“Polka!” Etude No. 3 All-State Tips from ClarinetMike’s 2019-2020 Texas TMEA All-State Soprano Clarinet Clinic

A couple dancing the Polka about 1840.

Below are my clinic notes on Etude No. 3 from this year’s Texas TMEA All-State Soprano Clarinet Etudes.  My previously published notes on Etude 1 and 2 are available: Etude 1 here and Etude 2 here.

ClarinetMike’s Texas TMEA All-State Clarinet Clinic 2019-2020
Soprano Clarinet Preparation Tips: Etude No. 3 “Polka!”
Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”
“Building Great Clarinetists”
Clarinet Performing, Teaching and Consulting
Hurst, Texas, USA * 682-888-7639
clarinetmike.com * clarinetmiketexas@yahoo.com

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

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.

Etude 3 Allegro, Page 52. Etude Title: 32 Etudes, 6. Quarter note = 92-112. Play from Beginning to end (no repeats). Errata: check carefully here.

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 #2. Ferling  wrote this etude in the style of a Polka (cite). The polka started about 1830 in Bohemia (Czech Republic) and by the time these etudes were published in 1840, its popularity had swept across Europe. In Paris, polkas became so popular that the polka craze started being called “Polkamania.” (cite). This etude is a polka – so DANCE!

Overview: This etude has 3 main issues: Even Sixteenths, Tonguing, and Arpeggios. Make sure to always practice and perform with great tone!

Phrases and Sections: Etude has 4 sections: S1 = m1-m18, S2 = m20-m31, S3 = m32-m50, S4 = m52 to end. M32 is a recap of the beginning for 3.5 measures.

Tempo:  The TMEA listing is Quarter note = 92-112. The original Ferling etude is marked Moderato risoluto. So, not too fast. However, whatever the tempo, the etude must dance like a Polka, full of life and fun! In other words, MUSIC!

Musical Issues: Note dynamics carefully. 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.”

Technical Issues: Don’t rush off first sixteenth in four-sixteenth pattern. Keep sixteenth notes rhythmically even. As mentioned elsewhere, watch out for accidentals that carry through the bar in this etude.

Tonguing: Articulation is very important in this etude.  Here’s a ClarinetMike Trick: In the slow preparation of any fast staccato type passage, DO NOT practice it slowly with the staccatos short. In other words, when you practice slowly, play the articulation with a 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.

Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet: G major scale and arpeggio. Chromatic scale.
Arpeggios: G = G B D,  D = D F# A, D7 = D F# A C, F# Fully Diminished 7th = F# A C Eb, E- = E G B, A7 = A C# E G, F# = F# A# C#, B- = B D F#, G7 = G B D F, C = C E G,
A- = A C E

Fingerings: In a number of places I use right B natural instead of left as in m1-m4. (This  may be because I use right B and left C# in the D major scale.) Try it different ways and see what works for you. Do not use resonance fingerings (or right hand down) on throat tones  in this etude as they’ll hamper and “muddy up” the technique.

Problem Passages: S2 (m20-m31) is tricky – consider right for some (or a lot!) of B naturals. Again, don’t rush off first sixteenth in four-sixteenth pattern.

Breathing: As marked (see errata) and as needed. Rhythm will have to be interrupted at times to breathe.  NO TENSION!

Suggested Listening: Listen to Polkas! Here’s one that Ferling and/or Rose may have heard or even performed: Offenbach “Schuler” Polka.

NOTE: The picture above of the couple dancing the Polka about 1840 is in Public Domain and can be found 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 Canada, Italy, Spain, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, and Texas. In July, he will again return to Vipiteno, Italy as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at the international Orfeo Music Festival 2019. 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. Dr. Dean has given more than 500 clinics, master classes and performances at high schools, universities, conferences and other venues. For 11 years he was a clarinetist with the Paducah Symphony and he's also performed with the Southwest Symphony, Nevada Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, Southeast Chamber Players, Red Mesa Trio, and Duo 35. His articles appear in journals such as Southwestern Musician, WINDPLAYER, NACWPI Journal and The Bandmasters' Review. As "ClarinetMike," he writes for his widely-viewed ClarinetMike Blog, the Internet’s #1 clarinet blog read in 150 countries on 6 continents: clarinetmike.wordpress.com. After a successful 25 years of teaching clarinet at the university level, he relocated to his native Texas 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, and Bob Ackerman. His web page, clarinetmike.com, 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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