Top 10: Clarinet Collections

December 29, 2011

For the clarinetists in the audience, here is a list of the best-selling clarinet books at The Leading Note.


1. Galper Clarinet Method, Book 1

At the top of the list is the famous method by Avrahm Galper.  No other clarinet method is as widely used as this one.  The method is presented as a series of lessons, each one introducing a new technical challenge which is mastered through a series of short tunes.  As the student progresses through the lessons, the exercises become longer and more intricate.  Chord symbols (like those used in fakebooks) are included so the student can be accompanied.

2. Galper Clarinet Method, Book 2

The second volume of Galper’s Clarinet Method is a collection of studies that work more advanced technical issues.  The excercises in this volume are longer and more intricate than those in the first volume.  Like its predecessor, Book 2 includes chord symbols so the student can be accompanied.

3. Galper Scales & Arpeggios

While numerous scale books are available for clarinet, Galper’s collection is extensively annotated with fingering suggestions and other technical details to speed the student’s progress and understanding of the clarinet’s fingering system.  This is an invaluable resource for the clarinetist.

4. Melodious and Progressive Studies, Book 1 (ed. David Hite)

This volume brings together studies from several 19th-century composers: Demnitz, Nocentini, Baermann, and Klosé.  The key and tessitura of each study is indicated to help the teacher select an appropriate study to compliment the student’s current work.  At the end of the volume are several pieces arranged by Baermann and some scales.

5. Solos for the Clarinet Player (ed. Christmann)

If the clarinetist can resist being offended by the enormous tenor saxophone on the cover of this G. Schirmer collection, the player will find the contents quite rewarding.  Schirmer has published a similar book for almost every instrument of the orchestra and the standardized covers can be a bit deceiving.  Inside, the player will find numerous pieces unique to the clarinet repertoire as well as some favourites arranged specifically for the instrument.   Since the clarinet is a relative newcomer in the musical world (it’s only about 300 years old or so), material from the Baroque era must necessarily be borrowed from the repertoire of other instruments.  This collection is a very useful and varied collection for the intermediate player.

6. Rose, 40 Studies for Clarinet

Cyrille Rose composed numerous studies for the clarinet that have become part of the standard pedagogical repertoire.   The 20 studies in this book are challenging exercises that work the different registers of the clarinet extensively.

7. Finzi, Five Bagatelles, Op. 23

The five pieces in this collection quickly entered the standard repertoire of the clarinet after their publication in 1945.  The difficulty of these pieces varies greatly: the RCM lists selections of these in three different grades (2, 6, and 9).  Finzi’s writing skillfully captures the diversity of timbres possible on the clarinet, often contrasting the woody low register with the bright upper end and juxtaposing extreme dynamics.

8. Rubank Book of Clarinet Solos: Intermediate Level

This is the second collection of solos to make it to the Top 10.  Most of the selections in this set are arranged for clarinet from other sources, including three pieces by Mozart.  Two selections included in the book are listed in the RCM Syllabus which partly explains its popularity.  The price is also very attractive.  The contents are quite varied making it a useful collection for students.

9. Rose, 32 Etudes & 40 Studies for Clarinet, Book 2

We already featured the first book of Rose Studies at #6.  These two volumes fill up the chart at numbers 9 and 10.  I have included them together in one listing since the two sets are now published together.

10. Baermann, Complete Method for Clarinet – 3rd division

Baermann squeezes onto the list tying Rose’s 40 Studies Book 2 at number 10.  This is the third part of his method which is apparently more popular than the first or second. The third volume in Baermann’s Complete Method for Clarinet is a set of daily exercises in all the keys to facilitate technical development.

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