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Kroepsch: 416 Progressive Studies

Comparing the following editions:
Publisher
Pub. Year
Editor
Billaudot 
book 1book 2book 3book 4
1975, 1976
Jacques Lancelot
Carl Fischer 
book 1book 2book 3book 4
1944, 1946
Simeon Bellison
Carl Fischer
book 1 (partial) & book 2 (complete)
(as part of Klosé method)
2016 Stanley/Naomi Drucker
2012, 2015
(book 1) Jürgen Schubert

Complete Works (CW)

2020 Ben Andrew Garcia, Celeste Markey
International 
book 1book 2book 3book 4
1957
Eric Simon
Jeanné
book 1, book 2, book 3
2011 (1, 2), 2012 (3) John Anderson
 
Additional adaptations:
Publisher
Pub. Year
Editor / Composer
Components
Billaudot
book 1, book 2, book 3
1992, 1994, 1995
Jacques Lancelot
"Mini Kroepsch" 
2016, r. 2017
Kristen Denny-Chambers
"Prep Steps Before You Kreopsch"

Appearance
With scant exception, all five complete editions have almost entirely identical layout as they fit the same amount of exercises on each page.  Of the traditionally hand-engraved versions, the Billaudot and Carl Fischer editions have slightly cleaner markings and more spacing compared to CEFES (for Books 2-4) and International.  The CEFES edition's spacing (Books 2-4) is the tightest by a small margin. 

Special mention is given to Complete Works, Jeanné, and Book 1 of the CEFES edition, which have been completely redone in digital computer engraving.  Although only Books 1 through 3 are available from Jeanné, it has generous and very readable spacing for Books 1 and 2 compared to the other two computer-engraved editions.  CEFES' Book 1 also has very generous spacing, resulting in almost double the page count of the other editions and giving it the slight superior edge in readability.

The Billaudot, Carl Fisher, Complete Works, and Jeanné editions are printed on bright white paper, while the CEFES and International editions have subtly off-white (ivory/yellow) colored paper (for any customers particularly keen on avoiding bright-white paper for legibility reasons, please contact CAMco to verify paper material appearance, as publishers occasionally change materials over time).

Complete Works' edition is the only version which includes all four books bound together in a single spiral-bound volume, where the other publishers sell the four books separately.  The Complete Works edition also includes a bonus of Kroepsch's Five Clarinet Duets, which makes up almost 20 minutes of light, Classical-style music.  For those clarinettists who may already own the Kroepsch 416 Studies and are interested in Kroepsch's other compositions, these duets are also available as a standalone product from the original publisher in traditional hand-engraved format.  Also available are his variations on the drinking song "Im tiefen Keller," for clarinet with either piano accompaniment or flexible string accompaniment.

Carl Fischer's edition of the Klosé Clarinet Method also contains some digitally engraved, perfectly readable Kroepsch; it includes 24 selected exercises from Book 1 (two exercises for each of the book's key signatures) and the complete Book 2.

Editing
Users of the CEFES edition should take note that Book 2 sometimes lacks accidentals in different octaves within a given measure; strangely, Books 3 and 4 do seem to follow today's usual convention of applying accidentals for each separate octave. 

Some editions have slightly differing dynamic letter markings, but this amounts to, for example, the presence or absence of a single 'p' in the beginning of a line which also contains cresc. & dim. hairpin swells.  The Billaudot, Carl Fischer, CEFES (Books 2-4), and International editions employ dotted line crescendo/decrescendo markings (ex: "cres - - cen - - do"); these have been changed to the more compact spelling (ex: "cresc.") in the CEFES (Book 1), Complete Works, and Jeanné editions.

The Complete Works edition occasionally places hairpin dynamic lines inside the staff lines (as also seen in the earliest CEFES edition), instead of placing them in the more commonly-expected location below the staff when spacing allows.  Complete Works also adds breath marks to a few of the longer exercises, numbers 403 and 415 (also Duet #4).  While these few breath commas are reasonable additions, the preface's statement that these are breaths "originally intended by Kroepsch himself" regrettably doesn't indicate specific referential sources (these breath marks do not appear in the earliest CEFES editions).

Other Adaptations
Jacques Lancelot created a condensed version of the Kroepsch books 1–3 called Mini Kroepsch, which is also presented in 3 separate books.  Mini Kroepsch has roughly the same amount of exercises as the full version and covers the same key signatures, but the notation is generally less dense and there is less altissimo playing.  This results in a set of exercises that are more achievable for the less advanced levels (not beginner).

A more elementary-friendly adaptation comes from Kristen Denny-Chambers, titled Prep Steps Before You Kroepsch.  It consists of a single 24-page book; each key signature is given a single page of eight exercises, with each exercise one line in length.  Denny-Chambers wrote Prep Steps as preliminary material to Books 1 and 2 of the full version, aimed at advancing pre-college and progressing undergraduate students.

Summing Up
Any of the full versions are suitable, with slight favor given to the BillaudotComplete Works, and Jeanné editions for their overall editing and spacing.  For clarinettists in need of something less demanding, the elementary Prep Steps and intermediate Mini Kroepsch offer two excellent preparatory options.