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 Start of Poulenc sonata
Author: Maruja 
Date:   2018-02-21 21:32

I don't know why, but I always fluff the opening bars of this sonata. A combination of double f , speed and awkward intervals (and now a sort of fear of making a mess of it, which is no doubt leading to tension).

The clarinet (or reed) often does not seem to behave itself, going off into weird registers.

I think partly it's starting cold and having to jump straight in.

All suggestions welcome!


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 Re: Start of Poulenc sonata
Author: Tobin 
Date:   2018-02-21 21:52

Have you approached the passages with rhythmic variation, segmentation, or other advanced practice techniques?

Do you have your wind and support well established to anticipate the first to second register changes?

Do you clearly hear every note of the passage, and do you clearly hear the tempo that you want to play before your begin?

You need to have trained your body so thoroughly to play it that you’re able to do it when you can’t think straight.


Gnothi Seauton

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 Re: Start of Poulenc sonata
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-02-21 22:43

It's much easier to hear what someone is actually doing and work from there. But without being able to hear the problem itself, some thoughts:

Tobin's suggestions should be useful. Also, look at the notes themselves for patterns - the 3 upward-turning groups follow a general pattern. The two downward ones have their own pattern. Notice both the similarities and the differences from one group to the other. Analyzing the intervals can help make you more aware of the notes themselves. The clearer your mental image of the sound of the passage is, the more control you should have.

Sometimes starting near the end of the troublemaking passage can help. There are five sets of 16ths+one 8th. Get the last group under control, then go back and work on the one before it, then play them in sequence. Then go back another two beats to the third group, get it under control and then play the three groups in sequence. Each time you miss anything, reset that group and then put it back in sequence. By the time you get all the way back to the beginning, you'll have pretty much memorized the rest through repetition.

You may find it easier to do each group *slightly* under tempo - just slow enough to be able to play it. But get each portion up to tempo before adding an earlier one.

More than anything else, you need to analyze what's going wrong. "I always fluff" isn't very specific. What goes wrong? Is it a specific interval? A particular note that doesn't speak? It's easier to solve a problem if you can identify it clearly.


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 Re: Start of Poulenc sonata
Author: gavalanche20 
Date:   2018-02-22 00:36

Has this always been happening, or is this a new development? I'm just wondering since you seem to be the same user who posted about a chip on your upper joint tenon. Otherwise see the other posts above.

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 Re: Start of Poulenc sonata
Author: Liquorice 
Date:   2018-02-22 01:03

I agree that it's impossible to help without really knowing what the problem is. But I think the most likely problem is that you are moving your fingers too far away from the instrument. Try playing the passage without moving your fingers more than half a centimetre away from the holes/keys. Once you're doing that, try Tobin and kdk's suggestions. And like kdk says, try to zone in on exactly which bits don't work. Once you know that, you can figure out some specific solutions.

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 Re: Start of Poulenc sonata
Author: ClarinetRobt 
Date:   2018-02-22 02:55

All great advise. One thing I did HS was ‘compress’ the sixteenth notes in the groupings. I focused a few practice sessions to fill the entire beat with the four sixteenth’s. Make sure every note is the same length and it’s even.

~Robert L Schwebel
Mthpc: Behn Vintage, Lig: Ishimori, Reed: Aria 4, Legere Euro Signature 3.75, Horns: Uebel Superior, Ridenour Lyrique

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 Re: Start of Poulenc sonata
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2018-02-22 05:39

I started working on difficult passages with "forward chaining". Check out this link....


I would NOT recommend this if you don't have solid fundamentals, or good established practice methods, as this (IMO) should really only be reserved for short spurts of difficult passages.

It's got some interesting thought behind it. The thought process is that when you practice slowly, you have time to think of each individual note as you practice. As you speed it up, eventually you hit a point where your brain can't think "note per note" and has to try to develop it into "chunks". This is a sticking point which takes time to change. The methods above (rhythm variation, segmentation) also focus on creating chunks. It's why we can rip through an arpeggio or scale, cause our brain no longer has to think "note per note".

This youtube suggests starting it at or close to performance tempo, adding one note at a time to start the brain directly in the "chunk" phase. Then slowing it down till it's clean, and speeding it back up again. However since you learned it as a "chunk", you hopefully won't have a sticking point where your brain has to switch over from note to note.

THis method helped me immensely in some tricky areas of pieces and excerpts I needed to learn very quickly.


Platoon Sergeant
US Army Japan Band

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 Re: Start of Poulenc sonata
Author: Tobin 
Date:   2018-02-22 07:41

And...devil’s advocate...I believe backchaining (starting with last notes and adding backwards) is more effective than front chaining.

Otherwise there’s a lot to like about Sulliman’s method...except that I don’t believe it builds technique. It allows you to process faster with the technique you possess...and if you don’t have enough...this method is a disaster. Of many advanced practice techniques (and I don’t teach play it slow — speed it up — repeat), I don’t teach Sulliman’s.


Gnothi Seauton

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