Etude No. 1 Preparation Tips: ClarinetMike’s 2018-2019 Texas TMEA All-State Soprano Clarinet Clinic

Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

Below are my complete clinic notes on Etude No. 1 from this year’s Texas TMEA All-State Soprano Clarinet Etudes. Click HERE to view my recently-posted notes on Etude No. 2 “The Slow Etude.” Watch for my notes on Etude 3 coming soon! Check out my previous posts on the all-state etudes: Click HERE.

ClarinetMike’s Texas TMEA All-State Clarinet Clinic 2018-2019
Soprano Clarinet Preparation Tips: Etude No. 1
Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”
“Building Great Clarinetists”
Clarinet Performing, Teaching and Consulting
Hurst, Texas, USA * 682-888-7639 *

Etude Book: David Hite editor, Artistic Studies, Book 1 – From the French School [Rose Etudes] Published by Southern Music Co. (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.

Practice Tip: Load only accurate rhythms and notes by using Rhy-No Practice Technique with BOLD Dynamics: Click HERE and HERE.

Etude 1 Allegro, Page 54. Key: E Minor. Rose 32 Etudes #8. Artistic Studies, Book 1, Edited by David Hite, Southern Music. Tempo: Quarter note = 88-108; Play from Beginning to end. Errata: Do not play the repeat from measures 16 through 31.

Composer and Style: This Rose etude is based on an etude by court oboist Franz Wilhelm Ferling (1796-1874) – to view the original etude, click HERE and go to Etude #4. Ferling was possibly influenced by the great violin virtuoso Paganini when he wrote this etude in the style of a Toccata. (cite).  A “Toccata (from Italian toccare, literally, “to touch”) is a virtuoso piece of music typically for a keyboard or plucked string instrument featuring fast-moving, lightly fingered or otherwise virtuosic passages or sections…generally emphasizing the dexterity of the performer’s fingers.” (cite) So, play like a Romantic Era Virtuoso with lots of life, but keep your touch light and relaxed!

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

Phrases and Sections: Etude has 5 phrases with each about 16 measures long. P1 = m1-m15, P2 = m16-m31, P3 = m32-m46, P4 = m47-m61, and P5 = m62-end. P1 and P2 are in E minor, P3 is in G major (relative major), P4 is in E major (parallel major) and P5 is back in E minor.

Tempo:  Quarter note = 88-108.

Musical Issues: Other than Allegro, “fast,” the only directions on performing this etude come from the editor, David Hite. At the start he added con spirito e deciso “spirited and decidedly, firmly.” I like spirito, but have taken my pencil and scratched out e deciso. (I’m not changing the Bible here, just adjusting David Hite’s unfortunate tendency to overedit!) To my mind deciso has tension in it and this etude should be played with a light touch full of life and spirit. Note carefully the marked dynamics – remember, this is a work of music not a math problem. Be sure to learn dynamics as you learn the rhythm and notes. Adding dynamics later does NOT work very well: ClarinetMike says, “If you learn it at Mezzo-Nothing,” you’ll play it at Mezzo-Nothing.”

Problem Passages: Keep the sixteenths rhythmically even with every note getting ¼ of a beat. DO NOT rush off the first sixteenth of each set of 4. M17-m21 are tricky. Play these very legato with almost no tongue. The leaps in m35-m36 and m39-m40 are very difficult, especially at a quick tempo. In m40 consider doing a little slow down into the breathe mark – then back to A Tempo in m41. Practice these spots every day – use every practice trick you can think of. Check out the practice tips on my ClarinetMike Blog HERE.

Articulation: Articulation is very important in this etude. {ClarinetMike Trick: In the slow preparation of any fast short-articulated or staccato type passage, DO NOT practice it slowly with the staccatos short. In other words, when you practice slowly, play the articulation with a mostly normal or regular tongue stroke with not much, if any, 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.} In this etude, as long as you end up performing it at least moderately fast, it works great to just learn and play all the staccatos with regular tonguing with NO separation. Regular tonguing at a fast speed makes the staccatos sound shortened. Staccatos in M62-m68 (and elsewhere) might need to be a little shortened if the tempo is on the slow side – use your ears to decide on shortness. FYI, staccatos for music from the 1800’s should not be too short in any event – think “separated” or “detached.”

Fingerings: Carefully consider your choices of fingerings for this etude. Make sure they work for YOU; different fingerings work for different people. Think for yourself. In m5 and m6 (plus m51 and m52) I would use fork on the first 2 B’s and regular middle fingering on the third B. In m18 and m19 consider middle finger for top line F# – flipping is faster for me here. In m 40 use right finger for all C’s and C#. At A Tempo in m41 (See Above), start measure with left B, but do not add right C key as is common practice [I call B Left Only, “Lonely”]. M67 requires some kind of finger slide (or jump). I suggest doing the slide (jump) between the first 2 notes of the measure with the right little finger. Shorten the first note D# and then go quickly to right B. [This is also the way I suggested doing the slide in m6 of Etude 2.] I actually do more of a “jump” than a “slide.” If the tempo is at all fast, it is hard for the ear to hear it. Also, doing it this way makes m67 similar to m65.

Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet: Scales: E minor, G major, E major, Chromatic. Arpeggios: E minor (E G B), B7 (B, D#, F# A), G major (G B D), E major (E G# B), E Fully Diminished 7th (E G Bb C#)

Breathing: Stop and breathe as marked and needed.

Suggested Listening: Listen to J.S. Bach’s Toccatas and Fugues – also his Partitas. Check out this over-the-top version of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D MinorCLICK HERE. Here’s a Toccata by the great piano virtuoso Franz Liszt, CLICK HERE. Also, watch this video depiction of Paganini [but don’t live your life like him!] CLICK HERE.

About ClarinetMike

American Clarinetist Michael Dean “ClarinetMike” 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.” Dr. Dean’s career is headlined by appearances at Carnegie Hall, ClarinetFest, NACWPI, Royal Northern College of Music, and Eastman School of Music, with recent recitals and master classes in Italy, Spain, Canada, Michigan, Ohio, Kansas, Iowa, Louisiana, and Texas. He recently returned for a fourth summer to the beautiful Italian Alps of Vipiteno, Italy as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at the international Orfeo Music Festival. He is featured on 6 commercial CD’s including his soon-to-be-released new CD, Postcards from Silver Lake. He is also prominent on New Media, such as YouTube. He was clarinetist with the Paducah Symphony Orchestra for 11 years and he’s also performed with the Southwest Symphony, Nevada Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, Southeast Chamber Players, Red Mesa Trio, and Duo 35. He has given more than 500 master classes, clinics and performances at universities, conservatories, conferences, festivals, high schools, junior high schools, and a diverse array of venues. As “ClarinetMike,” he writes for his noted and widely-read ClarinetMike Blog – viewed in 150 countries on 6 continents, His blog is the #1 clarinet blog on the Internet according to Google Search and a recent ranking on Feedspot. His articles also appear in professional journals such as the Southwestern Musician, The Bandmasters’ Review, WINDPLAYER, and NACWPI Journal. He is a past president and former officer on the National Board of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors (NACWPI). After a successful 20 years of teaching clarinet at the university level, he relocated to his native Texas due to family concerns. He is currently an active clarinet and woodwind performer, teacher, clinician, blogger, and consultant based in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Michael Dean studied clarinet performance at Texas Tech University, University of Texas at Austin, University of Colorado at Boulder, and University of Texas at Arlington. His teachers include Robert Walzel, Phil Aaholm, Carol Jessup, Bob Ackerman, and Jess Youngblood. He is a BG France Performing Artist and his professional website is Mike and his family live in Hurst, Texas. His family’s new Golden Retriever, Nimbus, is a relative of Andy.
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1 Response to Etude No. 1 Preparation Tips: ClarinetMike’s 2018-2019 Texas TMEA All-State Soprano Clarinet Clinic

  1. Pingback: Etude No. 3 “The Caprice” Preparation Tips: ClarinetMike’s 2018-2019 Texas TMEA All-State Soprano Clarinet Clinic | ClarinetMike Blog

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