Below are my complete clinic notes on Etude No. 2, “The Slow Etude,” from this year’s Texas TMEA All-State Soprano Clarinet Etudes. Watch for my notes on Etudes 1 and 3 coming soon! Check out my previous posts on the all-state etudes: CLICK HERE.
ClarinetMike’s Texas TMEA All-State Clarinet Clinic 2016-17: Soprano Clarinet Etude No. 2, “The Slow Etude”
Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”
“Building Great Clarinetists”
BG France Performing Artist
Clarinet Performing, Teaching and Consulting
Hurst, Texas, USA
firstname.lastname@example.org * 682-888-7639
clarinetmike.com * clarinetmike.wordpress.com
Etude Book: David Hite editor, Artistic Studies, Book 1 – From the French School [Rose Etudes]. Published by Southern Music (For official TMEA listing, click HERE.)
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.
Practice Tip: Load accurate information when practicing. Use the Rhy-No Practice Technique with BOLD Dynamics.
Etude 2, Adagio cantabile, Page: 61, Key: Bb Major (and G minor), Etude Title: 32 Etudes, No. 16, Play from beginning to end. Tempo: Eight Note = 88-100 [learn and perform in 8].
Errata: m8 – four notes before the end of the measure should be C natural, not C-sharp
m8 – three notes before the end of the measure should be a Bb
m12 – B-flats, six and seven notes from end of measure should be tied together
m20 – The lower neighbor note in the indicated turn should be B natural (not Bb) (revised 8/28)
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 (www.idrs.org/scores/ferling/introduction.html). This excellent slow etude is LOADED with opportunities for emotional musical expression and creativity. THINK OPERA! Recall that Rose himself was 1st clarinetist with the Paris Opera orchestra for 34 years. So, Opera, Opera, Opera! “Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve” and make the judges cry!!
Overview: Slow etude in the style of a Romantic Era opera aria with 4 major issues: Tone, Phrasing (especially Dynamic Contrasts), Thirty-seconds and Cadenza in P1, and Technique in P3.
Sections and Phrases: Etude breaks down into 4 clear phrases: P1 = m1-m9, P2 = m10-m21, P3 = m22-m29, and P4 = m29-end.
Tempo: I suggest learning and performing this etude in 8 with eighth note as the beat (one eighth note = one beat). While it is possible to count the etude in 4 in quarter notes, I think the slow tempo makes it difficult to keep a consistently steady beat and keep rhythmic patterns proportional.
Musical Issues: The tempo indication, “Adagio,” means “slow.” “Cantabile” means “singing.” (In Italian and Spanish “Cantar” translates “to sing.”) So, sing slowly on your clarinet. The word, “dolce” is written at the start of the work at m1 and again at m38. “Dolce” means “sweetly.” However, I generally think of dolce meaning “tenderly.” (Dolce can have some muscle to it and is not always played at a soft dynamic – see Brahms, for example.) Know all the terms and indications that are on the music. They clearly indicate an over-the-top operatic style of phrasing. Always play with the most beautiful tone possible. In an audition, tone quality should be considered one of the most important factors. [Note to All-Region Judges: This the Slow etude! Please do not reward students who play extremely fast with a bad sound and no dynamics or musicianship at all. At the audition, please don’t sit there just bean-counting mistakes as your only adjudication. This is music, not football!]
Problem Passages: Thirty-second notes in m3 and m7. On the cadenza in m8, I suggest performing it as a 2 octave D chromatic scale with a pickup note C# – start the cadenza slowly and speed up as you go until reaching the high D. P3 has some tricky spots: triplets in m23 and m27 and especially the “three against two” in m26.
Technical Issues: Articulation: All staccatos whether with slur (m4) or not (m12, m23, etc.) should be light and detached, not too short – use a light tongue stroke. Fingerings: Left C in several spots after and before Eb. Consider resonance fingerings on exposed throat tone spots, especially m22, m25, m37 and m40/41. Trills: Generally, start trills slowly and speed up. Stop trills on fourth beat and do grace notes on upbeat. m17 is a tricky trill – try leaving Eb key down while trilling and see if it works for you. m29 consider side key for trill. Turn: Play the turn in m20 as a triplet on the upbeat of beat 5 (D, C, B – play B natural as in Errata above) Other: In m3 don’t rush off F on beat 5.
Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet: Scales: Bb major, Chromatic, and G harmonic minor. Arpeggios: Bb major, D major, G minor, and D7 with flat9 [D, F#, A, C, Eb] in m27 beats 3 and 4.
Breathing: As marked. Follow the phrasing as much as possible. A few breathing spots to consider: m12 after first Eb and first D on beats 1 and 5 respectively, m23 after first note, m24 after first G, and m26 stop and breath at end of measure after the final A.
Other: A few years ago, I wrote an in-depth analysis of this etude for the Missouri All-State Band Clarinet Audition. The analysis is based on the old Carl Fischer edition. Also, this edition of the Rose 32 Etudes lists our etude as number 17. The analysis is on a hidden part of my clarinetmike.com website, but it can be accessed at this link: http://www.clarinetmike.com/docs/Clarinet_Tips_2011.pdf. NOTE: my thinking has likely changed a little in 5 years, so there may be a few differences between the link and this document.
Suggested Listening: Listen to the great bel canto singers Natalie Dessay and Maria Callas. (I’m especially crazy about Natalie Dessay.) Here’s a few videos (click on the name): Dessay 1, Dessay 2, Dessay 3 and Callas.