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Question about the keys

Hello!
(I hope I am right in this board with my question!)

I have a question about the keys on clarinets. In the opera "Hansel and Gretel" by Engelbert Humperdinck there is a passage in which clarinets in Bb are used. I made a screenshot of it.





In the first two bars the key is G major, and the clarinet in Bb is correctly notated in A major. But in the third bar there is a key change to C major, but the clarinets are now also notated in C major! Shouldn't they be written in D major?

I have found a similar example in another opera. The key is E flat major, but the clarinets in A are notated in C major. What does that mean? How should I read these notes?
 

Carl H.

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
Error in the score. Doubtful that the clarinets should be playing and Eb against E in all the other parts. Continue playing with one less sharp than before the key change (D).
 
In principle, I also believe in a mistake, but I have often seen something like this, so I am no longer sure. Could it perhaps be that the composer finds it more practical for the clarinettist if he does not write accidentals? Or could it be an outdated notation practice from the 19th century?

Here I have another example: the key is A major, and the clarinets in A have no accidentals. But after the key change in bar 9, the clarinets are again notated in C major.

 
I have found another passage, and again it only concerns the clarinets, which are noted down incorrectly(?).

In the first five bars we have the key of C major, but the clarinets in A are also notated in C major. In the 6th bar there is a change of key to E major, and there the clarinets are suddenly written down correctly again.



This and the last example is from the opera "Der Freischütz" by Carl Maria von Weber, from 1821; the first example is from the opera "Hänsel und Gretel", from 1893.
 

Carl H.

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
Generally when there are errors of this sort blatantly throughout, you will find the name Kalmus somewhere on the page.
 
I think you are right, because both examples are from a DOVER score. :D

However, I also own a score of "Hansel and Gretel" by EULENBURG, and there the accidentals are also written like this, although the score differs from the DOVER version in many other passages.

I have entered the notes you see here into my music notation program.Although the clarinets in Bb are notated in C major here, I worked with D major (2 #) as you suggested. But unfortunately it did not work.



Please pay attention to the first clarinet in the third bar, on the second eighth note. She plays an "f" here. But if the clarinet is notated in D major - as it should be - then you would have to play an f sharp, and that would be the wrong note.

Or to put it another way: if the clarinets were written in D major, then the notated "f" would become an f sharp, and that would be the wrong note.


It is particularly strange that a few bars earlier, the clarinet in the 4th bar of this example also plays an F, but this time with a natural sign before it, although the clarinet has no accidentals at all here. The clarinet plays the same notes as the oboe, and the natural sign is correct in this case.

 
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