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Welcome to Clarineticus Intergalacticus!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Who's got an idea?? I bet all of you do!

What's going on clarinet-wise in your neighborhood?? Clarineticus Intergalacticus wants to know, and we want to know from YOU! If you are working as a clarinetist, or you are just a lover of all-things-clarinet, please consider submitting!

Submissions could include (be creative!):

-stories about your life as a clarinetist (we want to know about every kind of gig!)

-clarinet events in your area

-new works for clarinet (sound, or video clips are great - also excerpts of the score and information pertaining to the piece)

-groups you know of that use the clarinet (can be your own group or a group you're interested in)

-practice techniques or warm-up ideas

-papers or articles you may have written on the clarinet, clarinet techniques or clarinet literature

-clarinet artwork (this does not exclude clarinet lamps!)

- ANYTHING ELSE CLARINET RELATED

Accepted submissions will be posted on Clarineticus Intergalacticus! It's a great way to promote yourself and your ideas, so don't be shy! Send full submissions or ideas to:






Sunday, April 17, 2011

Premiere Performance of Newly-Discovered Schubert Manuscript!

In my first post for Clarineticus Intergalacticus, I want to present an exciting musicological discovery of interest to us in the clarinet world: Chicago's CUBE ensemble in a premiere performance of a newly-discovered original manuscript of Schubert's "Der Hirt auf dem Felsen", D. 965 ("The Shepherd on the Rock"). Watch below to experience the piece as Schubert had originally intended. Try to detect the subtle differences between this heretofore undiscovered score and the familiar version you might expect.



Fascinating, no? As you may expect, this post was intended for April Fools' Day (sorry, Kristen). How does one find an entertaining gem like the video above? Follow cl_music_bot on twitter. A "bot" on twitter is not an account used by a real person, but rather a piece of code (kind of like a robot, right?). Cl_music_bot searches YouTube for clarinet-related videos and tweets them regularly, keeping nerds like me entertained and educated. Enjoy!

P.S. I want to thank Kristen for inviting me to contribute to Clarineticus Intergalacticus! You can learn more about me, David, by reading my interview in an earlier post. Stay tuned for more posts from both of us!

Notes from lessons with Robert Marcellus

So, I didn't study with Robert Marcellus... but my teacher Robert Fitzer did. Bob passed away a few years ago, and his students ended up with a lot of his clarinet stuff. One of the things I have is a set of notebooks he kept from his lessons with Robert Marcellus at Northwestern. I started reading through Bob's notes hoping to find some insight from my teacher and from Robert Marcellus. One of the first pages I opened up to had written in large letters:

COMFORT 
AND
STABILITY

I turned the page and found a checklist in Bob's notes listing things Marcellus must have been preaching to him:

CONSTANTLY THINK ABOUT:
1: DON'T MOVE
2: RIGHT HAND (especially 1st finger) CURVED
3: DON'T CHANGE or MOVE EMBOUCHURE WHILE BREATHING
4: TOP LIP (45 degree pressure)
5: TONGUE - HIGH IN BACK OF MOUTH, LOW IN FRONT
6: PLAY BETWEEN NOTES
7: DON'T LET FINGERS TIGHTEN UP!
8: LEFT HAND - CURVED! THUMB AT 1 O'CLOCK!
9: SOFT FINGERS
10: BREATHING - FILL UP BOTTLE!
11: THROAT OPEN!!

This was followed by an equally emphatic list on the next page, notice that he starts this list with a triple zero instead of a one. (Bob's former students will love this particular detail!)

000: FRONT OF TONGUE TO "TOUCH" REED JUST ABOVE LOWER LIP.
00: POINTY TIP
0: SLIGHT ARCH BEFORE TIP
1: Teu (French)
2: RELAXED TONGUE
3: LIGHT TONGUE
4: MINIMUM MOTION
5: BULK AS WHISTLE OF HIGH NOTE
6: BULK IN THE TOP 1/3 OF MOUTH (ESPECIALLY IN TOP REGISTER!!)
7: THROAT PASSAGE - SIZE OF BORE OF BARREL
8: TIP OF TONGUE COMES OFF REED ONLY 2-3 MILLIMETERS
9: TIP LOWER ON REED
10: NO CHANGING FOR HIGH NOTES!!!!

And in case that wasn't enough, the next page has a check list as well:

Don't Move           Play Between Notes

BREATH

1: Fill up bottle
2: Open passages

FINGERS

1: Loose - "soft fingers"
2: curved
a) 5th finger, left hand (1 O'clock)
b) 1st finger, right hand

EMBOUCHURE

1: Top Lip (45 degree pressure)
2: Don't change while breathing

TONGUE

1: Pointy tip
2: Back high in mouth; front low (against bottom lip)
3: Moves off mouthpiece only, tiny bit between tonguing. 



So it looks like through a few sets of lists, he simplified what he was trying to "constantly think about." There is nothing profound about these lists, but hearing a concept worded differently helps solidify the idea. Bob taught like that, always looking for new ways to describe a concept to help the student understand.
After reading his lists, I am writing my own checklist! So, do any of you have mental checklists that you use when practicing?? Please share!





My teacher Robert Fitzer.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

What I'm listening to today, not the clarinet.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to coach a chamber group from Central Connecticut State University with a couple of my friends from the West Point Band. The group was great to work with; they were well prepared and really eager to try new things and interact with us. We talked about phrasing so much, and it reminded me of a video I have probably watched a hundred times. (Make it through the interview, it's worth it!)





Itzhak Perlman is the man, and tangos are so exciting.


Anyway, we all know that. The reason I thought of this video is because the group we coached yesterday played only arrangements of vocal pieces. So here is a vocal version of Por Una Cabeza... wondering about the horses? Por Una Cabeza is sung by a man who is comparing his addiction to betting on horses with his attraction to women.






To me, it is very clear how vocally Perlman interpreted this piece. Also, I am struck by how matter-of-fact he seems when playing it. I'm not going to make any elaborate comparisons, just sharing.  Enjoy, and keep listening!