Clarinet Sound World
Clarinet Sound World Techniques Page discusses and gives fingering
examples of how to generate quarter-tones, micro-tones, multi-phonics
etc. that Mark uses within his Improvisations. 6 CDs use these techniques.
Latest being Improvised Quartets Vol.II see itunes soon.
Mark Buckingham is a trained clarinet and saxophone player
and untrained artist. He performs regularly on the Eb, Bb, Alto, Bass
and Conra Alto clarinets and on the Alto and Tenor saxophone.
Marks first tutors were Ronald Tench and Gil Hulme both
from the Southampton area. He played in local big bands whilst at school
he learnt to be a lead alto sax player. His teaching was always jazz
inspired though he was trained to sight-read which became a specialty
in later years. Artie Shaw’s concerto for clarinet was the first
concerto he learnt. A recording of this work is in progress with piano
After school Mark become a bandsman in the Army, which was where from
the age of 18 first encouraged to teach. Since his brief service he
has performed as a freelance musician and teacher. The experience and
genres of music making over the last 20 years is to numerous to mention,
but recordings of immense variety is available from the site.
Throughout all the years of Mark’s career improvisation has been
an important focal point. Studying the jazz masters, funk masters, the
improvisation that occurs in Western Art Music, the study of Japanese
Zen flute players, Indian classical music and other music of various
culture where improvisation is important. All these influences have
been synthesized into the sounds that you can hear now. Marks clarinet
playing has developed a new sound world, where improvisation is still
paramount, which has traces of all the work and study over the years.
An example of which is the Zen Flute where muliphonics has been common
practice for 2000 years. To create these sounds on the clarinet took
years of study and practice to be able to improvise fluently with all
the new techniques.
Mark has developed the art of improvising in this realm which uses
microtonal, quarter tonal, multi phonic and aleatory techniques. The
reason for this journey was inspired by the likes of Eric Dolphy whose
musical sound world used these sounds on saxophone, which is fairly
easy and bass clarinet which is not. To produce these sounds on clarinet
was a major challenge. Mark intends to publish the techniques at a later
date but realizes there are few players interested in this challenge.
The tone of present day clarinetists was established by Stadler for
whom Mozart wrote the concerto, since then very little has changed,
until now. The techniques used allow Marks melody playing to have so
many subtle nuances that you could not count them. For example he can
play an E on the first line of the stave, which has almost 16 different
tone colours, and with almost 10 pitches available between E and Eb,
these possibilities are available throughout the clarinet range. Then
add all the multi phonic possibilities and other techniques and you
have a massive melodic and harmonic opportunity for the solo clarinet.
Press ‘Alternatives Sound World Techniques’ to try some
Mark does not play in big bands any more because most bands have forgotten
that it‘s the lead alto, which has a similar role to that of the
leader of the orchestra, that has dynamic and phrase control over the
whole band. Mark learnt the big band art of playing from his teacher
Gil who ran a professional dance band during the thirties and forties
and from the musicians of the local bands who where all veterans of
the big band era. Still waiting for a proper band to ask me to play.