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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000230.txt from 2005/07

From: "Patricia A. Smith" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] altissimo studies
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2005 12:01:25 -0400

Vann Joe Turner wrote:

>Hi all,
>It seems to me the reason mastery of altissimo comes slowly for most is the lack of altissimo studies.
Hi Joe,

Something else one of my teachers EARLY on told me is that most students
are not encouraged to even PLAY in that register. He encouraged me to
actually warm up in that register and play LONG TONES in that register.
(sure did get all the stray cats out of the neighborhood! (Mwuahaha)

This is my favorite long tone exercise for the altissimo:

After doing a beginning series of long tones in the first octave, you
start with twelfths - 4 beats on a, open the twelfth key, and play the
clarion e for four beats, listening for pitch, of course. Now, here's
the funky part: open the first finger of the left hand to get altissimo
C#. You HAVE to listen to the pitch of the C#, which most of the time
will be fairly sharp, sometimes kind of flat, depends on the player.
Don't just "honk" it! Listen to it, play it with plenty of air, and hear
where it IS on your horn, before you decide how you're going to need to
adjust it. ;-) So much of the time, we dread how we sound in that
register so much, we don't stay there long enough to get a good feel for
where we need to go.

At first, most of us feel like "OMG, what are the neighbors going to
think? Will I even HAVE neighbors after this!" Lelia, put earplugs on
Shadow Cat! Dick Vigorous will love this stuff, however...

This can be done all the way from the chalumeau A up to... well, I can
do it all the way up to about e or so... (first line e) It won't sound
good at first...(Most of the time it doesn't sound good for a LONG
time...hey, nobody's perfect!)

You'll want to use a metronome. And you'll want to set it at about
quarter note = 60? I think. I'll have to write this out, perhaps. I
was trying to do this in my head, then on the clarinet. Right now, it
sounds dreadful. Need practice & some new reeds. What else is new?

Patricia Smith

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