Rose 32 Études: Bonus Commentary from Larry Guy's Edition
Selected correspondence from the editing process for the Second Edition
Compiled by Cameron Hewes
Larry Guy’s edition of the Rose 32 Études is unique in that each étude is accompanied by a page of suggestions for practice and interpretation. As the person responsible for inputting of all Mr. Guy’s markings in the music notation publishing software, I would frequently have questions for him while preparing the Second Edition. These inquiries often sparked further insight into Mr. Guy’s approach to teaching, and by the end of the project, our correspondence had amassed a trove of valuable information which simply couldn’t all fit in the book!
Therefore, I decided to compile some of this additional commentary from our correspondence into this article. Although far from comprehensive, it reveals the exhaustive level of scrutiny employed for each and every marking. The actual book contains even more information in the textual commentary, focusing primarily on phrasing, subdivision, and “clarinet concepts” like articulation, air use, embouchure, fingerings, etc.
Furthermore, it’s extremely rare for editors to have the opportunity to reveal their justifications for editing decisions; such transparency seems all the more important in the case of the Rose 32, which has seen more than a dozen re-edits following Rose’s first adaptation of Ferling’s 48 Studies in 1893. This article offers a rare glimpse into the editor's own perspective on certain issues, in his own words.
Besides insight from his teachers as well as his own decades of teaching experience, there were two sources which primarily guided Mr. Guy’s editing decisions: firstly, the earliest known edition of the 32 Études published by Evette & Schaeffer in 1893 (abbreviated as “E&S” in this article); by today’s expectations, this version is undermarked dynamically and has numerous articulation inconsistencies, but still offers a valuable impression of Rose’s original intentions. Mr. Guy’s second major editorial reference was the publications of Daniel Bonade, chiefly some slow étude dynamic markings from the 16 Phrasing Studies as well as his articulation techniques laid out in the Clarinetist’s Compendium. These titles are available in the Complete Daniel Bonade (compiled by Mr. Guy), published by Rivernote Press.
For the music notation examples below, those with the tan background are from Evette & Schaeffer (E&S), and those with the white background are from Rivernote Press. Bar numbers have been added to the examples from Mr. Guy's edition for easy reference.
Larry Guy's edition of the Rose 32 can be purchased here, or wherever Rivernote Press titles are sold.
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Cameron: How do you address dynamics overall in this edition?
Larry: Most editions of the Rose 32 Études, beginning with the first edition of 1893, lack dynamic indications. Daniel Bonade added many dynamics and other phrase markings to the odd-numbered, slow études in his 16 Phrasing Studies, most of which I have incorporated in this edition. However, most editions have virtually no dynamics whatsoever in the even-numbered technical études. I have added dynamics to most of them, because it is so much more musically persuasive to hear technical passages played with dynamics; in fact, I see it as a requirement, and I think the Rose 32 Études is a perfect place for students to learn this skill.
In general, I’d like hairpins to be placed so that the student and teacher can work with the idea that notes stay alive dynamically through the note—so that even shortish notes move dynamically—get softer or louder through the note, rather than just arriving at a dynamic and sitting there. Also, I've generally advocated making hairpins of themes and return of themes identical, although sometimes the dynamics of the returns are softer. I think the student should learn to duplicate the shape of the phrases when themes return, so the musical gestures are identifiably the same, but sometimes within more limited scope in returns. Then the player can get more creative when faced with “real music”, but nevertheless a valuable lesson has been learned, and a way of hearing and a skill set have been employed.
C: What is your approach to breath marks?
L: Since breathing challenges will be so different from one player to the next, I usually forego making very specific breath guidelines in this edition, since one never knows exactly who is using the book. Many students are assigned the Rose 32 too early, because teachers don’t have an extensive enough library of other, easier études to challenge their students with. One of the resulting problems is that students can’t meet the breathing demands of Rose 32, especially in the fast études, where often the player is expected to play straight through them in 3 or 4 breaths. The solution is NOT to leave out notes, but to develop the air support, endurance, and capacity—most of this work should be done before the student is assigned the Rose!
C: What is your take on nested slurs, that is, when two slurs are used simultaneously? For example, as seen below in Étude #1 m. 29 (top), and Étude #7 m. 42 (bottom). I understand that when writing for other instruments, the shorter one represents articulation and the longer one the phrase structure. But I think that this practice isn't appropriate for wind and string music, where it confuses the articulation.
(Left: E&S, Right: Rivernote Press)
L: I think the smaller inner slurs are typically meant to signify the softest articulation possible—or maybe even just a hint of articulation, and that is where the confusion can arise. For example: in Étude #1 m. 29, I am slightly concerned that players will, if they just see the pair of slurs over two notes only, tend to separate them too much. However, I think that clarity is worth more than the possible confusion, and so have omitted them from this edition.
C: In mm. 7 and 23, could we shift the dim. hairpin so that it starts on the first pitch of the descending line?
L: In m. 7, I like to start the dim. hairpin on the F, and not any earlier in this measure—the C should be forte, and the G also. Many young players underplay the throat tones, and need to be reminded to start the dim. after the G. In m. 23, I like to start the dim. hairpin on the D, and not any earlier. When faced with an interval like the perfect 5th on the first two notes, many young players will play the 2nd note softer—not use enough air intensity to make the interval “alive”. So if they see the diminuendo between the E and D, I think that gives them the best information.
C: I see that E&S has a difference in articulation between mm. 28 and 30: the second sixteenth note is approached by slur in m. 28, and articulated in m. 30. Later editions vary in their decision to slur both or keep the mixture of articulation seen in E&S, and I'm curious to get your take on this issue.
L: I think the slurring of 30, although inconsistent with 28, allows more emphasis on the F in 30, almost treating it like a syncopation, and this allows more room for emphatic expression. So I prefer it as, keeping the articulation mixture.
C: Why add a 'mf' dynamic on the tenth note of m. 15? And, why not make this measure's hairpin one long crescendo, instead of 2 hairpins?
L: The function of the 'mf' dynamic should be to give the lower E note a strong starting dynamic with which to start the crescendo. It’s a throat tone, and so often is played without enough energy. Mm. 15-16's cresc. hairpin should be kept short in length. I think it should be a small, intimate crescendo, which helps make the 'pp' indication in the next bar work. A longer crescendo tempts the young player to get into the ‘mf’ area, which can end up sounding generic and colorless.
C: Why do you suppose that E&S marks a "courtesy" natural sign on the third-space C-natural in m. 28? The last previously-occurring C-sharp happened in m. 23. To my eyes, a natural sign on the clarion C in m. 28 is a signal, a red flag, which calls my attention to think about a shift in harmonic/chromatic implications of a supposedly recent C-sharp, a modification that is now cancelled with the present natural sign. It is much more sensible to leave out this "red flag" signal noise and reduce visual clutter.
L: My hunch is that diminished arpeggios were considered more dramatically expressive (perhaps uniquely so) in the late 19th and early 20th centuries than they are today (by now we have heard so much dissonance that they are perhaps not as intrinsically dramatic), and so had to be “emphasized” so that players wouldn’t possibly consider the bar to be a harmonic transition into a vii7 (D-sharp, F-sharp, A, C-sharp) of the dominant, E, of A Major. I would say that kind of confusion wouldn’t exist today.
C: Why restate the forte dynamic in m. 32, when the same forte is marked nine notes earlier in m. 30?
L: The restated forte dynamic is there to remind the player that although one is descending in pitch, the dynamic must be kept up. Otherwise, there is frequently a diminuendo through m. 31, and the diminuendo in m. 32 loses its effectiveness. It’s also a good opportunity for the teacher to work on intonation—the player has to keep the forte without going flat, especially in the low F and E.
C: Why did you extend the mm. 2-3's crescendo hairpin beyond the downbeat in m. 3 (and analogous mm. 35-36), as compared to E&S?
L: Instead of stopping the cresc. hairpin on the downbeat note, I would prefer that it extend into the following beat 2's quarter-note, and also place a forte indication on the highest pitch in both cases. This might seem a little radical from a historical perspective, but it is a better indication because the player keeps the crescendo going to the top note; otherwise, the note before is often played too loud, and the dynamic can only be sustained, not grown to the top.
C: Why did you shorten the rhythm value of the first note on beat 3 of mm. 2, 21, and 35?
L: The first eighth-note on beat 3 was changed to [sixteenth-note + sixteenth-rest]. My previous edition used a staccato under the slur ending to indicate a clipped ending to the note. This risks a possible misunderstanding since some players erroneously tongue the note with the staccato underneath it, rather than clip the end of it, as I think Rose has in mind—there should be a little silence at each spot. Bonade has the answer, and I’d like to do it as Bonade has it on each of these spots: make the first note of the third beat a 16th-note, followed by a 16th-rest. This should make the musical intent crystal clear.
C: About the last eighth-note of m. 16: why the change the dynamic marking from 'pp' to 'p,' as compared to E&S?
L: I like the piano indication on the last note of that bar, because it gives important information: after the “special” 'pp' quasi-cadenza moment, and a fermata over the rest, we are moving on into tempo and a continuation, with some new ideas, of the melody, so we need a little more energy in the sound.
C: I see that E&S articulates the "concluding" eighth-note A in m. 36; why do you have it approached by slur?
L: In the preceding m. 34: I like the concluding D eighth-note to be approached by slur—I think it enhances the diminuendo, and sounds just a bit “tossed away”, which sets up the return of energy at the end of the bar. Therefore, in m. 36, since it mirrors m. 34 in shape of phrase and diminuendo, I think it is good to also slur into the A (the sixth note of the measure). Mm. 34 and 36 are definitely related, and it makes sense to have the same articulation.
C: Why articulate the clarion A immediately following the grace notes in mm. 59 and 67?
L: I think that it gives emphasis to the top note of the phrase, and it is not as easy to do as to slur into the top note—after the grace notes, if the tongue has not stayed quite close enough to the reed, it feels awkward to get the tongue to the reed in that short amount of time. So in addition to allowing the player to give emphasis, one has to be sure the fundamentals of tongue position are good enough to make that little detail happen. After all, it is an étude, and we are looking for challenges!
C: Why not have staccato dots on all of the articulated notes in this étude?
L: I’ve been a little conflicted about how many staccato indications to add to this étude. For an example from the original E&S, since m. 63 has staccato marks, why not add them in mm. 64—67, since I think the articulation in all these bars should sound about the same. I think Rose intended the articulation in this étude, generally speaking, to be crisp without being clipped too much, and these days, many students have very little concept of crisp but not super-short staccato, (what Bonade referred to as “semi-staccato), so it might be of value to add the staccato markings. On the other hand, I think that staccato indications all over the étude give the impression of super-short notes, which is not what I think Rose had in mind. And some passages should not be even particularly crisp, as in mm. 72 and 74, where lightness and ease are called for. So the player, through this étude and numerous others of the 32, comes to realize that there are at least 1,000 different kinds of articulation to choose from, and the choice of which to use helps define his/her artistry and expressive capacity.
C: Could you elaborate on how to practice this étude in sections?
L: I do believe there is benefit from practicing out of order, and this étude can be broken up into the following sections:
A: mm. 1—15
B: mm. 16—31
C: mm. 32—46
D: mm. 47—61
E: mm. 62—79
The biggest issue one encounters in playing any piece straight through many times is that concentration and endurance can tend to flag by the end of the piece. So I like to work on the end first, when the ears and brain are especially fresh, and then practice backwards, as in [E D C B A]. That way when you go back to playing straight through, your muscles and mind can remember what it felt like to be fresh at the end, and you can sort of psych yourself out, in a good way. Also, most of the technical études in Rose 32 will have a passage that is especially challenging; in the case of #8, it is mm. 32—46, and so it might be good to identify and start with that passage and fan out front and back—so [C D B E A] or [C D E C B A]. Also, to play the difficult portion 3 times whereas the easier ones just once or twice—that is another thing the player can get creative about. It’s good for players to make up their own orders.
C: In m. 7, could we extend the cresc. hairpin so that it ends on the following measure's downbeat half-note?
L: I prefer the cresc. hairpin to end on the left edge of the altissimo D, so that the player gets the impression that the intensity will continue through the last two beats, but not really increase. The half note D in m. 8 is the arrival point, but I am concerned that if the player sees the crescendo through the last 2 beats of m. 7, the result will be distortion of the sound. The forte indication on the half-note D is sufficient.
C: Why maintain the two separate cresc. hairpins in mm. 18—19, as seen in E&S, instead of one long hairpin?
L: I do like two hairpins in mm. 18–19, because I think there should be a small “retake” of the crescendo at the beginning of the half-note G in m. 19, which I think allows it to be a lot more expressive than just a straight crescendo.
C: I would prefer to see the slurring consistent for all three fragments in m. 38. What do you think?
L: Contrary to the slur placement seen in E&S, I think that one slur is much preferable to 2 in this spot. So beats one and two are done correctly—one slur. And, beats 3 & 4, and 5 & 6 should also be done with one slur each. Otherwise, the player can be confused as to whether to tongue the accented note or not. These accents should definitely be done with the breath, not the tongue.
C: I notice that m. 1 and the analogous m. 34 notate the first three beats of rhythm differently. Am I right to presume that m. 1's [half+quarter, tied] notation is a means to encourage the player to think about subdividing the measure into three beats, as opposed to two beats? Then, I think m. 1's treatment is slightly more safe compared to m. 34's dotted-half-note. Would you agree to use this tied notation again on the return in m. 34?
L: On the off-chance that a student might not immediately equate the two notations of the same rhythm, it could be a good teaching point. And of course most students’ eyes will interpret them the same immediately. So I’d like to leave the discrepancy in.
C: Could we extend m. 2's dim. hairpin so that it ends on the downbeat of the following measure?
L: mm. 2—3: I’d like for the dim. hairpin not to extend over the bar line, but instead finish around the middle of the D on third beat of m. 2. The reason is that as one teaches young players phrasing ideas, one of the most important lessons is that if a pitch is repeated over the bar line, the repetition should be a little stronger than the first note. So that at the place in question, although I don’t think a crescendo over the bar line is warranted, nevertheless the teacher would instruct the student to make a little increase in energy from the end of the first D to the second D, over the barline. Otherwise, the air intensity can easily get too weak if one continues the diminuendo over the barline, and the listener hears a “hole” that sometimes the player is not aware of. So the general rule is that one always plays the second note of the same pitch over the barline stronger than the first note. It is a phrasing idea that works about 95% of the time in reality, and the seasoned player will know when to not do it, but for students, it is a valuable lesson to learn. So I’d like the hairpin to finish around the middle of the first D, if possible. This puts the student in good stead for Mozart, for example, who often repeats a pitch over the barline, and he always wants the second note a little stronger than the first.
C: I wanted to double-check this articulation spot in m. 5. E&S and Bonade approach this downbeat by slur, and you have it articulated. I also note that the similar spot following in m. 6 has a contrasting articulated downbeat in E&S.
L: There are so many differences in phrasing as they are repeated in an étude, and although sometimes I have maintained E&S, here I think the consistency of articulating the first note of mm. 5, 6, and 7 is helpful to the integrity of the phrase.
C: In m. 41, in order to convey the dynamics intention at what I presume is the right moment, I'd like to move this 'mf' one beat earlier to beat 4 of m. 40, if that's alright with you. What do you think?
L: I prefer the dynamic as it is placed. Putting the 'mf' on the pickup, one beat earlier, does not convey the function of the pickup note, to lend energy over the barline to the downbeat, and ensure that the phrase really starts on the downbeat of m. 41 (so the placement of the dynamic can become a teaching point).
C: In m. 51, beat 1 you approach the clarion F sixteenth by slur, I note that E&S articulates it independently.
L: I prefer to leave this articulation as is marked, with a slur. Putting in that last articulation on the last 16th of the beat, after the turn, I think over-complicates things (feels a little fussy to me), and can rob the piece of the forward energy needed going into the last 4 bars.
C: Can we omit the courtesy natural sign on the G's in mm. 43 and 45? I think that they only create clutter and potential confusion.
L: There is no valid reason for a natural sign on the quarter-note G—it’s just a courtesy, and I think the “liberal sprinkling” of accidentals occurs primarily to provide courtesy to sight-reading. By the time the player plays through a second time, there is little need for “courtesy accidentals”. I agree in general that it is better to keep things simple, although some courtesies are a little more helpful than others! In m. 43, I’d like to keep the courtesy G natural in for the last beat. If one becomes slightly confused as to the tonality, one could momentarily think the B downbeat in m. 44 was the fifth of a dominant chord (E, G-sharp, B) of A Major, which, of course, it is not—we are still firmly in D Major. But if one is momentarily confused, playing a G-sharp on the last beat of m. 43 might make sense. So the natural is helpful, if, again, mostly for the first read-through. Also, if we keep the natural sign here, there is even less reason to need one in m. 45 for the quarter note G.
C: I see that in E&S, mm. 1-2 have separate slurring, and the recapitulation in m. 33-34 contrasts this with a single connected slur. Will you maintain this difference?
L: I like the A to be articulated (both times). It is an appoggiatura, and articulating it gives a little more emphasis, but the teacher can advise the student to do most of the emphasis with the air rather than the tongue, so it is a good learning opportunity. If it is slurred into, not so much.
C: Why place a breath mark in m. 18?
L: I think it is a better place to breathe than m. 17 after the G, beat two. Lots of players take a breath there (m. 17), and I ask them to instead take the breath later, in m. 18. Having it marked makes everything easier.
C: I notice that you have a sixteenth-note-rest in m. 30, and I was curious about any specific reason why? Other editions use an eighth-note-rest, or no rest (with breath mark).
L: Bonade uses an eighth-note rest, and I think it may be a little long, so I may have shortened it. Of course, the player would take a breath there, but I think that I like the rest as is. It gives a sense of forward motion, and the breath should be taken rather quickly. It's easy for things to get a little slack when contemplating the 8th note rest.
C: Why notate each and every eighth-note with staccato dots, instead of simply writing "simile" after the first measure or so of staccato?
L: This étude is really very demanding, and in my experience, notes tend to get longer and longer as it progresses. So I think it is of value to have every last staccato marking as a reminder. Good teachers will pick up on this and encourage students to be persistent in keeping the notes well-detached.
C: Why change the position of the 'p' dynamic in m. 32, as compared to E&S?
L: Regarding dynamics in m. 32: I don’t like the placement of the piano dynamic indication here as seen in E&S. We also need a crescendo indication (hairpin) from the third note of first beat (the A natural) into the left edge of the accented D on the third beat. This is the natural direction of the phrase. As you can see with Bonade, he was careful to make the accented notes forte, which is good (although forte markings aren't necessarily needed in our edition), but there should also be that direction into the third beat. Then, the 'mf' marking makes sense and doesn’t seem to come from out of nowhere.
C: There are a couple of courtesy flat signs seen in E&S that I'd like to remove: m. 13's A-flat on beat 3, and m. 27's E-flat on beat 4.
L: I prefer to leave the courtesy flat on the A-flat in m. 13—the player has been thinking G Major arpeggio in beat two, (therefore diatonic G Major for the second beat) and it is easy to stay in that mode without the A-flat reminder. I interpret beats 3 & 4 as a diminished arpeggio (B, D , F, A-flat) of C Minor, which is suggested in beats 1 & 2 of m. 14. This is harmonically unusual—has not occurred in the étude until now, and so a little help can be valuable.
Although we could omit the flat on the altissimo E-flat in m. 27, I do think that it is a help to leave the flat in, because the measure before, with the G-flats, the tonality can be a little confusing, and the E-flat reminder helps, especially when confronting the A naturals in the next bar (which suggest the key of B-flat). It’s not until m. 29 that we really start feeling a return to E-flat Major. In fact, the tonality of this étude is more volatile than many of them. It vacillates between E-flat, B-flat, and C Minor. So for the first couple of readings, I think it can be helpful to use a few more courtesy accidentals than we might normally employ in an étude that is more tonally straightforward.
C: Why stop the dim. hairpins before the half-notes at the ends of phrases, like in m. 10?
L: Since this étude has a compound meter, the natural swing dictates the way the phrases end dynamically, to some degree. Often the phrases end with half notes (mm. 10, 12, etc.). I think these half notes should be played with a piano dynamic, but not diminuendo-ed through—they kind of hover at the ends of the phrases, and are sometimes marked piano, as in bars 12 and 29, but not always. However, I think they should be played similarly, if not exactly identically.
C: I see that E&S has an articulation discrepancy between mm. 5 and 23 on the first two notes; will you maintain this difference?
L: The opening theme (first 8 bars) is repeated an octave lower, in mm. 19—26. I have purposefully made the slurs identical, as a potential teaching point, to nudge students into playing the lower octave melody with the same shape, focus, direction etc. as the upper octave (even though the dynamic markings are not identical). This idea flies in the face of some other reiterations of material as seen in other études, in which the returning theme is in the same pitch range and articulations were changed somewhat—another different teaching point, to ensure that players are meticulous about articulation.
C: It seems unusual to have "dolce" marked on a 'f' dynamic, as you do in m. 29.
L: While"forte" and "dolce" certainly do not always go hand in hand on a high altissimo D-sharp, this combination was copied from the Bonade edition, and I’d like to leave it in—something to strive for.
C: I note that some later editors have disagreed about the sixth note of m. 6, changing E&S' G-flat to a G-natural. What is your take here?
L: I really prefer the G-flat as the last note of the second triplet, since I think the G-natural at the end of the run, before the B-flat, should feel like a bit of a surprise; putting the G-natural earlier in the run takes all the surprise away.
C: E&S' notation is perhaps a little unclear, but I would reckon that in mm. 12 and 32, the C following the tied altissimo-D-flat is articulated in both of these spots, and not approached by slur as you have proposed.
L: I prefer the slurs as we have them. Besides agreeing with m. 35, I think it is a good test of tongue position. If the middle of the tongue is too low or not enough reed in the mouth or not enough air speed, there can easily be a little cluck between D-flat and C, and tonguing the C takes the challenge away.
C: Why not have staccato dots on all independently articulated notes in this étude?
L: I note that E&S has few staccato marks in this étude, except for a few specific areas (mm. 36, 45—46, etc.), and I think these are for contrast. In other words, I think the articulation in this étude is predominantly not staccato, but a few are slipped in for variety.
C: I note that E&S marks a courtesy flat sign on beat 3's G-flat in m. 13; I'd prefer to omit this in both mm. 9 and 13. I understand that old French notation rules state that a single accidental applies to all octaves within a measure, but we don't see that consistently applied in E&S; case in point, this flat sign doesn't appear on the G-flat in m. 9.
L: We should abstain from courtesy flats on the third beat (G-flat) of those measures. Each of these bars starts with a G-flat, and one must keep this in mind, regardless of the accidental on the second beat. This is just what we have to do in 5 flat key signatures! So it’s a teaching point, and students shouldn’t be coddled.