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Clarinet Lessons: Ravel - Daphnis and Chloe, Suite #2

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[MUSIC]
Daphnis and
Chloe- Suite #2.
I'm sure this is your favorite, right?
[LAUGH] Its one of my absolute
favorite especially to listen to.
To play, its a little bit trickier.
That beginning,
all the notes that we have to play,
I will tell you that
the thing that kills us is our own
inner tension, I will explain.
The very first time that I got to play
a solo with the Philadelphia Orchestra
was in the Saratoga Music Festival
that we play every Summer.
And Maestro Charles Dutoit invited
me to play, it was my first year.
He was like well,
you should come and play a solo.
So, I was playing in the orchestra and
he asked me to do a solo, so
I was going to play vabers Concerto #2.
Now, it so
happens that I was scheduled to play in
their orchestra concert as well that day.
So, I was going to play the orchestra
parts and then just come out real quickly,
and then get myself
ready just a few minute,
swap and then just play the concerto.
Well, it so happened that that day,
the programming
was we started with The Miraculous
Mandarin which we all know is an extremely
difficult part, and just crazy climax
solos, and all kinds of difficulties.
Then after that I had to play
the Beethoven Concerto, and
then after intermission, then we have
to play Daphnis and Chloe, okay.
Now, that was a busy day but
I can tell you that's the only time
ever in my life where I felt
that Daphnis and Chloe was easy.
Or, let's just say, less difficult.
[LAUGH] It was the least challenging
day to play Daphnis and Chloe.
And the reason why was because I
had already spent a lot of this
extra nervous energy in playing the solos
in the Miraculous Mandarin, and
I had played a concerto.
So by the time I got to this piece,
I'm must more relaxed.
So, what I learned from that time is that
the thing that makes this very hard is not
just the notes, but our inability to
keep relaxed when we're playing it.
Okay, so there are different ways in
which we will be have to be able to
address that problem.
Number one,
one of the things that happens is that
we tend to play this way too fast, okay?
We practice it, and we practice it, and
some of the fingerings feel familiar,
and the minute they feel
familiar then we get going.
And what I can tell you is that it
is actually slower than you think.
Meaning that I've never heard anybody play
in an audition or myself playing where
you hear somebody playing it's
like that's way too slow, okay?
[LAUGH] It's because we are all
trying to play too fast.
But we can certainly hear
people playing it too fast and
what happens when we play too fast?
We lack the ability,
we lose the ability to phrase well, and
then it gets a tightness to it.
So, in order to feel more
comfortable with this
passage, we have to practice it
in many different ways, okay?
So, because it's 12 notes per beat,
there is many ways in which
we can divide it, okay?
We can divide it in two sets of six,
[SOUND] or, [SOUND] four sets of three, or
three sets of four, okay?
Now for practicing purposes,
I like to divide it in sets of three, and
two, three, and four, okay?
And when we do that,
we will be able to do the rhythmic finger
exercises which we will discuss,
and if you want to review,
it's in the technique portion of the site.
When we're thinking about
dividing in sets of twos,
then we do plain eighth notes,
[SOUND] right?
So, let me try.
[MUSIC]
Okay?
And then we can do it with different
rhythms, with dotted eighth notes,
the dotted rhythm that I call it,
is dotted eighth note with a 16th note.
[SOUND] And then the other one which is
backwards, 16th note, and dotted 8th note.
[SOUND] So, I will try.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
When we're practicing in sets of three,
then we can do any number of ones.
I like to do just three, one,
two, three, one, two, three, and
then one eighth note, two sixteenth notes.
[SOUND] and backwards,
[SOUND] two sixteenth notes and
one eighth [SOUND].
And then syncopation, 16 note,
8th note, 16 notes, [SOUND].
And then the last one is what I call
the Beethoven's Seventh Symphony rhythm,
which is a dotted 8th note,
16 note, and 8th note.
[SOUND]
So we will
practice it,
[SOUND].
Okay, so it will go something like this.
I mean, of course, we practice just the
whole passage which in each of the ways,
it's not just changing it intermittently.
But just the whole passage you
practice it like that it's so
then we can get the fingers to move
in a precise rhythmic patterns.
[MUSIC]
So by
the time
that we
get to
playing
straight,
we have
done
[SOUND].
So we have done seven times,
seven different kinds.
So by the time,
let's say that we do this passage and
we practice it only twice,
only twice, on each of those rhythms.
Then we would have done it 14 times,
okay, and
we have done it 14 times well,
before we got to the [SOUND].
Okay, now the other thing that is
very tricky in this passage is how
do we deal with the little difficulty how
to go fast around the throat tones, okay?
Now this is one of
the things where I would
like to talk a little bit
about finger positioning.
Okay, now this is one of
those where the general book,
what I call the textbook
version of how to put
the hand position is actually
detrimental to being able to play this.
Because we are, we've been told to go and
have the hand at an angle where this
is sort of diagonal, like this.
Like this, so that then the first finger,
the index finger,
has access to the throat keys, okay.
And that is nice.
But then the two things I don't like is
that if you have short fingers, then it
puts you at a disadvantage for your
pinkies, which already that's no good.
And then, the other thing that
makes it difficult is that it
changes the angle of the middle
finger to covering this.
Okay, so this actually contributes to
the difficulty of this passage because,
first of all it's hard to maintain
the pinky anchor down side.
Then you can move fast, and
then the angle doesn't allow you
to close this finger very well.
So this is one where I had to
learn I was experimenting, and
actually what I do is I ended up adjusting
my hand angle since, you see my hand.
My pinky is not that long, okay.
I have had students and
colleagues where the pinky and
the index finger are actually, the index
finger is parallel to the annular finger.
And then the actual pinky
finger is actually longer.
So if you could do this position fine, but
for those of us who have a smaller hand
and shorter fingers,
this is actually not that good.
So you have to get the hand, again, as
in the lesson, we have to find the angle
where it rests naturally and then find
the spot where the clarinet falls.
See, so if my hand rests naturally like
this, it doesn't lie naturally like this.
My hand doesn't hang out like that,
hey how you doing?
Very well, how you been?
That's not my hand.
It's much more normal like this,
naturally put it here.
So that means the angle is
a little bit more vertical, okay.
And that, with my apologies to all of
my dear teachers, who I love very much.
But, you just have to go with what works,
right?
So, that's how we're going to do it.
Therefore, when you do this,
then you will be having better
luck closing this finger properly.
And therefore,
the legato between the throat B flat
to the D flat is going to be easier.
[MUSIC]
So there's not
a little bit of a grunt
because this finger
actually is closing.
So, try to find what hand position
works the most efficiently for you.
Forget about the books,
the books are there to guide, okay.
They're only a suggestion.
It's not a law, okay?
It's just for you to have an idea.
But you have to find
whatever works best for you.
For me it's just a slightly
more relaxed angle like this.
It's not a sin.
I've been able to play with very,
I've been very lucky in my career playing
in many numerous prestigious groups and
with great people.
I've had a great time.
And I survived just being a little
bit off of the university approach.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC].
In the Danse Generale, the last dance
of Daphnis et Chloé, everybody in the,
everybody have to play a million notes,
and we tend to again,
it's one of these passages where we
tend to practice it too fast, too soon,
and therefore we learn wrong
fingerings,and we get too uptight.
Now, one of the reasons why it is
important to practice slowly is this.
We mentioned this already
in the good technique
in the technique parts in the website.
So if you need to review don't hesitate
to go to the finger technique etcetera.
But I'll repeat it because
it's worth talking about.
The brain is an equal opportunity learner.
Okay, it's our own natural computer and
it accepts information all the time.
And you have to be thinking about
this carefully because the brain
doesn't distinguish when it's gathering
information what's good and bad.
You then later on make that decision.
But if you're putting in wrongful
information then it just stays there.
And even if you try to fix it and
you fix it later.
That information stored in a little
drawer in the back of our minds.
And it's only those drawers our
habits that we throw away the keys.
But there is the little
audition gremlins that come.
And they sit over here and
it's like hey, I found a key.
Guess what?
This little drawer is open.
Then, we're nervous and
all the mistakes come out and they think
that we have been learning wrongly.
Start freaking us out and
then we make mistakes, okay?
So, that is one of the reasons why it
is extremely important to practice
most of our music, or
all of our music, slowly first, so
we can learn it right from the beginning.
Now, for this passage,
there is two versions that I played.
One of them in the regular tempo and then
one that I put for a little bit slower,
so you can see how we have to do the daily
grind with the very slow practice.
It's at 100,
which is not the slowest tempo.
But it's definitely much
slower than the traditional
tempo playing this last piece,
anywhere between 150 to 175 or whatever.
So 100 is a very good opportunity for
us to deal with this.
And as I mentioned in the previous
excerpt, dealing with deafness.
The 16 note work is actually very
good to practice the same way that
we're talking about,
the citizen, duplet meter.
[SOUND] Then we can do this kind,
the dotted rhythms which is
[MUSIC]
and backwards.
[SOUND] And then because it's four notes,
it's not just two,
then we can that in one eighth note and
triplet.
[SOUND] And backwards.
[SOUND] Okay so, that is very important.
The other thing is that we get a little
bit uptight when we play the upper
register and
we start playing way too sharp.
It is extremely important for
us to be thinking about the A E
interval how to manage this interval.
There is two ways.
I actually play the A to the E with
the regular fingering, it is the hardcore
fingering, but the reason why I do
it is because it's actually slower.
So it forces me to go [SOUND] instead of
[SOUND], and being able to be too fast.
When I go [SOUND],
then you can hear the [SOUND], the accent.
It's a little slower, more deliberate.
Now, if this one doesn't work so
well for you,
you may want to go either playing
the high A with the C key.
And if you're going to play the E
with the regular fingering then
you will have to flip with the pinky.
So the A is regular A, overblown E
with the C key on the left hand.
And then play the E.
Let me try.
[MUSIC].
The one thing that is good about that is
that E comes very fast and so does the A.
The A will be sharp, but because those
notes tend to be higher, then it forces us
to be relaxed, and therefore, we get a
quick response and then we won't be sharp.
[MUSIC].
Or, if you want to be hard core,
[MUSIC].
That's the one I've used.
[MUSIC],
because it helps me to keep everything
in position.
Now, there is a version where
you can check it out with
a slow practice, and
then one in the regular tempo.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC].
If you'd like to submit this Ravel
excerpt, here's what I'm looking for.
Precision of fingers and good pacing.
Make sure that it's better to be slow and
precise than fast and sloppy.
Before you submit your video be sure
to watch the other video exchanges
from this excerpt.
Once you have done that,
submit your video.
I'll take a look and
give you some feed back.
[MUSIC]