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Anyone got any really good tips on achieving the Gershwin glissando? I have watched lots of Youtube videos explaining how to do it, but I'm still a long way off!

I can drop my jaw and change the tone a lot -no problem, but the problem is how to go from each tone to the next one. Do you start each note really flat?


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
I've not played Rhapsody, but let me share a technique with you:

The glissando is actually written out, in most orchestrations. That means you know which notes you have to play. Start with the first note. Play it as long as possible, not in any time. When you feel it's long enough, play the next note as short as possible -- again, not in time. Repeat this until you've done all the notes in the gliss. Then reverse the procedure: play the first note as short as possible, the next as long as you'd like, etc.

Then try to play all the notes in time.

This technique is remarkably effective for whenever you have a phrase that has the same beat -- e.g. a bunch of 16ths or 32nds, etc.
I just learned that gliss not too long ago. It's one of my favorite things to play. I was having a lot of difficulty with the piece, pretty much exactly what you just described. It turned out that I was using a beginner's clarinet to play an intermediate piece. So, I got a new clarinet and I was able to play the iconic intro after some minimal effort. What model clarinet are you using? If you already have the right kind of clarinet, then that's great! You probably don't have too much left to do. Just make sure you pay close attention to your embouchure, that really helps. Also make sure you're sliding from note to note EXTREMELY gradually, but quickly all the same, if that makes sense. Please ask me anything else I left unanswered!


Tom Heimer
Relax embouchure a proper amount. Gradually slide fingers off starting with lowest hole.-ie: eventually lowest hole is more open than next lowest--one at a time more gradually open and begin process with the LH while RH is progressing. More detail in my book, as well the gliss G to G in Artie Shaw Concerto
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