This is how you play the clarinet glissando from ‘Rhapsody In Blue’

11 July 2016, 12:13 | Updated: 5 January 2017, 17:01

gershwin rhapdody in blue gliss

It’s the most famous clarinet moment in the orchestral repertoire, but how do you even start to think about playing the famous opening glissando from Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody In Blue’?

OK, so there are two main ways to do this

One, using your fingers. After the first trill is out of the way and you’ve rattled through the lower register, you start sliding your fingers off the holes in sequence so there’s a nice gliss effect.

Look at this guy doing it for Leonard Bernstein, especially towards the top of the slide. Notice how the slide between the notes doesn’t actually start until quite late.


Two, using your mouth. Nice method here from David Thomas, who maintains that it doesn’t matter what your fingers are doing. He gives a neat summary of the shape your mouth needs to make to successfully slide up that second octave.


Secret third technique!

Use your fingers and your mouth together, like this guy. He’s got it down. Nice work.


Once you’ve mastered it, you can make that gliss last as long as you like

This is nuts: