Ornaments

Throughout my early musical career and before immigrating permanently to Canada, various traditional music styles influenced my artistic vision. My hometown is located in Serbia with the capital city of Belgrade. Getting the clarinet position at the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra highlighted my early years of study at the University of Arts Belgrade. This position afforded me the opportunity to perform as a solo, chamber, and orchestral musician in neighboring countries including Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary.

However, only recently and with the help of The University of British Columbia and the British Columbia Arts Council, I went back to that region and conducted a fieldwork research with the Hungarian and neighboring Romanian and Serbian folk performers in their natural performance environments. Throughout the eighteenth century to this day, such performers developed their own, an endemic variety of music ornamentation, structured with compounded ornamental variety, consisting the trills and turn combinations and additional multiple articulation techniques.

I was genuinely surprised that there was a very little number of reliable sources and related literature covering these traditional clarinet ornamentation performance practices. Therefore, I’ve committed to design and carefully measure my six new visual depictions of the ornaments for the clarinet, accompanied by a practical guide in using the side-key and finger-bounce fingerings to achieve this embellishing effect. Importantly, for the best results, these ornaments should be used in a tasteful and well-balanced manner, such that they do not dominate or distort the original melodic line and texture.

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I could hope to encourage clarinet performers to develop better understanding of these rather unusual hand-palm position requirements, and use them in a stylistically appropriate manner. The beautiful thing about this technique is that it can be performed on either the clarinet, or possibly, on a variety of saxophones, with the appropriately used similar instrumental side-keys. What I am certain of is that any technically proficient clarinet performer can achieve this transformative new performance skill and by doing so, expand its expressive musical vocabulary.

The University of British Columbia page: https://open.library.ubc.ca/cIRcle/collections/ubctheses/24/items/1.0167278

Supplementary videos (lecture-recital): https://open.library.ubc.ca/cIRcle/collections/ubctheses/33426/items/1.0107656