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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000222.txt from 2002/06

Subj: [kl] Re: Caruso Long Tones
Date: Fri, 7 Jun 2002 09:25:10 -0400

In a message dated 6/7/02 4:07:02 AM,

<< Since I am still trying to get my embouchure back (among other things), she
right away suggested that I spend about 20 minutes a day on Caruso Long
Tones. From what I understand, and I have searched Google on this phrase, is
that this was developed mainly for brass players. She showed my how to do it
so I can practice them. I am also using a mirror now in my practice

I have no idea who your teacher is, but my personal opinion is that long
tones (on the clarinet) are mostly a waste of time. They are tiring and
boring and accomplish little. Let me explain why (again, since you're new).

Let me paraphrase what the great teacher Stanley Hasty said in a masterclass:

"Anyone can sound great on one note. It's when the person makes an INTERVAL
that you hear the problems in their playing."

My teacher, Robert Marcellus (paraphrased again):

"The true sound of the clarinet is in between the notes. Just play that c
major scale over and over again and listen for that sound."

A good warmup should emphasize:

#1 The CONNECTION between the notes (Scales and Arpeggios)
#2 Articulation (which, on the clarinet, might be called a rare medium well
done these days)

Now, if you do your scales very slowly (say 2 notes per beat at 50 or so)
you'll get the benefit of sustaining each note for a while plus the all
important connection between the notes.

Now, I am not saying long tones are HARMFUL necessarily (although they can
be, I suppose). But more than 5 minutes a day is a lot of time to use!

My warmup is about 50 minutes of scales and arpeggios, and sometimes it is
the only practicing I get to do (If I am lucky and get to do the whole

If I had to do 20 minutes of long tones, that would be a lot of time to use
on something that has very limited practical benefit. What I mean is, when in
music do you EVER play long tones that are completely exposed (especially
compared to scales and arpeggios)?

Some might argue that you can use them with a tuner. I suggest that this is
also much less good than playing slow scales with a tuner. Intonation is
always relative to the connecting notes!

Finally, Sabine Meyer is a great artist with a great sound, amazing
articulation and wonderful technique. Long tones didn't get her there. I
think your teacher took what she said WAY out of context.

There's your input. SANE dissention may or may not follow.

David Hattner, NYC


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