Below are my complete clinic notes on Etude No. 3 “The Sextuplet Etude” from this year’s Texas TMEA All-State Soprano Clarinet Etudes. My notes on Etude No. 1 “The 6/8 One” are available HERE. My notes on Etude No. 2 “The Slow Etude,” are available HERE. Check out my previous posts on the all-state etudes: CLICK HERE.
ClarinetMike’s Texas TMEA All-State Clarinet Clinic 2017-2018
Soprano Clarinet Preparation Tips
Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”
“Building Great Clarinetists”
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Etude Book: David Hite editor, Artistic Studies, Book 1 – From the French School, Published by Southern Music [Rose Etudes] (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 for 34 years. Rose did not compose these etudes, but he adapted and enhanced etudes written for other instruments. He “clarinetized” them.
ClarinetMike says, “All of your careful practice and preparation should point toward the giving of an artistic performance of music. The heart of performing is the attempt to say something beautiful.”
Etude 3, “The Sextuplet Etude,” Moderato, Page: 37, Key: G Major, Etude Title: 40 Studies, No. 35, Play from beginning to end. Tempo: Quarter Note = 96-104. Errata: Several, but they mostly relate to older vs. newer edition CLICK HERE.
Composer and Style: This Rose etude is based on a violin etude by French composer, conductor, violinist, and pedagogue, Jacques Féréol Mazas (1782-1849), from his 75 Melodious and Progressive Studies for the Violin, Opus 36, Book 2, No. 47 in A Major, CLICK HERE. Notice that the original is marked “Staccato” and the tempo indication is “Allegro Moderato.”
Overview: A happy etude with some “Snap!” There are 4 main issues: Tone, The Sextuplet, Articulation, and Arpeggios.
Sections and Phrases: Etude breaks down into FOUR 12 measure phrases with a Coda: P1 = m1-m12, P2 = m13-m24, P3 = m25-m36, P4 = m37-m49, CODA (P5) = m49-end.
Tempo: Please note that the maximum tempo for this etude is quarter note = 104. If you play a lot faster that 104 trying to “WIN!” I will count off points if I’m your region judge! Please play MUSIC!
The Sextuplet: Measure 1, beat 1 features the first of 14 occurrences of a repeated rhythmic figure of 6 equal sextuplets on the first beat of a measure. A repeated figure or “lick” is common in etudes. I suggest playing each of the 14 occurrences of The Sextuplet exactly the same way rhythmically.
Problem Passages: Rhythm in last half of m7 is tricky. Turns in m14 and m16 will take some work. Cadenza in m36 needs to be carefully prepared. M49-m52 of Coda (P5) is difficult.
Musical Issues: Learn and perform this etude with LOTS OF DYNAMIC CONTRAST! Keep the style light and happy (a little “Snappy”) playing as much like a violin as possible – recall that this etude was originally written for the violin.
Articulation: Recall that the original etude by Mazas is marked “Staccato,” so articulation is very important in this etude. Staccatos should not be too short – think “separated” or “detached.” In the slow preparation of any short-articulated or staccato type passage, DO NOT practice it slowly with the notes real short. In other words, when you practice slowly, play the articulation with a mostly 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.
Technical Issues: Watch for measures and phrases that repeat, this will help a lot. Arpeggios: At least 2/3 of the measures in this etude are built on some sort of arpeggio – Work on Arpeggios! – see Cheat Sheet below. Articulation: See above. Also, work carefully on the repeated tongued notes in m26, m28, m33, m35 and especially m43-m44. Turn: I suggest playing the turns in m14 and m16 as five equal notes on the upbeat of 1 – thinking the five syllables of the word “opportunity” works well for me when doing a 5 note pattern. Also, as pointed out in the TMEA Performance Guide, use the top trill key of the right hand trill keys to play the B natural in the turns (regular A plus top trill key = B natural). Cadenza: This is a chromatic scale, be sure to start soft & slow and then crescendo & speed up with consistent good tone. Be very clear. Fingerings: DO NOT USE resonance fingerings or right hand down on throat tones in fast passages, this slows down and dirties up the technique.
Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet: Scales: G major, D major, G minor, and E Chromatic Scale. Arpeggios: G major (G B D), D major (D F# A), D7 (D F# A C), C major (C E G), A major (A C# E), A7 (A C# E G), E minor (E G B), F fully diminished 7th (F, G#, B, D) and F7 (F A C Eb). Special Note: This etude has a D major scale in thirds in m20 and partly in thirds in m11. So, practice D major scale in thirds. [FYI, it is received wisdom among clarinet teachers (Klose, Marcellus and “everybody”) that thirds are some of the most important technical things to practice. However, I’ve rarely see thirds in actual music over more than 30 years as a professional clarinetist and teacher. My teacher Jess Youngblood pointed this out to me years ago….]
Breathing: As marked.
Suggested Listening: Listen to great violinists, such as Joshua Bell (click here). When I was a student, one of my teachers told me, “If you really want to learn to make music, listen to singers and string players.”