Integrating the extended clarinet : an exploratory process for incorporating extended techniques into traditional clarinet pedagogy

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Lucas Nunes Gianini (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Andrew Hudson

Abstract: As the clarinet has evolved, the instrument’s capabilities have expanded into new and creative areas of technical, musical, and sonic expression. Modern performers refer to these novel, unconventional uses of the instrument as “extended techniques.” These “extended” techniques on the clarinet have been a hot topic of discussion for decades. But even as the wide palette of sounds produced by these techniques has garnered increasing attention from composers, clarinetists themselves often approach these techniques with skepticism. Performers who have embraced these sounds, however, often claim that the learning of these techniques has not only enabled their ability to play modern works, but also strengthened their fundamentals and widened their options in how they choose to perform standard repertoire. Although we profess modern ideals, our pedagogical approach still relies on the traditions started by pedagogues like Baermann and Klosé, which date to the 18th and 19th centuries respectively. And while traditional teaching methods certainly have their place and need not be replaced, extended techniques provide new tools for teachers who are looking for novel ways to thoroughly and effectively identify and diagnose their students’ performance issues. This study explores some of the pedagogical possibilities inherent within a sampling of clarinet extended techniques. How can these techniques be utilized to strengthen fundamental skills on the clarinet? What are ways in which extended techniques can be applied to more traditional repertoire as a practice tool? How does a working knowledge of modern conventions enhance a student’s overall musicianship? This document conducts a review of currently available pedagogical material on the subject, instructs on possible uses for extended techniques for fundamentals practice, and provides a sample guide on how to use these techniques and apply them to standard works such as Carl Maria von Weber’s Concertino in E-Flat Major, Op. 26 and Johannes Brahms’ Sonata No. 2. Also included are full transcripts of interviews with renowned clarinet pedagogues Gregory Oakes and Eric Mandat, both of whom are experts on the clarinet’s wide range of extended techniques. Specific techniques discussed are: glissando, portamento, and pitch bending; the manipulation of partials and multiphonics; microtones and quarter-tones; flutter tongue; growling and singing while playing; double tongue; slap tongue; and circular breathing. With an open mind and an eye toward exploration, clarinetists everywhere can see their performance and pedagogical practices enhanced by an honest engagement with the instrument’s vast network of extended techniques.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2022
Clarinet, Extended Techniques, Pedagogy
Clarinet $x Instruction and study
Clarinet $v Studies and exercises

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