Books to read and sheet notes to play

Literatur falls into two categories: Books to read and notes (sheet music) to play or exercise. If you have read some of my pages you know that this is a project being internationalized from an originally German web page. I do know less of international or English literature than of German, and therefore ask you to tell me, whether you have some experience with books - then do mail me, please!. I will publish that right away.

Books to read

If there is only one book on the clarinet you should have read, then this is it: Jack Brymer's Clarinet. Not for the very beginner, its 260 pages cover all an experienced clarinet player should know about his instrument, in good to read chapters. If you are serious about clarinet playing, it is a must-read.

  • Yehudi Menuhin Music Guides: Jack Brymer, Clarinet, Fischer, ISBN 1-871082-12-9

There is an interesting new book on music in general, that tries to answer general questions like: What is music? Why do we make music? What is the social and neurophysiological context? The book is very comprehensive, but good to read, sometimes even funny and gives you interesting insights you might never have thought of.

  • Manfred Spitzner, Musik im Kopf, Schattauer Verlag, 2002, ISBN 3-7945-2174-9

Notes for playing / exercising

Since you find a list of the most famous compositions in the composers' chapter they are not listed here again; this wouldn't help much anyway because the publishers might vary from country to country.

Notes for clarinet with symphony orchestra (like the famous concertos) come as a set and are usually quite expensive. You might want to look for versions that have been "downsized" to clarinet accompagnied by an arranged piano score. Sometimes the pieces are available with the clarinet voice only. But you may as well find the more popular works in libraries (some local libraries are connected and store notes centrally), usually the libraries of music schools and universities have got them. Then there are internet shops that give you the notes for free as long as you don't perform the piece publicly.

Copying: What to consider

National legislation differs from country to country: Some countries prohibit copying under all circumstances, some tolerate it for strictly private use, others let you copy notes but may check that you own the original the moment you perform a piece in public (that is how it is done in Germany). Especially when you use notes from a library you should make copies, because they wouldn't like you to make marks into the notes with a pencil... Only keeping a copy after giving the original back is definitely illegal under european law. You better check your national legislation here. If you were caught playing pieces from copies and can't produce the original, you might be sentenced to hefty fines.

Student books for learning to play

There are many clarinet learning books. I myself have learnt to play using the traditional German student's Book by Baermann-Schule. It exists in english versions. Whether it is a good idea to go through the lessons from a to z can be discussed, but many Germans have learnt to play this way.

Exercising for the more experienced player - there I recommend Uhl - Etüden They are more difficult, but sound good (so no worries with your neighbors). And they keep you really fit.