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Letter: Freedom to B flat

A professional musician friend of mine, who is given to describing most avant-garde music as sounding like "a fire in a pet shop", gleefully relates the following story, which he assures me is not apocryphal.

After taking part in the world premiere (probably also the world derniere) of an avant-garde orchestral composition, a well-known clarinettist realised that he had, quite by accident, played the entire piece on his A clarinet rather than the B flat instrument specified in the score.

The fact that the clarinet part was thus heard a semitone lower than intended entirely escaped the notice of all those present, including the conductor, the composer and his sponsors. Need one say more?