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Clarinet Lessons: Respighi - Pines of Rome, 3rd Movement

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Pines of Rome, another lovely,
lovely excerpt that really
embodies the beauty
of the clarinet with all the big leaps and
being able to play softly and
just very beautiful music.
Okay [LAUGH] that's what we always say,
and that's what we all hope for.
It's actually a very challenging excerpt
because we are always a little bit
too intent on trying to get those
leaps that are a little tricky,
but they are manageable.
There's two things that
we have to think about.
Number one is the voicing of
the note is extremely important.
This is one of those things where
practicing this excerpt without
the register key.
So then we're doing the voicing and
the air speed at all times is key
to a successful way of
trying to play this, okay?
So, just to remind you, playing without
that register key requires us to be
able to blow the air with the high tongue
position, so then we have a good voicing.
So, therefore,
you practice it without the key.
So what we do is we practice without the
key to make sure that the air is going,
and then we practice the three
leaps that are treacherous,
which is throat A to B to C sharp and
to D.
And then
we add the key.
Now, the important thing is to try to
remember that when we're
playing this [LAUGH],
that's the trick because
it's very hard and
we get a little bit nervous,
and then we lose it.
Now, the other thing is those
leaps are extremely important, but
they are not even close to being
the most important part of the excerpt.
There is many recordings out there that
you can hear where many people play, and
there are some that have absolutely
perfect, perfect leaps, and
some of them don't have
the most perfect leaps.
And I won't say who is playing which,
but I have found that after
listening to several,
several recordings that I have,
the one that most people actually like,
and most people reference
at this standard, is one where
the leaps are actually not the best.
[LAUGH] And why then would that be
one of the best recordings out there?
[SOUND] Because of the singing style,
The leaps are important, but what happens
after those leaps is even more important.
So, we have to remember the finger
legato after the leaps so
that then we can maintain the line.
Otherwise, they're good leaps in the big
interval, they're a waste, okay?
Now, the other thing is we have to
remember that the beginning says piano.
Again, it says piano espressivo
el dolcissimo, como un sogno.
What that mean is piano, expressive and
It doesn't say dolce, it says dolcissimo.
So espressivo and very sweet,
very sweet, very sweetly.
And then, in parentheses, like in a dream.
So you have to be imagining this like,
what does that mean like in a dream?
What that means is that the sound is not,
the color of design is not present,
like with the almost
core from the beginning.
It's not [SOUND] but
[SOUND] I'm dreaming, it's like soft.
So where do we get that kind of sound?
That is where the practicing without
the register key and using the voicing
exercise comes into mind, because all we
have to do is to be able to play softer
with a little bit less amount of air but
while maintaining the speed of air.
Therefore the beginning I will try,
then we have to in the beginning
we have to create a sound,
a color that is round but not present.
We do not want this sound.
see I went to
the motor.
So it's a focused sound, and it would be
a sound that would be appropriate for
most music, but perhaps not for this.
So where do we get the sound?
The sound we have to be
thinking less amount of air.
But how are we gonna get that
without getting the grunt?
That's the voicing.
So we practice.
then we get
then we add that,
at the end.
do that trying
to keep the voicing
Now, the other thing to be thinking,
the first solo is piano, so play out more.
This isn't perceivable, so play out.
It's like a dream, so
then think of the piano as a color,
not as your actual dynamic.
Then you will have a little bit
of room to go to a pianissimo for
the second one, okay?
And then, the third one,
you actually open up the sound the most.
Now, a lot of people play the high D
without the register key, without the,
sorry, without the A flat E flat key so
to make sure that is actually warm.
Again, that may work in theory, but
most clarinets,
by the time that you are playing this and
by the time you are in the third solo,
you're playing a little bit high.
So your octave is short, it's too short,
the D will tend to be sharp.
So what I would recommend,
is make sure that again,
that we are pulled out
enough in the middle.
But we need a better fingering for
the high D,
this regular fingering is too dull.
And the other one is too bright and sharp.
Let me just demonstrate.
It sort of in tune, but
I'm checking with the tuner,
it says it's fine,
but then it's leaning a little bit,
toward getting away from the sweet spot.
So it's leaning low, even though
it's still in the realm of in tune.
But in something like this,
we want the octaves to be exact,
which means that it cannot be
And then the other one,
in most clarinets, tends to be too sharp.
And that's what most people play and
it sounds nice by yourself, but
not when you're playing in orchestra.
Now, one of the good things that you
can do is use the backless fingering,
the idea of fingering that
we were talking about.
It's very good because it's better in
tune, and it has the rounder sound so you
can do the crescendo toward that note, and
not worry that it will pop out too hard.
Even if you pop sound, the quality
of the sound is still beautiful.
Let me try.
You see, I did it with the pop and
it still sounds okay.
Now, the next thing is that you can
take a little time between the
So this one is a little bit
of a compromise.
You can play it, it's a little bit
higher than the one without the A flat E
flat key, but not as sharp as
the traditional fingering, so
you have a little bit of room and
then you can relax.
If you want it dead on, okay?
I can understand,
it's like, why compromise,
let's try to do it the right way.
Then this fingering is excellent, but
isn't it better when we add
the low F sharp, C sharp key.
It will bring the pitch down a little bit
without us having to change
the embouchure, let me try.
Let me show you the difference,
between the regular one and
then while I add a key.
Therefore when we play the passage,
then with this, it's actually a little
bit better in tune, let me try.
And because it's round,
we can definitely go for it with abandon.
Any number of ways,
it gives you the opportunity
to play it, well.
So if it pops out, it's round and
beautiful, if it's perfectly smooth,
its beautiful, and
either way it's very well in tune.
If you'd like to submit this Respighi
excerpt, here's what I'm looking for.
Singing quality, smooth fingers, and
not just attention to the leaps.
Pay attention to the color of the sound,
that you can feel good
about the music making.
Before you submit your video, be sure to
watch the other video exchanges on this
excerpt 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.