During this research, I studied in detail a number of instrument and singing methods from the first half of the 19th century, in connection with the Paris Conservatory. This study allowed me to obtain information on different aspects of performance practice in France during this period. The notions of Character and Accent appeared fundamental to me. Character is defined by the composer who works on all the elements of the musical language to express a feeling he or she has chosen to represent. Accent belongs to the performer. It is he or she who must vary the inflections according to what the composer has drawn, in order to emphasize the Character of the composition. Consequently, the performer has a very active role which is expressed mainly through a variety of dynamics and articulations.

The first decades of the 19th century witnessed important innovations in instrument making. The Müller system appeared around 1810 and spread rapidly. The writings show that in the 1830s, the character of the instrument had evolved. The clarinet was seen, like the violin, able to play and express everything. Frédéric Berr, inspired by the German clarinettists, imposed playing with the reed below at the Conservatory. It seems possible to observe in his writings the beginnings of what will become today's School.


I could have developed other ideas in this research. For instance, it would have been interesting to compare French sources with sources from other countries in order to know if the French Clarinet School at the time of Lefèvre and Berr had characteristics that set it apart from other Schools. It would also have been possible to do further work on the repertoire of the time, to see to what extent the innovations made to the instrument might have changed its use by composers. In the framework of this year-long research, this was not possible. Nevertheless, my present work could provide an interesting basis for future research.