Friday, 30 November 2007

Free sheet music: Andantino from string quartet op. 10 by Debussy

Through the years and the history of classical music, lots of beautiful string quartets have been composed. Among the giants of this genre, who contributed with several works for this ensemble, we find Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Dvorak, Shostakovich...

Then there are some composers who only wrote one work for this ensemble. One of these composers is Claude Debussy. And he wrote a really marvellous string quartet.

When choosing a string quartet to be adapted for a clarinet quartet there are few parameters to keep in mind, I am planning to write my opinion on this subject as soon as I have time. Unfortunately Debussy's quartet does not really comply to these parameters. However the third movement of Debussy's quartet, the Andantino, works pretty well when adapted to a clarinet ensemble with 3 Bb clarinets and one bass clarinet.

(Updated 2nd december) I also included a part for a 4th clarinet in case the bass clarinet is not available.

I'll share my adaptation with you, I hope you enjoy it.

Download Andantino from Debussy's String Quartet Op. 10 (PDF, Sibelius score and Midi files)

The original score is available through the Gutenberg Sheet Music project. It is a scan of the public domain edition, not very comfortable to handle but better than nothing. Click here to open the Debussy's score at the Gutenberg Project.

If you play this music, let me know your opinion about it!

Friday, 23 November 2007

Playing Syrinx of Claude Debussy on the Clarinet

Another piece for solo flute that works very well on the clarinet is the magical and mysterious Syrinx by Claude Debussy. The piece is quite challenging both technically and musically, but also very rewarding. Regarding interpretation it is interesting to note that "Syrinx" was originally written by Debussy without barlines or breath marks. The flautist Marcel Moyse later added these (see article on Wikipedia). Keep this in mind when playing, this piece is supposed to leave the musician quite a large room for interpretation.

An adaptation of Syrinx for solo clarinet was made by Avrahm Galper and can be downloaded for free from The Sheet Music World center: click here to go to download page.

You can also download and play directly from the original scoring for flute solo, downloadable for free from the Werner Icking Music Archive: click here to go to download page

Enjoy it!

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Sonata Wq132 of C.P.E. Bach, music that works well for clarinet solo

There is quite a lot of music for solo instrument that can be played successfully on the clarinet.

This week I want to share one of my favourite pieces, the sonata in a-moll Wq132 of C.P.E. Bach, originally scored for solo flute.

The first movement is really beautiful and in my opinion it works well on the clarinet, even if I found it quite challenging. The other two movements are lots of fun but very "flautistic", and do not work for the clarinet as well as the first movement.

All three movements can be played directly form the original score since it fits well in the clarinet range (highest note is F#).

You can download the whole sonata as PDF and MIDI files from the Werner Icking Music Archive. The piece is listed as "Sonata in a Minor for solo flute (Wq 132 [H 562]) ":

Download the whole sonata Wq132 of C.P.E. Bach from Werner Icking Music Archive

I made a transcription for the clarinet of the first movement in d-moll if you prefer to play it lower and use more of the chalumeau register:

Download sheet music for the sonata Wq132 of C.P.E. Bach transposed in d-moll (first movement only)

I hope you enjoy it, please send your comment and your own recording of this piece!

I would also love to hear which are your favourite transcriptions.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Midi files added to the downloads

I have been requested to add midi files to the downloads. Now it is done!

The zip files for Bach's duets and for Mozart's Adagio now contains MIDI files as well.

Happy redownloading to you all.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Free sheet music: Mozart Andante K616 for clarinet quartet

Here is a little gem for clarinet quartet, the Andante k616 of Mozart.

The original title is "Andante für eine Walze in eine kleine Orgel" (Andante for a Small Mechanical Organ) and is originally keyed in F. It has been transposed in C (written D for the Bb clarinet) to adapt it to the clarinet range.

Download Mozart K616 for clarinet quartet (PDF, Sibelius score and Midi files)

There is a theme coming back all the time but with small variations each time. Focus in trying to make these small variations very clear to make it sound more lively.


Monday, 12 November 2007

Free music: Two pieces for clarinet solo by Gianluca Cangemi

It is a big honour to guest the recordings of two pieces for clarinet solo written by the Italian composer Gianluca Cangemi.

Gianluca sent these recordings to the blog as a birth present. This was an unexpected and very very encouraging gift. The recordings are published under the Creative Common licensing.

Please download and enjoy the recordings!

The two pieces are played by the gifted clarinettist Guido Arbonelli:

Grazie Gianluca!

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Suggestions for warming up

I play clarinet in my spare time, and this often implies that my practice sessions on the clarinet must be kept short.

I have worked out a method for warming up that takes usually 5 to 10 minutes. I want to share it with you hoping that you would like to comment, make suggestions or share your own method.

First of all I randomly choose one key (I use a 12 faced dice). Then I use my computer to play a very long note (10 minutes) in the tonic of the chosen key. This will be a reference for the whole warming up session.

I start playing long notes (usually a scale a very very slow tempo). Then I practice the following two exercises, transposed in the chosen key, with the metronome.

Download exercise on major scales (PDF)
Download exercise on broken chords in minor key (PDF)

The reasons why I found these two exercises very useful are:

  • They are very very easy to memorize, so I do not need to look at a printed sheet and can concentrate on listening
  • They include longer notes surrounding faster notes, which is a good to improve technique and hearing at the same time
  • They span over the whole clarinet range
  • The scale exercise is also an interesting rhytmic exercise, you can also try playing the faster notes staccato
  • The chord exercise is based on intervals of third (both major and minor) and sixth (both major and minor), which provide a great practice for both intonation and technique
  • They allow for hundreds of variations, both in phrasing, rhythm and note patterns

I recommend to always use the metronome and to dare to start with a slow and comfortable tempo. Both exercises can give you an impression to be very easy, but then when you get to play in difficult keys or over the registry junctions you might get into trouble. So you should put the metronome to the fastest tempo in which you can manage the most difficult passages.

As my teacher always says, always practice precision. Once you know how to play precisely, then playing fast is not a big challenge anymore...

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Free Accompaniment: Mozart Clarinet Quintet

Few years ago I was tired of the playing along to midi files, so I took the enterprise to edit some MIDI files in more details, play it on my electric piano (Yamaha P80) and then add some reverb to give it a richer sound.

This resulted in few MP3 files among which all 4 movements of Mozart's quintet with Piano accompaniment and transposed in Bb for Bb clarinet (sorry, I had no A clarinet...)

I make these files available for you if you are interested in playing along.

The first movement is provided in 2 versions, with repeat in normal tempo and without repeat in a slightly slower tempo (for practicing). Download and enjoy!!

Download the ZIP files containing the MP3 files here (40 MB).

Recording of etudes, why not?

Piano and guitar students have possibility to access a large library of recordings of etudes, often recorded by the major interpreters of the instruments.

Clarinet players have access to very few recordings for etudes. This is sad since listening to recording of etudes may be very inspiring.

One exception I know about is the recording of the Rose etudes by Sean Osborn
( These recordings are available for purchase online on eMusic:

In this blog I would like to encourage students and professional to send their own recordings of etudes or any other piece (as long as they are free from copyright!). This will hopefully generate a forum to exchange comments, suggestions and opinions.

Free sheet music: Bach, 4 duets for clarinet and bass clarinet

My first post in this blog is dedicated to a set of duets for clarinet and bass clarinet that are an adaptation of Bach duets BWV 802, 803, 804 and 805.

I really recommend that you try to play these duets and put some effort into it. It's not easy music, both technically and musically, but the reward is really worth the effort.

As I will do for all arrangements that I have made myself, I publish both the music as PDF and in source format (Sibelius). Midi files have also been added to the Zip file (2007-11-17).

Download Bach 4 duets for clarinet and bass clarinet

You are allowed to do whatever you wish with this music, beside selling it. ;-)

I would really appreciate if you let me know what do you think about it. I would also love if you let me know if you are going to play it and change the arrangement. Even better if you are playing it and make a record of it. I'd love to publish your recordings!

PS The original scores for the 4 duets can be downloaded from the Sheet Music World Center: