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

ClarinetMike says, "be BOLD! and play like a virtuoso with romantic fire."

ClarinetMike says, “Be BOLD! Play like a virtuoso with romantic fire!!”

Below are my complete notes on Etude No. 3, the “Straight Ahead” etude, from this year’s Texas All-State Soprano Clarinet Etudes. Check out my previous posts on the all-state etudes: Etude No. 1, Etude No. 2, and Overview and Style.

ClarinetMike’s Texas All-State Clarinet Clinic: Etude No. 3, 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 3, Allegro moderato, Page: 58, Key: D Minor, Etude Title: 32 Etudes, No. 12, Play from beginning to end. Tempo: Quarter Note = 88-108 [learn in 6/perform in 3]. Errata: m27 last two sixteenths should be slurred as others in measure.

Overview: This “Straight Ahead” etude has 3 main issues, Arpeggios, Tonguing (BTE), Dynamics/Style.

Composer and Style: This Rose etude is based on an etude by court oboist Franz Wilhelm Ferling (1796-1874). Ferling was possibly influenced by the great violin virtuoso Paganini when he wrote this etude in the style of a Toccata.* The original Ferling etude was likely marked Allegretto risoluto. So be BOLD! and play like a virtuoso with romantic fire!

Sections and Phrases: I like to think of this etude in 4 sections: S1 = m1-m8, S2 = m9-m16, S3 = m17-m28 and S4 = 29 to end. [It’s sort of a “19th century AABA” with A’s 8 bars long and Bridge of 12 measures! Sorry to be a little glib…]

Musical Issues: Carefully consider dynamics, crescendos,  accents, etc. Learn these while preparing notes and rhythms. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL LATER! If you learn the etude at “Mezzo Nothing,” you will play it at “Mezzo Nothing” when you audition.

Problem Passages:  In opening of S1, the ¾ time can turn you around.

Technical Issues: Tonguing: Repeated tongues are tricky, go slow and be patient. Keep the tongue very light. See special section on Tonguing below. Relaxation: This etude can create tension in your body. Staying relaxed is critical. So, GAIN Relaxation, MANTAIN Relaxation, and then RE-GAIN Relaxation as needed. Rhythm: Make sure sixteenths are equal 4ths – DO NOT RUSH OFF FIRST SIXTEENTH of each set of 4.

Tonguing: As mentioned on Etude No. 1, in the slow preparation of any short-articulated or staccato type passage, be sure to NOT practice it slowly with the notes shortened. In other words, when you practice slowly, play the articulation with a normal or regular tongue stroke with not much separation. As you go faster over time and the passage becomes ingrained and learned, it will be easy to adjust the length of the articulation to the desired shortness. Be sure to use your ears to help you decide how short to play the notes. Playing the notes too short can sound bad. Check out “Betty.”

Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet: D minor scale and especially D minor arpeggio. Chromatic scale. Arpeggios: D minor, A, A7, E7, Bb, Eb, E and F Fully Diminished Sevenths. About half of the measures in this etude are based on the D minor arpergio. Work on this arpeggio!

Breathing: While learning in 6, breathe wherever needed – NO TENSION. However, plan early in the preparation where you will breathe when you play in 3 (be mindful of this while you learn the etude in 6). As in Etude No. 1, you will have to stop quickly and breathe in some spots – m22, m25, m31, etc. You must factor this in when preparing the etude slowly in 6 with a metronome!

Suggested Listening: Listen to J.S. Bach’s Violin Works and his Toccatas and Fugues – also his Partitas. Check out this over-the-top version of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, CLICK HERE.


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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One Response to ClarinetMike’s Texas All-State Clarinet Clinic: Etude No. 3, 2015-16 Soprano Clarinet

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

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