Multiphonics from the Top Down: Playing with G6 fingerings

One of the things that Scott McLaughlin and I have spent a lot of time doing during our Forking Paths time is to try to explore ways of turning clarinet technique on its head and seeing what comes out of that. That’s how we ended up playing with extreme scordatura, for example.

Scott wrote really eloquently on how we came to exploring fingerings for the (written) G6, so I suggest before reading any further here, you check out his post on the subject. There’s nothing particularly special about the pitch we chose for this exercise, other than it seems to offer the most possibilities in terms of alternative fingerings — I think it also sits at the perfect balancing points between altissimo and altississimo registers, offering a lot in terms of both stable and unstable multiphonics. You could definitely attempt the same with other multiphonics.

The most fun part of this particular session was when clarinetist Jon Sage joined us, and Jon and I did a series of guided improvisations with Scott’s input, always trying to maintain the G in the sound, while exploring different fingerings. You can hear these tests on Scott’s link. I think they’re rather beautiful. Totally lacking in stability, and in fact made more unstable by the fact that both of us were playing at the same time. It was sometimes rather difficult to tell who was making what sound. I loved it.

Anyway, here are ten of the G6 fingerings we explored, first conceived as a “top-down” multiphonic from the high G, and then I also play through the other pitch possibilities and the ultra-underblow option (see the attached post if you don’t know what I’m talking about!).


Pitches Fingering Sound Notes?
G6p-01 G6f-01
G6p-02 G6f-02
G6p-03 G6f-03
G6p-05 G6f-05
G6p-06 G6f-06
G6p-07 G6f-07
G6p-08 G6f-08
G6p-10 G6f-10 Note that the closest pitch from the fundamental on this one is actually a soft dyad, NOT an ultra-underblow!
G6p-11 G6f-11
G6p-16 G6f-16
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