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Clarinet Lessons: Brahms - Symphony #3, 2nd Movement

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The slow movement of
Brahms' Third Symphony is one of the most
important standard solos
that we have to play.
It's a good solo to demonstrate your
singing quality and it's actually very
good because for most of the part we
are actually in a semi-good register.
Why I call it semi-good is
because we play a lot of notes
that are in the clarion register,
the singing register of the clarinet.
But there is the little trick that
we have a lot of going back and
forth with the throat tones.
Now the thing that makes this tricky is
because the throat tones tend to be notes
that are usually a little bit less stable.
And in terms of intonation,
we have much more ability to change them.
And therefore, we have to try to find
fingerings that are actually very steady,
and then we can maintain the evenness.
Now, I would suggest to try
to get a fingering that is
consistent throughout the whole solo.
So that way we can get a very good sound,
and then we're not ever guessing.
And that way we are always knowing
where we're coming and going.
Now, when I talk about coming and
going is that there are some
times where one of the notes
that we play constantly
will be having to be played actually
a little bit softer in color.
I am talking about the throat A.
It has to be, depending on where
we're going, it has to be soft.
If we're going from that A to a long B or
from the long B to the A,
we have to try to get a color
that is actually very veiled and
smooth to actually match those notes.
One of the fingerings that I
have found that is good because
you can play it softly and
round or brilliant,
is the throat A vented with two three and
the C key, this one.
So that way it is actually clear but
warm and then when
we back off from the sound, from the air,
then it can be a little bit more velvety.
So at the end we can match the long Bs.
So let me just try to show you this.
The way to find the fingering for this is,
forget about what I'm saying necessarily,
this is one that worked for me and
my clarinet and perhaps for many of you.
But the important thing is the fingerings
that we will find that will work best
are the ones that work best for
you, the way you blow and
the way that your clarinet works.
So this is one of those things that we
have to be thinking what comes first,
the chicken or the egg?
The fingering or the music making?
The music making.
It's not a trick.
So that we always go for the music making.
That is making the note as we want to hear
it coming from the previous notes, and
then we'll try to find a fingering that
matches the musicality necessary for
the passage.
Okay, so at the beginning,
since we're playing a lot of long Bs,
we have to try to found a throat A that
matches in roundness the long B.
So we have to start with the long B.
So you see, for
my instrument I have several that work but
some people are not so lucky, okay?
But the thing is a lot of times you
have to get used to voicing it.
Because you see, even if I play it plain,
without any extra fingering,
I have to work on the air distribution so
that then it matches, okay?
I use the first one as fingering because
it's definitely a little bit better and
more secure, okay.
So, always in this one,
even though there's a lot of little
nuances to be dealt with the fingerings,
I would recommend for
you to forget about it as much as
possible in the practice room first,
so then you can sing, okay.
Make it all about expression, and then
once you get it in your heart and you can
sort of hear how you want the sound to go,
then we start looking for the fingerings.
But if we're always thinking
this fingering, that,
we always get,
the invisible walls come in, caving in,
and then we never have
an opportunity to sound singing.
If you'd like to submit this Brahms
excerpt, here's what I'm looking for.
Super singing sound, very smooth,
clarity of intonation, and
very nice in between the notes.
Before you submit your video, be sure to
watch the other video exchanges from this
excerpt and
see what I have told the other students.
Once you have done that,
send me your video, I'll take a look and
give you some feedback.