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235 Fine Arts

Martin, TN 38238

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(731) 881-7413

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Dr. Elizabeth Aleksander

Resources

Practicing is very important, for a number of reasons:

  • It allows you to solidify your fundamentals; while we discuss these in lessons, it is up to you to become fluent in them when you practice.

  • It is the time to learn notes and rhythms so that we can discuss advanced concepts in lessons instead of spending time learning the music.

  • Its repetition allows you to become comfortable with your music so that you won’t get as nervous when you perform. Or if you do, you will be able to fall back on all the times you played that music in your practicing.

Remember that I only see you for one hour a week. This is not nearly enough time to make the progress that you are capable of – and that I expect from you. It is the time and effort that you put in between lessons that determine how far you will advance as a player and musician.

 

How Much to Practice

Remember that every choice you make carries obligations, and taking clarinet lessons is no exception. When you decided to take lessons, you accepted the obligation to practice for those lessons, too. I expect students at different levels to practice for different amounts of time:

  • 5th - 7th grade: 30 minutes per day, 4 days per week

  • 8th & 9th grade: 45-60 minutes per day, 4 days per week

  • 10th & 11th grade: 1-1.5 hours per day, 4 days per week

  • 12th grade (prep. for college auditions): 1.5-2 hours per day, 5 days per week

  • College as a minor or non-major: 1-1.5 hours per day, 4-5 days per week

  • College as a music ed/therapy/theory major: 1.5-2 hours per day, 4-5 days per week

  • College as a performance major: 2-2.5 hours per day, 5-6 days per week

  • Master’s student: 3-3.5 hours per day, 5-6 days per week

  • Doctoral student: 4-4.5 hours per day, 6-7 days per week

In addition, remember that anytime you choose to join an ensemble, audition for a group, or perform for any reason, you are committing yourself to practicing more.

Structuring Your Practicing

  1. Begin by taking a moment to focus yourself on practicing; this can be done while assembling your clarinet.

  2. Decide what you will work on, and in which order, during that session and gather your music.

  3. Begin your playing by warming up (for more information on this, click the "Warming Up" tab at the top of the page). Even though playing is not a sport, you can cause physical problems if you do not warm up correctly every time you play.

    1. First, stretch your wrists.

    2. Play some long tones to get the air moving and embouchure formed.

    3. Move to slurred technical studies or scales to warm up the fingers.

    4. Finally, add the tongue by playing an articulation exercise.

  4. Proceed to work through the music you have chosen for that session.

Always remember to take breaks, at least every 30 minutes. You may find that you need to take them more frequently, especially if you are making changes to your embouchure, and that’s just fine. Listen to your body; if your mouth gets tired, if you get air leaks, if your wrists start to hurt, or if your mind wanders, then you need to take a break. Actually, you’ve gone a little too long and should’ve taken one a few minutes earlier!

Practice Tips

 

GENERAL

  1. Practice at the same time each day (whenever possible) so that it becomes a part of your daily routine that you are less likely to overlook.

  2. Break your practice time into two or three shorter periods during the day if you’re practicing for a long duration. While this is helpful if you have to work around a busy class or work schedule, its main benefit is that it prevents you from becoming mentally and physically fatigued. Warm up fully for your first session of the day, and then use an abbreviated warm up for subsequent sessions.

  3. Know your own tendencies and take them into account in deciding the order in which you will work on music. If you get bored in the middle of a practice session, plan on practicing something easier then. If you’re most alert at the beginning, that’s the time to work on the piece you’re having the most difficulty with.

  4. Mindless repetition does not work. Since I only see you for one hour per week, you need to learn to evaluate yourself whenever you play (inc. in lessons and band) so that you can make the most of your practice time and progress as a player and musician.

  5. Listen to recordings, by different players, of whatever you’re working on. This will obviously help you learn rhythm, but even more, it helps with style and ensemble. If you’re playing an accompanied piece or a chamber work, it is very important to know the other part(s) as well as your own. This makes it much easier to put the work together, which is especially important if you’re paying an accompanist! =)

  6. Don't be afraid to write in your music (in pencil). If you’re always missing an accidental, mark it. If you’re always forgetting about a tricky rhythm, circle it. If you’re working a few measures more slowly, write that tempo next to them.

PRACTICING TOOLS

  1. Record yourself when you practice. This allows you to separate listening from playing so that you can focus on one or the other. Record a single piece or portion of a piece. As you listen to the recording, ask yourself whether you met the goals you set and what you want to work on next. Pay attention to rhythm, and listen to see if your phrasing is coming across.

  2. Practice with a metronome. Period. I cannot over-emphasize how important a metronome is in developing your sense of rhythm and overall musicality! Make sure, though, that you listen carefully while you’re playing to make sure that you stay with the metronome. If you notice that you’re off, stop right away (don’t wait until the end of a phrase) and figure out where you got off. Work that spot several times before moving on.

  3. Use a tuner, especially during long tones, so that you learn your pitch tendencies.

  4. Play with a drone pitch, either from a tuner, piano, or something else. Put the drone on the dominant in whatever key the phrase is in, and play slowly to make sure that you are in tune with the sounding pitch.

REEDS

  1. Always have at least four reeds in good playing condition.

  2. Never play on a chipped or broken reed!

  3. Reeds need to be broken in slowly. Since they are made of cane, which is a plant, they need to be conditioned to the humidity of our breath. This is why we break them in. This simply means that when you start a new reed, only play on it for a few minutes; when it starts feeling soft, stop playing on it. The next day, do the same thing. And the next day. And the next. Once you can play on a reed for about half an hour without it feeling soft, it is broken in.

  4. Separate the reeds you are breaking in from those that are already broken in.

  5. A great time to break in reeds is during your warm up, especially the long tones. New reeds might be a little more finicky than broken-in ones, so it isn’t ideal to play on them when you’re working on a tricky passage or learning something new.

  6. Cycle through your broken-in reeds. You’ll develop your own system depending on your reed case; I have a flat case, so I take a reed from the right and put the one I’ve used on the left. This prevents you from using one reed too much and neglecting others.

  7. I always give my broken-in reeds a second chance since reeds are affected by the weather. Once a reed stops responding as I would like it to, I set it aside. If it still doesn’t work the next day, I throw it away and start a new reed to replace it.

LEARNING TRICKY PASSAGES

  1. Isolate. Work on tricky passages on their own; if a passage is long, break it into smaller chunks. Remember to overlap chunks so that you can put it back into context more easily.

  2. Slow it down – with a metronome. If you can’t play a passage slowly, then playing it at tempo will never happen.

    1. Choose a tempo where you can comfortably execute the passage several times.

    2. Once you’ve played it correctly three times in a row, speed up the metronome: 10 beats per minute if had no trouble at all, 5 beats per minute if you had a little trouble getting it at the previous tempo.

    3. When you can play it three times in a row at the new tempo, speed it up again.

    4. Repeat until you’re at performance tempo.

    Remember that this should be done over a period of time, not in a single practice session. Once you get “finger-tied,” write down the tempo and move on to something else.

  3. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Playing something correctly once isn’t enough, especially if you’ve played it incorrectly several times before that. The human body cannot distinguish between “right” and “wrong;” it only remembers what you have done repeatedly. In other words, if you make the same mistake 10 times and then play it correctly once, your body will remember the mistake instead of the correct version.

  4. Use the Prepared Finger Technique if you’re working on an articulated passage and your fingers and tongue aren’t lining up. Play the first note and then put your tongue on the reed. With your tongue still on the reed, move your fingers to the second note. Release your tongue and then return it to the reed. Finger the third note. Release the tongue and return to the reed. Repeat for the entire passage

What is warming up?
Warming up is a period of time at the beginning of your playing wherein you focus on one aspect of playing at a time. This allows you to focus on fundamentals and start making any changes you’ve been working on in your lessons.

 

How long does it take to warm up?
For younger players, 20 minutes is often sufficient; professional players may take an hour or more to warm up. In the end, this comes down to you: how much time you have available to practice on a given day, how much playing you need to do outside of practicing, if you’re making any fundamental changes, and how much material you need to learn in the remainder of your practice session.

 

Why should I warm up?
Warming up serves several purposes. First, it gets your body ready to play and prevents injury: by slowly preparing your muscles for more strenuous use, you avoid hurting yourself by going directly from cold to full usage. Michael Phelps doesn’t swim races without warming up; you shouldn’t play without doing so.

The second reason we warm up is to get the instrument prepared to play. Our breaths are warm and contain humidity; when not used, a clarinet is cold and dry. This difference can cause cracking if a clarinet is played for a long amount of time without first being warmed up. In general, since we are warming ourselves up at the same time as our instruments, we take enough breaks that this isn’t a problem; if, however, one were to play a long rehearsal or concert without warming up the horn first...

Warming up also permits us to practice more efficiently. By taking 15-20 minutes at the beginning of your practicing to get everything working, you can spend less time during your practice session on things like getting your fingers to move cleanly, tonguing more quickly, etc… Reinforcing “the basics” by warming up gives you a more solid foundation of playing on which to build your practicing each day.

Finally, this step also helps us mentally prepare for practicing. When you take time at the beginning of your practice session to warm up, you’re also focusing your mind on playing and blocking out any interferences, including homework, tests, roommates, etc… Practicing is a time for you to focus on music, and your warm-up helps you do so by forgetting any stress and thus allowing your mind to concentrate on making music.

 

What aspects of my playing do I need to warm up?
Any physical part of your playing needs to be warmed up. These can be broken into three categories, to be performed in the following order:

  1. Embouchure and air (tone)

  2. Fingers

  3. Tongue

By following this order, you’re building from one element to the next: nothing can be played without the air and embouchure, then you’re adding fingers to the equation, and you’re finally topping it off with articulation.

 

Where can I find more information?
Some examples for warming up are listed on this page; the music is common, so you should be able to purchase it from most music stores. In addition, Robert Spring (clarinet professor at Arizona State) has put together some great thoughts on this subject, and Kelly Burke (clarinet professor at North Carolina-Greensboro) compiled a lot of different exercises in her book “Clarinet Warm-Ups: Materials for the Contemporary Clarinetist” (Medfield, MA: Dorn, 1995).

 

Click to expand and collapse

Embouchure & Air

How do I warm up my embouchure and air?

To warm up the embouchure and air, we use what are called long tones. These are just that: notes that are played slowly, and thus held for a long time. Many people skip this step because they think long tones are boring and unnecessary. However, this is where you can make the most improvement in your tone. Playing long tones allows you to focus on any changes you’re making in how you breathe, use your air, form your embouchure, and hold your tongue.

So, if you need to do long tones, how can you prevent them from getting boring? The key here is variety. You don’t need to do the same long tones every day; in fact, you can even base your long tones on a passage from a solo or etude that’s been giving you trouble. Simply retain the pitches, but play them as whole notes.

Another thing to remember here it that you need to play in all of the registers. If you’re having problems getting a good sound in all the registers, work on that now. If you’re having trouble in the altissimo or throat tones, this a good time to practice that. Even if this is the case, you can’t confine yourself to the problematic (or non-problematic) register: you need to play the comfortable register to provide a tonal model. In short, make sure that you play every note on your instrument in your long tones.

It is often helpful to use a tuner when playing long tones, either to see your pitch tendency or to sound another pitch and work on your aural skills.

Finally, remember that this is your best chance to improve your tone. Strive for your best possible sound. Always. Period.

What exercises can I use?

It's always good to begin by playing adjacent notes because less finger movement and air are needed: 

  • Chromatic

  • Guy p. 35 (bottom)

You can also use this time to work on getting an even tone throughout the registers: 

  • Twelfths (Burke p. 19)

  • Extended Twelfths

  • Octaves

  • Fifths

  • Chords: simply play any chord (from your scale routine or a piece of music) as whole notes

  • Returning High C (Guy p. 69)

This is also a good time to improve your tone in a particular register: 

  • Throat Tones: Guy p. 40 (bottom)

  • Altissimo: Guy p. 45 (top)

Finally, you can work on your voicing and throat flexibility: 

  • Altissimo Twelfths (Klug p. 67, #1-2)

  • Harmonics (Burke pp. 23-24, all exercises)

Fingers

How do I warm up my fingers?

We use fast passages or scales to warm up the fingers. These can (and usually should) be whatever scale routine you’re working on for your lessons, but sometimes you may choose to use a tricky passage from a solo, etude, or band piece. This is fine, especially because it can break up any monotony, so long you remember that all finger warm-ups need to be done with a metronome. It’s more important to play something smoothly at a slow tempo than to play a passage quickly but unevenly. Finally, since you haven’t warmed up your articulation yet, make sure that you slur everything; even if a passage is tongued, remove the articulation for the time being.

 

What exercises can I use?

As with long tones, it is best to begin with exercises using adjacent notes. It takes more coordination to play intervals because you're moving several fingers together. The following exercises use scales:

  • Klose #1 (using different forms of the minor scale)

  • Klose #3 (thirds)

The chromatic scale is also useful in warming up your fingers:

  • Jean-Jean pp.1-4 (note: this can be combined with the tonal warm-up when short on time)

  • Klose #2

  • Anything from Opperman’s The Chromatic Machine (esp. pp. 66-67)

  • Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee (Opperman pp. 142-143)

Once you've played some step-wise exercises, you can move on to chords:

  • Larry Guy exercises (pp. 23-24 and pp. 25-27)

  • Klose #4

Tongue

How do I warm up my tongue?

The tongue is warmed up in much the same way as the fingers. Sometimes you may wish to remove the fingers from the equation entirely and play simply on one pitch; other times, you might want to play a section that involves both tongue and finger movement. Either of these works, although the first method (no finger involvement) is advisable when you’re changing how you articulate. Whichever method you choose, the key is (once again) using a metronome so that your articulation is rhythmic.

 

What exercises can I use?

If you're making changes to how you articulate, use a warm-up where you can focus on that; in other words, choose one where you aren't moving your fingers: 

  • Burke pp. 39-40

Then, proceed to an exercise with minimal finger movement:

  • Bursts of 5s & 9s (Klug p. 26, #1-4)

  • Jean-Jean pp. 14-15

  • Anything from Kell’s Seventeen Staccato Studies (esp. #4 & #5)

Once you're fluent in articulation, you can choose a warm-up with lots of finger movement:

  • Alternate legato and staccato scales (Burke p. 41)

  • Scale pattern (Klug p. 27, using the articulation patterns provided)

  • All major and minor scales (Langenus #2)

  • Langenus #11-12

  • Hite #2

  • Remove pitches from difficult passage in solo, etude, or band music

 

Short-Term

In the week or so leading up to the performance, there are some additional ways you can prepare:

  • Stand. Since you’ll be standing when you perform, get used to it beforehand.

  • Run through your solo. You have to get all the way through it at the performance, so practice going all the way through (without stopping!). This will also help you figure out if you need to add more breaths, or if you have too many and are getting pent-up air.

  • Play your solo for others. This can be for other clarinetists, friends, parents, etc…. Doing this will help you get used to performing so that when you perform “for real,” it won’t be your first time playing your solo for someone else.

  • Envision the performance. While you’re practicing, pretend there’s an audience watching and listening to you. Begin by walking on stage and bowing, then perform your solo straight through (without stopping), and finish by bowing and leaving the “stage.” If you’re working with an accompanist, also include tuning with the piano, making sure your accompanist is ready to begin, and then acknowledging him or her after you’ve finished. Doing this will help you feel like you’ve already had a successful performance before the real one.

  • Practice in the clothes and shoes you’ll wear. This may not seem particularly important, but it’s one more way for you to be more comfortable for the performance. Plus, you’ll be able to make sure the shoes are comfortable enough to stand in, and you’ll see if the clothes hinder your breathing.

  • Put the performance into perspective. When you’re away from the clarinet, imagine the best- and worst-cased scenarios; make these over-the-top, like “I play so well that the New York Phil hears about me, fires their principal clarinet, and asks me to join.” Then, decide what your realistic outcome will likely be.

  • Remember that no one is perfect, and no one expects you to be perfect. Simply relax and have fun, and you’ll do great!

Day of the Performance

On the day of the performance, you can do several things to help yourself relax:

  • Get a good night’s sleep or take a quick nap. This will help you be more alert; however, if your nerves keep you from falling asleep, this isn’t that huge of a deal. Plenty of great performances have happened on little sleep!

  • Don’t practice too much. Warm up, find a reed, and maybe touch on a couple spots or do a brief run-through. That’s it; the last thing you want is to be really tired (mentally or physically, esp. for your embouchure) for your performance.

  • Again, put this performance into perspective. What can you realistically expect of yourself? No one’s perfect, and we don’t expect you to be.

  • Remind yourself of all the work you’ve done. You’ve put a lot of time and energy into preparing for this performance, and you’ve had some successful run-throughs. Trust all the work you’ve done; it’ll pay off!

  • Eat a banana. Seriously. Bananas contain a natural beta-blocker, which helps alleviate nerves. Eat one or two about an hour before the performance. Don’t go overboard, though; I had a friend who ate five or six, and he got sick!

Concertos

Composer Piece Quality Difficulty Comments

Arnold, Malcolm
(1921-2006)

Concerto No. 1, op. 20 (1948)

7

5

With string orchestra
17:00
3 movements
To alt. G
Accomp. difficulty = 6
Conservative English style, with lots of arpeggios & highly controlled dissonance
Dedicated to Frederick Thurston

Corigliano, John
(b. 1938)

Concerto (1977)

8

10

With orchestra
30:00
3 movements
To alt. C
Accomp. difficulty = 10
Very difficult to put together with accompaniment
Contemporary style, with extended techniques in both solo & accompaniment
Commissioned by NY Phil & written for Stanley Drucker

Copland, Aaron
(1900-1990)

Concerto (1947-8)

10

10

With string orchestra, piano, & harp
18:00
1 movement in 3 sections (slow - cadenza - fast)
To alt. A#
Accomp. difficulty = 10
Endurance & ensemble are most difficult aspects
Jazz influences & calm, open harmonies
Also inf. by Brazilian tune & Charleston rhythms
Written for Benny Goodman & used in ballet Pied Piper

Crusell, Bernhard Henrik
(1755-1838)

Concerto in Bb Major, op. 11 (1828)

 

9.5

With orchestra
23:00
3 movements
To alt. G
Idiomatic, virtuosic writing over the entire range of the instrument
Last movement may have been inspired by Weber's alla polacca

Crusell, Bernhard Henrik
(1755-1838)

Concerto in Eb Major, op. 1, no. 1 (1811)

 

9.5

With orchestra
21:00
3 movements
To alt. F
Idiomatic, virtuosic writing over the entire range of the instrument

Crusell, Bernhard Henrik
(1755-1838)

Concerto in F Minor, op. 5 (1818)

 

9.5

With orchestra
25:00
3 movements
To alt. G
Idiomatic, virtuosic writing over the entire range of the instrument
Considered his finest clarinet work

Daugherty, Michael
(b. 1954)

Brooklyn Bridge (2005)

Liked

 

With band
20:00
4 movements

Dello Joio, Norman
(1913-2008)

Concertante (1949)

5

6

With orchestra
17:00
2 movements
To alt. G#
Changing meters & tempos; lots of accidentals

Dimmler, Franz Anton
(1753-1827)

Concerto in Bb Major (1795)

3

3

With orchestra
25:00
3 movements
To alt. D
Accomp. difficulty = 3
Style is most difficult aspect (traditional Classical style of Mannheim school)
Good concerto for a young student
Written for Franz Anton Dimmler, Jr.
One of first composers to use the chalumeau register of the clarinet
Some fast scalar and arpeggiated passages; other than that, mostly lyrical

Finzi, Gerald
(1901-1956)

Concerto in C Minor, op. 31 (1948-9)

9.5

8

With string orchestra
25:00
3 movements
To alt. Cb
Idiomatic writing & vocal style
Prem. by Frederic Thurston, with Finzi conducting

Hindemith, Paul
(1895-1963)

Concerto (1947)

5

7.5

With band
2 pages
To alt. E
Accompaniment not very difficult
Uses techniques like sustaining a trilled note while playing a melody & gradually disassembling the clarinet
Would make a good encore piece

Hoffmeister, Frans Anton
(1754-1812)

Concerto No. 2 (early 1780s)

5

5

With orchestra
9 pages
3 movements
To alt. G
Accomp. difficulty = 7
Classical style with lots of scalar and apreggiated passages
Articulations will need to be added
May have been written for Anton Stadler

Kleinsinger, George
(1914-1982)

Street Corner Concerto (1942)

4

5

With orchestra
7 pages
3 movements
To alt. G
Lots of tempo changes & accidentals
Originally written for harmonica & orchestra; also transcribed for alto saxophone & orchestra

Krommer, Franz Vinzenz
(1759-1831)

Concerto in Eb Major, op. 36 (1803

8

5

With orchestra
21:00
3 movements
To alt. G
Accomp. difficulty = 6
Classical, Schubert-esque style
Lots of scales and arpeggiations

Kurpinski, Karol
(1785-1857)

Concerto (1823)

6.5

9

With orchestra
7 pages
3 movements
To alt. C (or alt. A with ossia parts)
Accomp. difficulty = 4
Prem. in Paris on September 17, 1823

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
(1756-1791)

Concerto in A Major, K. 622 (1791)

10

8

With orchestra
29:30
3 movements
To alt. G
Accomp. difficulty = 7
Style is most difficult aspect
First to write expressively & for entire range
Model clarinet concerto for future composers
Similar to his quintet; cadenza from it frequently used in 2nd movement
Originally written for basset clarinet & no surviving score; therefore, many editions & much controversy
Last completed instrumental work
Considered Mozart's greatest wind concerto
Inspired by Anton Stadler

Nielsen, Carl
(1865-1931)

Concerto, op. 57 (1928)

10

10

For A clarinet with orchestra
25:00
1 movement with 4 sections & 2 cadenzas
To alt. Ab
Accomp. difficulty = 10
Technical with beautiful melodic moments
Written for Aage Oxenvaad, who had a volatile temper

Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai
(1844-1908)

Concerto in Eb Major (1878)

5

4

With band
9:00
To alt. F
Accomp. difficulty = 3
Finger technique is most difficult aspect
Virtuosic, Romantic style
Written when Rimsky-Korsakov was Inspector of Naval Bands, although not performed at the time because he found the accompaniment too heavy

Rossini, Gioacchino
(1792-1868)

Introduction, Theme, and Variations in Eb Major (1809)

9

8

With orchestra
13:00
To alt. A
Accomp. difficulty = 6
Virtuosic, operatic style (bel canto - beautiful singing)
2 versions of cadenza (Stoltzman & Neidich)
Ded. to Alessandro Abate

Rossini, Gioacchino
(1792-1868)

Variations (1810)

 

6.5-7

With small orchestra
10:00
1 movement with 2 sections
To alt. E
Ded. to daughter of Valentine Lapelouze, newspaper owner & amateur clarinetist

Schreiner, Adolf

Immer Kleiner

5

7.5

With band
2 pages
To alt. E
Accompaniment not very difficult
Uses techniques like sustaining a trilled note while playing a melody & gradually disassembling the clarinet
Would make a good encore piece

Spohr, Ludwig
(1784-1859)

Concerto No. 1 in C Minor, op. 26 (1808)

8.5

9.5

With orchestra
24:00
3 movements
To alt. C
Virtuosic, Romantic style utilizing the entire range
Inf. by Spohr's experience playing violin (others more idiomatic)
All movements end piano, posing a programming challenge
Written for Johann Simon Hermstedt & commissioned by his employer, the prince

Spohr, Ludwig
(1784-1859)

Concerto No. 2 in Eb Major, op. 57 (1810)

7

10

With orchestra
25:00
3 movements
To alt. C
More operatic and difficult than #1
Written for Johann Simon Hermstedt

Spohr, Ludwig
(1784-1859)

Concerto No. 3 in F Minor (1821)

7.5

9.5

With orchestra
28:00
3 movements
To alt. B
Written for Johann Simon Hermstedt

Spohr, Ludwig
(1784-1859)

Concerto No. 4 in E Minor (1828)

 

10

For A clarinet with orchestra
23:00
3 movements
To alt. B
Most technically demanding of all Spohr's works
Written for Johann Simon Hermstedt

Spohr, Ludwig
(1784-1859)

Fantasia and Variations on a Theme of Danzi, op. 81 (1814)

 

9.5-10

With orchestra (later arr. for band)
7:00
1 movement in 3 sections
To alt. C
Spohr met Danzi in 1808
Written for Johann Simon Hermstedt

Spohr, Ludwig
(1784-1859)

Theme and Variations on a Theme from Alruna in Bb Major (1809)

 

9.5-10

With orchestra
7:00
To alt. C
Alruna is Spohr's opera from 1808; this is based on sop/cl duet from 2nd act
Written for Johann Simon Hermstedt

Stamitz, Carl
(1745-1801)

Concerto No. 3 in Bb Major (1785)

4

4

With orchestra
15:00
3 movements
To alt. E
Finger technique and endurance are most difficult aspects
Stereotypical Classical/Mannheim music, with predictable phrasing and simple texture & harmony
Good before Mozart to teach Classical style
Written for Joseph Beer (Czech), earliest known clarinet virtuoso

Stamitz, Carl
(1746-1801)

Concerto No. 11 in Eb Major (ca. 1780)

 

7.5-8

With orchestra
18:00
3 movements
To alt. G
Written for Joseph Beer (Czech), earliest known clarinet virtuoso

Stamitz, Johann Wenzel Anton
(1717-1757)

Concerto in Bb Major (ca. 1750)

 

8-8.5

With string orchestra
16:00
3 movements
To alt. E
Style is transitional from Baroque to Classical

Stevens, Halsey
(1908-1989)

Concerto (1968-9)

8

9.5-10

With string orchestra
19:15
3 movements
To alt. A
Accomp. difficulty = 9
Style is modern but tonal (although very chromatic)
Written for Lee Gibson (professor @ UNT)
Ded. to William Morrison, an American pianist

Stravinsky, Igor
(1882-1971)

Ebony Concerto (1945)

8

8

With jazz ensemble
9:15
3 movements
To alt. F
Ensemble is most difficult aspect
Combines jazz & classical
Written for Woody Hermant

Verdi, Giuseppi
(1833-1901)

La Forza del Destino Clarinet Solo from Act 3

8.5

6

Arr. Ben Armato

Weber, Carl Maria von
(1786-1826)

Concertino in C Minor, op. 26 (1811)

9

7

With orchestra (also a version for band)
9:00
To alt. F
Romantic showpiece in one movement; theme & variations format
Written for Heinrich Baermann
Composed in 3 days, before his concertos
After premiered, lots of players requested he write works for their instruments

Weber, Carl Maria von
(1786-1826)

Concerto No. 1 in F Minor, op. 73 (1811)

9

8.5

With orchestra (also a version for band)
21:00
3 movements
To alt. G
Accomp. difficulty = 7
Romantic style
Commissioned by the King after success of Weber's Concertino
Written for Heinrich Baermann

Weber, Carl Maria von
(1786-1826)

Concerto No. 2 in Eb Major, op. 74 (1811)

9

8.5

With orchestra (later arr. for band)
22:00
3 movements
To alt. Bb (in 1st movement only)
Written for Heinrich Baermann
Commissioned by the King after success of Weber's Concertino

With Piano

Composer Piece Quality Difficulty Comments

Agrell, Jeffrey
(b. 1948)

Aviary Divertimento (1997)

5

9

For Bb, Eb, & bass (1 player) with piano
27:00
7 movements, which can be performed separately
Each movement inspired by specific bird & distinct style (calypso, march, etc...)
Style & technique are most difficult aspects
Written for Bernard Rothlisberger
(Heard at 2009 Oklahoma Symposium)

Aranyi, Gyorgy
(b. 1923)

Rapszodia

7.5

7.5

7:00
1 movement
Alternate lyrical & agitated sections
Sparse piano part in lyrical sections
Out of print; score available from ICA library
(Heard at 2009 OK Symposium)

Baermann, Carl
(1810-1885)

Souvenirs de Bellini, op. 52

6.5

10

Very flashy

Baksa, Robert
(b. 1938)

Hummingbird Scherzo (1990)

3

5

6 pages
1 movement
To alt. G
Similar to Hindemith: wrote for many instruments, even "neglected" ones (tuba, English horn, harpsichord, etc...)
Good piece to teach compound meters (common 3/8 & 6/8 rhythms)

Banks, Ridgway

Sonata (1957)

7.5

7

5:00
Reminiscent of Hindemith
Accessible, lyrical/vocal style
Composer was a student of Boulanger
(Heard at 2009 Oklahoma Symposium

Bassi, Luigi
(1833-1871)

Fantasia da concerto su motivi del Rigoletto di G. Verdi (1851)

9

9

8:00
Flashy
Piano part not very difficult

Bermel, Derek
(b. 1967)

SchiZm (1994)

9

9.5

8:00
2 movements
Raucous & humorous, but with a melody
Fun for both the performers & the audience
Soft, pure tone & extended techniques are most difficult aspects
ETs inc. multiphonics, glissandi, and singing + playing
Originally for oboe & piano; trans. by the composer
Composer was a clarinetist
(Heard at 2009 OK Symposium)

Bjelinski, Bruno
(1909-1992)

Sonata

Liked

 

3 movements

Bozza, Eugene
(1905-1991)

Pulcinella, op. 53, no. 1 (1944)

6

8

3:30
1 movement
Upbeat but monotonous
Finger technique, rhythm & articulationare most difficult aspects
Originally for saxophone
(Heard at 2009 OK Symposium)

Bruch, Max
(1838-1920)

Swedish Dances (1892)

6

5

Introduction & 15 (short) dances
Trans. Luigi Magistrelli & Stefano Lazzoni (1997)
To alt. G
Originally written for violin & orchestra, then transcribed for violin & piano, then for clarinet & piano
Uses Scandinavian & Hebrew folk melodies
Musicality & finger legato are most difficult aspects

Cavallini, Ernesto
(1807-1874)

Adagio and Tarantella

7

6

6:00
1 movement, in two sections: free, cadenze-like and dance
To alt. E (optional alt. G)
Piano part not difficult; very chordal
Principle clarinetist in La Scala Opera Orchestra; "Paganini of the clarinet"
Verdi wrote 51-measure solo in La Forza del Destino for him
Technically challenging; also need light staccato
Southern edition contains cadenza at beginning; use different edition if cadenza is too advanced

Cossetto, Emil
(1918-2006)

Lied und Czardas aus Nordkroatien

8.5

7

5:00
2 movements
Active piano part
Folksy, rhapsodic vocal style
Fun & accessible
(Heard at 2009 OK Symposium)

Demersseman, Jules
(1833-1866)

Morceau de Concert, op. 31

6.5

8.5

8:00
1 movement
Very French
Dramatic, quasi-orchestral introduction
Lots of echoes & chords in clarinet
Finger technique is most difficult aspect, although it's all scalar & chordal
(Heard at 2009 OK Symposium)

Engle, David
(b. 1938)

Sonata for Clarinet and Piano (2001)

Didn't like

 

 

Etezady, Roshanne
(b. 1973)

Bright Angel (2007)

9

10

17:00
4 movements - 3rd for clarinet alone - 4th starts with *beautiful* chorale
Piano part very difficult
Ded. to Michael Sullivan

Finzi, Gerald
(1901-1956)

Five Bagatelles (1938-43)

7

4.5

15:00
5 movements
To alt. G
Vocal style; beautiful, lyrical melodies, but with some awkward leaps
Odd, changing meters; some tricky rhythms
Premiered in 1943 without the Fughetta

Finzi, Gerald
(1901-1956)

Five Bagatelles (1938-43)

7

4.5

15:00
5 movements
To alt. G
Vocal style; beautiful, lyrical melodies, but with some awkward leaps
Odd, changing meters; some tricky rhythms
Premiered in 1943 without the Fughetta

Frackenpohl, Arthur
(b. 1924)

Sonata (1996)

7

6

3 movements
Good for advanced HS/young college student
Musicianship is most difficult aspect

Francaix, Jean
(1912-1997)

Tema con Variazioni (1974)

Liked

 

Theme, 6 variations, & cadenza (between var. 5 & 6)
Paris Conservatoire piece

Gause, D.

The Spanish Trail (2008)

Didn't like

 

 

Giacoma, Carlo Della
(1858-1929)

Fantasy on Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana (1891)

Liked

 

 

Gibson, Robert
(b. 1950)

Three Etudes (2000

5

8.5

13:00
May be too flashy

Guastavino, Carlos
(1912-2000)

Tonada y Cueca (1965)

9

7.5

6:30
2 movements
Active piano part
Folksy style; lyrical, passionate, & FUN
Composer is Argentinian
(Heard at 2009 OK Symposium)

Harlos, Steven
(b. 1953)

Benniana (2007)

8

9.5

3 movements

Honegger, Arthur
(1892-1955)

Sonatine (1921-22)

7.5

6.5

6:30
3 movements
To alt. E
Accomp. difficulty = 8
Modern style, tonal yet dissonant, with some jazz and contrapuntal influences
Rhythm & leaps most difficult aspects
Written for clarinet or cello
Dedicated to Werner Reinhart, whom Stravinsky also wrote for

Kibbe, Michael
(b. 1946)

Four Pieces, op. 70 (1983)

7.5

7.5

Accessible - sounds like cartoon music

Kovacs, Bela
(b. 1937)

Sholem-alekhem, rov Feidman!

8.5

7.5

4:45
1 movement: slow introduction and a fast dance
Accompaniment not too difficult
Style is most difficult aspect
Uses vibrato & pitch bends
Written as a tribute to Giora Feidman, a Klezmer musician
(Heard at 2009 Oklahoma Symposium)

Kraft, Leo
(b. 1922)

Five Pieces (1962)

6

6

6 pages
5 movements, each with a different character
To alt. A
Busy accompaniment; lots of two against three
Must be comfortable with two against three
Need a light staccato, wide dynamic range, and ease in altissimo

Krejn, Grigori
(1879-1953)

Rhapsody (1941, rev. 1948)

Didn't like

 

 

Lobanov, Vassily
(b. 1947)

Sonata, op. 45 (1989)

2.5

7

3 movements
Somewhat interminable
No melodic content, with ET for ET sake

Lutoslawski, Witold
(1913-1994)

Dance Preludes (1955)

5

6

9:30
5 movements; mvmt III is hardest
To alt. G
Piano part is difficult
Features meter changes & unusual notation
Need light staccato, good sense of rhythm, and smooth finger legato
Good for working on grace notes & introducing meter changes
Sounds good at tempo, but still effective under tempo

Machado, Johnson
(b. 1967)

Sonatina (2007)

8

8

11:00
3 movements - 2nd is lyrical & pretty, 3rd is hardest (technical)
Piano difficulty = 6.5
Accessible & fun

Mahle, Ernst
(b. 1929)

Sonatina (1974)

7.5

7

3 pages
Piano not easy
Style is most difficult aspect
A little repetitive at times

Martinu, Bohuslav
(1890-1959)

Sonatina (1956)

9

9.5

8:00
3 movements
Technique is most difficult aspect
(Heard at 2009 Oklahoma Symposium)

Mendelssohn, Felix
(1809-1847)

Sonata in F Major

6

8

Very long!
3 movements - 1st & 3rd flashy, without substance
Trans. C. Neidich

Meyn, Till MacIvor
(b. 1970)

Red/Blue (2008)

3

7

4 movements
Sometimes tedious
Not idiomatic, causing tempos that seem too slow just to accommodate a few difficult passages

Mignone, Francisco
(1897-1986)

Concertino (1957)

5

8

10:00
3 movements
A little rambling

Mouquet, Jules
(1867-1946)

Solo de Concours (1902)

4

6

5:30
1 movement; 1st half is lyrical & 2nd is technical
To alt. F
Piano part is easy; very chordal
Need light staccato
1902 Contest Piece

Neidich, Charles
(b. 1953)

Threnos (2005)

Didn't like

 

 

Nobre, Marlos
(b. 1939)

Desafio X (1968)

3.5

8.5

6:00
A bit repetitive
Begins with cadenza
Lots of altissimo

Novacek, John
(b. 1964)

Four Rags for Two Jons (2009)

9.5

8.5

12:00
4 movements; can be performed separately
1st is fast; 2nd is slow; 3rd is jazzy; 4th is hardest
Piano part isn't too difficult but has melody at times
Humorous & fun; accessible
Sparse texture
Style is most difficult aspect
Also (originally) in other arrangements, inc. vln/pno, 2 pno, etc...; this is the composer's favorite
Written for Jon Manasse & Jon Nakamatsu (pno - Van Cliburn winner)
(Heard at 2009 Oklahoma Symposium)

Piazzolla, Astor
Tango-Etudes

Fantasy on Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana (1891)

Liked

 

6 etudes that can be performed as a group or separately

Prokofiev, Sergei
(1891-1953)

Suite from Romeo and Juliet

Liked

 

4 movements
Arr. Boris Prorvich

Rabaud, Henri
(1873-1949)

Solo de Concours (1901)

6

6

4:30
1 movement; beginning & end are technical, and middle is lyrical
To alt. G
Accomp. is easy; chordal
Need clean fingers and comfort moving between duple & triple subdivisions
Runs are mostly scalar or triadic
Very little articulation
1901, 1908, & 1937 Contest Piece

Rajna, Thomas
(b. 1928)

Dialogues (pub. 1970)

4

6

6:30
1 movement
To alt. A
Piano part is busy
Wide dynamic range
Ease in altissimo is a must
Written for

Ravel, Maurice
(1875-1937)

Piece en forme de habanera (1907)

9

8

3:00
1 movement
Piano part not too difficult
Slow, with a sparse texture
Style & pristine tone are most difficult aspects
Originally bass voice & piano
Arr. Gaston Hamlin
(Heard at 2009 Oklahoma Symposium)

Reger, Max
(1873-1916)

Two Pieces (1902)

7.5

6

5:00
2 movements: Albumleaf and Tarantella
To alt. E
Accomp. difficulty = 8 (mostly b/c of last section of Tarantella)
Father played the clarinet
Romantic style: chromaticism, hemiola, negation of beat
Need good sense of rhythm & air support over leaps

Siqueira, Jose
(1907-1985)

Sonatina (1978)

8

7

8:00
3 movements - 2nd *gorgeous!* - articulation important in 3rd
Piano not too difficult

Siqueira, Jose
(1907-1985)

Three Studies (1963)

7.5

9.5

7:00
3 movements - 2nd very fun!
Flashy but with substance
Technique & style most difficult

Stanford, Charles
(1852-1924)

Sonata (1911)

4

4

20:00
3 movements
To alt. F
Movements I & III show Brahms's influence
Movement II is an Irish lament
Dedicated to Oscar Street & Charles Draper

Templeton, Alec
(1909-1963)

Pocket Size Sonata (No. 1 or 2?)

9.5

8.5

7:30
3 movements (Improvisation, Modal Blues, In Rhythm)
Jazz-influenced, but not overly jazzy
Style is most difficult aspect
(Heard at 2009 Oklahoma Symposium)

Voglar, Crt Soja
(b. 1976)

Jeux #2

Liked

 

 

Wanhal, Johann Baptist
(1739-1813)

Sonata No. 3 in Bb (c. 1780)

6.5

5

6 pages
3 movements
To alt. E
Accomp. difficulty = 5
Classical style: very little chromaticism, chordal accompaniment, forms
I: sonata form (with repeats); III: Rondo
One of the earliest clarinet sonatas
Wanhal was influenced by Mozart and possibly had an influence on him
Need a steady pulse, light articulation, and solid finger technique

Welcher, Dan
(b. 1948)

Dante Dances

8.5

9.5

16:00
7 movements
Very fun!
Later orchestrated by the composer

Weston, Craig
(b. 1963)

Stehekin Sonata (2008)

6

9.5

13:30
3 movements; 1st based on 4-note motive; rhythm difficult in 3rd
Difficult piano part
Ensemble & intonation are most difficult aspects
Written for Tod Kerstetter, prof. at Kansas State
Influenced by North Cascades National Park, esp. John Muir's description of it
(Heard at 2009 Oklahoma Symposium)

Solo Clarinet

Composer Piece Quality Difficulty Comments

Adler, Samuel

Canto XIV: A Klezmer Fantasy (1997)

 

8-8.5

Range: E to B

Arnold, Malcolm
(1921-2006)

Fantasy, op. 87 (1966)

 

4.5-5

Range: E to F

Bach, Johann Sebastian

Chromatic Fantasia (ca. 1720s)

9.5

9.5

Arr. Gustave Langenus (1944)
Range: E to E

Bassett, Leslie

Soliloquies (1976)

9

10

Range: E to B
Requires ETs

Bennett, David

A Cappella Clarinet (1979)

 

3.5-4

Range: E to Ab (optional C)

Brosse, Dirk
(b. 1960)

Autumn

4.5

8.5

A bit rambling

Bucchi, Valentino

Concerto (1969)

 

9

Range: E to A
Requires ETs

Cage, John

Sonata (1933)

 

7

Range: E to Ab

Dekleva, Igor
(b. 1933)

Solo pour la nuit (2004)

Liked

 

 

Einem, Gottfried von

Seltsame Tanze, op. 111 (1997)

 

3.5-4

Range: E to G (some only go to E or F)

Giron, Arsenio

Three Bagatelles (1987)

 

5.5-6

Range: G to E

Harvey, Paul

Three Etudes on Themes of George Gershwin (1975)

9.5

7.5

Range: E to G

Jacob, Gordon

Five Pieces (1972)

5.5

4

Range: E to F

Kavasch, Deborah

Celestial Dreamscape (1995)

7.5

8.5

2 movements
Range: E to C
ETs inc. multiphonics and quarter tones

Krenek, Ernst

Monologue (1956)

 

4

Range: E to G

Larsen, Libby
(b. 1950)

Dancing Solo (1994)

Liked

9.5

5 movements
11:30
Range: E to "highest note possible"

Machado, Johnson
(b. 1967)

Estudo I (2003)

7

7.5

Not long
ETs inc. fluttertonguing, multiphonics, pitch bends, & quarter tones
Possibly a good early ET piece

Mandat, Eric
(b. 1957)

Folk Songs (1986)

Liked

 

Extended techniques: flutter tonguing, singing through the clarinet, circular breathing, quarter tones, multiphonics

Mandat, Eric
(b. 1957)

SubtrainS "O" Strata'S fearS (SOS) (1996)

Liked

 

Extended techniques: multiple tonguing, circular breathing, quarter tones, extreme altissimo, improvisation, tapping foot, multiphonics

McAllister, Scott

Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind (1994)

8.5

9

4 movements
Range: E to B
Requires ETs
Inspired by Carl Sandburg's poem of the same name

Messiaen, Olivier

Abyss of the Birds (1941)

9.5

9.5

3rd movement from the Quartet for the End of Time
Range: E to G

Olah, Tiberiu
(b. 1928)

Sonate

8.5

9.5

4:00
1 movement
Difficult technical passages (rock-like) with a few lyrical ones
Technique is most difficult aspect
Composer is Iranian
(Heard at 2009 OK Symposium)

Opperman, Kalmen

Un Seul (1998)

 

4

Range: E to A
For Bb or bass

Osborne, Willson

Rhapsody (1952)

7

4.5

Range: E to Db

Penderecki, Krzysztof

Prelude (1987)

Liked

8.5

Range: E to C

Perle, George

Three Sonatas (1943)

 

7.5-8

Range: G to F# (#1-2), G to A (#3)

Ran, Shulamit
(b. 1949)

For an Actor: Monologue for Clarinet (1978)

6.5

9.5

For A clarinet
7:00
1 movement
To alt. C
Modern, avant-garde style
Style, technical passages, & tempo are most difficult aspects
ETs inc. multiphonics, flutter tonguing, & pitch bends
Premiered by Larua Flax
(Heard at 2009 Oklahoma Symposium)

Rozsa, Miklos

Sonata, op. 41 (1987)

7.5

8

Range: E to F

Rozsa, Miklos

Sonatina, op. 27 (1957)

7.5

7.5

Range: E to A

Sedicias, Dimas
(1930-2001)

Clari-Videncias (1999)

5

8

3:00
2 movements
No extended techniques

Smith, William O.
(b. 1926)

Five Fragments for Double Clarinet (1977)

7.5

9

Uses the upper & lower joints separately; need 2 mouthpieces, ligatures, & reeds
7:30
5 movements
Parlor trick, but with interesting sonic effects/ideas
Intonation & playing 2 lines are most difficult aspects
(Heard at 2009 OK Symposium)

Steinberg, Paul
(b. 1946)

Hexad (1978)

4

8.5

8:00
6 movements; I & II are lyrical; VI is most fun
Modern but tonal; rambling
Uses stop tonguing
Composer is a clarinetist & he wrote it for himself
Each mvmt represents a clarinetist he knew
(Heard at 2009 OK Symposium)

Stravinsky, Igor

Three Pieces (1918)

9.5

8

For A & Bb clarinets
Range: E to G

Sutermeister, Heinrich

Capriccio (1946)

9

7.5

For A clarinet
Range: E to G

Tomasi, Henri

Sonatine Attique (1956)

 

8

Range: F# to G

Tower, Joan

Wings (1981)

9.5

10

Range: E to A

Widmann, Jorg
(b. 1973)

Fantasie (1993)

8

9

Inc. some extended techniques (pitch bends, multiphonics)
Lyrical - not ET for ET sake
Good early ET piece

Wilson, Dana
(b. 1946)

Piece for Clarinet Alone (1982)

Liked

 

Extended techniques: multiphonics, flutter tonguing, extreme altissimo, pitch bends

Yadzinski, Ed
(b. 1940)

Sirene (1989)

8

8.5

Approx. 6-7 minutes
1 movement
To alt. C
Dramatic & fun, with no ETs
Large leaps are most difficult aspects
(Heard at 2009 OK Symposium)

Electronics

Composer Piece Quality Difficulty Comments

Ardovino, Lori

Variations on Themes by Black Sabbath (2009)

3

8

Unaccompanied, with optional electronic delay
7:00
3 movements, each based on a Black Sabbath song
Interesting initially, but became old quick
(Heard at 2009 Oklahoma Symposium)

Cornicello, Anthony
(b. 1964)

Syncretic Resonances (2008)

Didn't like

 

For 2 clarinets & computer
Lots of special effects

Ellis, Merrill

A Dream Fantasy (1973)

6

9.5

With percussion, tape (or CD), 2 slide (or Powerpoint) projectors, & 2 film (or VHS) projectors
Logistics are very complicated, requiring lots of people to run electronics
Calls for acting from both musicians & noises on the mouthpiece

Long, Patrick
(b. 1968)

De Profundis (2006)

2.5

5

With DVD on religious texts

Muhly, Nico
(b. 1981)

It Goes Without Saying (2005)

3.5

 

With tape
A bit long
Interesting (in a good way)
Sometimes hard to hear soloist because tape inc. clarinet
No extended techniques

Resanovic, Nikola
(b. 1955)

Alt.Music.Ballistix (1995)

9.5

9

With tape
4 movements (continuous)
No extended techniques

Shapiro, Alex
(b. 1962)

Water Voyage (2007)

Didn't like

 

For 2 clarinets & tape

Shatin, Judith
(b. 1949)

Grito del Corazon (2001, rev. 2007)

Didn't like

 

For clarinet, bass clarinet, electronics, & video
Very modern

Weidenaar, Reynold

Night Flame Ritual (1983)

8.5

9

With live audio processing & DVD
Best work with visuals yet!
Obviously from the 80s

Wiemann, Beth

Dodge at Mann Gulch (2004)

7.5

7

With DVD
Story with clarinet accompaniment
Technically challenging & difficult to put together

Wilson, Olly
(b. 1937)

Echoes (1974)

Didn't like

 

For clarinet& electronics
(Heard at 2009 Oklahoma Symposium)

Bass Clarinet

Composer Piece Quality Difficulty Comments

Ardovino, Lori

Variations on Themes by Black Sabbath (2009)

3

8

Unaccompanied, with optional electronic delay
7:00
3 movements, each based on a Black Sabbath song
Interesting initially, but became old quick
(Heard at 2009 Oklahoma Symposium)

Babbitt, Milton

My Ends Are My Beginnings (1978)

 

9-9.5

For bass AND Bb
Range: E to F (Bb) & Eb to D (bass)

Bach, Johann Sebastian

Six Suites, BWV 1007-1012 (ca. 1720)

10

9.5

Each suite has 6 movements
Arr. Michael Davenport (2005)

Bermel, Derek
(b. 1967)

Sonata Humana (1991)

6.5

9

With piano
12:00
3 movements; 2nd very delicate
Some ETs (flutter tonguing & pitch bends)
Written for Robert Tuttle & Lynn Kompass
(Heard at 2009 Oklahoma Symposium)

Bozza, Eugene
(1905-1991)

Ballade

8.5

6.5

With piano

Carter, Elliott

Steep Steps (2001)

 

7.5-8

Range: Db to G#

Erdmann, Dietrich

Monolog (1984)

 

4.5-5

Range: C to D

Kagel, Mauricio

Schattenklange: Drei Stucke (1995)

 

9.5-10

Range: C to Ab

Lang, David
(b. 1957)

Press Release (1991)

9

10

Unaccompanied
9:00
1 movement
Rock-like, with a driving beat (constant motion)
Sounds like two people are playing
Technique, registral leaps, & soft passages are most difficult aspects
Written for Evan Ziporyn, bass clarinetist with Bang on a Can
(Heard at 2009 Oklahoma Symposium)

Phillips, Burrill
(1907-1988)

Concert Piece (1940)

7

6.5

With piano
Some altissimo

Prinz, Alfred
(b. 1930)

Sonata (2002)

6

9

With piano
4 movements

Siegel, Wayne
(b. 1953)

Jackdaw (1995, rev. 2000)

8.5

9

With tape
Need great rhythm because of phase shifting
Sometimes hard to hear soloist
No extended techniques

Books of Music

Composer Piece Quality Difficulty Comments

Bach, Johann Sebastian

Bach for the Clarinet (ca. 1720s)

 

8-8.5

Unaccompanied solos, primarily from violin & cello suites
Arr. Ronald L. Caravan (1998)

Kovacs, Bela)

Hommages (1994)

9.5

6.5-9.5

Unaccompanied solos in the styles of 9 composers

Paganini, Nicolo

14 Caprices from op. 1 and Moto Perpetuo, op. 11, no. 6 (1805 & 1835)

 

5-5.5

Unaccompanied

Weston, Pamela (ed.)

17 Classical Solos for Unaccompanied Clarinet (1773-1885)

 

3-5.5

Mostly transcriptions, but good for a young player looking for an unaccompanied solo

Chamber

Composer Piece Quality Difficulty Comments

Argento, Dominic
(b. 1927)

To Be Sung Upon the Water

7.5

8.5

sop/cl/pno
8 movements
Requires both Bb & bass clarinet
Ensemble & intonation most difficult

Arguello, Alejandro
(b. 1972)

Landscape No. 4 "Voices from the Darkness" (2008)

8

8.5

cl/str 4
New but accessible - in vein of movie music

Camilleri, Charles
(b. 1931)

Divertimento No. 1 "Hommage a Manuel de Falla" (1957)

9.5-10

9

2 cl/pno
9:00
3 movements - ensemble difficult in beginning of 3rd
Fun & accessible
Very good for VA!
Unpublished =(

Douglas, Bill
(b. 1944)

Suite Cantando (2006)

9

8

cl/bsn/pno
3 movements
Fun and accessible
Possible Latin-American influences
Balance & style most tricky; technique not too difficult

Douglas, Bill (arr.)

(Three Jazz Arrangements)

8

8

cl/bass cl
7:00
Movements: Well, You Needn't (Thelonious Monk) - Round
Midnight (Monk) - Night in Tunisia (Dizzy Gillespie)
Fun & accessible
Easy to put together
Not overly jazzy

Etezady, Roshanne
(b. 1973)

Siren (2008)

2

10

2 cl
9:00
High & flashy

Francaix, Jean
(1912-1997)

Quatuor (1933)

Liked

 

Woodwind Quartet
Rhythmically difficult, both individually and ensemble-wise

Freund, Don
(b. 1947)

Rite Now! (2008)

3

8.5

cl/bass cl/pno
12:00
Flashy
Very dissonant

Glazunov, Alexander
(1865-1936)

Reverie orientale

Liked

 

cl/str 4

Harbison, John
(b. 1938)

Trio Sonata (1995)

6

7.5

2 Bbs & bass
4 movements, all fast
No extended techniques

Higdon, Jennifer
(b. 1962)

Dash (2002)

7.5

10

vln/cl/pno
5:00
1 movement
Constant motion
Ensemble timing is most difficult aspect
Commissioned by Verdehr Trio
(Heard at 2009 Oklahoma Symposium)

Hoiby, Lee
(b. 1926)

Rock Valley Trio (2007)

10

8

vln/cl/pno
8:30
1 movement
Joyous American folk sound
Very song-like, lyrical melody; very accessible
Romantic, sweeping gestures
Commissioned by Verdehr Trio
(Heard at 2009 Oklahoma Symposium)

Houle, Francois
(b. 1961)

Of Spheres Unbound (2008)

3

9

5 cl (4 Bb + 1 Bb/bass)
Modern & ET
Novelties, like slap tonguing & playing on upper joint

Kibbe, Michael
(b. 1945)

Serenade, Op. 131

Liked

 

2 cl
2nd, 5th, & 6th movements esp. good

Larsen, Libby
(b. 1950)

Yellow Jersey (2004)

7.5

9.5

2 cl
8:00
A bit long; gets repetitive at times
Parts are equal, but ensemble too difficult for VA

Mandat, Eric
(b. 1957)

Bipolarang (2008)

5

9.5

2 cl
8:00
Ensemble is difficult
Uses quarter tones & multiphonics - ET for ET sake

Mandat, Eric
(b. 1957)

What Elsa's New (1997)

5

9.5

2 cl
Flashy

Martin, Theresa
(b. 1979)

Solar Flair (2004)

8

9

2 cl
6:00
Fun & accessible
Showy but with substance
Good opener or closer, but not buried in the middle
Probably too difficult for VA
Difficult both individually & as an ensemble

Martinu, Bohuslav
(1890-1959)

Quatre Madrigaux (1937)

7.5

8

ob/cl/bsn
20:00
4 movements
Very long; rambles at times
For C clarinet!

McCabe, John
(b. 1939)

Bagatelles (1965)

7.5

9.5

2 cl (no pno)
11:00
8 short movements with distinct characters
Accessible
Technique, blend, & pure tone are most difficult aspects
(Heard at 2009 Oklahoma Symposium)

Rimple, Mark
(b. 1969)

Four Canons

6

7.5

cl/Eng hn

Rorem, Ned
(b. 1923)

Ariel (Five Poems of Sylvia Plath)

5

8

sop/cl/pno
Soprano difficulty = 9.5
Interesting but very modern

Rota, Nino
(1911-1979)

Trio

9

8.5

cl/vlc/pno
GREAT less common piece for this ensemble!
3 movements - 3rd is very accessible but most difficult
Rota was a film composer

Sargon, Simon
(b. 1938)

"Birds of a Feather..." (2008)

9

8.5-9

2 cl
7:30
6 movements - ensemble difficult in 2nd & 6th
Really fun & accessible
Good for VA (may have to limit movements)

Schocker, Gary
(b. 1959)

Sonata (1996)

9.5

8.5

2 cl/pno
14:00
3 movements
Parts are equal, inc. piano
Neoromantic style; melodic, not "mdoern"
Ensemble blend & timing are most difficult aspects
(Heard at 2009 Oklahoma Symposium)

Sierra, Roberto
(b. 1953)

Recordando una melodia olividada (2008)
(Remembrance of a Forgotten Melody)

8.5

9.5

vln/cl/pno
12:30; would've been *great* if half the length
1 movement
Slow melody with bursts of virtuosic passages
Technical aspects and ensemble blend/timing are most difficult aspects
Commissioned by Verdehr Trio
(Heard at 2009 Oklahoma Symposium)

Thomas, Augusta Read
(b. 1964)

Dancing Helix Rituals (2006)

4

10

vln/cl/pno
8:00
1 movement
Lots of notes with no sense of flow/organization/melody
Commissioned by Verdehr Trio
(Heard at 2009 Oklahoma Symposium)

Tomasi, Henri
(b. 1953)

Recordando una melodia olividada (2008)
(Remembrance of a Forgotten Melody)

8.5

9.5

vln/cl/pno
12:30; would've been *great* if half the length
1 movement
Slow melody with bursts of virtuosic passages
Technical aspects and ensemble blend/timing are most difficult aspects
Commissioned by Verdehr Trio
(Heard at 2009 Oklahoma Symposium)

Wolfgang, Gernot
(b. 1953)

Sketch Book (2007)

9.5

9.5

vln/cl/pno
19:00
3 movements
Jazz influenced, but not jazz per se
Lots of folk influence & interesting harmonies (in a good way)
Ensemble timing is most difficult aspect
Commissioned by Verdehr Trio
(Heard at 2009 Oklahoma Symposium)

Clarinet Quartet

Composer Piece Quality Difficulty Comments

Anderson, Leroy
(1908-1975)

Clarinet Candy

7

6.5-7

With piano (pretty easy - chordal figurations)
Fun & not difficult to put together
Lots of runs, but scalar

Carter, Elliott
(b. 1908)

Canonic Suite (1981)

8.5

8

6:00
3 movements
Accessible
Not jazzy
All parts important
Intonation is most difficult aspect
One of the better quartets!

Frank, Andrew

Quartet (2002)

6

7.5

3 movements
Inc. Eb & bass
Ensemble is most difficult aspect

Hanley, James F.
(1892-1942)

Back Home Again in Indiana

6

8

3:00
Arr. Bill Holcombe
Jazzy
Style & clarity are most difficult aspects

Henry, Michael
(b. 1963)

Birdwatching (A Fancier's Handbook)

8.5

9

6 movements, each short & interesting
Could perform fewer movements to make it easier

Lockhart, Beatriz
(b. 1944)

Estampas Criollas (1984)

9.5

9

9:00
4 movements
Arr. Jorge Montilla
All parts important
Very fun!!
Technique & style most difficult aspects

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
(1756-1791)

Andante, from Divertimento No. 1, K. 136

8

7.5

5:00
Trans. Michael Reid
Difficulty lies in blend, intonation, & style
A bit first-heavy

Suzuki, Eiji
(b. 1965)

Foster Rhapsody

Liked

 

 

Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Ilyich
(1840-1893)

Serenade - Waltzer, op. 48

Liked

 

Arr. Russell Coleman

Uhl, Alfred
(1909-1993)

Divertimento

7

8.5

13:00
3 movements
A bit rambling at times
But growing on me...

Velez, Carlos A.

Caricatures (1980)

8.5

9.5

4 movements
Inc. 2 Ebs & bass, with instrument changes for different movements
Fun & accessible
Intonation is most difficult aspect

Wilson, Dana
(b. 1946)

Come Out and Play (2008)

9

9.5

Some unconventional techniques, inc. playing on mouthpiece & clapping

Wilson, Kenneth A.
(b. 1946)

Variations on a Theme of Paganini

Liked

 

 

Ziporyn, Evan
(b. 1959)

Hive (2007)

7

10

2 Bbs & 2 basses
Interesting & kind of cool
A bit long
Some fluttertonguing in bass

Clarinet Choir

Composer Piece Quality Difficulty Comments

Bach, Johann Sebastian

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor

8.5

7

9:00
Need strong low clarinets!
Eb not very important

Baermann, Heinrich
(1784-1847)

Adagio

7.5

3

With solo cl (difficulty = 7; line & tone)
5:00
Arr. Tod Kerstetter
Great feature for soloist!

Basler, Paul
(b. 1963)

Jambo (2008)

6.5

5

3:00
Accessible & fun

Dvorak, Antonin

Slavonic Dances

6

7

With timpani, bass drum, & triangle
5:00
Arr. Ron Scott

Elgar, Edward

Nimrod

9

5

3:00
Arr. Jamie Murrow
Phrasing is most difficult aspect

Fillmore, Henry
(1881-1956)

Rolling Thunder (1916)

7

6

2:00
Arr. Matt Johnston
Good arrangement
Upper voices most difficult
Need a good Eb player

Frederickson, Jack

Tribute to the Duke

7

7

6:00
Style is most difficult aspect
Good arrangement & accessible

Holst, Gustav
(1874-1934)

Suite No. 2 in F, op. 28 (1911)

8.5

7

With string bass & percussion (snare, cymbals, triangle, anvil, 2 timp)
13:00
4 movements
Arr. Matt Johnston
Based on the 2nd Suite for band
Very effective arrangement!!
Interpretation & endurance are most difficult aspects
Need a good Eb player!

Jacob, Gordon

Wind in the Reeds

5

5

12:00
4 movements

Mascagni, Pietro

Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana

5

4

2:00
Arr. Anthony Reich

Mendelssohn, Felix
(1809-1847)

Scherzo from A Midsummer Night's Dream (1842)

7.5

9

4:30
Arr. Anthony Wakefield
Hard but worthwhile; a good arr.

Verdi, Giuseppe

La Forza del Destino

7.5

4

With solo cl (difficulty = 7)
5:00
Arr. Charles Yaskey
Projection is an issue

Weber, Carl Maria von

Overture to Euryanthe

8

7.5-8

With string bass & timpani
9:00
Arr. Harvey Herman

Writings on the Clarinet

Author

Title

Category

Comments

Adey, Christopher

Orchestral Performance: A Guide for Conductors and Players (1998)

Performance

Written "with specific regard to the wide-ranging demands made upon such ensembles" as those composed of talented individual players who may lack an ear for ensemble
Clarinet portions make you reconsider your role in the orchestra; other parts helpful when playing with members of other sections
Ded. to Anthony Foster

Baines, Anthony

Woodwind Instruments and Their History

History

Inc. info on modern instruments (helpful for chamber music) & how they developed (helpful for historically informed performance)
Clarinet section is concise & easy to understand - a good foundation & quick reference guide
Inc. pictures of historical instruments

Bonade, Daniel

Clarinetist's Compendium

Pedagogy

Good for a young student, as it provides enough info to get started without being overwhelming
However, illustrations are pencil drawings & exaggerated, so not as useful as photos in newer books
Out of print, so hard to get ahold of

Brymer, Jack

Clarinet

Overview

Lots of info about everything, but not as specific as many books
Interesting photos to understand how the clarinet works mechanically (bore vs. oboe, from wood to clarinet, mechanism, etc...)
Other books cover the same subjects better (Lawson), but mechanics are best covered here

Campione, Carmine

Campione on Clarinet

Pedagogy

Lots of text, but few photos & exercises
Some good descriptions, but overall, many other books are more useful

Etheridge, David

Mozart's Clarinet Concerto

Repertoire

Discusses approaches of major players (Hasty, Marcellus, Gigliotti, Wright, etc...)

Farmer, Gerald

Multiphonics and Other Contemporary Clarinet Techniques

Pedagogy

Inc. historical info, instructions, exercises, multiphonics charts (alone & trill/tremolo)
Also inc. info on microtones, gliss, pitch bends, etc...
Historical info & EXTENSIVE fingering charts make this a better first ET book than the Rehfeldt, even though that also inc. electronic info

Gee, Harry

Clarinet Solos de Concours 1897-1980

Repertoire

Annotated list of Paris Conservatoire solos, with brief history of PC & competition
Inc. teacher bios
Well-organized & easy to use

Gibson, O. Lee

Clarinet Acoustics (1994)

Other

VERY technical!
Interesting to see how & why the clarinet works, but you need a background in this to really understand most of the book - for someone with no background, an introduction to acoustics would be a better choice
Save this for advanced players with a mathematical mind

Gillespie, James E.

Solos for Unaccompanied Clarinet: An Annotated Bibliography of Published Works

Repertoire

Inc. a brief intro about unaccompanied solos and then launches into an extensive annotated bib, inc. info on style & premiere
Doesn't always inc. range or difficulty

Gingras, Michele

Clarinet Secrets

Pedagogy

Inc. exercises to improve tonguing, intonation, technique, tone, musicianship, reeds, & “new” techniques (gliss, vibrato, etc.)
A neat idea, but not always useful

Green, Barry, and W. Timothy Gallwey

The Inner Game of Music

Performance

Addresses performance anxiety and practice strategies to maximize productivity and minimize self-doubt

Guy, Larry

Daniel Bonade Workbook

Pedagogy; clarinetists

Inc. info on Bonade's life & teaching
More valuable than Bonade Compendium for advanced students b/c more detailed, more examples, easier to obtain
Inc. lots of written info with plenty of diagrams & musical examples to try, mostly from literature
Topics inc. tone, legato, phrasing, articulation, technique; also info on excerpts & equipment

Guy, Larry

Embouchure Building for Clarinetists

Pedagogy

Practical & easy to understand
Exercises to develop strength, flexibility, & endurance
Good pictures, inc. Marcellus & Bonade Addresses undertones

Guy, Larry

Hand and Finger Development for Clarinetists

Pedagogy

Lots of exercises, inc. away from clarinet (muscle awareness) & from actual rep
Also good photos, inc. Marcellus & Bonade
Helps with speed & accuracy

Guy, Larry

Intonation Training for Clarinetists (1995)

Pedagogy

Discusses pitch tendencies (general & of family members), how to practice intonation, ways to alter pitch (fingerings, air, embouchure, adjustments to instrument), and adjusting pitch in rehearsal & performance

Guy, Larry

Selection, Adjustment, and Care of Single Reeds (1997)

Pedagogy

Addresses issues related to reeds, inc. a 10-day breaking in routine, info on equipment, and a troubleshooting guide
Inc. info on tools: what they are, how to obtain them, & how to use them; breaking in reeds; adjusting & maintaining reeds; weather; troubleshooting guide

Hadcock, Peter

The Working Clarinetist

Repertoire; pedagogy

In 2 sections: master classes and pedagogy
Presents master classes on about 30 important excerpts, inc. performance suggestions & context
Also inc. master classes on Mozart (VERY brief! Only 1/2 page!) & Nielsen concertos
Inc. chart of alternate & pitch corrected fingerings and chart of trills & tremolos
Briefly discusses some fundamentals of playing, but if you're ready for this book, you're also ready for a more in-depth discussion of the fundamentals

Heim, Norman M.

Clarinet Literature in Outline

Repertoire

Good list of works, inc. info on each; divided into eras

Heim, Norman M.

The Clarinet Concerto in Outline

Repertoire

Good list of concertos, inc. info on each; divided into eras
More in-depth than his Lit in Outline

Heim, Norman M.

The Clarinet Sonata in Outline

Repertoire

Good list of sonatas, inc. info on each; divided into eras
More in-depth than his Lit in Outline

Klug, Howard

The Clarinet Doctor

Pedagogy

2 sections: 1st primarily relates to clarinet @ Indiana (interesting, with some useful exercises); 2nd is most important (pedagogical approaches)
Inc. lots of specific tried and true tips in an easy-to-read format - no big blocks of text
Lots of examples & illustrations
Often inc. diagnostic tricks & remedies

Kycia, Carol Anne

Daniel Bonade: A Founder of the American Style of Clarinet Playing

Clarinetists; pedagogy

Biography and pedagogical approaches
Inc. interviews with former students & colleagues

Lawson, Colin

Brahms Clarinet Quintet (1998)

Repertoire

Provides a good overview of the work in easy-to-read language
A score is very helpful when reading the analytical chapter
Inc. historical info, information on Brahms' other works, background on the genre, and an analysis

Lawson, Colin (ed.)

Cambridge Companion to the Clarinet

Overview

Contains info on development of instrument, repertoire, & family; players & composers; historical instruments; playing & teaching; 20th C music & jazz

Lawson, Colin

The Early Clarinet: A Practical Guide (2000)

History

Easy to read; inc. some atypical topics and a fingering chart for the 12-keyed clarinet

Pino, David

The Clarinet and Clarinet Playing (1980)

Overview

Lots of information
Organization doesn't quite make sense, and some information is subjective (necessary outlook, etc...)
There are better overviews than this (Lawson)
Ded. to Keith Stein

Rehfeldt, Phillip

New Directions for Clarinet (1994)

Pedagogy

Includes information on extended techniques, focusing primarily on multiphonics
Also addresses extended range and microtones, with a brief discussion of pitch bends, vibrato, flutter tonguing, and electronic music
Very thorough, inc. microtone and multiphonic fingering charts for Bb/A, Eb, & bass clarinets

Rendall, F. Geoffrey

The Clarinet: Some Notes Upon Its History and Construction (1971)

History

Discusses the history of clarinet construction, inc. materials, key systems, reeds, and mouthpieces
Contains helpful pictures of historical clarinets, basset horns, and bass clarinets

Rice, Albert R.

The Baroque Clarinet

History

Inc. info on technical developments, literature, & performance practice during the Baroque

Rice, Albert R.

The Clarinet in the Classical Period

History

Inc. info on technical developments, literature, & performance practice during the Classical

Ridenour, Thomas

Clarinet Fingerings: A Comprehensive Guide for the Performer and Educator (2000)

Pedagogy

This is a must-have!
Contains fingering suggestions for throat tones and the altissimo (to a double E), with additional pages for adding fingerings of your own
Included with each fingering is a discussion of its tone and pitch tendencies, as well as suggested uses in standard clarinet repertoire

Ridenour, Thomas

The Educator's Guide to the Clarinet: A Complete Guide to Teaching and Learning the Clarinet (2002)

Pedagogy

Good for diagnosing problems, but better suggestions for fixing them in other books
Helpful because music ed majors should be using this book
Discusses how to teach beginners & select equipment, but mainly geared to younger players
Good diagrams & examples, and great comparisons for breathing, embouchure, etc...

Schmidt, Robert

Clarinetist's Notebook

Pedagogy

4 volumes
Too much info, and contained in more up-to-date books with better examples & diagrams

Stein, Keith

The Art of Clarinet Playing (1958)

Pedagogy

Similar to the Guy Development, but that's more up to date
Helpful pictures & discusses similar info, but advocates the smiling embouchure!
Interesting to see his pedagogical beliefs, but not a necessary addition to the clarinetist's library

Stubbins, William H

Art of Clarinetistry

Overview

Basic overview; others (Lawson) are more up-to-date

Thurston, Frederick

Clarinet Technique

Pedagogy

Out of date
Musings without illustrations or examples

Weston, Pamela

Clarinet Virtuosi of the Past

Clarinetists

Discusses clarinetists' biographical info & their relation to composers
Written as a narrative instead of encyclopedia

Weston, Pamela

Clarinet Virtuosi of Today (1989)

Clarinetists

Presents short bios of some of today's most prominent clarinetists, as well as information on clarinetists in Australia & Japan

Weston, Pamela

More Clarinet Virtuosi of the Past

Clarinetists

An encyclopedic listing of past clarinetists, inc. updates to the first volume

Weston, Pamela

Yesterday's Clarinetists

Clarinetists

Another encyclopedic listing of past clarinetists, with updates to the first two volumes

Westphal, Frederick W.

Guide to Teaching Woodwinds (1990)

Pedagogy

Lots of pedagogical information, but very basic & outdated
Inc. details of teaching a beginner step-by-step and discusses the warning signs related to common problems
Pictures are esp. outdated (students will laugh at them instead of learning from them)
Ridenour is much better, although this would work as a last resort if a school teacher were unable to purchase a clarinet-specific book

We know what major scales are:

So, what’s this?

It’s a minor scale. Minor scales allow composers to create different moods, since they are often described as sad or melancholy. And they’re easy to learn because they’re related to the major scales.

Major/Minor Relationship

Each major (or minor) scale is related to two other scales: the parallel (which starts on the same note) and the relative (which is based on the same key signature). For example, take the C major scale:

Its parallel minor is C minor because they start on the same note:

However, its relative minor is A minor because they are based on the same key signature:

The relative minor of any major scale will always begin on the sixth note of the major scale (F major = D minor, A major = F# minor, etc...).

Likewise, the A minor scale has a parallel major (A major) which begins on the same note and a relative major (C major) that is based on the same key signature. To find the relative major for a given minor scale, just count up to the third note of the minor scale (B minor = D major, G minor = Bb major, etc...).

 

Minor Forms

There’s just one small problem with minor scales: if you start on any note besides the tonic (the letter it’s named after), you can’t hear where the tonic is. In other words, if you play from low E to high G with no flats or sharps, there’s no way to tell whether you’re playing a C major scale or an A minor scale, since they have the exact same key signature. To resolve this, composers began using different forms of the minor scale.

The natural minor is the form one we’ve already seen. Its key signature is exactly the same as its relative major:

In the harmonic minor, composers raised the last note of the scale to create a half-step before the tonic, thus letting listeners know where the scale starts and ends. Its key signature consists of a raised seventh note from the natural minor:

However, this led to a weird interval between the sixth and seventh notes, so composers raised the sixth note to fill in that interval. This created the final form of the minor scale, the melodic minor:

This scale is different on the way up and the way down. When ascending, the sixth and seventh notes are raised from the natural minor, and they return to normal when descending.

 

Note that you could also think of the ascending melodic minor as relating to the parallel major (A major), since the only note that’s different is the third note (in this case, a C-natural in A minor instead of a C-sharp in A major).

First-year students are expected to memorize the Klosé page, which consists of all the major and minor scales.

Second & Third Years

  • Chromatic Scale

  • Major Scale

  • Major Arpeggio

  • Natural Minor Scale (Relative)

  • Harmonic Minor Scale (Relative)

  • Melodic Minor Scale (Relative)

  • Minor Arpeggio (Relative)

  • Whole Tone Scale

  • Whole Tone Arpeggio

 

 

Third Semester: C/a, G/e, F/d

Fourth Semester: D/bb, Bb/g, A/f#

Fifth Semester: Eb/c, E/c#, Ab/f

Sixth Semester: B/g#, Db/bb, F#/d#

 

 

 

 

 

Fourth Year

  • Major Scale in Thirds

  • Melodic Minor (Relative) Scale in Thirds

  • Octatonic Scale

  • Octatonic Arpeggio

 

Seventh Semester: C, G, F, D, Bb, A

Eighth Semester: Eb, E, Ab, B, Db, F#

 

 

 

In any subsequent semesters, students will learn melodic minor scales in thirds and/or the entire routine (second/third years + thirds).

Major, Minor, & Chromatic

The three most common types of scales are major, minor (three slightly different forms), and chromatic. Each of these has a specific pattern of intervals, which is what allows us to hear the difference between them. (Below, W means a whole step, H means a half step, and + means an augmented second.)

 

Major: The interval pattern for a major scale is W-W-H-W-W-W-H.

Major Scale

 

Natural Minor: The interval pattern for a natural minor scale is W-H-W-W-H-W-W.

Natural Minor

 

Harmonic Minor: The interval pattern for a harmonic minor scale is W-H-W-W-H-+-H.

Harmonic Minor

 

Melodic Minor: The interval pattern for a melodic minor scale is W-H-W-W-W-W-H ascending; descending, it is W-W-H-W-W-H-W.

Melodic Minor

 

Chromatic: A chromatic scale consists solely of half steps (H-H-H-H...).

Chromatic

 

These interval patterns can be transposed, or retained, to start on any pitch; this is what gives us 12 major scales, 12 natural minor scales, etc... (For more information on minor scales, click here.) Note, however, that there is only one chromatic scale: when you transpose its intervals to start on any other note, you get the exact same notes. It’s simple to learn this one!

 

Note: Major scales are usually labeled with a capital letter, and lower-case is used for minors; this notation is used on this web page.

Whole Tone & Octatonic

Whole Tone Scale

Aside from the chromatic, there are other scales that can only be transposed a small number of times. One of these is the whole tone scale, which is required for second- and third-year clarinet students. In this scale, every note is a whole step above the previous one. Because of this, there are only two whole tone scales, shown below.

C Whole Tone
C Whole Tone 1

 

The whole tone scale is somewhat different from the majors and minors, since it has six notes instead of seven. Because of this, there’s one place in the scale where you’ll skip a letter, and you may switch between sharps to flats at that point, depending on how you’re thinking of it.

 

Octatonic Scale

Another scale that can only be transposed a few times is the octatonic scale, also called the diminished scale, which is required for fourth-year students. This scale alternates whole and half steps, beginning with a whole step; there are only three octatonic scales, shown below.

Octotonic Scale 1
C Octatonic Scale
D Octatonic Scale

 

The octatonic scale (like the whole tone scale) does not have the typical seven notes; instead, it has eight. At some point in the scale, you'll have two notes with the same letter name, like B-flat and B-natural. In addition, you'll usually mix sharps and flats.

Arpeggios

Except for the chromatic, every scales has an arpeggio (also called a triad or tonic chord). To form the arpeggio for major, minor, and whole tone scales, simply play the first, third, and fifth notes of the scale, repeated over the range of the instrument. Since the octatonic scale has eight notes, use the first, third, fifth, and seventh notes for the arpeggio.

 

Major Arpeggio (major chord):

Major Arpeggio

 

Minor Arpeggio (minor chord):

Minor Arpeggio

 

Note that the minor arpeggio stays is the same for all forms of the minor scale (natural, harmonic, and melodic). This is because the only notes that are different in these forms are the sixth and seventh notes, which are not in the arpeggio.

 

Whole Tone Arpeggio (augmented chord):

Whole Tone Arpeggio

 

Octatonic Arpeggio (fully-diminished seventh chord):

Octatonic Arpeggio

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