The Contemporary Clarinetist: A Resource List to Develop and Improve Extended Techniques

Even though the clarinet has only been in existence for just over 300 years, it has certainly come a long way in this time. It has captured audience’s imaginations through its cantabile vocal qualities and virtuosic capabilities, and more recently, its slowly increasing lyrical and technical possibilities. During the last century, performers and composers have expanded the sound spectrums the clarinet can create by using extended techniques.

Extended techniques are simply skills used outside of the traditional repertoire. Here are a few of the most commonly used clarinet extended techniques:

  • Multiphonics
  • Microtonality
  • Circular breathing
  • Double tonguing
  • Slap tonguing
  • Flutter tonguing
  • Pitch bending and glissandi
  • singing while playing
  • key clicks

If you are looking to develop some of these skills, I have compiled a list of resources to help you get started:

Books

  • New Directions for Clarinet by Phillip Rehfeldt
  • Graphismes by Eugène Bozza 
  • Multiphonics and Other Contemporary Clarinet Techniques (Clarinet Research Instruction) by Gerald Farmer
  • Spectral Immersions, A Comprehensive Guide to the Theory and Practice of Bass Clarinet Multiphonics by Sarah Watts
  • The New Extended Working Range for Clarinet by Kalmen Opperman
  • Preliminary Exercises & Etudes in Contemporary Techniques for Clarinet by Ronald L. Caravan
  • Technique contemporaine de la clarinette by Pierre Dutrieu (in French)

Websites

There are also several dissertations and theses written about clarinet extended techniques, many of which go into great detail for specific techniques. I suggest doing a quick search online to find the ones that are the most relevant to your performance and practice goals.

I will be updating this list as I discover other resources, so please feel free to leave a comment or send me a message with items you would like me to add!

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