The Hite Site
  Notes on Notes Rose Etudes
Artistic Studies from the French School
... the Rose 40 and 32 Etudes
plus 9 Caprices,
edited by David Hite
published by Southern Music Co.

Musical sources and
Cyrille Rose
Of the traditional etudes for clarinet, the Rose collections, forty etudes in one set and thirty two in another, are perhaps those most widely studied. As presented in most editions, it might be assumed that these works were composed for the clarinet by Cyrille Rose, professor at the Paris Conservatory beginning in 1876. Actually, they are transcriptions, not originally conceived for clarinet.

The Forty Etudes were borrowed from violin etudes by famous violin teachers, many of whom taught at the Paris Conservatory in the years prior to Rose's tenure there. In this current edition, original composers are identified. A brief biographical sketch of each is included.

The Rose Thirty two Etudes were derived in large part from original shorter studies for oboe by Franz Wilhelm Ferling (1796-1874), a notorious German oboist. (Clarinetists may find it interesting to note that Ferling began his career as a clarinetist and composed a clarinet concerto. Unfortunately, only fragments of the concerto have been located.)

As taught by
Daniel Bonade
In the U.S.A. in the 1930's, the two volumes of Rose etudes became the Bible for clarinet study as taught by Daniel Bonade. Bonade, himself, was a "second generation" descendent of Rose. As a student at the Paris Conservatoire, he had studied with Henri Lefebvre, whose teacher had been Cyrille Rose.

Bonade students were required to approach the Rose studies in a highly disciplined manner in three stages: First, the details of the individual performance problems presented by each etude were identified and solved. On a second round through the etudes, the student was reminded of the details which he had not yet fully mastered. By the third cycle, Bonade expected to hear a highly polished performance, no further instruction needed. At this point, the student was ready to look for career performance opportunities.

The technical facility required to play these Rose studies and the phrasing style that can be developed with them will prepare a clarinet student for 85% of the standard orchestral literature he may encounter. (The remaining 15% can be learned by practicing the literature itself.) It remains that true orchestral technique must be learned by playing in an orchestra. The practice room and the teaching studio can be excellent preparation, but the "job" is the maker of the artist, if an artist is to be! And indeed, many Bonade students assumed the positions of principal clarinetists in the major American orchestras, becoming the prominent artist performers of the day.

Previous editions Many of the editions of the Rose etudes still in use today were hand engraved (etched) in the early part of the century. Problems with these editions include:
  • many wrong notes which were never corrected
  • metronomic markings throughout which are entirely unsuitable, most marked much too fast
  • virtually no markings to guide stylistic concepts

Unfortunately, partly as a result of these poor editions, uninformed students have wasted much time in purely mechanical practice without regard to artistic objectives. (In addition, it is a common fault of many teachers to assign these studies too early -- before the student is prepared to master the elegant style and assurance which he should stabilize in these works.)

David Hite editionSouthern Music Company Pan In this 1986 Hite-Southern Music Company edition the problems found in earlier editions are corrected. Notes have been corrected and styling suggestions with appropriate tempos have been added. A glossary of all the musical terms used in the edition is included on the back cover for easy reference.

An added bonus is the relatively low price. This volume containing all the Rose 40 Etudes (usually available in two separate books), the entire Rose Thirty two, and nine of the Rode-Rose Caprices under one cover at a cost of $12.50, is a "best buy" in addition to being a preferred edition.


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