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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000040.txt from 2001/07

Subj: [kl] Re:Jettel
Date: Mon, 2 Jul 2001 09:54:05 -0400

In a message dated 7/2/01 4:14:14 AM, writes:

<< "The Accomplished Clarinettist", two/three? Books of studies by Rudolf
Jettel. I worked my way through the first book after getting my Grade 8 (16
years ago now - surely it can't be _that_ long!!!). These are (on the whole)
anything but musical (IMHO, obviously) but cleverly constructed to work on
every aspect of technique, and if you can play these, you'll be ready for
almost anything thrown at you... >>

I just recorded 5 Concert Etudes with piano by Jettel (4 from Vol. 3 of the
Accomplished Clarinetist, one published seperately which is based on the
Midsummer Night's Dream Scherzo). The more I think about them and the other
etudes by Jettel I have worked on, the more I appreciate how remarkable both
Jettel and his compositions are.

Some of his etudes are meant to focus on one or two specific technical or
rhythmic concepts. I remember one etude (not one I recorded) which switched
between 7, 8, 9 and 10 to the beat (or something like that) constantly. Very
difficult etude, but getting one's brain to switch rhythmical gears like that
is terribly important. The focus of that particular etude (and many others
like it) was not an expressive problem, and so musically it was perhaps
somewhat dull.

Jettel's etudes are great because they are absolutely not sightreadable. This
is one thing that is so discouraging about them! If you want to play one, you
have to practice it very slowly at first just to be able to read it. The
patterns do not fall comfortably, not for the eyes and not for the fingers
(and there are often misprints, but that's another story). If you skip a few
days of practice on an etude, you have to practically start over.

Some of the etudes, such as the ones I recorded, are so difficult that in
order to get to the point where you can mostly play them straight through,
you have to put in enough hours that they are basically memorized. I still
can play the ones I recorded from memory, at least most of them.

The benefits of Jettel are not obvious. It took me a year after the recording
sessions to realize the degree of benefit I realized from learning those
particular etudes. I had done a book or two of etudes by Jettel in the past,
but really spending a few months on these was fantastic.

I seem to be on a rhythm thing the last two days, but let me say this: if you
have the slightest rhythmic weakness, you are going to have trouble becoming
a professional musician. Working diligently on Jettel etudes can really help.
Why? Because of the combination of rhythmical and technical difficulties.
Rhythmic weaknesses often appear when the technique is put to the test.
That's why you hear people rushing fast, difficult passages when the opposite
would be logical, they simply have shut down their rhythmic monitoring in
order to put all their mental focus on technique. If you can do everything in
Jettel in tempo and accurately, you're at least on your way to becoming a
good musician.

That doesn't mean the etudes are fun, though. They sure as hell aren't!!!!

David Hattner, NYC

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