Stephen Fox



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Early Clarinet Fingering Charts

The following PDF files are facsimiles of original fingering charts for the 5 key Classical clarinet:

Lefèbre (1802):  primary fingerings (629 KB)

Lefèbre (1802):  trill fingerings (705 KB)

Backofen (1803) (771KB)

Early clarinets vary somewhat in terms of fingerings, especially with fork fingered notes.  Printed fingering charts should thus be considered as starting points for experimentation.

Some things that the charts may not mention-

- high C (above the staff) can be stabilized and sharpened when necessary by adding R3 and R4.

- in the absence of a specific key for low register B natural, or a double hole, this note is usually played by partially closing ("half holing") the R1 hole (a fork fingering rarely works satisfactorily)

- on instruments with a longitudinal or cross B/F# key, these notes are fingered by opening this key and fully closing R1; if this key is not present but the clarinet has a cross Bb/F key, this key plus R1 can make a satisfactory low B natural.

- low C# can be produced by half holing L3 (unless a double hole is present); for low Eb, a fork fingering (L1, L3 and various right hand fingers) is usually effective.

- throat G and A are usually fingered with L2 closed.