The ultimate companion to clarinet playing
Composer: Paul Harris
Publisher: Faber Music
The Clarinet is Paul Harris' comprehensive philosophy of clarinet playing. Harris states that the purpose of this book is to help one develop their "...individual clarinet personality, to open doors for thought and to open the way to unlimited progress." He encourages readers to use the book however it may be useful, whether that is systematically from page one, or jumping between sections.
The book covers a thorough range of topics using an approachable writing style with touches of humor; a particular concept may receive anywhere from a few sentences of discussion to several pages of detailed exercises. It offers a holistic approach, regularly involving work and thought away from the instrument. The three longest sections are "Developing Tone," "Articulation," and "Finger-work & Dexterity," each comprising about 40 pages, with most other sections comprising about a dozen pages each.
The book has a balanced mixture of written text and actual music; of the 232 total pages, more than half contain exercises and excerpts with music notation. Most of the music examples are original writing from Harris; he also covers a solid range of "standard" clarinet repertoire through short excepts from over 40 composers: Arnold, H. Baermann, Bartók, Beethoven, Berg, Berlioz, Borodin, Brahms, Busoni, Copland, Crusell, Debussy, Donizetti, Dvořák, Elgar, Finzi, Gade, Harris, Hindemith, Howells, Ireland, Lefèvre, Mendelssohn, Messager, Mozart, Nielsen, Puccini, Rachmaninov, Ravel, Reger, Archduke Rudolph, Saint-Saëns, Schubert, Schumann, Spohr, Stanford, Strauss, Sutermeister, Tausch, Tchaikovsky, Weber, and Willman. The book also includes many helpful illustrations and diagrams.
A table of contents with a rough listing of each section appears below:
- The importance of constant reappraisal as a fundamental driver for learning; terminology of registers, note pitches, finger numbers, instrument fingering diagram
- Warming up with and without the clarinet; posture; cooling down (stretching)
- Includes exercises for: the body and mind to gain awareness of the space around you and release body tension; warming up with the clarinet
- The science of sound: basics of soundwaves and harmonics; breathing and support; planning breathing spots and quick breaths; oral cavity; tongue position; embouchure; special sonic effects (extended techniques): harmonics, pitch bending, multiphonics, quarter tones (microtones), circular breathing; understanding squeaks
- Includes exercises for: developing controlled breath awareness and support; embouchure durability and flexibility; extended techniques
- Air control in terms of volume, speed, and pressure; finding center of the note; danger of undesirable dynamics "bulging"; sound projection; applying tonal control to melodic line
- Includes exercises for: developing the breadth and control of dynamic range, note tapers; progressively developing familiarity with each register's tonal characteristics (chalumeau, throat, clarion, altissimo); joining the registers (the first and second breaks, slurring downwards)
Intonation and playing in tune
- Warming up and fine-tuning the instrument; using a tuner device; tuning in ensemble playing; pitch tendencies related to registers; lipping notes
- Includes exercises for: pre-hearing pitch; hearing beats (with a second player); tuning stable intervals
- Starting and ending notes; tongue pressure; staccato; tongue and finger independence; no-tongue (breath) articulation; articulation in different registers; articulation syllables and style; notational markings (accents, sforzando, etc.)
- Includes exercises for: starting and ending notes; tongue pressure and accuracy; articulation across the registers; developing faster tonguing; combining slurred and articulated notes; double-, triple-, and flutter-tonguing
Finger-work and dexterity
- Speed and coordination of finger movement; finger posture; finger pressure
- Includes exercises for: individual finger strength, independence, and agility; using scales/arpeggios to develop faster technique
- Intentional practice; interpretation; playing with historically-informed style; clarinet-specific performance issues (dry mouth, throat tightness, equipment, etc.)
- Reed anatomy, management, testing, adjustment, storage; mouthpiece history, anatomy, selection, maintenance; clarinet maintenance: daily versus annual, self versus professional; breaking in a new clarinet
- Historical timeline of the clarinet instrument's development; teacher "dynasties"; repertoire list; recommended orchestral tutti cuts for auditions; audio recordings grouped by national schools
- Glossary of terms; bibliography
Paul Harris offers a video playlist of brief introductions to various areas of the book.
Performer / Ensemble Link Comments Paul Harris A playlist of brief introductions to various areas of the book.
Publisher Code: 571542182
Length: 30.5 cm
Width: 23 cm
Thickness: 1.86 cm
Weight: 842 g