Did you know that in Turkey, the clarinet is a massively popular instrument? Think of how popular Beyonce is in the United States and you have a good idea of how popular the clarinet is in Turkey. Turkish clarinetists are like rockstars!
For a quick glimpse, take a gander at this recently released music video of Turkish clarinetist/rock star Hüsnü Şenlendirici:
Could you imagine if the clarinet was this popular in the United States? What a world that would be!
You may notice from the video that the clarinet looks and sounds a little different. That's because in Turkey, clarinetists use a different clarinet than the standard Bb clarinet. What they use is called the G clarinet, or the Turkish clarinet. It features a different key system than what you are used to on your Bb clarinet, the Boehm system (from France). The Turkish clarinet uses a German key system known as the Albert System.
The Albert key system features rollers on the pinky keys, which is akin to a saxophone. The register key wraps around the upper joint and there is no metal ring on the first finger of the bottom joint. This clarinet is also a lot longer than the Bb clarinet, even longer than the A clarinet! Isn't it so interesting?
The sound of the Turkish clarinet is also very different from what you are used to hearing. You're probably used to hearing the sweet, mellow tone of the western classical clarinetist. However, in Turkey, they have a concept of sound that requires a much more nasally, bright, very fluid sound. Turkish clarinetists have the amazing capability to bend the pitch with as much is as it takes me to play the C major scale. It is something to greatly admire.
I'm sure by this point that you want to hear more Turkish clarinet music! I don't blame you - it's awesome. Here are some more youtube links to various famous Turkish clarinetists for your enjoyment:
Please enjoy their beautiful music!
Until next week, happy listening (and practicing)!