Tonguing correctly, not easy, sometimes,you do not use the tongue

February 27, 2005

I have been playing the clarinet for 8 years and I have recently switched lesson teachers. My new teacher has told me that my embochure is incorrect (and it is, after i read your responses here). My embochure sometimes produces a Dwoop sound, especially in the higher registers, and my pitch always gets flatter as i play louder (like in long tones, for example). This is probably because I play the clarinet without using any toungue – it just rests at the bottom of my mouth. My teacher did not realize this until he asked me and now insists that i fix it. I can play fast passages pretty well on my current embochure. After 8 years of this habit, I am finding it difficult to fix.. Where should the “tip” of my toungue be touching the reed? Could i “ease” in to using my toungue so it feels less strange? And do you think I’ll be able to fix my problem? I am pretty discouraged so far. Much thanks in advance.
Dear NN:
Lordy,lordy, that is a very familiar story. So familiar, I have to tell you that when I started back in High School, I advanced ver very rapidly because I did not use my tongue, JUST LIKE YOU) I could move really fast and made no tongue noise, because gosh it was ugly and raspy and yuckee!. Right?

I have written maybe six or seven articles about this and answered literally hundreds of questions because I suffered from the very same problem. But in retrospect, it was a problems that was not without its good things.
Staccato simply didn’t bother me and I was able to advance very rapidly, and I have found that after a half century of playing the clarinet that there are many times when you simply di not use the tongue on the reed to start a very pianissimo sound…..true.

BUT,you MUST learn to tongue correctly. Really you must and that too I have written several articles on. Please find them in the archives and look them up and read them, please.

Here are keys:
1. Low register for a good long time.
2. Always play very slowly.
3. Never play at tonguing for too long a time.
4. Stay away from the high register at the beginning, it is more difficult to articulate there.
5. Do not get discouraged.
6. WHY?
7.Beacause you will be concentrating on your weakest point. and
8. When you do that, tonguing wil one day become the strongest aspect of your playing.

You must seek out the other articles, and make sure you do not spend too much time, also one more thing:
Practise with a mirror on the stand. You must not move your jaw when you tongue, and there will be a tendency to do that. Not horrible, but you should move toward no discernible movement in the jaw.

Trust ne NN, for I have been to that place. Don’t play fast either, only slowly, and beautifully, and that is the most important part.
You tongue incorrectly because you want it to sound better, now make it sound better by tonguing correctly. It will come, good luck, sf


Crystal Mouthpieces, a joy? or……….

February 24, 2005

I was searching the internet for some help on glass mouthpieces and found
an old message (May 2004) where you mention leaving your reed on
mouthpiece. I’m hoping you can help me with a problem I’m having with mine.

My friend and I were both given glass mouthpieces. She has even more
problems than I have (but I tend to produce more spit so I’m guessing it
might be related). What we have found is that if we leave the reed on and
don’t play for even a short (5-10 minutes) period of time, then we can’t
get the instrument to play at all. I finally switched to a different reed
and that one worked, until I let it sit for a while and then it didn’t
work. I went back to the first reed, which then worked again. Now I must
confess that I am not an advanced student so maybe I’m missing something
that should be obvious. Any tips or suggestions about what we can do would be appreciated. Both of us like the tone we are getting with the glass mouthpiece but if we continue to have these problems we’re not going to have much choice but to go back to our old mouthpieces.
Dear Friends:
As far as leaving reeds on mouthpieces is concerned, there are many if not
most players who advise against it. In many circumstances, I do advise against it myself. However the fisat thing you must do is to find a reed that plays. On any mouthpiece.
In other words, do not do it until the reed you have chosen is “broken in” and you are quite used to it, familiar with it and find that it plays well on your mouthpiece, regardless of material.
Remember the reed has got to play well, meaning that it sits on the
mouthpiece well, that it doesn’t leak at some point in the closure and that you feel very satisfied with it.
There are some glass mouthpieces upon which you cannot leave a reed, and there are some that you can.
In my memory, my reason for this practise was simply that in the orchestra where I was employed we played 8 services a week, including reharsals and
I got the idea of playing one reed all week and it seemed to work , at least for a while, and my feeling was that the pitch would be consistant with the other winds in the section.
It seemed to work, but all you need is some really cold weather which will disturb ideas immensely.
So better put, this is a practise for those with much experience and who have a truly wonderful crystal.
The reed must really have a good placement on the mouthpiece for it to work really well.good luck.

The Rossi Clarinet, another solution to the throat Bb

February 14, 2005

Mr. Friedland:
I’m a true reader of your page. It’s very useful and informative.
Just about everything I would like to know is in the archives. It’s just a
matter of searching.

As you had the opportunity of trying a lot of different instruments, I’d appreciate your opinion about this clarinet strong> Have you ever heard about it?
Thanks in advance.
Avelino Taveiros,Brazil
>Mr. Taveiros:
Actually I knew the Rossi clarinet had a Bb
clarifying mechanism which drew my interest because I have been a performer and an advocate of the Mazzeo Clarinet which provides a similar, perhaps simpler solution to that particular problem in that the side Bb (third trill key) opens when the A spatule is pressed through an articulation providing the clearest possible Bb possible on the Boehm instrument as it is.
Indeed in looking at the photo of the Rossi, the key that opens(a new
additional hole) is in exactly the same place as the third trill key, give or take a millimeter.(the Mazzeo solution opens the third trill key)
So, I thank you, however either Rosario explained the Rossi to me, or I was to much an advocate to go into the Rossi further.
So, thank you for sending the website address. I shall post it on my site so as to afford others who may be interested in this very impressive looking production.
best wishes, and thanks for your compliments .
sherman friedland