ClarinetMike’s Texas All-State Clarinet Clinic: Etude No. 2, 2015-16 Soprano Clarinet

ClarinetMike says, “Opera, Opera, Opera! ‘Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve’ and make the judges cry!!”

Below are my complete notes on Etude No. 2, “The Slow Opera Etude,” from this year’s Texas All-State Soprano Clarinet Etudes. Check out my previous posts on the all-state etudes: Etude No. 1 and Overview and Style.

ClarinetMike’s Texas All-State Clarinet Clinic: Etude No. 2, 2015-16 Soprano Clarinet

Dr. Michael Dean
“Building Great Clarinetists”
Clarinet Performing, Teaching and Consulting
Hurst, Texas, USA
BG France Performing Artist * 682-888-7639 *

Etude Book: David Hite editor, Artistic Studies, Book 1 – From the French School, Published by Southern Music (For official TMEA listing, click HERE.)

IMPORTANT: Load ONLY accurate information by using Rhy-No Practice Technique with BOLD Dynamics.

Note: Cyrille Rose (1830-1902) was a very important clarinet teacher at the Paris Conservatory and 1st clarinetist with the Paris opera orchestra. Rose did not compose these etudes, but he adapted and enhanced etudes written for other instruments. He “clarinetized” them. Information on the original etudes and other editions is available HERE.

Etude 2, Adagio, Page: 76, Key: Db Major, Etude Title: 32 Etudes, No. 31, Play from beginning to end.  Tempo: Eight Note = 88-108 [learn and perform in 8]. Errata: m6 high note is Db. m13 lowest note of turn is G natural.

Overview: This slow etude is loaded with operatic romantic phrasing.

Composer and Style: This Rose etude is based on an etude by court oboist Franz Wilhelm Ferling (1796-1874). Ferling wrote this etude in the style of a Bel Canto Aria likely being influenced by Italian Opera ( This amazing slow etude is LOADED with opportunities for emotional musical expression. THINK OPERA! Recall that Rose himself was 1st clarinetist with the Paris opera orchestra. So, Opera, Opera, Opera! “Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve” and make the judges cry!!

Sections and Phrases: Etude breaks down into 4 Phrases with a Transition, Recap, and Coda: P1 = m1-m6, P2 = m7-m14, P3 = m15-m22, P4 = m22-m30, Trans. = m30-m32, Recap = m33-m34, Coda = m35 to end. For practicing, organize the etude into 3 Sections: S1 = P1 and P2 (m1-m14), S2 =P3 and P4 (m15-m30), and S3 = Transition, Recap and Coda (m30 to end).

Musical Issues: I suggest a final performance tempo of no faster than Eight Note = 92. Carefully consider all the terms that are on the music. They clearly indicate an over-the-top operatic style with lots of dynamics, rubato, etc. [Note to region judges, band directors, private teachers, etc.: This is the Slow etude! Please do not reward those who play very fast with no dynamics or musicianship. This is music, not football.]

Problem Passages: Section 1, esp. P2, m7-m14, is very difficult technically and musically. After the first 2 measures, P2 is practically a cadenza! Work on this section every day, if possible.

Technical Issues: Slides: Finger slides are tricky in m3 and especially m12. Relaxing your fingers will help.  Flipping: several spots (m3, m12, etc.) involve flipping between F and middle finger F# in the right hand. Work to make this smooth mechanically and sound-wise. Turns: there are 3 ways to do the turns in m11 and m13: 1. Principal note on downbeat with 4 turn notes on upbeat. 2. Principal note with first 2 notes on down beat as triplet and last 2 notes of turn on upbeat – thus the five total notes of the turn are done as triplet on down beat and two sixteenths on upbeat. 3. Make all five notes (principal plus 4 turn notes) an equal quintuplet (for 5’s, say “Opportunity”) over the one beat. I prefer number 2 (but 3 is also good). TMEA Performance Guide suggests number 3. Trills: In m24 hold down left Db and trill to Eb. Stop trill on beat four and do grace notes on upbeat. Similarly, in m28 hold down Db and trill Eb with bottom right side key. Stop trill on beat 3 and play 32nds on upbeat as written.

Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet: Db major scale and arpeggio. Important Arpeggios: E fully diminished 7th, Bb minor 7th, F# fully diminished 7th, and Gb major.

Breathing: As marked. Follow the phrasing as much as possible. Consider a quick breath on beat 1 of m3. Also, it is possible to breathe at end of m34 instead of m35 as marked. A breath at the end of m36 is a good idea.

Suggested Listening: Listen to Natalie Dessay and Maria Callas. (I’m especially crazy about Natalie Dessay.) Here’s a few videos (click on the name): Dessay 1Dessay 2,  and Callas.


About ClarinetMike

American clarinetist MICHAEL DEAN performs and teaches internationally and across the USA to consistent praise such as "world-class clarinetist and pedagogue," "consummate performer," "inspirational," "outstanding teacher," "super," "brilliant performer," and "one of the best clinicians I have ever seen." His career is headlined by appearances at Carnegie Hall, ClarinetFest, NACWPI, Eastman School of Music, and Royal Northern College of Music with recent recitals and master classes in Italy, Spain, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, and Texas. In July, he will return to Vipiteno, Italy as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at Orfeo Music Festival 2018. He is featured on 5 commercial CD's and on New Media, such as YouTube. He is currently preparing another new clarinet CD, Postcards from Silver Lake. He's performed with the Southwest Symphony, Nevada Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, Southeast Chamber Players, Red Mesa Trio, and Duo 35. He performed for 11 years with the Paducah Symphony. His articles appear in journals such as Southwestern Musician, WINDPLAYER, NACWPI Journal and The Bandmasters' Review. As "ClarinetMike," he writes for his widely-read ClarinetMike Blog, in 150 countries on 6 continents. He was recently a tenured Associate Professor of Clarinet for 11 years at Southeast Missouri State University. He returned to his native Texas in 2012 due to family concerns. He is a past president and former National Board officer of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors (NACWPI). Dr. Michael Dean studied clarinet performance at Texas Tech University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Texas at Austin and University of Texas at Arlington. His teachers include Robert Walzel, Phil Aaholm, Carol Jessup, Jess Youngblood, Bob Ackerman, and Pam Youngblood. His web page,, features video of his teaching and performing as well as information on his CD's and other publications. He is a BG France Performing Artist.
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3 Responses to ClarinetMike’s Texas All-State Clarinet Clinic: Etude No. 2, 2015-16 Soprano Clarinet

  1. Pingback: ClarinetMike’s Texas All-State Clarinet Clinic: Etude No. 3, 2015-16 Soprano Clarinet | ClarinetMike Blog

  2. Pingback: ClarinetMike’s Music Preparation Kit | ClarinetMike Blog

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