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Clarinet Sound World

Alternative Sound World Techniques. Click here.

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 accompaniment.

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 of them.

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.


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