Etudes and Exercises for The Clarinet of the Twenty-First Century
The etudes and exercises in this chapter are designed as a companion to charts and musical examples of extended techniques in The Clarinet of the Twenty-First Century (1992; rev. 2004). Only a small selection of material from this encyclopedic catalog has been used in these etudes in order to provide both an outline for further development, and to encourage freedom for other explorations by composers and clarinetists.
I have prefaced each etude with a description of its difficulties and suggestions for exercises to approach these difficulties before and during practice. These suggested methods incorporate conventional concepts and methods of clarinet playing and teaching. Carefully prepared and minimal finger movement, and common methods of conventional tone production are just as important to a successful performance of these etudes as they are to performing standard eighteenth and nineteenth-century repertoire. For further illustration, please see the DVD with DVD Booklet for The Clarinet of the Twenty-First Century , that demonstrates 54 exercises and concepts of extended clarinet resources.
Clarinetists often encounter two primary difficulties when learning microtones and multiphonics. One is the different “feel” or resistance of these sounds (a scale, for example. may have a significantly different resistance/color for every pitch). Once one becomes familiar with the pitch AND color of the sounds, and learns to form an aural image of them before playing them, careful practice will solve any unevenness of sound. The second difficulty clarinetists encounter is learning to use unfamiliar fingerings, and to play legato passages with large numbers of cross fingerings. Careful practicing also permits one to gradually build this technique, in time.
The etudes below are organized into four categories, arranged from closest to conventional techniques [alternate fingerings], to most experimental [non-pitched resources]. Etudes and exercises within each category are also arranged in this hierarchy.
Some etudes/exercises are specifically designed as learning aids for particular contemporary works. These typically contain more examples of a particular technique than the work on which it is modeled.
1. alternate fingerings and microtones (Chapter II):
timbre contrasts of alternate fingerings:
Etude A = timbre trills, alternate fingerings at pp only, in chalumeau, clarion, and altissimo registers
Mozart/Weber Etude = excerpts from well known solo and chamber works of Mozart and Weber using only alternate fingerings for chalumeau and clarion registers (pp dynamic level only)
Yuasa “Clarinet Solitude” Etude = fast alternations between conventional chalumeau fingerings and muted alternates with abrupt dynamic changes (FF to pp)
Jones “Still Voices” Etude = alternate chalumeau and clarion fingerings used in sequences as subtle timbre changes from conventional fingerings
Landini “Konzertstuck” Etude – trills/tremolos of 2-4 alternate fingerings for one pitch in chalumeau and throat registers
fast alternate fingerings over the altissimo register break:
Etude B = alternate fingerings over the throat/clarion and clarion/altissimo register breaks; altissimo chromatic figures
composite fingerings (requires limited finger movement among 4 pitches and permit rapid register leaps and dramatic contrast of timbres - chalumeau, clarion, throat, altissimo):
Etude C = fast rhythmic (changing meters) and dynamic contrasts (ff attacks, pp contrast) among sets of 4 pitches for each of 10 composite fingerings.
Etude D = phrase sequences using quarter-tone scale (with sections of eighth and sixteenth note scales), quarter-tone trills, and a quarter-tone figure during which the E key is trilled to create a “pedal trill” sound
Seletsky “Robin's Piece” Etude = quarter tones in legato, chromatic neighbor-note patterns; explores all four registers
Etude E1 = 10-tone dark timbres in chalumeau/throat tone register; 16 tone (equidistant 3/8 tones) in clarion/altissimo register
Etude E2 = faster tempo; 32-tone alternating 1/8-1/4 tones - “octatonic”
chromatic equidistant sixth, sixteenth, eighth, quarter, three-eighths tones etude = conjunct microtonal segments, trills, and pedal trills that contain non-equidistant microtones
Matsuo “Hirai V” Etude = descending microtonal passages from D5 to E quarter-tone 4 (39 pitches); microtones are not equidistant, and range from quarter tones to twelfth tones in size
Nishimura “Aquatic Aura” Etude 1 = microtonal portamento; ornamented or gestural attack (including microtones and alternate timbre fingerings); portamento release of the phrase (either ascending a half-step higher, or whole-step lower)
Nishimura “Aquatic Aura” Etude 2 = lip portamento with trills in clarion and altissimo registers; unison timbre contrasts on sustained pitches; trills on microtones in descending chromatic patterns
disjunct microtonal segments, trills, and pedal trills that contain non-equidistant microtones:
Schieve “Tiger's Eye” Etude = disjunct microtones in the chalumeau and throat tone registers at a sub-tone dynamic level in motor-rhythmic phrases
Etude Color Microtones = disjunct microtones of dull, muted timbres in the chalumeau and throat tone registers, and disjunct microtones in the clarion register that include bright timbre contrasts and percussive sounds of the E and F side keys
2. multiphonics (Chapter III)
Etude 1 = release register key to produce lowest note (chalumeau or throat tone register) of multiphonic at pp dynamic
Etude 2 = diads; move in and out of highest or lowest pitch of multiphonic to multiphonic in order to produce balanced diads
Etude 2A: Etude High Voice Fade = diads; top voice fade in
Etude 2B: Etude Low Voice Fade = diads; bottom voice fade in
Etude 2C: Etude Two Voice Fade = diads; either top or bottom voice fades in
Etude 3 = balanced diads
Etude 3A = balanced diads
Etude 4 = legato connections of multiphonics with three or more voices
Etude 4A: Etude Multiphonic Sequences = chorale sequences of 2-3 voices
Etude 4B: Etude Thick Multiphonics = thick/loud sequences of multiphonics of 3 voices or more
Etude 5: Etude Multiphonic Portamento Sequences = 2-3 voice multiphonics
3. multiphonic trills (Chapter III, Chapter IV)
Etude i = microtonal trills with sustained pitch in top voice
Etude ii = multiphonic and microtonal trills that contain percussive sounds
Etude iii = half-pitched and double trills
Etude iv = diad trills
Etude v = thick multiphonic trills (3 or more voices)
4. all resources
Etude 16 = concert etude