How to Glissando on Clarinet

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Performing a glissando on a clarinet is one of the more advanced techniques that a musician can learn. A glissando is a rapid slide through a series of consecutive notes in a scale. On reed wind instruments like the clarinet, this is particularly tough because the notes must be played without breaks. There are two ways to preform a glissando: the "finger slide" and the "upward lip."

Finger Slide

  • Play the first note of the glissando holding a steady embouchure.

  • Slide your finger slowly off from the key you are playing while keeping the embouchure steady.

  • Slide the remaining fingers of from the keys in the same manner until the final note in the glissando is reached.

Upward Lip

  • Begin playing a lower pitch of the first note in the upper register by at least a semitone.

  • Play the first note while changing the fingering to the next note.

  • Hold down the pitch of the note by slacking your embouchure so that the note does not rise.

  • Raise the pitch of the note toward the next by strengthening your embouchure.

  • Breathe and throat while fingering to the next note. Continue this process until the final note is reached.

Tips & Warnings

  • Finger slide glissando requires the musician to know the range of the keys on the clarinet. Every instrument is different and has different release points. It may take quite a while to master this technique.
  • With the upward lip, the aim is to raise the pitch of the note by fingering by playing a note that is flat to the fingering you are using. Then reach the fingering you are aiming for and return your embouchure to normal.

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