Saturday, March 21, 2009

Clarinet Altissimo Fingerings

We have discussed ways to develop your altissimo, so now let's talk fingerings. I'll use a pretty standard method of giving fingerings, but let's clarify just in case:
T=Thumb
TR= Thumb and Register key
LH1, 2, 3= left hand fingers
RH1, 2, 3= right hand fingerings
All other keys will be identified by their pitch. Ex., Side Eb/Bb, Throat tone Ab, RH E/B, etc.

Keep in mind that this is an incomplete list of fingerings. This is merely a list of my favorites, and some information regarding the context in which you might choose to use them. The purpose here is simply to give you some options. If you come across a passage that does not seem to lend itself to any of these fingerings please drop me a note or leave a comment. I am happy to help find a fingering to fit a particular passage. By the same token, if you have a favorite fingering that I don't mention, by all means leave it in a comment - we are all in this together!

FYI - I play on a Buffet Vintage clarinet with a Robert Scott mouthpiece. Fingerings will vary greatly depending on equipment.

Here goes...
C#:
1. TR, LH 2, 3, RH 1, 2; standard fingering.
2. TR, side trills 1 & 2; poor intonation but good for certain technical passages.
3. Overblown throat tone F#; fast arpeggios and certain other fast passages

D:
1. TR, LH 2, 3, RH 1, Ab/Eb; standard
2. Same as #1 but without Ab/Eb; occasionally used for intonation reasons
3. TR, side trill 3; trills or very occasionally technical passage
4. Overblown open G; good for fast arpeggios and certain other fast passages

D#:
1. TR, LH 2, 3, RH 1, RH sliver, Ab/Eb; standard
2. Same as #1 but without Ab/Eb; can help with some jumps into superaltissimo such as Eb-Bb.
3. TR, LH 2, 3; RH 3; Ab/Eb; Good for slurred ascent from clarion register, such as Eb octave slur.
4. TR, Throat tone A; soft slur from Clarion C, such as in Debussy Rhapsodie. Not good for sustained notes

E:
1. TR LH 2, 3; Ab/Eb; standard
2. same without Ab/Eb

F:
1. TR LH 2, 3, C#/G#; Ab/Eb; standard
2. Same as #1 but with added RH sliver; raises pitch
3. TR, LH 1, 2, 3, C#/G#; RH 1, 2, 3; "Long" or "Covered" fingering, responds easily, good for sustained note, soft entrance, raises pitch

F#:
1. TR, LH 2; Ab/Eb; standard
2. Same as #1 but with added RH sliver; raises pitch
3. TR, LH 1, 2, RH 1,2, 3, Ab/Eb; "Long" or "covered", responds easily, good for sustained note, soft entrance, raises pitch

G:
1. TR, LH 1, 3, RH 1, 3, Ab/Eb; stable, good pitch, not necessarily for fast passages.
2. TR, LH1; Ab/Eb; good for some fast passages but low in pitch
3. Same as #2 but with added RH sliver; raises pitch
4. TR LH 2, RH 1, 2, Ab/Eb; popular but sharp and bright in timbre
5. TR, LH 1, RH 1,2, 3, Ab/Eb;
6. TR, LH2, side trill, Ab/Eb; good for technical passages, especially those involving F#

G#:
1. TR, LH 2, 3, RH 1, RH sliver, Ab/Eb
2. Same as #1 but with F#/C# pinkie instead; easier response, raises pitch
3. TR, LH 2, 3, RH 2, Ab/Eb; pitch is higher than #1

A:
1. TR, LH 2, 3, Ab/Eb; standard
2. Same but with F#/C# pinkie; responds easier, raises pitch

Bb:
1. TR, Throat tone Ab, LH 2, 3, C#/G#, F#/C# pinkie; standard

B:
1. TR, Throat tone Ab, LH 1, 2, RH 1, 2, F#/C#; standard

C:
1. TR, Throat tone Ab, LH 1; RH 1, F#/C#; standard

8 comments:

  1. I have a friend that refers the first fingering of the G as the 'LPF' - "Least Polite Fingering"

    That says something about his finger position....;)

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  2. My college band director suggested what he calls the "closed" F fingering, or what you call the "long" F fingering. I've got a solo in a piece we're playing, and it's supposed to be played as soft as possible without getting any undertones. That fingering absolutely ROCKS my world!

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  3. Beth - I agree! It is so stable you can be as soft as you want to be. You can even safely enter pp with that fingering and feel confident. Same with the long (or covered) F#.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Have thought about covering the bottom half of Lh 1 when playing f or e? It works wonders for my Leblanc Concerto.

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  5. Anon - I'm assuming you are referring to the half-hole technique - you're right, it does work wonders! I re-read this article and the one re altissimo in general and realized I didn't talk about half-holing. What an oversight! If you are the same anon who caught my Ab/Eb typo you are keeping me on my toes - thanks! An article re half-hole technique, coming up!

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  6. great article again. Thanks.

    what is your suggestion for playing an A arpeggio to alt A? I find that pretty tough, having the same fingering for E and A makes it hard.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Este blog é uma representação exata de competências. Eu gosto da sua recomendação. Um grande conceito que reflete os pensamentos do escritor. Consultoria RH

    ReplyDelete