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Hey,

I was wondering if someone could please explain how a Clarinet Glissando works and/or how to do it. If I need to specify, I'm talking about the one where you don't need to push down any keys. It seems you just do it all with your mouth.

The beginning of Rhapsody in Blue would be a great example.

Thanks, it's just been something that has always amazed me.
 

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Robenco15 said:
I was wondering if someone could please explain how a Clarinet Glissando works and/or how to do it. If I need to specify, I'm talking about the one where you don't need to push down any keys. It seems you just do it all with your mouth.
The beginning of Rhapsody in Blue would be a great example.
AFAIK it is a combination of slurring and pitch bending. When you relax or tighten your embouchure, you should be able to bend the tone by at least half a note up and down. (hint: this works better with soft reeds and an open mouthpiece). At the same time you s-l-o-w-l-y release key by key, constantly adjusting your embouchure. The trick is the release speed, you don't simply "let go" because that would pop the note right up, instead you v-e-r-y gradually lift your fingers off.
Forget the embouchure for a moment, just try some slow and simple scales. All in all it is (ab)using the effect that a non-enough vented hole tends to lower the pitch. At least so I was told.

It takes a load of practice, I guess. I can do the Rhapsody slur at roughly 1/20 of the desired speed now, and only the first few notes. :cry:
 

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I try to do most of the glissando with just the embrochure, as I find it's much easier and more 'reliable' than sliding the fingers off toneholes. I will start by using the keys (so I can get the starting note in tune) but then I try to get my fingers off the holes/keys as soon as possible and control the rest with the lip. I'm not too sure how I learned to do it, as one day it just sortof 'clicked' after some experimentation with a very loose embrochure, then tightening it up again to bring the C at the top into pitch. I'll try and take a short video tomorrow if I have time.
 

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There's two ways I do this, but both on the same principle. It's the same throat and tongue movements as whistling a low note and sliding up (a perfect 12th for example) - hardly any lip or jaw movements or changes are done, so the embouchure stays pretty much the same throughout the gliss. Practice whistling an upwards gliss first to get used to the muscles in your mouth and throat doing what they need to do, then try it with the clarinet.

And no sliding fingers off toneholes either, so it can be done on a covered hole (and Oehler system) clarinet! I can do this on a close mouthpiece with my clarinets - a Vandoren M15 on my Selmer and Leblanc (and a Yamaha M3 German-style mouthpiece on Oehler) with a Vandoren Rue Lepic 3.5 reed (or White Master 3 on Oehler) and a long barrel (68mm on Boehm, 59mm on Oehler), so you don't need a wide tip opening, soft reed and a mega short barrel (eg. 65mm or less on a clarinet of standard Boehm design) to do it and be in tune.

Here's a couple of ways I do it:

1. Get to the upper register Eb and then lift off LH finger 1 (as this overblows to a slightly sharp top C) and then slide up to the top C with this fingering - oxx|xxxEb - and also lifting LH finger 3 and putting it back on to help it in the middle of the gliss (oxo|xxxEb - oxx|xxxEb).

2. Get to the upper register C# and remove the thumb from the thumb hole, but still keeping it on the speaker key (Sp, thumb OFF thumbhole, xxx LH F#/C#|xxx) - this will also overblow to the top C and you do the same whistling thing to slide from the C# all the way up. Again this makes for a slightly sharp top C, so be prepared to have the Bb that follows it in tune (though you can bend the pitch around in this opening solo as and where and how you like to as it's YOUR solo!).

On Oehler, German and simple systems (and other non-Boehms including a 5-key clarinet!), get to the upper register C# and then lift LH finger 1 to make the gliss up to the top C.
 

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Hmmm. Your examples deal with the Rhapsody-specific gliss...what about lower glisses? AFAIK the length of the air column dictates the rough "ballpark" for the note, and in the altissimo the situation is a bit special as we're, pardon, squeaking, in a way).
But how would you do a gliss from A (2nd space) up to E or so? Sheer Snout?
 

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I find that you want to practice bending notes down, then back up. See how far you can go and try to keep going further. For a glissando up, you want to play the whole run in a state of bent notes (as if every note you play is bent down as far as you can bring it). At this point, the note varies very little when you cover near toneholes. This reduces the reliance of pricision finger movement, and it allows passage through the break almost unnoticed. You never want to reach the normal tone (unbent) of the fingered note until the final note. This is just my own personal method; it works great for me. Keep practicing and something will click.
 

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Although the examples are Rhapsody-specific, the way to do a gliss without changing the fingering is useful and can be done on any upper register note if done with the 'whistling' technique.

Play any upper register note and as if whistling a downward slide, use the same muscles to make the note side down and then back up to pitch again. And try to keep the tone quality the same as well - try not to let it sound all slack and spread (like the first notes a beginner makes).
 

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This is more common to those who spend time playing less classical and more jazz and pop. On most notes in the clarinet register, I can "bend" down a major second (on a good day, warmed up and with a decent reed). This sort of effect is often used by arrangers from the Rat Pack era, both for clarinet and for sax, so more exposure equals more practice equals better ability.

With the "classically oriented" player, common usages are much more rare, and few will encounter it beyond Ferd Grofe's work for Gershwin. It gets done a variety of ways, usually with a combination of fingered notes and slack jawed embouchure. Being able to do it all through a lip slur alone is possible (I've known of two who could) but far beyond the technique of most.

Probably, that one bar has had more attention devoted to it than the entirety of Klose's studies...
 
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