Roger, Estienne (ed) | Airs à deux chalumeaux | Livre premier (c1712)

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Original edition restored by Atelier Philidor.

  • 34 airs for two treble instruments without basso continuo.
  • Full title: Airs à deux chalumeaux, deux trompettes, deux haubois, deux violons, deux flûtes, deux clarinelles ou cors de chasse.
  • Instrumentation: 2 treble instruments (2 chalumeaux, 2 trumpets, 2 oboe, 2 recorders, 2 violins)
  • Edition: Facsimile (2015) | Estienne Roger, Amsterdam, c1712
  • 2 volumes, 44 pages, separate parts | B&W
  • Notation | Clefs: G2

Here then are the earliest known collections of clarinet music. The music makes no attempt at being in any key save D, with an occasional passing modulation to A major, and it is filled with repeated notes and broken chord figures. This, and the presence of a quasi-kettle-drum part, suggests strongly that the music might have been originally intended for trumpets, mock trumpets (i.e. tromba marinas) or horns. But the notes g', b' and c" # do not exist on any instrument of this kind with D as its fundamental, and no instrument with a fundamental an octave lower was then in existence as far as I know. It seems therefore that the wording of the title-pages must be taken at its face value, and that the music was primarily intended for chalumeaux or 'clarinelles'. Fiddlers and flautists would certainly derive little pleasure from playing it, and it was surely only a publicity device to include violins and flutes among the list of instruments for which the music was suited.

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