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Clarinet Lessons: Debussy - Rhapsody

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Debussy Rhapsody,
it's the mother of all contest pieces
from the Paris Conservatory.
This piece not only is one of the most
beautiful and very fun to play, but
it's one of the most challenging.
One of the things that makes it
extremely challenging is the nuance
that we need to be aware of.
And by nuance I mean
the difference between pianos, and
pianissimos, and pianississimos, and
disappearing, and all those things.
All those markings that
he put in there a part.
Now, one of the things that we usually
tend to do is because we see piano and
pianissimo and pronounce it, we tend to
get the invisible walls to come caving in.
And that is something that makes the piece
even more difficult than it already is.
I would suggest that at the beginning
that you should be concentrating
on the colors that you want to
be making because even though
Debussy wrote this for
the Paris conservatory for their contest.
The next year he made their
fantastic orchestration and
whenever you get the chance to play
with orchestra, which you will.
You will!
When that happens,
then you will realize that all the things
I'm telling you will come true.
Which is, you cannot really play super,
super pianissisisisisimo like you
would think that you need to because
the orchestra is actually a big orchestra,
it's between 80 and 85 people.
So it has clarinets,
it has full compliments of winds.
Full strings, brass, percussion.
So what you have to be thinking is
in terms of gradations,
gradations of dynamics.
And that will help us.
For example,
the very beginning it says piano, right?
But immediately says dolce and
espressivo, right?
I think that he immediately is making
sure that you have a sweet sound and
that in the expression is that it's not,
it's soft, so we have to play soft.
Therefore, I would think
just be expressive.
Give a little bit more intensity
between the B flat and the C so
then you have a nice little shape.
Let me try.
Then you can be open.
Just because it says piano.
Go for the dolce and expresivo.
Then the next bars you have then that nice
little crescendo diminuendo in the run.
not only does it have a crescendo, but
then the A at the top of that
crescendo has a tenudo mark.
So we cannot be too small.
So it goes piano,
to the crescendo, to the tenudo.
Therefore it's really not a matter
of thinking boxy, but [SOUND] open sound.
Let me try it.
Then we have pianissimo.
You see so we have to make sure
the diminuendo gives us enough room so
then the next dynamic can come down okay.
So that's the most important
things to be thinking about
at the very beginning of the piece.
The next thing that I would
like to talk about is,
around measure 28 and 29 when we
have that little cadenza, right?
Two things that we have to be thinking
about is in en sechan means pressing
So have to get an accelerando but
most people
because we're busy with the accelerando we
do not pay attention to the articulation.
The articulations, as you can see,
he has it no marked,
which means that it should be detached but
not too short.
And then the next measure in the pressing
forward has the staccato notes.
So then I think that you can use
the shortness of staccato To actually
help you to increase in the intensity
of that pressing forward.
So that we can go,
let me try,
So that helps us to get forward.
Then we have a scherzando
that says twice the tempo.
So twice the tempo of what we were doing.
[SOUND] Now check this out.
The next entrance,
we always tend to go [SOUND].
We tend to do something like this.
Okay but it's because we're
busy thinking about that grace note but
if you think about it we
have an eighth note and
then triplets okay so we have to show for
that to work well is one two [SOUND]
And then we add the little
grace note to it.
And there we get the right rhythm for
something like that.
In general there will be many things.
I mean this piece has so
many little nuances and
many things that we can discuss and
the fingerings they
always end up being things that we have to
do more or less on an individual basis.
Because depending on
how you are blowing and
depending on the instrument that you use.
You may need to use different fingerings.
But I look forward to discussing this
with you in the video exchanges.
And we'll have a great time discovering
all the beauties of this piece.
If you'd like to submit the Debussy
Rhapsody, this is what I'm looking for.
Controlled dynamics, but
color more than just dynamics.
Singing and keep the fingers nice and easy
so then you can sing through the notes.
Before you submit your video,
be sure to watch the other video exchanges
on this piece and
see what I have told the other students.
Once you have done that,
submit your video, I'll take a look, and
give you some feedback.
Since the pieces are long, please go ahead
and send whatever you have prepared, and
then we can go little by little
until we can finish the piece.