Comprehensive Woodwind Chamber Music Repertoire List
Clarinetist Dawn Marie Hamilton’s “Comprehensive Woodwind Chamber Music Repertoire List” is a great starting point for various chamber works with clarinet, including clarinet duos, trios, quartets, and so forth, plus wind quintets, chamber groups with clarinet and voice, and more. Many of the listed pieces include links to free scores at IMSLP.org, composer websites, places to purchase scores, and performances on YouTube, Spotify or other online services. Check it out to discover new repertoire or to contribute to the listings.
Sarah K. Watts
Sarah K. Watts is a British bass clarinet soloist and chamber musician. At her site, she offers free downloads of her booklet exhaustively listing works for contrabass clarinet in solo and chamber settings, including works for contrabass and electroacoustics, and works for solo contrabass plus orchestra. There is also information about her book (for sale) on bass clarinet multiphonics. Watts’s book is based on her Ph.D. research and includes her own multiphonic fingering charts to supplement newly commissioned works for bass clarinet also listed in the book.
The Clarinet Quintet
The Clarinet Quintet website, run by Donald Oehler, is a terrific resource dedicated to sharing and expanding knowledge about repertoire for clarinet plus string quartet. The vast listing of works compiled by Oehler underscores the number of contributions made to the repertoire in the years after Brahms’s monumental Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op. 115. The website is easy to navigate and content is well-organized. Oehler arranged information so that viewers can peruse works in alphabetical order or look for pieces under categories such as nationality of the composer, year of the composition, duration, women composers, including a category that lists inventory of the ICA’s music collection. The author openly welcomes input and contributions from others in efforts to put forth a complete and comprehensive listing of each known work.
Sometimes contributions to the clarinet community come from those who are experts in fields other than music. In the case of Ray Jackendoff, a professor of philosophy at Tufts University, he writes and arranges chamber music for clarinet and other instruments. In addition to his day job at the university, Jackendoff is also a classical clarinetist who performs in the Boston area. His website caught our attention with its availability of free downloads of his compositions and arrangements of music by Weber, Bartok and Haydn. Instrumentation of the music varies, including works for clarinet and piano, trios for two clarinets and bassoon, a wind quintet, and a sonata composed by Jackendoff written for the lesser-played instrument within the clarinet family – the basset clarinet.
An active blogger since 2015, clarinetist Jenny Maclay routinely offers advice and articles for clarinetists of all levels on her blog at JennyClarinet.com. One recent post delves into the most macabre of topics relating to the clarinet – the final resting places of famous clarinetists. During her travels, Maclay has taken an interest in visiting cemeteries and the gravesites of such famous clarinetists such as Hyacinthe Klosé and Anton Stadler, all of which are documented on her Friday the 13th post from this past October (excellent timing on her part). Viewers are sure to find her pictures of grave markers and cemeteries hauntingly beautiful as they provide a glimpse into the past. Another great find on her blog is located on her “Resources” page. Here, Maclay presents an assortment of musical vocabulary crossword puzzles and other fun activities which are perfect for novice students to test their musical knowledge.
We have featured Tom Ridenour in “Clarinet Cache” previously for his informative and entertaining YouTube videos, but be sure not to miss the “educational articles” section of his website. Ridenour’s expertise as a performer, educator, author, clarinet designer and maker, and acoustician gives him a uniquely qualified viewpoint on topics including instrument selection, tuning, and the materials from which clarinets are made.
Stephen Fox is another clarinet maker with a science background, known particularly for custom instruments and modifications, historical reproduction instruments, and other less-common clarinet cousins. His “Articles and Research Projects” page is a fascinating combination of the history and the science of the clarinet, covering subjects like the mathematics of clarinet design, clarinet keywork and fingering systems, and clarinet bore shapes and sizes.
As mobile apps are becoming increasingly popular, we decided to include two new apps in this column that came on our radar.
BaDah Clarinet Trainer
BaDah Clarinet Trainer is a newly-released mobile app for iOS devices. Just like it sounds, BaDah helps players work on finger coordination and precision to prevent blips between notes. After playing various intervals with the right or left hand on an interface that simulates the tone holes and sounds of a clarinet, users get immediate feedback on which fingers hit the keys first and an analysis of user’s precision of coordination. Although playing with this app lacks the feeling of having a real instrument in hand, it does have the potential to help clarinetists learn which fingers hit keys sooner, bringing a new level of awareness to finger coordination. This app is sure to be a hit with younger players as they gain dexterity in their playing.
Musescore.com is a website where users can upload and share music and arrangements with others and also download the free Musescore notation software. All types of musical genres can be found in the catalog; however, arrangements of popular songs currently dominate user submissions. This site and accompanying app are great for finding sheet music of hit songs with the option to transpose parts, change tempos, and play along with the score. A search on the hit song “Feel it Still” by the rock band “Portugal. The Man” comes up with over 85 arrangements that include the clarinet, several of which are marching band versions. One downside to the app is that it cannot create or edit music, it can only play scores.
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About the WriterS
Kellie Lignitz-Hahn is assistant professor of clarinet at Texas A&M University-Kingsville where she teaches applied lessons and directs the TAMUK Clarinet Choir. She received both her D.M.A. and M.M. degrees in clarinet performance from the University of North Texas and her B.M. from Washburn University. Her primary teachers include James Gillespie and Kirt Saville. Kellie is an active clinician, chamber musician, and frequently plays in the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra and the Victoria Symphony Orchestra. She is also a Regional Artist for Vandoren.
Bret Pimentel is an associate professor of music at Delta State University (Mississippi), where he teaches clarinet, oboe, bassoon and saxophone and directs the Jazz Ensemble. He is an active performer in a variety of musical settings. Bret is the author of Woodwind Basics: Core concepts for playing and teaching flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and saxophone. He received D.M.A. and M.M. degrees in multiple woodwinds performance from the University of Georgia and Indiana University respectively, and a B.M. in saxophone performance from Brigham Young University. His clarinet teachers have included D. Ray McClellan, Guy Yehuda, Daron Bradford and Heather Rodriguez. Bret blogs at bretpimentel.com.