ClarinetMike in Italy 2018!

ClarinetMike says, “Come Study Clarinet in the Italian Alps at the Orfeo Music Festival in July 2018!”

HEY! NEWS!! I’ve accepted an appointment to again return as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at the international Orfeo Music Festival in the beautiful Italian Alps in Vipiteno, Italy (Sterzing) next summer, July 5-19, 2018.

Consider joining me in the beautiful Italian Alps next summer! Official application information coming soon! Please contact me for more information or if you have questions – email clarinetmiketexas@yahoo.com or click HERE.

Below I’m performing at this past summer’s Orfeo Music Festival 2017 in Vipiteno, Italy. I’m performing Astor Piazzolla’s Oblivion with my fabulous colleague, Faina Lushtak, at the Chiesa di Santa Margherita in Vipiteno, Italy – an early Tyrolian Baroque church built in the 1670’s with an old bell tower first mentioned in 1337.

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The ABC Exercise! This EASY Clarinet Tone Improvement Trick Will Blow Your Mind!

ClarinetMike on tour in sunny San Diego, California.

The idea below of having students recite the alphabet, “ABC’s,” to help embouchure and voicing comes from my research into the amazing pedagogy of master single reed teacher, Joe Allard (see NOTE below). I’ve experimented with The ABC Exercise (or ABC) on and off for a number of years. I’ve lately been using it a lot with my students and in my own practicing with much success.

The ABC Exercise

What? The ABC Exercise is simply saying the alphabet aloud a few times in a normal voice. This very simple exercise always helps my embouchure and voicing.

When? I use ABC early in my daily Practice Routine as part of working on my embouchure and voicing. I often do ABC after going through the steps of the 5-C Clarinet Embouchure  and near my work on voicings from E-Tips for E-Lips.

Why does ABC help? To be honest, I’m not 100% sure. I think what is going on is that saying the alphabet gets me “in touch with things” with respect to my mouth, lips, tongue, teeth, face, etc. in embouchure/voicing.  For example, what do babies do when they learn to speak? They try to copy what they hear by experimenting with their voice using mouth, lips, tongue, teeth, face, etc. They start with “Dada” and end up smoothly using words to talk easy-touch Dad into buying them things….

ClarinetMike says, “Try it!”

NOTE: Saying the Alphabet is mentioned in The Joe Allard Project website which features part of Debra McKim’s important dissertation on Joe Allard (see HERE). The ABC Exercise above features my own ideas and thoughts on a technique that Joe Allard taught. As was true on my previously published 5-C Clarinet Embouchure and E-Tips for E-Lips embouchure tips, I happily acknowledge a heavy debt to the great Joe Allard.

(The above is a slightly revised version of a previous post.)

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Duo 35 Tour 2017! ClarinetMike and Saxophonist Todd Oxford To Give Concerts and Master Classes in Alabama and Texas!

Duo 35 Tour 2017 Coming to Alabama and Texas!

Saxophonist Todd Oxford and I are hitting the road tomorrow for our Duo 35 Tour 2017! We will be giving recitals and master classes in Alabama and Texas, including a recital and presentation at the NACWPI National Conference 2017 at the University of Montevallo – CLICK HERE.  Below are the Duo 35 Tour 2017 Itinerary and Concert Program. For the Complete Duo 35 Tour 2017 Program and Program Notes CLICK HERE.

ClarinetMike says, “If you are in the neighborhood, come say ‘HEY CLARINETMIKE!'”

Duo 35 Tour 2017
Michael Dean, clarinet
Todd Oxford, saxophone

TOUR ITINERARY

NACWPI 2017 National Conference
University of Montevallo, Alabama
Recital 10:30 a.m.
Saturday, October 7

Houston Baptist University
Houston, Texas
Recital 11 a.m. Music Forum
Monday, October 9
**********
Clarinet Master Class 2 p.m.
Monday, October 9

Houston Area High Schools
Houston, Texas
Clinics and Master Classes
Tuesday, October 10 

Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, Texas
Recital 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, October 11
**********
Clarinet Master Class 2 p.m.
Thursday, October 12

CONCERT PROGRAM

Postcards from Silver Lake (2010) by Mark Carlson (b. 1952)
(clarinet, alto saxophone & piano)
Full Moon over Mt. Baldy
Late at Night

Tango Magnetism (1998) by Dan Gutwein (b. 1951)
(alto saxophone & cd)

Andy and Me (2006) by Robert Fruehwald (b. 1957)
(clarinet & cd)

Intermission

Talking Pictures (1984) by Amy Quate (b. 1953)
(clarinet & soprano saxophone)
Water Dance
Monet
Whirligig
Blues
Allegory

The Easy Winners (1901) by Scott Joplin (1868-1917) Arr. by Terry Kenny
(clarinet & soprano saxophone)

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Etude No. 3 “The Sextuplet Etude” Preparation Tips: ClarinetMike’s 2017-2018 Texas TMEA All-State Soprano Clarinet Clinic

ClarinetMike after an orchestra rehearsal.

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”
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, 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.

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

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.”

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Etude No. 1 “The 6/8 One” Preparation Tips: ClarinetMike’s 2017-2018 Texas TMEA All-State Soprano Clarinet Clinic

ClarinetMike Performing at the Orfeo Music Festival 2017 in Vipiteno, Italy.

Below are my complete clinic notes on Etude No. 1, “The 6/8 One,” from this year’s Texas TMEA All-State Soprano Clarinet Etudes. My notes on Etude No. 2, “The Slow Etude,” are available HERE. 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 2017-2018
Soprano Clarinet Preparation Tips
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, 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.

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

Etude 1, “The 6/8 One,” Page: 63, Key: Bb Major (and G minor), Etude Title: 32 Studies, No. 18, Play from beginning to end. Tempo: Dotted Quarter Note = 72-84 [NO FASTER!], Errata: NONE

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 #18. Ferling wrote this etude in the style of a waltz (cite).

Overview: There are 3 main issues in this lively etude: Tone, 6/8 Time and Rhythm, and Dynamics.

Sections and Phrases: Etude breaks down into 6 phrases: P1 = m1-m8, P2 = m8-m16, P3 = m17-m24, P4 = m24-m35, P5 = m36-m52 with 3 subphrases: P5a = m36-m41, P5b = m42-m45, P5c = m46-m52, P6 = m52-end.

Tempo: Learn (work on) this lively Rose etude in 6 with eighth note as the beat (one eighth note = one beat). Perform in 2 with dotted quarter note as the beat (one dotted quarter note = one beat). However, if you are unable to perform it accurately in 2, then perform it in fast eight notes, i.e. in 6. NOTE: the transition from playing it in 6 beats a measure to 2 beats in a measure is tricky and requires a lot of careful and thoughtful practice. Lots of metronome? Yes! (But don’t get metronome addiction….)

Musical Issues:  The original Ferling etude is only marked “Vivace” – Rose added “Allegro” to it. The word “Vivace” comes from “Vivacious,” meaning full of life, attractively lively and animated, spirited, sparkling. I think the best way to think of Vivace in this etude (and generally) is “Full of Life.”  The editor of our edition, David Hite, (who tended to overedit) added the word “delirante” at m1. I suggest thinking of this as “fun.” So, play this etude “Full of Life and With Fun.” Note carefully the dynamics and tempo changes indicated on the music.  Make big contrasts in tempo, dynamic, style, etc. at m17 “Meno mosso.”

Problem Passages: Measures 5-6 and 13-14 are VERY difficult to perform accurately up to tempo. Also work carefully on m40-m49.

Technical Issues: Watch for phrases and measures that repeat. Rhythm. Many tricky rhythms in 6/8 etc. Also, see as mentioned above under Tempo. Slurring/Tonguing. m46-m49 have small slurs under a long slur. I suggest slurring all of m46-m47 together, no tonguing. In m48 tongue in “threes,” i.e. tongue only the first, fourth, seventh, and tenth notes in the measure. In the following measure, m49, slur the whole measure. Fingerings. Consider left C# in measure 2 and some other spots. Use right C#’s in m31. Use forked fingering for high Eb’s in m47 and m51. Use left C’s before and after fourth space Eb’s, of course. In m46 I suggest using a right C on the first note and then using a left C on the fourth note. Unlike some teachers, I do not recommend using the 1 and 1 fingering for high Bb – for example, m29, m43, etc. The mechanical adjustment on this is very fussy and I don’t trust it on 99.9% of such spots. (The one exception I can think of is in the opening of the “Bird” section of Messiaen’s “Abyss of the Birds.”)

Hypermeter: Advanced students may want to consider playing this etude in a two measure hypermeter (12/8 in 4). The entire etude works perfectly in hypermeter with the only exception being m35. (Click HERE for a discussion of hypermeter or give me a call.)

Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet: Important Scales: Bb major, F Major, G minor and F Chromatic scales. Important Arpeggios: Bb major (Bb D F), F major (F A C), G minor (G Bb D), D7 (D F# A C), Eb Major (Eb G Bb), E Fully Diminished 7th (E G Bb, C#).

Breathing: As marked. Here’s a few suggestions. Take a quick breath after m20 with a small break in tempo. This will take the pressure off the one marked at end of m22 and allow you to mostly stay in time there. At the written breath marks at the end of m41 and m45 I suggest stopping and breathing. You could also do a small ritardando before each if you prefer (I do).  FYI, above both of these breath marks I wrote the word “STOP.” Take a breath on beat 2 of m52.

Suggested Listening: Do not listen to the oboe or saxophone version on the Internet, there are differences that will mess you up. AND DO NOT LISTEN TO ANY OF THE “CLARINET ALL-STATE” RECORDINGS OF THIS ON THIS INTERNET. People generally don’t play it with 100% rhythmic accuracy. Do not let them mess YOU up!

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ClarinetMike’s 5 Powerful Little Secrets!

ClarinetMike Preparing for a Recent CD Recording Session

Below are 5 valuable small items that I always carry in my clarinet case. ClarinetMike says, “Remember the words of John Wooden, ‘Little Things Make Big Things Happen.'”

ClarinetMike’s 5 Powerful Little Secrets! by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

  1. Darker Lead Pencil. I always try to mark my music with a darker leaded pencil. This really helps me to see my markings. I have found that often “custom” pencils, such as  university logo pencils have a darker lead for some reason.
  2. Ear Plugs. I always carry a set of simple ear plugs in my case. You never know when you’ll go on a gig and you’ll be sitting in an orchestra with a trumpet in your ear! Some of my worst memories involve the slapstick in “Sleigh Ride!” If you are involved in an ongoing gig that is tough on your ears, do some research on getting high-end musician earplugs. Protect Your Ears!
  3. Synthetic Reeds. Many single reed players play exclusively on plastic reeds and they sound GREAT! Unfortunately, I can’t get them to work as well for me, so I still use wood reeds. However, I always carry a couple of plastic reeds with me for special occasions when regular reeds tend to fail: outside performances, “quick instrument switch” doubling gigs, etc. FYI, I like the Legere European Cut Signature Clarinet Reeds – Click HERE.
  4. Pad Dryer. During a long practice session or gig, especially in a cold room, water can get under your pads. I carried cigarette paper for years in my case to dab the water off the pads. I now carry the BG Pad Dryer. It works great! Check it out HERE. The last thing you need is to try to explain to a junior high school official about how cigarette papers are part of your “standard equipment” in teaching clarinet lessons…. FYI, Muncy makes a product called “Muncy Pad Papers.” They are cigarette papers without the word “cigarette.” Click HERE.
  5. ReedGeek. A couple years ago I started using this amazing product. The truth is I hate working on reeds and am scared of knives. But I love my little ReedGeek “Universal” Reed Tool – IT WORKS! The ReedGeek has REALLY helped me do simple reed adjustments that have very much improved the quality of the cane reeds I play on. Check it out HERE (watch the videos).
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Etude No. 2 “The Slow Etude” Preparation Tips: ClarinetMike’s 2017-2018 Texas TMEA All-State Soprano Clarinet Clinic

ClarinetMike says, “Opera, Opera, Opera! Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve!!”

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 2017-2018
Soprano Clarinet Preparation Tips
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, 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.

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

Etude 2, “The Slow Etude,” Andante cantabile, Page: 66, Key: A Major, Etude Title: 32 Etudes, No. 21, Play from beginning to end.  Tempo: Quarter Note = 58-66, Errata: NONE

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 #33. Ferling’s “intimate knowledge of French opera” inspired him to produce this etude in the style of a Romance (cite). This excellent etude is LOADED with opportunities for emotional musical expression and creativity. THINK OPERA! Further, recall that 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: Moderately slow etude in the style of Romantic Era opera with 4 major issues: Tone, “Over-The-Top” Romantic Phrasing, Rhythm, and a long Cadenza.

Sections and Phrases: Etude breaks down into 4 clear phrases: P1 = m1-m8, P2 = m9-m17, P3 = m18-m27, and P4 = m28-end.

Tempo: Unlike many of the slow Rose Etudes, I suggest performing this etude in 4 with quarter note as the beat (one quarter note = one beat). The original Ferling Etude upon which this was based (Ferling #33 – see above) was marked “Adagio” (slow), but Rose changed it to an “Andante” (a more moderate tempo). In m34 at “piu lento” perform in 8 with eighth note as the beat (one eighth note = one beat) for remainder of etude.

Musical Issues: The tempo indication, “Andante,” should be understood here as a somewhat “moderate” tempo. “Cantabile” means “singing.” (In Italian and Spanish “Cantar” translates “to sing.”) So, sing at a moderately slow tempo on your clarinet. The word, “dolce” is written at the start of the work at m1 and again at the beginning of P4 (m28). “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. The editor of our edition, David Hite, (who tended to overedit) added the word “placido” to dolce at m1. I suggest thinking of this as “smooth.” It is critical you understand 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.

Rubato: Teaching and performing with Rubato is always a precarious business; however, at least some rubato is certainly called for in a number of spots in this etude. I especially suggest the use of rubato and some stringendo in m12-m14 leading up to the cadenza that starts in m15. A tip on using rubato: learn the passage straight with and without a metronome, and then add rubato. Once rubato has been added, always go back and practice it straight at times. [NOTE: ALWAYS LEARN A WORK WITH DYNAMICS, DO NOT TRY TO ADD DYNAMICS LATER!]

Problem Passages: 3 spots: m12-m14 leading up to the cadenza, the cadenza in m15–m17, and m22–m25. In m16, consider playing the chromatic passage in the cadenza as an F chromatic scale in sixteenth notes – but speed up, of course.

Technical Issues: Rhythm: There are some tricky spots: especially m2 and m29 plus m21-m25. Trills: In m22, I suggest one-note trills. This will make the make the trill/grace note figure like a turn and that is a good thing. The trills in m24 are tricky – on the first one, I suggest moving pinky and ring finger together. This will take practice, stay at it. Turns: Play the turn in m30 the way it is written out in m3.  In m19, play the turn with 5 equal notes on the upbeat OR perform it the same as the trill/grace note figure of m22 (I prefer this one). Articulation: All staccatos whether with slur (m12) or not (m22) should be light and detached, not too short – use a light tongue stroke. Use your ears to adjust the lengths of the notes. Fingerings: Use fork fingering for high D# in m25. Use right C# in m33. Consider resonance fingerings in exposed throat tone spots; however, remember that good voicing is the best resonance fingering!

Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet: Scales: A major, F Chromatic. Arpeggios: A major (A C# E), E major (E G# B), B7 (B D# F# A)

Breathing: As marked. Follow the phrasing as much as possible. A couple breathing spots to consider – m14 before the high D; m15 in the cadenza between the first line E and D#.

Suggested Listening: Listen to great opera like singers Natalie Dessay and Maria Callas. (I’m especially crazy about Natalie Dessay.) Here’s a few videos (click on the name): Dessay 1Dessay 2Dessay 3, and Callas.

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