Eb Contra Alto Clarinet part from The Mysterious Barricades (F. Couperin arranged for clarinet quartet/choir)

3 minutes
Classical music

Couperin wrote this piece as four distinct, equal parts. To preserve the balance, play as a clarinet quartet by choosing either 2nd Bb clarinet or Eb alto clarinet, but not both, and either contra-alto or contra-bass, but not both. For a clarinet choir, go ahead and mix in the optional instruments, but only to preserve that four-part balance. Since a score originally composed for a harpsichord’s short hang-time sounds muddy when wind players extend all notes to full written value, and since clarinet players need places to breathe, I’ve shortened some notes here. I also added dynamic markings and wrote out the ornaments per Couperin’s detailed instructions on how to play his idiosyncratic keyboard ornament symbols.

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