Originally published in The Clarinet 44/4 (September 2017). Printed copies of The Clarinet are available for ICA members. This article was the 2016 ICA Research Competition Winner. Please see here... read more →
How can I smoothly slur to the altissimo register without my high note popping out too loud? This problem comes from the fact that the second register vent (the first left‐hand finger hole) is way too big to ideally serve as a register vent – just compare its size to the hole of your register key. Thus, most clarinetists use a technique called “half‐holing” to connect up to the altissimo register, especially when the tempo is moderate to slow. While playing the lower note, simply slide your left‐hand first finger down and off in a smooth motion while using lots of air. It should result in a much better connection without the “pop” that typically comes with not half‐holing – as conductor Richard Clary always says, “Pet the kitty, don’t kick the kitty!” If you practice this technique every day for a few minutes, the slurs you have in music going up to the altissimo register will eventually become easier to do and consistently sound more connected.