.audenis.com)
Casa Beethoven / Barcelona (www.casabeethoven.com)
El Argonauta / Madrid (www.elargonauta.com)
Amazon ES / http://www.amazon.es/gp/product/8493884529
Eslovenia/Slovenia - Si Music / Most Na Soci (www.simusic.si)
Switzerland/Suiza - Musikhaus Krompholz / Berna (www.krompholz.ch)
Germany/Alemania - Bartels Noten /Bremen (www.bartelsnoten.de)
Zerluth Music / Munich (www.zerluth.com)
Belgium / Bélgica - Crescendo Music Bvba / Antwerp (www.crescendo-music.com)
Comments, Critics and ReviewsAt the end of the english comments you'll find spanish comments [Go now]
Dai Fujikura - composer / Japan
I think we, composers, were waiting for this book for a long time, finally extensive book about bass clarinet is here. The most special thing about this book is that we can also know and feel how all these new areas for this instrument were created/invented by the most known bass clarinetist in the world, Harry Sparnaay. Now when bass clarinetists come up to composers to say "this bass clarinet part is impossible!", we can simply say "don't you know the book by Harry?". This should solve everything....
Rolf Borch - (bass) clarinetist / Norway
Congratulations on a great book!! Sometimes, when I am stuck when practicing, I say to myself: "I'll have to ask Mr. Sparnaay", and then I go to my bookshelf and look up the problem in your book. I have never had a book like that before, not one I have comes close. I am also delighted with the personal touch - maybe that is why I find myself "talking to you" when looking up something, even when I don't know you! There are so many things to thank you for… I have played the bass clarinet for some time now, and after having played a lot (but only a half percent) of the music you have premiered, its impossible not to feel that I know you, although we have never met. I have got so much music, so many sounds and techniques and so much inspiration from you, and now this fantastic book - I cannot thank you enough!
Marco Antonio Mazzini(Clariperu) – bass clarinetist / Peru
A fascinating book by Harry Sparnaay The bass clarinet enjoys already a good reputation in the music world for several decades, and increasingly improves its position. From being an instrument at the back of an orchestra it became the absolute protagonist in hundreds of compositions written by the best composers of the last century and from today, all this thanks to the outstanding work of maestro Harry Sparnaay, who has made the bass clarinet into an unmistakable voice for composers and the public around the world. The book, published by Periferia Music entitled "The bass clarinet-a personal story" is without any doubt one of the important contributions to present and future generations of clarinetists and composers. It is not a book only about purely instrumental technique, and it isn’t a boring book with only dates and historical data. Harry Sparnaay’s book is a compendium of valuable information for any musician with a genuine interest in learning about the bass clarinet - from its history, modern writing, all possible and impossible effects, its best current performers, to detailed lists with works in various instrumental combinations and anecdotes which will give you more than a smile. When we read Sparnaay’s work the first thing we experience is the feeling to run to play the bass clarinet: the book motivates the reader in each chapter, whether it is about simple issues or complex ones (for example, on the use of the plastic reeds, the correct embouchure, the playing position seated or standing) and everything is written with a fine sense of humor that distinguishes it from a distance of so many semi-intellectual texts that one does not remember after two days anymore. "The bass clarinet, a personal story" will push you, confront you, and will encourage you to be a better musician, as well as show you specific techniques that work – and they can be heard on the CD that accompanies this publication, recorded by the same maestro. This book is available in Spanish and all clarinetists should obtain a copy - especially those who consider starting to study this wonderful instrument. The composers will certainly find a reliable source of sound possibilities which they may include in their works - here Sparnaay unfolds much, citing the most common mistakes made by several composers throughout the world with clear graphic examples. The 256 Pages of "The clarinet bass - a personal story" are printed on excellent paper and a fairly large format, which made the photos and illustrations beautiful and clear. This historical publication on the bass clarinet deserves our full attention. Ordering and pricing details can be found on the page-www.periferiasmusic.com. Congratulations to Periferia Music and maestro Harry Sparnaay for sharing so much of his life with all of us.
GONZALO QUINTERO – bass clarinetist/ Colombia
It´s fantastic to feel the joy having in my hands the book many bass clarinetists have been longing for years. Apart from knowing the experienced and fantastic life of its author, it is a book that offers many interpretive, educational and technical tools which can be applied to the study of our instrument with accurate results. We cannot complain anymore that works for bass clarinet are very rare, because in the book there is a complete and detailed list of works devoted to our instrument and there will be increasingly more works, because this book is intended for composers who for sure are unaware of the many technical possibilities the bass clarinet have and no doubt they will use this great book for their upcoming compositions which is very favorable for us. We are speaking of this complete and comprehensive story of the bass clarinet, as told from personal experience, of the contributions and modifications to the instrument. All that he says about these matters has the objective of facilitating the process for the player. This is quite admirable, because it becomes evident that the writer knows exactly what he is looking for. The bass clarinet” A personal story" is the book to be admired and recommend because it generates great expectations with excellent results; results which let me say with excitement: "Thank you master Harry"
John Croft – composer / England
(Winner of the Prix Ton Bruynèl 2012 with his composition Intermedio III for bass clarinet and live electronics written for and played by Marij van Gorkom)
Harry Sparnaay's book is undoubtedly the most useful and comprehensive guide to contemporary bass clarinet techniques – in fact I have not seen better for any instrument. The descriptions of techniques and the various charts are intelligently and efficiently set out, minimizing the time needed to look things up – an important consideration when one is caught up in the flow of composition. Most importantly, the author focuses on the most useful and effective techniques, avoiding the trap of listing endless 'possible' but musically feeble effects. In particular, he takes an eminently sensible approach to the notation of multiphonics: unlike those resources that show impressive yet inaudible arrays of pitches detected by spectral analysis, Sparnaay shows only the components of the sound that are audible in a musical context. With many illustrations of good writing for the instrument (and some instructive examples of bad writing), this should be the primary reference for any composer writing for bass clarinet.
Claudio Ambrosini - composer / Italy
“Between the idea and the reality falls the shadow” wrote the poet T. S. Eliot.
And it is often actually so for the composer, when he is focusing his mind on a new piece, trying to balance what comes from inspiration – the “idea”, the music which he is figuring in his head – and what comes from his experience, from the knowledge he has of the instrument he is going to write for. What he would need at this point is a book which tells him how an instrument works, that explains its special characteristics and how they can be safely used. A book which reveals him not only the pros but also the cons, specially when this instrument is still a “young” one, as it is the case of the bass clarinet. And this is exactly what Harry Sparnaays’s book does: every possible technique is explained in an extremely passionate way, putting a life’s experience in every single phrase and making the reader feel that what he is reading comes not just from a virtuoso, but from someone who is there to really stand by his side, to share the risks of developing new ideas and making them effective. Someone who has helped a few hundred new pieces to be written and performed, developing a new repertoire and making the bass clarinet a wonderful solo, and not just an orchestra instrument. When, in 1983, I set to write my first piece for this instrument, Capriccio detto l’Ermafrodita, the bass clarinet in Italy was kind of an “old” instrument, mostly used in opera scenes where some dark atmosphere was needed, and using almost exclusively low notes. But what I had in mind was something like a siren’s chanting voice and I had to make a long research to find how to do it, discovering everything by myself. How much easier it would have been if I had this book!
Thanks Harry, for this wonderful book.
Marco Colonna - saxophonist, clarinetist, composer, improviser / Italy
Finally I read your book and I can talk about it with knowledge and experience. We need tools like the one you offer us. Musicians, critics, amateurs, music students finally have a book filled with passion, professionalism and creativity about the bass clarinet. And not only in the technical but also expressive sense, the poetics of a man rather than a musician are clear and strong. The bass clarinet finally has its reference text, written by the most authorized performer of this wonderful instrument. Thank you!
Brendan Toohey – (bass) clarinetist / Australia
Harry Sparnaay’s method is indispensable for the serious bass clarinetist interested in widening their contemporary tonal palette. Its approach is both simple and effective in describing and demonstrating the whole gamut of contemporary techniques with numerous musical examples. It’s great to see more and more clarinetists, composers and even conductors acknowledging the bass clarinet more seriously and treating it as a separate instrument worthy of dedicated study with its own unique literature and repertoire.
Joan Enric Lluna – clarinetist / Spain
The bass clarinet book by Harry Sparnaay is already a classic, a superb book written with the wisdom of many years of experience, enthusiasm, memories and experimentations and, above all an intimate relationship with his instrument.
Xavier Castillo – bass clarinetist/ Spain
The book "The bass clarinet - a personal story" is clearly a gift to all those who are playing this instrument. Apart from being very enjoyable to read, it has the great virtue of being written by one of the best performers and experts of the instrument and is going deeply into all the details and gives answers to all our questions. How to play this multiphonic or this slap tongue in this phrase…? In this book we find everything with clarity and examples to all our concerns. Without any doubt, although there are already a few books about the bass clarinet, this book has covered a pending vacuum. Finally, thanks to the language used which is very close to the reader, the reader has the feeling of talking from musician to musician after a concert or rehearsal. For all this, CONGRATULATIONS!
Kee Yong Chong - composer / Malaysia
Such an amazing Bass clarinet guide book for all bass clarinet players and composers!! After reading Harry Sparnaay's "The bass clarinet"-a personal history-I have learned so much and admired his courage with great humor to be the pioneer of creating non-stop new repertoire for this superb instrument! I'm grateful to Harry's book; it helped me a lot in understanding his instrument and his great efforts to promote this instrument through commissioning new works. I'm very honored to compose a new duo piece with live electronic for my friends Harry and Sheng (Chinese mouth organ) player Wu Wei!!
Mercè Capdevila - composer / Spain
Thanks Harry! It's been a great pleasure reading your book. Especially for me it is certainly a very useful book; for clarinetists, composers, students and the musical world. I want to thank you for all the technical information, for the musical comments on different works, the examples on the enclosed CD, and for showing your bright and generous personality. Everyone already knows your great contribution and important professional experience of a lifetime in music, but I would like to add some aspects that are of vital importance: I think your book is a work of art. It radiates art, breathes freedom! Knowledge, irony, humor, enthusiasm, humility, affection and involvement are naturally and profoundly expressed. You offer us the opportunity to reflect on ideas that go far beyond the specific knowledge of the instrument. Your practical information is much more than simple theory; it shows your passion for the instrument, for music and life. A life which you spend together with composers, experimenting together, looking for possibilities, researching music, creating a real and close collaboration between musician and composer. Your creativity, along with your incredible knowledge of the instrument and the ideas of the composer are, in some way, the most interesting way to create! What would an architect be without the close collaboration with his team? And the car designer, without his team? And what would be the success of a filmmaker without the close collaboration with his actors? Or a sculptor without his installation? Or a flower without land? For all your contributions, I say: thank you! Harry Sparnaay, you are the master of the bass clarinet and much more.
Kathryn Ladano - bass clarinetist/Canada
It is a shame that bass clarinetists and composers from around the world have had to wait so long for a book as comprehensive, informative, and extensive as Harry Sparnaay's "The Bass Clarinet: A Personal History". This book will prove to be the "bible" of all things bass clarinet and is be a must-read for professional and recreational performers and composers alike. Sparnaay writes the book in an entertaining and lively manner, providing personal stories throughout which makes it surprisingly difficult to put down. A must-have book!
Eduardo Raimundo Beltran - (bass) clarinetist / Spain
Funny, inquisitive, clear, concise, accurate... this book answers many questions or doubts that all bass clarinetists will have playing a new composition. Starting from the basics up to the large number of possible and "not possible" effects on our instrument. And he does this in a detailed and precise way and goes into it till the more tricky details and without reservations. All this accompanied with very elucidating sound examples and tips for composers to facilitate life for us all! A wonderful book for any clarinetist who wants to learn about the world of the bass clarinet and essential for those who are dedicated to this instrument. Thank you very much Harry!!!!
Thierry Lancino - composer / France-USA
It is wonderful. Knowing you for so long and having followed your career for so long (since my "Profondeurs de champs" 1981, for bass clarinet and ensemble. Do you remember I was in the audience when you premiered Time and Motion Study by Brian Ferneyhough? It is very moving to see this achievement, and I feel nostalgic, all of a sudden, that I am not a clarinet player any more, what I used to be before I started to compose. Your book will be such a wonderful companion for all of us who want to go beyond and further in their music along with your great instrument and that all is for the best. Congratulation!!
Carlos Bermejo - composer / Spain
I really enjoyed your book.
Usually I have to force myself to read many of the books of instrumental technique and orchestration I have here. They are needed, I'm studying them, but they always are placed in the same order and at the same place in my library and sometimes they are covered with dust. However your book I have lost already several times. I read it often and it changes places all the time. Not only I'm reading the book out of necessity, but also out of curiosity. This only happens to me with those books which are more than interesting for me, those who simply seem to me that they are alive. Congratulations!
Richard Nunemaker - bass clarinetist / USA
Harry Sparnaay's new book, the bass clarinet a personal history fills a void that has been missing in my study for years. Besides the very interesting and humorous anecdotes (I think we have all gone through some of these experiences) Harry's fingering charts for altissimo and multiphonics are a tremendous help and addition to my study. Thanks for a wonderful book Harry
Cruz López de Rego - composer / Spain
The book "The bass clarinet - a personal story" is a unusual book. This manual hooks the reader from its first pages, in such a way that you'll read it with the same eagerness you would read a high suspense novel. When you see a book titled like this one, you may have the impression that it will be a technical book that will provide a series of historical, technical, and other information which you probably are unaware of and which will be interesting and practical for you when you will use them, as a composer or player. This book is much and much more! I recommend first reading without interruption, to have a good time. Harry Sparnaays' language is fresh and entertaining, full of comments, opinions and situations so full of humor that you think however serious a book about the bass clarinet has to be, you cannot prevent smiling on more than one occasion and even drop some laughter. From the literary point of view, therefore, the book is completely worthwhile. On the subject of the contents, it is a book that brings a lot to composers, clarinettists and clarinet professors. After the first reading, each one can return to the book to go to the points you need to read more carefully, consulting multiple websites which are indicated, listening to wonderful recordings of the CD that very clearly illustrate how the multiple effects and all possible timbres will sound…. With this book there is very little doubt left for a composer of what can or can not be written and how it will sound, which for a composer is priceless. Although I'm not playing the clarinet I'm sure that the technical issues, tips, ways of study etc. which were gathered by the author should also be magnificent, judging by how he plays the bass clarinet. I can not think of any sound possibility, or how to produce it on a bass clarinet that is not clearly explained. Not only for everything mentioned before, it is very useful for clarinet teachers but also because of the amount of repertoire suggestions and concert programs that it shows. Anyway, I enthusiastically recommend all composer, performers and clarinet teachers that they read and re-read this book. And those who are not composers or musicians but like to read an entertaining and a very instructive book, I also recommend it strongly. Thanks to Harry Sparnaay for writing it
Stylianos Dimou – composer / Greece
I have recently received your book and I am really impressed with its content. Personally
speaking, I find it a well organized and meticulously written handbook that covers a wide range
of issues concerning multi phonic sonorities and other interesting experimental sounds of the
harmonic spectrum of the instrument. The most important thing is that there is a rational and
faithful articulation - recording of numerous harmonic trills - tremolos and multi phonics. This
is of immense importance while it gives the composer the ability to listen and understand the
way in which such sound "effects" can be rationally performed in the best possible way. For
this reason I believe that this book is very useful for any composer who is interested in an
effective and "tone-color" use of the Bass Clarinet's harmonic spectrum. I am really impressed
and thank so much Harry.
With very much appreciation..!!! Congratulation and.... Μπράβο!!
Paul Roe – (bass) clarinetist/ Ireland
Anyone who has met Harry Sparnaay will know what a phenomenon he is. His playing is
wonderful and distinctive, however it is his creative spirit and personality which really sets him
apart. His contribution to contemporary music is immense and anyone who has been fortunate
enough to work with him will testify to his generosity of spirit and imagination. Harry's new book
is a treat-a real portrait-personal, idiosyncratic and amusing. Whilst you might not get to meet
him in person-you should do yourself a favor and do the next best thing, get the book.
Ian Shanahan – composer / Australia
Harry Sparnaay has recently published a marvelous book on the bass clarinet, published by
PeriferiaMusic. Containing excerpts, a lot of examples and all you need to know about advanced
techniques you'll find in this book. I cannot recommend it highly enough. This book is invaluable!
All composers, clarinettists and libraries ought to buy a copy.
María Eugenia Luc – composer / Argentina
When I had "The bass clarinet - a personal history" in my hands, and since I know Harry, I
knew I was about to read a very complete technical book that would present all the possibilities of
the instrument and even the most subtle. But the subtitle: "a personal history"; that I didn't
Given my profession as a composer, I am used to reading these books. Some are very good and
some less so. But reading Harry's book, I was caught from the first to the last page. That's
because, besides being an excellent technical and timely text, with information I have not had
before, it is the passion (in the broadest sense of the word) that Harry conveys for the music as
performed by the bass clarinet. This is why I think that, besides being an indispensable book for
any composer or performer, it is a book that any real musician would enjoy reading and having.
Thank you, Harry, for allowing us, through "The bass clarinet - a personal history," to extend
our horizon for this wonderful instrument and for sharing with us your personal story and love of music.
David Romero Pascual - bass clarinetist / Spain
I still remember the year I met Harry. A tremendously active man and involved in his work, giving his best legacy, as only a few teachers do. Each meeting contained a myriad of stories and anecdotes in which the leading part always was a known composer or interpreter of today. A large number of scores, dedicated to him, always hiding very interesting stories turning every page. I told him many times during the coffee brakes: "Harry, you should write a book". And he answered me: "Time enough thinking about that".And he did it! Here is a profound and comprehensive study on the bass clarinet. A useful and updated guide book reflecting in detail historical aspects, interpretation and composing for this incredible instrument. All this supplied with humor, daring and involvement and full of experiences; A reflection of a whole active life dedicated to the dissemination of the sound possibilities of the bass clarinet. We only can give it an intelligent use while creating and playing good music. (today's music , that's clear!). Thanks Harry!
Caglayan Yildiz - composer / Turkey
It is an amazing and inspiring book. It has so much depth, knowledge, warmth, wisdom, openness, curiosity, experience, fun and life in it, well, very much like "the one and only" Harry Sparnaay himself. And of course there is this tremendous simplicity and clarity. As Albert Einstein (just another genius) stated: "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"… I so wish every grand master of their instruments wrote such a book. It'd be so much fun and great help for the performers and composers, and of course students… and of course those who are in love with "Music"… to understand, to work, to see the spirit of great Music and to simply meet this beautiful person. I humbly thank Mr. Sparnaay for writing this Masterpiece."
Vinny Golia - clarinets / USA
Not only is this a great book for instrumental technique and insights into playing the complex music of today's composers, but here is the life story of a man who raised an obscure instrument, along with Adolph Sax, the most important innovator of the bass clarinet (1814-1894) and Eric Dolphy, the Godfather of the bass clarinet in Jazz (1928.1964), from being anonymous to the instrument of choice for many modern composers. This is a must have book written in a friendly, jovial style. Harry has written a great biography of not only himself but of his instrument and its history
Alejandro Castillo Vega - bass clarinetist / Spain
Pleasantly,I congratulate Harry Sparnaay on his book.This book,above all,reflects all his passion for the bass clarinet and the contemporary music. As a reader, the idea and format of the book are what really attracts me. It is very original that a book about an instrument starts talking about the early career of the author. The autobiographical part, the technical part, the historical part, etc. are intertwined and we can enjoy a work completely distinct from the typical manuals - which we all know - to give way for a pleasant treatise, rigorous, technical and full of personality. As a clarinetist, I think it's very necessary to have a clear reference when we have to play technically difficult passages with which we usually are confronted (multiphonics, extreme high register, etc.) and this book very well solve this demand, both as text as well in the CD which is included. I guess that for composers, to have a book that clearly tells you what is possible and what isn't, will be a great help and a frame of reference. But for me, the book also resolves an important demand which we all have encountered many times: what study repertoire do we have, what concert repertoire, and how to program taking into account the public. Now, thanks to you Harry, we have more ideas on this last issue. And on many others too. Thank you and congratulations!
Alexandra von Hammel-Herche - bass clarinetist / Germany
Thank you so much for your book "the bass clarinet-a personal history": what I always wanted to know, I found it here!
Claudio Lluán - composer / Argentina
The book " The bass clarinet - A personal history" written by Harry Sparnaay contains a collection of knowledge ranging from technical, aesthetic and historical aspects to relevant advices for composers and performers and from precise and varied examples of score fragments to a very valuable collection of sound examples recorded on the CD, which is included. His entertaining style, containing both amusing anecdotes and stirring criticism, does not prevent it to become an indispensable bibliography for the updated study of instrumentation. All the experience gathered during the extensive professional career of this artist, who with his interpretative courage and his passion for contemporary music, manages to expand the possibilities of his instrument and forms an invaluable act of generosity condensed in this book.
Jacques Dubois - bass clarinetist / the Netherlands
This book is not only written by Harry Sparnaay, it is Harry as I know him since the time I studied with him. Inspiring and with a huge passion for the bass clarinet. Critical and shifting boundaries but also with a lot of humor. All these traits are reflected in this fantastic book. If we determine what status the bass clarinet had 30 years ago and see now all what is possible on this beautiful instrument and the repertoire that is available, we may be fortunate that this is made possible by him and is written down in this pleasant reading, special book. More than 30 years of pioneering work brought together in one book. What a luxury for every bass clarinetist and composer. A real "must have".
Jamie Doerschuck - bass clarinetist/ USA
Harry Sparnaay's "The Bass Clarinet: a Personal History" is sure to become a classic text, a must read for anyone serious about playing or composing for the bass clarinet! Precious insight on the topics of harmonics, multi-phonics, tonality and acoustics are revealed through engaging and humorous prose, making this book a highly enjoyable reading experience. The extensive repertoire lists and personal stories from this legendary artist are sure to inspire and stimulate the creative spirit of any musician. >From master to beginner, this book will supply detailed information that will enhance your career - buy it and read it as soon as you can!
Alexandre Novo Rodríguez - bass clarinetist / Spain
"The bass clarinet, a personal history". A wonderful book which will be converted, if it is not already, in one of the most extraordinary books about the bass clarinet without any doubt. Spanish-speaking colleagues, we have the great luck to have this book in Spanish at our disposal, the best guide on the contemporary techniques made so far for our instrument. An opportunity that we can not let pass. To me, the book by Harry Sparnaay has personally motivated me very much. I encourage you to buy it, it's worth
Brian Ebert - (bass) clarinetist, composer / USA
Your book is most useful. I referred your text a couple of weeks ago to a composer who is writing a Concerto grosso for a quartet (including the bass clarinet) and orchestra, and your advice to 'limit what you say a bass clarinet is capable of doing when talking to a composer' resounded in my brain. I enjoyed how one-on-one the text is delivered, how it is organized, the musical examples, and the references you provide. Perhaps the most useful element to me is your accounts of things gone badly (anecdotes). I tend to get hung up on things like that and it is a relief to hear even the best go through these things. Thank you so much for your time. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your book.
BARCELONA CLARINET PLAYERS - clarinet quartet / Spain
Finally a work that focuses on an very special instrument, full of possibilities and nuances, as the bass clarinet. Always from the hand of its greatest exponent, Harry Sparnaay, source of inspiration for our Quartet.
Robert Pirc - bass clarinetist / Slovenia
I just got your book before Christmas and in only a brief look at it was enough to realize that this is really the Bass Clarinet "bible". It's a fantastic book and great source of information. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
Tomás Marco – composer / Spain
I finally read your book quietly. I congratulate you very sincerely because it is excellent. Not only is
a very good and useful guide about the bass clarinet but is also very well written and very funny, it
reads better than a novel!
Congratulations and a hug.
Serban Nichifor – composer /Romania
Congratulations for your so wonderful book THE BASS CLARINET - A PERSONAL HISTORY !
This book is the great testimony of the most important Bass Clarinetist in the Music History !!!
Laurent Mettraux - composer / Switzerland
This is the essential book, which up to now was lacking for composers and bass clarinettists to
learn in detail the modern techniques of the bass clarinet. Moreover, it is not a dry and merely
intellectual book; on the contrary, the reading of it is pleasant, rendered even more lively by
numerous anecdotes. Plenty of musical examples also gives practical information that goes far
beyond simple theory.
Anahi Oraisón – violinist / the Netherlands
I’m not a clarinetist, not a bass clarinetist and even not a composer, but reading the book it was
clear to me that it is a very good lesson for any contemporary musician on any instrument
whatsoever. It provides great guidance in collaborating with composers and colleagues and in
dealing with difficult situations.
Ana Lara – composer / Mexico
I've always admired Harry Sparnaay.
First of all because he has convinced everyone that the bass clarinet is a great instrument capable of
doing everything imaginable and unimaginable and has created a very extensive repertoire. And
then also because he formed a new generation of not only virtuosi, but also of great bass
He is the great master of the bass clarinet.
Everything about the instrument he knows and is using all his sound possibilities with an
All he needed to do was writing the long-awaited book on his instrument and he did so.
And the book is wonderful, funny and profound. All you have to know about the instrument is
included, written with the same lightness and depth it’s author has. Many examples, many stories
but mostly this book is him, with his charm, intelligence and talent.
This is a must for music lovers and musicians (performers and composers).
Harry Sparnaay has the great talent to combine his personal experiences (not without humor) with
essential information for those who want to write for or to play the bass clarinet.
Thanks Harry for this book. The title says it all, it is a reflection of the passion for your
instrument, music and life, a life you have spent to share with us the beauty and power of the bass
Thank you so much for this great gift you gave to us all.
José Gomez Nieblas – bass clarinetist / Spain
I bought your book and I want to thank you for having written it. I liked very much the personal
approach, to read about your experiences, and I consider it very valuable reference material that I
will surely be using many times over the years of my remaining career.
Josep Borràs i Roca - bassoonist, director of the ESMUC Barcelona / Spain
Reading your book I became very jealous: for your career as solid and rich in the personal and
professional way and to have been able to write (and record) a book so fabulous.
I liked it a lot for many reasons.
First of all by the personal and friendly tone, incredibly pedagogical, which captivates you from the
first moment, also being a reflection of your strong personality.
Secondly, I believe that it is a very good choice to write a book about the bass clarinet with a dose
of very strong personal involvement, based on your experiences, and away from the eclectic hiding in
treaties or methods we are accustomed to seeing.
This is your book on the bass clarinet, your choice of repertoire and your strategy of motivation
(leaving aside the good dose of humor and poetry).
I do not think there is a better option at the moment and I refuse to think that, after reading the
book, someone would dismiss playing the bass clarinet as a first option. Even I wonder if I should
have played bass clarinet instead of the bassoon!
Thank you very much for your extraordinary contribution.
I think that this book is a synthesis which can easily compete with similar contributions of other
Alessandro Polito – composer / Italy
Dear Harry, your book is really beautiful! I'm a composer and I teach composition in my country. I
think that your work is very, very important for the new generation of composers and bass clarinetists.
It's the book we've been waiting for a long time.
Paolo De Gaspari – bass clarinetist / Italy
Dear Harry, you are the best bass clarinet player that exists in the world. You wrote the story of
this instrument, at the same time you gave it a future with your ability in advance technique and in
your collaboration with composers.
What I’m doing now my way is thanks to you. Without Sparnaay 30 years ago, we would still be
playing the "Aida" solo, considering that this was the most difficult part existing for our
instrument. I don't want to comment your book, because it is also about your life. I would like to
thank you for your great job and the passion you show for this wonderful instrument.
Luiz Rocha – bass clarinetist / Brasil
Harry, I loved the quality of your book, the depth of the technical part and the personal tone
of the narrative.
Reading it is just like talking to you about your experience and knowledge as a musician. And this is
one of the reasons that makes your book unique, you have managed to be really comprehensive
about technique, concepts, history and yet it's easy and fun to read. All of your sense of humor
is included in the book! As a bass clarinetist, it offers a great help exploring the instrument,
detailing it's possibilities and teaching how to approach the special effects. This book is all
about a life time experience, love and dedication to the instrument. It is really inspiring and can
teach more than just playing the bass clarinet better. Thanks for sharing.
David Bennett Thomas – composer / USA
I just finished your amazing book. I can't imagine a more informative
and helpful book for anyone wanting to play or compose for the bass
clarinet. I read all of the text on the train, and finally had a minute
to listen through the musical examples. I'm so glad I did! It
was amazing to hear those sounds. There were some effects that I
didn't even know were possible. The book is very well written, in an
enjoyable and sometimes humorous style. Who would have thought that a
book about the bass clarinet would be such a page-turner!
Now if we can just get someone to write a similar book for every other
instrument to help those wanting to compose.
Sungji Hong – composer / Korea
A vast amount of experience is collected within this book, where we find a wide range of extended
techniques explained with diverse examples of contemporary music.
It leads us into the musical journey of Harry Sparnaay, whose career is a true history of
contemporary bass clarinet music.
‘The Bass Clarinet’ by Harry Sparnaay will certainly be an inspiration for all clarinettists and
composers who are seeking for a deep knowledge of the instrument.
Oguz Büyükberber – bass clarinetist / Turkey
I remember the day my uncle brought a student model bass clarinet for me from Paris. It was the
first bass clarinet I had ever seen in my whole life until then! In Turkey, it was so hard to have
access to the right material in those days: Instruments, recordings, books... I was so lucky to travel
all the way to study with you personally. But this book you wrote gives the possibility to musicians
from all over the world to enjoy and benefit from your incredible knowledge, unprecedented
experience and great personality. The high standard you set for this lovely instrument that I have
so much passion for will only be clearer and better understood as a result of this book.
Thank you so much!
Jane O’Leary – composer / Ireland
A great reference book when writing my next piece for bass clarinet! It is a
wonderful achievement-congratulations. With a life as full and rich as
yours, it's so important to have it recorded in this way. Great fun to read
and hear all your stories. It feels like having a conversation/meeting with you when reading
Hugo Queirós – bass clarinetist / Portugal
Thank you very much for writing your book. So easy and so exciting, for me it has been a pleasure
to read and follow the great adventure that was your life with the bass clarinet!
Thank you for sharing so much valuable information and I hope you will continue sharing so
much knowledge that you have about this noble instrument...
During your live you inspired great musicians and composers and with this book you will reach
Congratulations for this masterpiece!
Daniel Schröder – (bass) clarinetist / Germany
I really enjoyed that your book is written from such a personal point of view. It is so much nicer to
read if you got an impression what a special subject means to the person who is telling you about it.
Then it is like a story that is told and you like to listen to.
Al Wegener – composer, bass clarinetist / USA
It is a great book ... like all your reviewers say. And I have found it very useful for my bass
clarinet composing and performance. The book cost me $135 U.S. dollars. That, here in the U.S.
and now, is just a lot of money but the book is well worth. Perhaps a good idea to put up some
selected pages from the book on your web site to give folks a taste, perhaps including some audio
too? Buying the book blind this will make sales easier.
Thanks for everything you do for the bass clarinet!
Luc Lee – bass clarinetist / Taiwan
This book is bass clarinetist's gift!!
It includes so many bass clarinet information.
Let me learn more about bass clarinet. I enjoyed it very~~~ very much!!
I love this book.
Sergio Blardony – Sulponticello, Revista on-line de música y arte sonora / Spain
Periferia Sheet Music surprises the music world with this book by the bass clarinettist Harry
Sparnaay, that, far from being limited to mere theoretical and technical treatise, introduces the
composer, performer and musician in general, to the world of his instrument from a personal and
analytical point of view. It is a very well presented edition that includes a CD with multiple
examples of the techniques discussed.
To write a review about a theoretical treatise on an instrument (if that is indeed what we can call
this book!) can tend to be complex and often be boring for the reader. However, the present case,
the Periphery Sheet Music edition of”The Bass clarinet”, bass clarinetist Harry Sparnaay, dispels
these fears from the very first page. Firstly, it is observed from the very beginning that this is a
personal approach, living up to the caption that accompanies it ("a personal history"). Secondly,
the author (without doubt, one of the most important players of the bass clarinet) has managed to
reconcile, on the one hand, extreme seriousness and technical rigor with irony and a frequent sense
of humor, which makes the reading quite agreeable, on the other hand. This is something highly
unusual in a book of this kind. These factors give to the written text something which, as I shall
try to convey in this article, makes this editorial proposal both atypical and quite valuable. It is
definitely a book addressed equally to performers and to composers, but the later will always be
indebted to it. I will try to delve into why this is observed to be so, and precisely from the
composer’s perspective, about which I am able to speak from experience.
Usually, when faced with an instrumental treatise, the composer's main concern is, and in this
order, 1) if it deals with the extended or contemporary techniques (something which that is
generally not rare in any text of this kind) in case our own language proficiency is limited, 2) in
which language is written and if it is "readable" (this generally is not considered a major problem);
and finally 3), the abundance of tables and examples of the techniques (one is always on the hunt
for a good table multiphonics ...). If the text meets these needs, and does it well, it will be eligible to
sit on the shelf of reference books in instrumentation. However, time and experience tells us that
many treaties, for various reasons are not as useful as they might seem at first sight. In many cases,
it is not so much that they contain incorrect or inaccurate information (of which there is generally a
bit of that), but that over time the current techniques become a bit moldy or out of date. It is not
uncommon to find that a multiphonics example cannot be realized due to small changes in the
instruments or in the reeds, that are no longer used as commonly as in the time the books were
written. These aspects are of great importance for the composer, as an inadequate organization of
multiphonic examples in a publication can mislead the composer into believing in a decieving kind
of soundscape where practically everything that appears in a table can be done exactly as the book
says. We must also bear in mind that many of these books have been made in research settings in
which the starting point was "possible" rather than "reason", primarily because the motive was to
study the physical and acoustic potentials of the instrument, rather than from the perspective of
genuine usefulness for the composer (in these cases, good judgement and experience are to be
expected of the composer, since there is no reason to limit a comprehensive technical or investigative
text out of concern for the composer’s lack of understanding about the instrument).
The Bass Clarinet emerges from a completely different point of view than that of a purely
investigative text or compilation of material. It emerges from the perspective of being a useful book
for composing precisely because it warns the creative mind of the illusions, very precisely setting
limits on those techniques and aspects of the instrument that may be conflictive. One could argue
that this route is dangerous or limiting because it tends to restrain the impulse to create and
explore freely on the instrument, but nothing is further from the truth. Sparnaay makes it clear
that almost anything is possible on the instrument, and what is not possible, can be generally be
achieved with work and inquiry. This may be. However, the concept of "almost anything is
possible" should be taken into careful consideration, because it is not productive to expectun-limited
possibilites from the instrument, or to cultivate an excessive confidence in the capabilities of the
player to solve these challenges. Because the composer then falls into the trap of trespassing the very
real technical impossibilities of the instrument.
>From this perspective, I can cite a number of passages that clearly illustrate the focus of the book.
For example, Mr. Sparnaay says of trills, tremolos and bisbigliando: "In general, playing trills
does not pose major problems for us, but a trill c to c sharp in the low register is-on almost all bass
clarinets-almost impossible". Another example about the quarter-tone: "Also playing a phrase in
an insanely high tempo, flying over three octaves, fortissimo and 'Flatterzunge',and full of quarter
tones is meaningless. The result will be a terrible roar hawking without any discernible pitch. It
looks nice and well thought-out, but it does not function at all! " Or on multiphonics:" There are
completely written out books with multiphonics which may give the impression to composers that
actually all the notes sound clearly notated and equally and that you as composer can just go
ahead. However this is a fallacy and seems to be misleading for many composers." These quotes
make clear the points about the book that I have tried to expose and explain, and the importance
of a book like Sparnaay’s for realizing a logical and effective manner of writing for the instrument.
In addition to these aspects, perhaps the most relevant from a practical point of view, including the
important collection of samples and examples contained on the CD that accompanies the book,
and as I mention at the beginning of this article, is the particularly pleasing style in which the book
is written. We feel as if we are privy to a very personal musical experience, and this implies the
risk of coming across at times as excessive But Sparnaay dispels this through an effective
combination of the essential objectives of the text. In other words, it is both completely original and
personal and, at the same time equally effective from a “technical” point of view, all the time not
coming across as labored or contrived. In this sense, it comes across as seamless in a very
In regards to the organization of the book by chapter: in addition to a significant amount of text
devoted to forms of notation, instrumental ranges, extended techniques, use of the instrument in an
electro-acoustic context, etc., we also find chapters which are to be considered less common and
which result very interesting and entertaining. From the "Personal introduction" and "From the
very beginning until now”, to a journey through the history of the latest music, going all the way to
a chapter devoted to programming of works for bass clarinet, there is even a section dedicated to
stories and anecdotes that will give the reader a good laugh. On the practical level are the sections
dedicated to repertory, publishers and music information centers, or to composers who have written
works for the instrument, with various references to them, including the web.
In short, this is an essential book on the bass clarinet for the composer or performer, but it is also
highly recommended to other music professionals who can find in this text transversal aspects
which, above all, offer the occasion for reflection on ideas that transcend the specific study of an
Núria Giménez Comas – composer / Spain
For me it was the discovery of a fascinating personal history closely tied to development and sound
research for an instrument that is (thanks to the dedication) very rich in possibilities. Consequently
I think it is a practical tool for composers and performers through numerous examples and
comments, resulting out of a huge experience in the field, making it a very important tool, we could
say an obligatory one. Thanks Harry!
Marij van Gorkom – bass clarinetist / the Netherlands
I have read your book several times and enjoyed it very much. I find it very personal and very
I dreaded a little bit to go through a multiphonics chart again, since it usually takes ages and ages
because not everything works etc.
But it only took me a quarter of an hour!
Great and really wonderful to have a chart which you can just pass on with the message that it
really works and also for me as a Selmer player.
Without doubt it’s clear to me that I will strongly recommend this book to every composer.
So, thanks again and again.
Jacobo Durán Loriga – composer / Spain
Books on instrumental techniques can be very dry and boring. Lucky are they who are interested
in the bass clarinet, because with "The bass clarinet" by Harry Sparnaay they have a book which
is comprehensive and entertaining as well. On almost every page there's a reason to smile, or laugh
even, for example when he lists various remote regions of the globe that are ideal for studying the
very high notes that can usually cause problems with family and neighbors.
The advice given to composers and musicians is priceless. Advices based on experience, not just on
theory. It is the strength that comes from knowing what you are talking about and to argue from
practical experience. With his guidance composers will know what can be done and how, and what
best to be avoided, the way to use notation with advantages and disadvantages explained. All
documented with photos, sheet music, fingering chards and a CD.
There is only one thing that would surpass this book. To have the author at your side to be
consulted at any time, although I suspect that he would sometimes use his own book to have the
most complete and reliable reference.
Petra Stump/Heinz-Peter Linshalm – bass clarinetists / Austria
We received your book about a week ago and read all the chapters by now.
It is not only a comprehensive encyclopaedia about the bass clarinet and its techniques but also an
inspiring story of a life dedicated to the bass clarinet. Complete in every respect!!!
Thank you for all your efforts!!!
Davo van Peursen – Director Music Centre Netherlands/MCN / the Netherlands
A beautiful book! I read it through bit by bit.
This is a wonderful standard work for your instrument. A must have for sure.
Laura Carmichael – bass clarinetist / USA
You have written a superb book, with comprehensive examples, fingering charts, repertoire lists
and stories of your forty-plus years of work with the bass clarinet. What stands out the most to me
is the way your personal voice is heard throughout; the reader is exposed to the various sides of you:
demanding and focused, funny and self-deprecating, energetic and sharp. Your stories, opinions
(often dosed out with humor), and way of living with the bass clarinet are interwoven with a
plethora of technical information. You let the reader in on your personal perspective, your thinking,
motivations and drive. I cannot think of another clarinet book which achieves this combination of
practical information with such a compelling informal voice. In the section about notation, "The
Confusing Notation" and "The Really Bad Notation" I had to laugh out loud. The book is a
rich resource, definitely a must have reference for bass clarinetists and composers, and no doubt
useful to anyone interested in the development of the bass clarinet as a contemporary music solo
instrument over the last forty years.
Montse Martínez Gracía – Consultant Feng Shui Traditional / Spain
What fantastic reviews and comments your book received!
Surely the fundamental value of the work is YOU, your personality and LOVE, in capital
letters, your feelings for the music and your instrument.
This love is in everything you say when you speak about them, or during teaching or through
anecdotes and it is certainly reflected and transmitted through reading your book.
Hence it isn’t an other music book . . . it is something different and very special.
Tobias Klein – bass clarinetist / Germany
What a great treasure this book is! A much-needed resource of information about the instrument.
Love the anecdotes!
Josep Barcons Palau – Revista Musical Catalana - / Spain
It is no exaggeration to say that Sparnaay has opened Pandora's Box of the bass clarinet, giving
the instrument a privileged place in the music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, thus
redeeming it from the secondary role it was sentenced to in the orchestras. This Pandora's Box is
now presented in a book that is like a Bible of the bass clarinet.
Like the Bible, consisting of several books, Sparnaay’s book contains several books in one: a
technical book indispensable for both composers and instrumentalists (covering everything from the
reeds to the notation of multiphonics), a history book, a catalogue of compositions, a collection of
special effects and examples (with a CD attached), a multimedia reference source, and an
The novel approach of the book is that even though the paragraphs and chapters are fully indexed
and sorted, the contents know no boundaries and circulate freely from the beginning until the end.
The text is like a sponge, having absorbed the lively, provocative and humorous style of the
author; in the midst of a technical explanation, anecdotes and personal assessments appear.
This book is suggested for anyone who wants to approach the world of contemporary music, the
bass clarinet, or musical culture in general.
Sparnaay’s book crosses the same borders that the bass clarinet itself has crossed. He is the most
authoritative voice on the art and history of bass clarinet, and now the fact that he has written
about the instrument has become a significant historical event itself.
Klas Torstensson – composer / Sweden
Yes, indeed - I too think your book is very successful!
A goldmine for both composers and bass clarinetists as well.
Ilse van de Kasteelen – singer, composer / the Netherlands
I have spent the past days with your book. BRAVO, what a wealth of information, what an
adventure. And written as you are, driven and with a great sense of humor. Many people here will,
like me, learn a lot from it. It is a privilege to be included.
Lyell Cresswell – composer / Scotland
A splendid book.
It's full of lively and historic pictures (I do like the parrot) and insightful examples from a wide
variety of scores.
The complementary CD is very enlightening.
The eloquence of your writing matches the eloquence of your playing. As well as being a very informative
book it is entertaining to read.
Ainhoa Miranda – bass clarinetist / Spain
Not only seeing all what you have done for this amazing instrument but also to read all your
experiences adds joy and fun to play it.
You make playing not difficult but interesting. Any new challenge becomes a trip through the
sound and possibilities of an instrument that thanks to you is admired.
I am so happy for you writing this book!
A book that makes the bass clarinet to be alive
Gérard Pape – composer / France
How nice to find a book on the bass clarinet that does not
forget that there is a person behind the instrument! Not only the history of the instrument but also
that of the instrumentalist! That your book is a "personal" history means a lot for me as it makes
your advice to young instrumentalists to play with their soul, to find a sound that comes from who
they are all the more important!! While your book is very helpful as to what is possible or
not on the instrument, you admit that the impossible does exist!
While you have found and described many wonderful possibilities for the instrument, you also tell
that certain things are really not so possible which is also quite honest and helpful!
So, I come to the conclusion thanks to your book that writing for an instrument should also
include a phase of testing one's ideas with the player. Research in music is a real collaboration
between player and composer. Your book is an invaluable report on many years of research and
collaboration with composers.
Best wishes and thanks.
Stephan Vermeersch – bass clarinetist / Belgium
I have been enjoying your book for the last two weeks; a must for every bass clarinetist and
composer who wants to write for this beautiful instrument.
I cannot think of any item that is not included, the recordings also are straightforward: no tricks.
Thank you very much for this beautiful work!
Mercedes Zavala – composer / Spain
Dear Harry, Congratulations, you've accomplished a great work, essential for all composers, and
above all also very pleasant to read. Thanks a lot!
Jaap Bosman – bass clarinetist / the Netherlands
I immediately copied the support strap Harry describes in chapter 7, “Playing position”. In this
way the book paid itself. The strap is really great, much more comfortable than all the other ones.
The bass clarinet literature list is the solution for the lonely bass clarinettist searching for new
pieces. Everything you cannot find on the net is in the book, and the personal way of writing
makes it an enjoyable book to read and use.
Aygün Lausch - UNIVERSAL EDITION AG / Austria
Thank you very much for your super book which I received now.
Didier MASSIAT - Copyright Department, Gérard Billaudot Editeur SA / France
I have just received your book, and all I could say can be summed up: congratulations for such a work! The result is really marvellous.
Ivo van Emmerik – composer / the Netherlands
I'm currently reading your book, it radiates enthusiasm! The book is like listening to your stories
after a concert, very entertaining. This recalls (good) memories of the time you played my piece.
Jetle Althuis - bass clarinetist / the Netherlands
The book is grand in many respects: it presents a good overview of not only the possibilities- but
also the impossibilities of the bass clarinet. (For me as bass clarinettist is comforting to see some
things are just not possible).
Here someone speaks with not only a wealth of knowledge and experience, the passion for the bass
clarinets radiates from every passage you read.
On every page you sense the bass clarinet holds no secrets for Harry Sparnaay. To me it is most
remarkable the book reads as if the writer is speaking directly to you.
Harry Sparnaay is speaking!
This book is a must have for every (bass) clarinettist and is strongly recommended to composers.
Victoria Cooke - Copyright & Royalties Administrator, United Music Publishers
I must say, as a clarinettist myself, I have thoroughly enjoyed looking through the book.
Fie Schouten – bass clarinetist / the Netherlands
How wonderful the examples sound on the CD of your book!
The bass clarinet will always be a magnificent instrument and it’s a challenge to make all
possibilities sound well!
Hans Joachim Hespos – composer / Germany
Many thanks for the wonderful book, the compendium of your life's work
- you and your instrument -. It will be a standard work for many young musicians.
Gabriele Bonomo - Edizioni Suvini Zerboni / Italy
Thanks Harry, your book is really excellent and I agree with most of the beautiful critics.
Gabriel Brnčić – composer / Chile
It was a great pleasure to read your book. A useful book for composers, bass clarinettist
In it's seventeen chapters we are witnessing the knowledge and the personality of the author and the
revelation of the story of an instrument which has been mostly developed in the music of the 20th
The biographical aspect is summarized in a brilliantly way and with affection, two qualities that
mark all the text: the information is told with sympathy, precision and effectiveness, something
that we always have seen and heard in your concerts.
It is a gift to bring the expressive quality of a musician, a wonderful soloist, and the orderly,
systematic, drafting of all aspects of the instrument which dominates: the bass clarinet.
We can see in the examples chosen to comment each topic, a strict technical, historical and
interpretative remark addressed to the readers.
I think that in these seventeen issues of the index, and its exhaustive subdivisions (two in
chapter 6, which talk about the range of the instrument and the seventeen parts in chapter 8,
the body of the book with 96 pages, dedicated to special techniques and effects, among which we
highlight the themes of the multiphonics, the Micro tonality and electro acoustics. These make this
book, lovely iconography with well designed graphics and all kinds of practical and informative
details, a treaty that is compliant with three main functions: the first of them enhance the bass
clarinet, its timbre and dynamic range and versatility. The second, for composers and performers to
enter a path of development which the author suggests through criticism (see the commentary on the
various notations for example) in a reasoned and careful exposition. And the third, to know an
important part of the music of the music of the 20th century, its tradition and evolution through
one of their most important players: Harry Sparnaay.
Anton Willems – bass clarinetist / the Netherlands
Congratulations on your beautiful book. I have it and I’m still reading it with great pleasure. It is
an inspiring book, especially because it has a relaxed and often humorous personal style (I think
so, but so your lessons often were), but really to the point regarding the possibilities and
impossibilities, and everything is told with passion. The CD sounds very beautiful and natural in
terms of sound. For me it is a very valuable addition to the bass clarinet literature. Often these
books are quite business like and dry thus boring to read. It really surprised me.
I hope the book finds its way to the musicians well.
Kathinka Pasveer – flutist / Stockhausen Foundation - Germany
Thanks Harry, we received your amazing book.
It is an important acquisition for our archive, full of valuable information!
Frans Moussault – bass clarinetist / the Netherlands
I adore your book. The best thing I bought over the last years.
When I read it I hear you talking. The next week I’ll go through it and study the
standard techniques in the book and they will undoubtedly inspire me.
I am a proud disciple of the writer.
Sarah Watts - HARRY SPARNAAY INTERVIEW FOR CASSUK
In May I went to see Harry Sparnaay perform a concert in Barcelona and also to interview him
about my research on multiphonics. During my trip I also made time to talk to Harry about his
new book ‘Harry Sparnaay. A personal history’.
SW: My first question to you is why did you decide to write this book?
HS: Why did I write it? Well first of all I have to be honest already years ago they asked me to
do something and I said no. Now this is very interesting - it has nothing to do with music. I have
one problem. When I have to do something in my house or something else I make a list. And I
love to do this! So I make a list and when I have finished everything on the list ... the satisfaction!!
And that is the mistake of what I did!! Two years ago Roderik de Man (the composer) asked me
and said you have to do it! I said no. The next day I was sitting at the computer and I made a list
of what I thought had to be included in the book. And that was the mistake! The next day I was
speaking with my wife about something and I said wait a moment and I went to the computer -
that was a mistake and from that moment on it was nearly every day and of course I have so many
things that have happened, so many pieces written. So first I wrote what came in my mind and
then I was doing this until the day before going to print. So that was the reason.
SW: I expected and I think many people in the UK would expect that as it is you writing a book
it will be absolutely full of contemporary music and nothing else. And it was really pleasant that it
was so much more. It wasn’t just your personal history, it covers everything about the bass clarinet ...
was that your intention?
HS: Yes. That was my intention. That’s why I am really pleased and I am especially pleased
with the critics and comments on the book because everybody is mentioning what you are saying
and that was what I wanted. I have read a lot of serious books and that’s not me - I love jokes, I
love life. I cannot write a complete serious book because when I was writing for example about
quarter tones immediately I was thinking of the bad things! That’s why I said that I didn’t want
to write a book about the bass clarinet - I wanted to do it a personal way. I think I succeeded
quite well. Still when I look at it and read it I am still laughing.
SW: You have many musical examples in your book. How did you go about selecting them?
HS: I was talking for example about notation and then I thought wait a moment I have a
memory that is incredible. You say slap tongue on high F sharp and I remember a piece. I was
writing quarter tones and I thought that piece is a beautiful example or there is that piece where
they are not working. So it was always about what I wrote and then the piece came. I did not
choose because it was a friend... no no no. Or sometimes I had a piece that was so badly written
down- but I love the composer. One piece for bass clarinet and harp was handwritten - so I cleaned
it myself. It is very important that the music is very good in a book so the paper is beautiful, the
book is beautiful and also the examples have to be beautiful.
SW: I also thought it would be full of contemporary extracts, but you have chosen all types of
music from orchestral, to lyrical...
HS: But when you listen in my car I have Jazz music. I love Jazz music. I play contemporary
music because I like it very much to play, but believe me in my house we nearly never listen to
SW: Looking to the future. One aspect I really like about the book is that it is full of information
about other players so it is not at all a book just about you. I like the way that contact details are
included for many players around the world.
HS: That is important and really I mean it. When I started and became more known the only
thing I always had in mind was that I was afraid that when I stopped there would not be another
idiot who is going on with the instrument. I do not worry anymore. I said in my book that we
really have so many who are playing bass clarinet. But that was not when I started.
SW: I always say to my audiences that to be a bass clarinetist you have to be crazy!
HS: Yes you have to be crazy, but you will see I did not mention everybody that would be
impossible. But you can see how many players we have now. People who are really playing bass
clarinet and not just because they have to play in orchestra. They really go on and influence
composers. The only really selfish thing in the book is the repertoire list. It is my repertoire. That is
the only thing that is me alone. Already that is 14/15 pages. But the rest ... I was so happy
when your recording came and I included it immediately in the book because I thought this is
interesting because I don’t have a recording of that piece as it is not my repertoire. Do I ignore
them? No, that would be stupid. I have an ideal of what is good - but that may not be others
ideals. I don’t play Schoeck (sonata), but that doesn’t mean it is a bad piece of course - my
students play Schoeck. I don’t play in orchestra, but my students are using Michael Drapkin’s
orchestral excerpts books.
SW: Do you have any nice memories of concerts in the UK
HS: What I loved was the series with the composer Barry Anderson. He was the director of the
West Square Electronic Music Group. And also Stephen Montague was there. I played a
beautiful piece by Barry Anderson for bass clarinet, string quartet and electronics. I loved it very
much and we played about 20 concerts all over the UK with the Arts Council. I also played the
SOLO by Stockhausen and Monodies by Jonty Harrison. I love to be in England to play and we
did a lot of things like when Jonathan Harvey wrote his Trio (Riot for bass clarinet, flute and
piano). But I must be honest - the last ten years I did not visit England
Harry Sparnaay. A Personal History is really a must for everyone who wants to know
more about the bass clarinet. It is a huge wealth of information from the history of the instrument
to information on general techniques, contemporary techniques, repertoire, players from around the
world and products associated with the instrument. It is written from the heart with much affection
The book is published by Periferia Music www.periferiamusic.com
It can also be purchased in the UK at Howarths Music Shop in London.
Herbert Noord – music critic / the Netherlands
In pop music, especially in English a biography or autobiography of a famous pop star or group, is
an accepted phenomenon. In recent decades dozens of those books have appeared. Keith Richards,
Patti Smith and Sammy Hagar were recently responsible for this kind of book. Also in jazz it is
not unusual to write a book about the live and times of an interesting musician. I have books in
my library from Mingus and Miles to Chet Baker and Ben Webster
Biographies or autobiographies of Dutch (jazz) musicians are very rare, the only one I own are
those of Cees Schrama and Rein de Graaff! In front of me is now a special edition. Special in
multiple meanings. It is an autobiography of a Dutch musician who wrote at the same time a
biography about an unusual instrument: the bass clarinet. The book is originally written in
Dutch, translated into English and then published by a Spanish publisher.
Books written by musicians are not that usual, they are rare birds. Harry Sparnaay is such a rare
bird. In this fascinating book, he describes his development to become an internationally acclaimed
musician, his discovery of the bass clarinet and his contribution to the recognition of this
instrument, often regarded with suspicion by the established musical elite.
What makes this book a special book? Not just the fact that in the Netherlands almost no books
are and were written by musicians and published, but also the fact that reading is fun even for
those readers who don’t belong to the order of bass clarinet players.
Why a review of this book is in a magazine that is mainly involved in jazz, is due to the link
which exists between the writer and jazz. Harry made music for years with celebrities in the
Amsterdam Bohemia Jazz Quintet and brought it later to performances with Theo Taldick’s
famous big band. Although Harry’s musical life started with an accordion on his belly, his first
love was the tenor saxophone. To become a jazz saxophonist was his dream. Young Harry heard
the music of all the saxophonists that he could get his hands on, from Stan Getz to Coltrane and
Hawkins to Young, to make that dream a reality. When he took his first steps in the Dutch jazz
scene, it was with a tenor saxophone tied round his neck. But not after his father had decreed that
he also should gain a solid musical background by studying at the Amsterdam conservatory. At
that time, late fifties, early sixties, the tenor saxophone was a highly suspect instrument at the
conservatories. The overall thought was that those kind of instruments were essentially played in
dark cellars. It was “not done”.
Harry was allowed to do an entrance exam and played on his sax "Well You Need It" composed
by Monk. His choice raised the eyebrows of the examination committee. Fortunately a member of
the committee recognized a true musician and on the condition that Harry switched to clarinet they
admitted him to become a conservatory student.
He studied clarinet diligently when at one point the teacher came in with a bass clarinet and
invited his students to try this instrument. Harry tried also and discovered at the same time that
this should become 'his' instrument. He became hooked on this wonderful instrument. The bass
clarinet originated sometime between 1730 and 1750. It was the great Adolphe Sax in 1835,
who made some important modifications and who set the standard that led to the current instrument.
Harry describes in his book, his relentless struggle for adequate modern repertoire for the bass
clarinet. There were almost no written pieces for bass clarinet, and if they were aware of the
instrument they had to be forced to compose for this instrument. Because of this lack of written
material Harry created a self-imposed task, namely to encourage composers to write for his
instrument. He succeeded wonderfully well. Keep in mind that the first concert for bass clarinet
dates from 1955! There are now hundreds of compositions written for this instrument and more
appear on a weekly basis. Harry may be blamed for this success.
There is an ample amount of this material by Harry recorded on sound carriers. So he is also
featured on the newly released recordings of the Theo Loevendie consort. In this last group he had
made his move to the bass clarinet and played with the tenor Hans Dulfer.
On another CD Harry had recorded a tribute to Eric Dolphy a bass clarinettist highly admired
by Harry. The beautifully illustrated book includes many examples of notations, fingering
diagrams for directions and advice concerning ‘How to build a repertoire’ and a clear explanation
of the techniques of "circular breathing" and "multiphonics".
What makes the book attractive not only for bass-clarinet musicians but also for a general reader
is the clear but curiosity provoking way this matter is made accessible.
And for those who thought it was all very serious there are a lot of pages with wonderful stories
“At the first rehearsal the conductor greeted me with the smell of a Scotch whisky distillery around
him that almost floored me. It seemed to me that he already swallowed half the annual production
of this Scottish distillery. I hoped that he would skip his drinking before the concert, but that was
a bit naive, to put it mildly.
Indeed my hope proved to be thoroughly idle the next day. The conductor had consumed the other
half of the annual production. There was a strong Scottish influence on changes and tempo. A
strict supervision from the conductors-stand was out of the question.
As a soloist you can still get away at such a disaster but how about an entire orchestra? It ended
up in one big cluster”.
Laurent Mettraux - Revue Musicale Suisse / Switzerland
Harry Sparnaay : « The Bass Clarinet: a Personal History ». Periferia Sheet Music, Barcelona,
The bass clarinet by Harry Sparnaay
More than 650 works were composed for him by composers such as Berio, Feldman, Grisey,
Kagel, Xenakis or Yun… Say that if there is a specialist in contemporary music for the bass
clarinet, it is Harry Sparnaay. Thus, this publication can be seen as indispensable for clarinettists
and composers for a better knowledge of the instrument.
All the bass clarinet modern techniques are described with any precision desired,
supplemented by a large number of judiciously chosen musical examples. Note, in connection with
the theme of this month, that the micro-intervals are not possible on the whole range.
But this is only a part of the book. Instead of a dry enumeration, Sparnaay indeed wrote a
personal book, where the anecdotes and comments make it lively to read; no step theory therefore,
but of the living music. Among other things (there are 16 chapters and 260 pages), “The bass
clarinet” also contains a concise history of the instrument, a broad overview of the repertory and a
part dedicated to the notation (the "German" and the "French" notation ,if written only a second
higher or a ninth - not to mention other confusing notations).
For me it was a pleasure reading Harry’s book, and I’ve learned much from it !
Complemented by a CD, this book, published in English and Spanish, can be obtained from
Albert R. Rice – The Clarinet, Book review-December 2011 / USA.
Harry Sparnaay. “The bass clarinet”, a personal history. trans., Annelie de Man, Paul Roe.
Barcelona; Periferia Sheet Music, 2011. 256 pp., photos, many musical illustrations, with CD. ISBN.978 84-938845-0-5.
The Dutch musician, Harry Sparnaay (b.1944), is the most well-known performer of new music
for the bass clarinet. He began performing exclusively on the bass clarinet beginning the late 1960s
and since then has had more than 650 works written for him. The list of Sparnaay’s composers
is impressive and include: Franco Donatoni, Morton Feldman, Brian Ferneyhough, Jonathan
Harvey, Mauricio Kagel, Ton de Leeuw, Theo Loevendie, Enrique Raxach, Isang Yun and
Iannis Xenakis. In addition, he has received sever4al significant awards for his playing, including:
Gaudeamus contest first prize (1972), Swedish record prize (1987), Inaugural sounds Australia
award (12988), Edison award (1995) and the Jan van Gilse prize (1996).
Sparnaay’s book includes large pages the same size as sheet music with double-spaced text in a
large font. There are wide margins, and many music illustrations are provided for bass clarinet
alone, bass clarinet and piano, bass clarinet with audio files, and some full scores. Clearly, this
book was meant for bass clarinetist to play the exercises and music examples and to try the many
fingerings supplied with the music. Sparnaay also plays about 100 audio files on the accompanying
CD corresponding to some of the music and techniques illustrated.
The contents are organized in 16 chapters: table of contents and acknowledgements; a personal
introduction; from the very beginning until now; concise history of the bass clarinet; notation; range;
playing position, tone quality and stage manners; special techniques/effects; programming;
repertoire; study repertoire; publishers, music examples and music information centers; bass
clarinetists, composers and their pieces; websites and study literature; anecdotes; biography
There are dozens of photographs primarily of Sparnaay with various performers, clear photos of
bass clarinets, special fingering charts for high notes, multiphonics, quarter tones and a
alphabetical graded list of repertoire on 21 pages listed by composer with title, instrumentation,
difficulty, year and duration in minutes. The list of publishers and music information centers is
comprehensive and includes web sites. There is also an extensive list, including websites, of
prominent bass clarinetists, composers and their compositions, other sites of musicians and a
The concise history of the bass clarinet includes very clear black and white photos of 11 historic
bass clarinets. Most photos were taken by Sparnaay, and in his text he clearly appreciates the
craftsmanship of various 18th and 19th century examples. These were made with a plank, in
bassoon form, in serpent form and in straight form. Sparnaay is accurate in acknowledging and
reproducing the beginning of the bass clarinet solo from Saverio Mercadente’s opera “Emma
d’Antiochia” written in 1834, the earliest surviving bass clarinet music. Although it is now
thought that Gilles Lot’s “basse-tube” was a basset horn rather than a bass clarinet, this is in
generally accurate short history of the bass clarinet (See Albert R. Rice “From the Clarinet
d’Amour to the Contra Bass: A history of large Size Clarinets. 1740-1860,
The majority of the book discusses and reproduces dozens of difficult, sometimes fiendishly
difficult, bass clarinet solos written for Sparnaay. Throughout the book, he provides an expert
commentary from an intimate knowledge of each work. His comments are candid and may be
controversial but they are grounded in real world experience. For example, in the notation chapter,
he describes French notation, German notation, “confusing notation” and “really bad” notation,
all with musical examples. The tone of the book is instructive, and in the longest chapter on special
techniques, he provides clear explanations and illustrations of slap tongue, trills, tremolos and
“bisbigliando”, flutter tongue, double staccato, wind sounds, vibrato and “smorzato”, teeth on
reed, circular breathing, glissandi, using the voice, key sounds, playing with tape and other media,
quarter tones, multiphonics, mouthpiece alone, slap tone without mouthpiece, without neck, and
with a flat hand. Shorter sections discuses grace notes and reeds. There is also an instructive
chapter on programming.
Sparnaay has interesting information from the many tours and experiences including unusual
and emergency situations before concerts, and several entertaining anecdotes. The many helpful
and enriching ideas on playing the bass clarinet make this book a “must have” for all clarinetists,
but especially for those whose main interest is the bass clarinet.
Comentarios en Español
Jonathan Harvey – compositor / Inglaterra
Felicidades por escribir este libro! Gracias por todo el placer y bellas experiencias musicales que me has dado....
Garrett Lefkowitz – clarinetista (bajo) / EE.UU
Desde el momento que empecé a estudiar el clarinete bajo en agosto pasado, tuve la idea de hacer una investigación profunda sobre el instrumento. Sin embargo, no tenía una idea sólida por dónde comenzar. Por una feliz casualidad, me topé con "El clarinete bajo, una historia personal" en la biblioteca de música de la Universidad. Sorprendido al ver un libro exclusivamente sobre el clarinete bajo, rápidamente lo arrebaté de las estanterías para leerlo mejor. Me impresionó la cantidad de información que había dentro: la historia del clarinete bajo, una amplia lista de repertorio contemporáneo, técnicas contemporáneas para el instrumento, y mucho más. El Sr. Sparnaay ha creado lo que creo que es el recurso definitivo del clarinete bajo en este momento. Su amor por el instrumento es evidente, por la profundidad y la amplitud de su conocimiento en cada página. "El clarinete bajo, una historia personal" es una necesidad para el clarinetista bajo serio y entusiasta del instrumento. ¡Gracias otra vez Sr. Sparnaay por escribir un libro tan maravilloso!
Sergio Fidemraizer – compositor / Argentina
Cuando acabas de leer el libro de Harry Sparnaay, lo primero que sientes es que es una gran suerte ser músico, porque el texto logra comunicar la pasión y el compromiso de toda una vida dedicada al clarinete bajo y, fundamentalmente, a la Música, de la mano de este maestro indiscutible de la música del siglo XX-XXI, en cuanto que protagonista y a la vez impulsor de esa etapa histórica tan rica en propuestas, y cuyas proyecciones todavía no han acabado, según declara el propio autor. Un texto honesto, vital, sincero; conciso y claro; que expone aspectos técnicos, estéticos, prácticos, anécdotas, ilustraciones, multitud de ejemplos gráficos y sonoros, de una forma amena y directa, y cómo no!, con una gran dosis de humor e ironía, que le permite efectuar ácidas críticas a tanta mala praxis y prejuicios alrededor de un arte que lleva más de un siglo de evolución. “El Clarinete Bajo / una historia personal” no es un tratado erudito al uso, pero sí una potente herramienta para cualquier profesional de la música, sea clarinetista bajo o no. Un soplo de aire fresco que cualquier músico o persona relacionada con la música debería leer, porque está escrito desde la humildad y necesidad de comunicar que sólo los grandes artistas poseen. Y sobre todo, para ser útil a los demás. Así es Harry.
Eric P. Mandat – clarinetista-compositor /USA
¡Felicitaciones por tu maravilloso libro! Además de la riqueza de la información que tú proporcionas sobre técnicas, notación, digitaciones y limitaciones del clarinete bajo (¡aunque casi sin limitaciones para ti!), la lista de composiciones y sus compositores, intérpretes e importante páginas Web en relación con el clarinete bajo ¡es increíble! Y, para guardar lo mejor para lo último, tú estilo de escritura es exuberante, amistoso, increíblemente humorístico y maravillosamente ilumina tu amor por el clarinete bajo, de la importancia del nuevo arte a nuestras vidas e inspira a todos los lectores a soñar y a perseguir los sueños con la misma energía que ha hecho de tu vida y arte un brillante ejemplo para todos nosotros! Muchas gracias por esta última hazaña de tu vida notable y rica.
Ernesto Molinari – clarinetista bajo / Suiza
Tu libro llegó hace unas semanas y quería decirte cuánto he disfrutado leyéndolo. No sólo es informativo, sino que también entretenido. Tu apasionado viaje y tu búsqueda para imaginar nuevos mundos sonoros, notaciones y técnicas ha inspirado a clarinetistas, clarinetistas bajo (¡incluyéndome a mí!) y compositores, y continúa haciéndolo. Me hubiera gustado que hubiese un libro como el tuyo mientras yo estaba comenzando mi propia búsqueda, hace más de veinte años. Yo lo recomiendo a todos mis alumnos y lo incluyo en mis clases magistrales en Darmstadt y Graz, porque es una historia genuina del viaje del clarinete bajo, todavía en marcha. Gracias por tomarte el tiempo y esfuerzo de escribir un libro mientras continúas una vida llena de conciertos y horarios de profesor, y por compartir tus experiencias, descubrimientos y tu pasión por la música! Felicitaciones, Harry!!
Sauro Berti – clarinetista bajo / Italia
Ciertamente, hojeando este maravilloso libro de Harry Sparnaay uno se queda impresionado por los innumerables consejos útiles que podemos recoger. Desde las digitaciones para todos los registros hasta listas amplias con multifónicos, desde la explicación de muchos efectos hasta una grande variedad de técnicas posibles; esto además con la ayuda del CD que hace el libro indispensable para cada nivel de intérprete y compositor que quiere escribir para este instrumento tan versátil. Aviso: mirar cuidadosamente la parte sobre el repertorio. Hay muchas ideas para ampliar y cambiar nuestros próximos programas de concierto y para hacer nuestras actuaciones más imaginativas e interesantes. En el resto del libro aparece el verdadero secreto de Harry lo que no está escrito en cualquier otro libro y exactamente esa calidad que le hizo un músico extraordinario. La inmensa e interminable pasión por la música en todas sus formas, esa energía desbordante y abrumadora que siempre nos hace descubrir planetas inexplorados, esa fuerza que gira el mundo para aquellos que tienen oídos para escuchar y compartir esta energía. Gracias Harry por recordarnos de todo esto.
Alex Simu – clarinetista de jazz / Rumania
Más importante que tocar un instrumento o música son las razones que están detrás de ello ¿Por qué y cómo descubrir y seguir un camino? Cómo encontrar la fuerza para conseguir un sueño y cómo lidiar con los sacrificios que tenemos que elegir y hacer y cómo dar un sentido a los sonidos que tocamos. A través de las historias hermosas y con un gran sutil sentido del humor, esto es lo que he encontrado en” Harry Sparnaay - The bass clarinet – a personal history". Un montón de inspiración a creer en tocar su instrumento y tambien toda la información técnica posible que necesites para intentar tocar el clarinete bajo, como lo hace él. Realmente recomiendo este libro a todos los músicos no sólo a los clarinetistas."
Yosvany Quintero - compositor /Cuba-Suiza
Un libro fantástico! Divierte, enseña; guía a través de la historia y la evolución de un instrumento que ha adquirido una voz potentísima en los últimos 50 años. Sparnaay compendia así su experiencia, búsqueda y aporte a esta evolución. Un libro para conservar y consultar de vez en cuando.“
Fryné Guillas – clarinetista / Perú
Este libro lo es todo para mí, tengo la suerte de tenerlo y siempre lo leo...realmente fascinante! ¡Gracias maestro Harry!
Pedro Rubio - clarinetista bajo / España
Hace casi 20 años que empecé a estudiar en serio el clarinete bajo. Enseguida me di cuenta de que el material didáctico específico era prácticamente inexistente y de que la gran cantidad de obras escritas para el clarinete bajo contaba con una insólita escasez de métodos y estudios. Afortunadamente, el panorama ha cambiado por completo y poco a poco han ido apareciendo textos dedicados exclusivamente a este gran instrumento. Pero faltaba un libro en consonancia con la importancia del clarinete bajo. Un libro donde encontrar páginas sobre su historia, nociones didácticas, particularidades técnicas especiales y una amplia información-guía sobre el repertorio original. Gracias a Harry Sparnaay ese libro por fin lo tenemos. El clarinete bajo, una historia personal es un manual donde tanto el clarinetista bajo estudiante como el profesional, podrán encontrar lo más importante que rodea a su instrumento. Pero además, El clarinete bajo es el relato de una experiencia vital. Todos los que hemos estudiado y estudiamos el clarinete bajo, nos hemos encontrado con muchísimas piezas dedicadas a Harry. Gracias a él tenemos un gran número de obras que se han convertido en piezas fundamentales en el repertorio de todo clarinetista bajo. En la historia de la música, celebrados virtuosos han inspirado obras maestras a grandes compositores, pero por desgracia muy pocos de ellos han dejado testimonio de su relación con los compositores. Cuando se escriba la historia del clarinete bajo en el siglo XX y principios del XXI, Harry Sparnaay será sin ninguna duda una figura principal. Harry es uno de esos virtuosos que han inspirado un repertorio ineludible. Y somos afortunados, con este libro tenemos también su testimonio personal.
Daniel Kovacich - clarinetista (bajo) / Argentina
Acabo de recibir su libro y le quiero agradecer por ese gran trabajo, que estoy disfrutando página tras página. Es un libro muy inspirador para mí, que renueva mi conexión con el clarinete bajo. Un abrazo
Antonio Rosales – clarinetista bajo / México
En todas las épocas de la Historia de la Música Occidental, han aparecido grandes virtuosos que revolucionan la manera de concebir la ejecución de sus propios instrumentos y la música escrita para ellos. Esta interacción del virtuoso ejecutante con el virtuoso compositor determinan lo que en un futuro será llamado un periodo histórico en la Historia de la Música concertante y de cámara y determinan también las posibilidades de escritura para los diversos formatos de creación, promoviendo en algunos casos también la aparición de nuevos medios y formatos de expresión. Así tenemos que en épocas anteriores, la calidad de las ejecuciones de los clarinetistas Anton Stadler, Heinrich Baermann y Richard Mühlfeld inspiran algunas de las obras más importantes para el repertorio del clarinete de parte de los compositores Mozart, Weber y Brahms. La tradición de virtuosos en la familia Baermann dará como resultado que una generación más tarde, Carl, el hijo de Heinrich, revolucione el mundo de este instrumento y conciba la construcción de un nuevo clarinete (patentado en 1860 en colaboración con el constructor Ottensteiner) con nuevas posibilidades para la ejecución, así como un compendio para el aprendizaje de la nueva técnica avanzada para ejecutarlo: Vollständige Klarinette-Schule. Años más tarde las Sonatas de Brahms dedicadas al clarinete serán fruto de las posibilidades de este instrumento y la nueva técnica concebida por Baermann, pero en las manos de otro virtuoso: Richard Mülhfeld. Pues al clarinete bajo le ha tocado una revolución similar en la manera de ser concebido y ejecutado en las manos del virtuoso Maestro Harry Sparnaay. El instrumento ha sido modificado significativamente así como sus accesorios en los últimos 50 años debido a la puerta abierta por Harry Sparnaay, quien ha mostrado al mundo todas las virtudes y posibilidades de un instrumento que hasta entonces permanecía en el lado oscuro y poco atractivo de ser un apéndice auxiliar del clarinete soprano, técnicamente limitado y sin posibilidades solistas en el mejor caso de la tradición sinfónica clásica. La colaboración estrecha de Sparnaay con los compositores más destacados de su tiempo, ha arrojado algunas obras maestras de la inspiración de Iannis Xenakis, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Luciano Berio, Franco Donatoni, Isang Yun, Theo Loevendie y un largo etcétera de la autoría de compositores consagrados, que permanecerá en la memoria de la Historia de la Música Occidental como un periodo revolucionario y perdurable. Consciente de la importancia de dejar un legado escrito de su obra, Sparnaay se ha dado a la tarea de escribir un compendio de sus hallazgos, experiencias y logros a lo largo de su exitosa y extensa carrera, así como de las posibilidades y limitaciones técnicas de su instrumento, los cuales servirán de invaluable guía para futuras generaciones de instrumentistas y compositores quienes continuarán con la tradición de la nueva escuela creada por Harry Sparnaay: “El Clarinete Bajo”. De capital importancia es el hecho de que este libro haya sido editado en Español casi inmediatamente después de su primera edición en Inglés, haciéndolo así de fácil acceso para los noveles instrumentistas que en una proporción cada vez mayor se inician en el clarinete bajo en toda América Latina. El hecho de que el legado del Maestro Harry Sparnaay haya trascendido de manera tan significativa hasta nuestra región, nos habla no solo del valor de su obra sino también de legitimidad de su Arte: El Buen Arte trasciende los límites de fronteras y culturas para convertirse en un legado universal.
Mateu Malondra Flaquer – compositor, guitarrista – España
Mi más sincera enhorabuena por un libro que ha sido muy esperado. Está lleno de grandes observaciones y es sin duda una herramienta imprescindible para cualquier compositor interesado en aprovechar todas las posibilidades sonoras del Clarinete Bajo. Muchas gracias por compartir tu experiencia y conocimientos.
Rocco Parisi – clarinetista bajo / Italia
Muy buen libro acerca de tu gran carrera! La historia, técnicas contemporáneas, digitaciones, repertorio y todo lo relacionado con nuestro instrumento, ya está aquí! Creo que todos los clarinetistas bajo deberían leerlo!!!
Alexandra Gardner – compositora / EE.UU.
"El clarinete bajo" por Harry Sparnaay es un trabajo intenso de la práctica para la interpretación del clarinete bajo desde una perspectiva autobiográfica por uno de los artistas más hábiles y talentosos del mundo. Es una mezcla fascinante de historia personal y técnica instrumental, con abundante muestras de partituras y explicaciones detalladas de la práctica de la interpretación. Este libro es imprescindible de leerlo, no sólo para los clarinetistas y compositores, sino también para historiadores y estudiantes que desean una visión pertinente y una crónica personal de la música contemporánea del siglo XX y de los principios del siglo XXI.
Erick Carmona – clarinetista bajo / México
Cuando empecé a estudiar el Clarinete Bajo le hacia muchas preguntas a mi maestro que fue alumno del Maestro Harry Sparnaay, y mi maestro me decía que me fuera a estudiar con el, así tendría el privilegio de ser su alumno y también podía responderme todas mis dudas. Cuando por fin pude comprar el libro, Harry Sparnaay-el clarinete bajo-una historia personal, inmediatamente lo empecé a leer. ¡¡¡¡¡WOW!!!!! Sin duda alguna el Maestro Harry Sparnaay hizo nuestra BIBLIA, es uno de los grandes Instrumentistas virtuosos que apareció a revolucionar la escuela de Clarinete Bajo como Instrumento solista. El Maestro Harry Sparnaay logro que el instrumento fuera evolucionando y que ha mostrado al mundo entero todas las virtudes, y las posibilidades que el clarinete bajo puede hacer y que hasta entonces permanecían en el lado oscuro “como un atractivo instrumento inferior” en comparación con el clarinete soprano, limitado técnicamente y sin ninguna posibilidad de solista. No hay duda que el Maestro Harry Sparnaay ha logrado y ha conseguido todo lo que desea y hasta la fecha lo hace. Y a pesar de todos los momentos difíciles que vivió para convencer a la gente, ahora el maestro Harry Sparnaay es respetado y admirado en todo el mundo. ¡¡¡¡¡Muchas felicidades maestro!!!!!.
Stefano Cardo – clarinetista bajo / Italia
El clarinete - una historia personal Encontré que la belleza de este libro comienza desde su título: la interpenetración de la historia del intérprete y el instrumento musical llega a tal punto que se convierte en lo mismo, indisoluble y muy personal. Es un libro de historia pero contemporáneo a la vez; que puede ser leído como una novela o un libro de referencia, el resultado es el mismo: lo que queda es una sensación de conocer más de cerca que es el amor por la música.
Víctor de la Rosa – clarinetista bajo / España
Romper los clichés de la forma en que lo hizo Harry es algo digno de admirar, y la pasión que ha tenido y tiene hacia la música e investigación “contemporánea” es una motivación para todos los que hemos tenido la suerte de estar en su clase. En su libro “El clarinete bajo: una historia personal” nos cuenta cómo gracias a la perseverancia y el amor hacia este instrumento se fue construyendo un camino. Es por eso que este libro es de absoluta referencia para todos los clarinetistas bajos, clarinetistas, compositores, musicólogos y amantes de la música en general. En él no solo detalla rigurosamente todas las técnicas del clarinete bajo, siempre basado en la experiencia de su extensa carrera, sino que nos relata las extraordinarias vivencias personales. Siempre escrito desde un punto de vista crítico y con mucho humor, muy propio de él, da muchas claves a todos aquellos que nos dedicamos a este magnifico instrumento.
Alfredo José Crespo- clarinetista (bajo) / Argentina
Como músico, uno siempre está en busca de información nueva, actualizada y de fuente confiable. He aquí un ejemplo grandilocuente y eficaz, el libro del Maestro Harry Sparnaay El clarinete bajo: una historia personal. Con un tramado hecho de mixturas entre una dilatada experiencia artística, un profundo conocimiento, una mentalidad abierta hacia el futuro, en el marco de respeto por la música en sí misma, y utilizando un vehículo comunicativo vivaz haciendo uso del buen humor y la tolerancia; esta publicación ha logrado plasmar un tratado exhaustivamente completo y de excelencia en lo que respecta al Clarinete Bajo. A esto se le suman los invaluables ejemplos sonoros desde el CD, tanto como la utilización de diferentes recursos media (links con videos, sitios de internet, y demás), con lo que se complementan la lectura con la práctica ejemplificadora. Tales innovaciones realzan la difusión de este instrumento, posicionándolo como uno de los más buscados por los compositores de nuestro tiempo, y que ahora gracias a este libro (y a toda la vida artística del autor), pueden dilucidarse enigmas de escritura, composición y orquestación para el Clarinete Bajo en el mundo. Esta iniciativa no sólo demuestra la maestría de quien lo produce, sino también, refleja la intención de un alma sensible que pretende dejar al resguardo del futuro el conocimiento propio de esta práctica, consistiendo esto en un acto de total entrega y generosidad. Felicitaciones Maestro Harry!!!
Albert Hunt – clarinetista (bajo) / EE.UU.
"El clarinete bajo, una historia personal," de Harry Sparnaay es un recurso importante para clarinetistas bajos. Además de una autobiografía atractiva, este libro está lleno de información, comenzando con una breve historia del clarinete bajo. Sparnaay ofrece interesantes y atractivas anécdotas de sus experiencias con los compositores y el desarrollo de técnicas extendidas, que conduce naturalmente a una descripción exhaustiva de las técnicas de rendimiento contemporáneo incluyendo digitaciones de multifónicos, una guía sobre respiración circular y las técnicas de articulaciones especiales. Una lista de composiciones escritas para e interpretada por Sparnaay es realzada por su comentario describiendo algunos consejos prácticos para tocar música contemporánea. Sparnaay también incluye enlaces a recursos más allá de su libro. Harry Sparnaay es una figura influyente en la historia moderna del clarinete bajo. Este libro ofrece una visión valiosa en su relación personal con el clarinete bajo y su influencia en el desarrollo del repertorio contemporáneo.
Mauricio Carneiro – clarinetista bajo / Brasil
Yo conseguí su libro y es fantástico, increíble, no tengo palabras para decir. Tengo ya el excelente trabajo de Jean M. Volta, pero el tuyo es tan completo, con impresiones personales y muchos consejos técnicos, musicales y explicaciones, puedo decir: es realmente la "Biblia" de los clarinetistas bajos. Fundamental para todos los interesados en el clarinete bajo y agradable de leer. ¡¡¡Mis sinceros saludos!!!
Sérgio Albach – clarinetista bajo / Brasil
El libro Harry Sparnaay – el clarinete bajo, una historia personal es un tesoro. Con mucha objetividad, va a través de todas las cuestiones relativas a las posibilidades del instrumento, técnicas extendidas, diferentes maneras de notación etc. etc.... Él aclara cuestiones históricas, siempre con un buen sentido del humor y claridad. De forma generosa, comparte su amplia experiencia en el campo de la investigación del clarinete bajo, incluyendo digitaciones para multiphonics y el registro súper agudo, material muy difícil de encontrar y muy a menudo poco confiable. Sin embargo en este caso, de la mano de Harry, podemos estar muy tranquilos, porque es información procedente de uno de los grandes maestros de este instrumento. Además de la información del libro, tenemos sugerencias para enlaces de Internet y un CD con ejemplos interpretados por Harry, que completa este fabuloso material. Después de leerlo y aplicar algunas de sus ejercicios (ya soy capaz de “slap tongue”, por ejemplo!), me siento como soy amigo del autor y afirmar que cambió mi vida. Fue y continúa siendo una experiencia fantástica. Profundamente le doy las gracias por compartir con nosotros su trabajo en esta brillante manera.
Dai Fujikura – compositor / Japón
Creo que nosotros, los compositores, estábamos esperando este libro durante mucho tiempo, finalmente un libro extenso sobre el clarinete bajo está aquí. Lo más especial de este libro es que también podemos saber y sentir cómo estas nuevas áreas para este instrumento fueron creadas/inventadas por el clarinetista bajo más conocido en el mundo, Harry Sparnaay. Ahora cuando clarinetistas bajos dicen a los compositores; "¡Esta parte para el clarinete bajo es imposible!", podemos decir simplemente; "¿No conoces el libro de Harry?". Este lo resuelve todo....
Marco Antonio Mazzini – clarinetista bajo / Perú
El clarinete bajo, un fascinante libro por Harry Sparnaay.
El clarinete bajo goza de buena aceptación en el mundo de la música desde hace varias décadas, y cada vez mejora su posición. Ha pasado del rincón de una orquesta a ser protagonista absoluto en cientos de composiciones escritas por los mejores compositores del siglo pasado y el presente, todo esto gracias a la labor sobresaliente del maestro Harry Sparnaay, quien ha convertido el clarinete bajo en una voz inconfundible para compositores y público de todo el mundo. El libro publicado por Periferia Music titulado "El clarinete bajo, una historia personal" es sin duda una de las más grandes contribuciones a las generaciones presentes y futuras de clarinetistas y compositores. No se trata de un libro sobre pura técnica instrumental, y tampoco es un texto aburrido con fechas y datos históricos. El libro de Harry Sparnaay es un compendio de información valiosa para cualquier músico con un verdadero interés en aprender sobre el clarinete bajo - desde su historia, escritura moderna, todos los efectos posibles e imposibles, sus mejores intérpretes actuales, lista detallada de obras en varias combinaciones instrumentales y anécdotas que le arrancarán más de una sonrisa. Cuando uno lee la obra de Sparnaay lo primero que experimentamos es el impulso de correr a tocar el clarinete bajo: el libro logra motivar al lector en cada capítulo, lo hace reflexionar sobre temas simples y otros complejos (por ejemplo, sobre el uso de las cañas de plástico, la embocadura correcta, el tocar sentados o de pie) y todo está enmarcado en un fino humor que lo distingue de lejos de tantos textos semi-intelectuales que uno no recuerda luego de dos días. "El Clarinete Bajo, una historia personal" lo remecerá, confrontará y motivará a ser un mejor músico, además de proporcionarle de técnicas específicas que si funcionan y que puede oír en el disco que acompaña esta publicación, grabado por el mismo maestro. Este libro está disponible en castellano y todo clarinetista debería conseguir un ejemplar - sobre todo aquellos que consideran iniciarse más adelante en el estudio de este maravilloso instrumento. Los compositores encontrarán sin duda alguna una fuente fiable de posibilidades sonoras que podrán incluir en sus trabajos - aquí Sparnaay se despliega mucho, citando con claros ejemplos gráficos los errores más comunes que cometen varios compositores en todo el mundo. Las 256 páginas de "El Clarinete Bajo, una historia personal" están publicadas en un excelente papel y en un formato bastante grande, lo cual luce las fotografías e ilustraciones que contiene. Esta publicación histórica sobre el clarinete bajo merece toda nuestra atención. Detalles de pedidos y precios se pueden encontrar en esta página.
Felicitaciones a Periferia Music y al maestro Harry Sparnaay por compartir gran parte de su vida con todos nosotros.
Sarah Watts – clarinetista bajo / Inglaterra
Cuando ustedes han esperado, que el libro que escribió Harry Sparnaay esté absolutamente lleno de música contemporánea y nada más, entonces usted será real y gratamente sorprendido porque es mucho más que eso. No es solamente una historia personal; se abarca todo sobre el clarinete bajo. Harry Sparnaay - una historia personal, realmente es una necesidad para todos los músicos que quieran saber más sobre el clarinete bajo. Es una gran riqueza de información desde la historia del instrumento hasta información sobre técnicas en general, técnicas contemporáneas y repertorio. También está lleno de información sobre otros intérpretes y me gusta la manera como los datos de contacto son incluidos para muchos clarinetistas bajos de todo el mundo y productos asociados con el instrumento. Está escrito desde el corazón con mucho cariño y humor.
Eduardo Raimundo Beltrán – clarinetista bajo / España
"Divertido, curioso, claro, conciso, riguroso..., este libro responde a muchísimas de las preguntas o dudas que a todos los clarinetistas bajo se nos han presentado al interpretar una obra. Partiendo desde lo más básico hasta la gran cantidad de efectos posibles y "no posibles" de nuestro instrumento. Y lo hace de manera detallada y precisa, profundizando hasta en los detalles más peliagudos y sin reservas. Todo ello acompañado con ejemplos auditivos muy esclarecedores y consejos para compositores que nos facilitará la vida a todos!!. Un magnifico libro para cualquier clarinetista que quiera conocer a fondo el mundo del clarinete bajo e imprescindible para aquellos que nos dedicamos a este instrumento. ¡¡¡Muchas gracias Harry!!!".
Rolf Borch – clarinetista (bajo) / Noruega
Enhorabuena por un gran libro!! A veces, cuando estoy atascado estudiando, me digo: "Voy a preguntarle al Sr. Sparnaay", y luego me voy a mi biblioteca y rastreo el problema en su libro. Nunca tuve un libro como este, ninguno de los que yo tengo se aproxima a este libro. También estoy encantado con el toque personal - quizás por eso siento que “hablo” con usted cuando busco algo, inclusive cuando no le conozco! Hay tantas cosas para agradecerle… He tocado el clarinete bajo desde hace mucho tiempo y después de tocar muchas (pero menos del 1%) de las obras que usted ha estrenado, es imposible no sentir que le conozco, aunque nunca hemos visto. Tengo tanta música, tantos sonidos, técnicas y tanta inspiración de usted y ahora este libro fantástico. Debo agradecerle infinitamente!
Claudio Ambrosini - compositor / Italia
“Between the idea and the reality falls the shadow” (Entre la idea y la realidad cae la sombra), escribió el poeta T. S. Eliot. Y es a menudo realmente así para el compositor, cuando él está concentrando en una nueva obra, tratando de equilibrar lo que viene de la inspiración: la "idea", la música que está reproducida en su cabeza – y lo que viene de su experiencia, desde el conocimiento que tiene del instrumento para el cual va a escribir. Lo que necesitaría en este momento es un libro que le diga cómo funciona un instrumento, que explique sus características especiales y cómo pueden utilizarlas con seguridad. Un libro que le revele no sólo las posibilidades, sino también los imposibles, especialmente cuando este instrumento aún es un "joven" instrumento, como es el caso con el clarinete bajo. Y esto es exactamente que hace el libro de Harry Sparnaay: cada técnica posible se explica de manera muy apasionada, poniendo la experiencia de una vida en cada frase y haciendo que el lector sienta que lo que está leyendo proviene no sólo de un virtuoso, sino de alguien que está ahí realmente a su lado, para compartir los riesgos de desarrollar nuevas ideas y hacerlas efectivas. Alguien que ha ayudado a unas cien nuevas obras a ser escritas y realizadas, desarrollando un nuevo repertorio y haciendo del clarinete bajo un maravilloso instrumento solista y no solo un instrumento de la orquesta. Cuando, en 1983, me puse a escribir mi primera obra para este instrumento, Capriccio detto l'Ermafrodita, el clarinete bajo fue en Italia el tipo de un instrumento "viejo", principalmente utilizado en escenas de la ópera donde se necesitaban algunas atmósferas oscuras y casi exclusivamente con notas bajas. Pero lo que tenía en mente era algo así como la voz cantando de una sirena y tuve que hacer una larga investigación para averiguar cómo hacerlo, descubrir todo por mí mismo. Cuánto más fácil hubiera sido si hubiera tenido este libro! Gracias
Harry, por este maravilloso libro.