THE CLARINET JOURNAL
The Clarinet Journal official publication of the International Clarinet
Robert A. Riseling. March, 2022 issue.
studied with some of the major clarinet pedagogues and has a wide ranging
career of performing, conducting and teaching within various areas of the music
This book is
the Vade Mecum on steroids and content substantiates its claim. If there are
any awkward and difficult challenges not presented, I missed them. There are 50
introductory very practical, directed short exercises dealing with specific
clarinet problems of fingering and/or smooth connections with suggestions for
practice. Alternate fingerings are included, ones that might be contrary to
normal choice but provide an additional attention to fluidity and coordination.
Page 21 presents excellent practice ideas incorporating other materials, ways
to alter etudes to create different problems, etc.
followed by 27 single page etudes, the titles indicating the focus of each and
challenge every level of a clarinetist’s skills. Some quote and expand passages
from the repertoire. A first reading is unlikely to reach the bottom of the
page as the difficulties increase. It is more important to discover and deal
with individual passages before mastering the whole. Alternate fingerings
should be substituted (a la the introductory drills) to develop and control
difficult coordination between hands.
“learned” these etudes present problems when coming back to them after a few
days. The reading effort is normal in some. In others, fingerings, articulation
and rhythmic patterns require a constant focus as there are so many changes in
proximity. One cannot predict or anticipate the next pattern and
“eyes-brain-message” to fingers/air/embouchure requires total concentration.
challenge in two of the etudes is the notation of accidentals. The intent of
requiring sharp focus and translating these awkward passages into speedy
eye-hand pattern recognition is understandable. However, C E G is part of our
trained history and B# E Abb may be enharmonically equal to the ear but a
nightmare to the eye and an unnecessary impediment to the music. A composer
would be hard pressed to find performers willing to play this music where the
notation creates another barrier to the learning process. Only the practice
room can afford such time. Recommended for all serious players.
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