While isolated finger training can greatly improve technique, it can be difficult to work through material that lacks expressive opportunities. Kristen Denny-Chambers' avoids dry or unmusical exercises in her Finger Fitness Études, instead writing imaginative and musical studies focusing on each specific fingering challenge.
The edition consists of 38 études for any clarinet, and 10 additional études selected and revised for utilizing the keys unique to the low C bass clarinet. Each étude is one page in length, and is preceded by a pair of short finger drills which correspond to the technical demands of the study. The first sixteen études feature half-step fingering combinations, and the following twenty-two études have expanded finger combinations and are generally more challenging. Of the ten bass clarinet études, the first two can be played with a low E-flat bass clarinet, but the remaining eight will require a low C instrument; these revised etudes use the same key and time signatures as their original versions, but take advantage of the much lower range enjoyed by the lower pitched clarinets.
The composer writes that the studies are good for "...developing pre-college students, undergraduate players and clarinet enthusiasts...[and] advanced and professional players will love them too." The range stays within the chalumeau and clarion registers, only reaching the maximum altissimo D♭6 on a few occasions. Considering the range and rhythm values, this edition is suitable for earlier skilled clarinettists, although the trickier key-signatures can offer a good reading challenge for college students. Denny-Chambers' writing covers a colorful variety of characters and moods, including Latin flair, march, swing, boogie-woogie, waltz, and more. Discerning ears will also enjoy a few subtle references to works of Aaron Copland, William Osborne, and Arlen's famous ballad, "Over the Rainbow."
Length: average exercise length = 1 page
Range: highest pitch = written D♭6
Key signature: no ♯/♭, 1♯, 2♯, 3♯, 4♯, 6♯, 1♭, 2♭, 3♭, 4♭, 5♭, 6♭
Time signature: 2/2, 3/4, 4/4, 6/8, 12/8
Extended techniques: gliss (a few études)
Rhythm: fastest rhythm = sixteenth-note (infrequent), includes dotted-quarter notes, triplet-eighth-notes
Two appendices contain finger drill reviews, finger drills for bass clarinet, and brief scale/chord studies. Also included is a glossary of musical terms.
Performer / Ensemble Link Comments Kristen Denny-Chambers 2020. "Twirling" Kristen Denny-Chambers 2020. "First Flight" Kristen Denny-Chambers 2020. "Daydreamer's Fantasy" Kristen Denny-Chambers 2020. "Dungeon Hop"
- Performer / Ensemble
- Performer / Ensemble
Publisher Code: KDFINGER
Length: 28 cm
Width: 21.7 cm
Thickness: 0.612 cm
Weight: 268 g