Playing flat, really flat
Hello. I am a high school clarinetist and I seem to be flat all the time (usually around 20 cents flat). I have tried a few different mouthpieces and they have not really made a difference. I also tried using a shorter barrel but it made me very sharp. Most people say that I should use more air or firm up more but I have tried their advice and I am still flat. My band director has even noticed my flatness and he doesn’t seem to be too happy about it. ( I play on a Selmer USA 100 clarinet and a Vandoren 5RV Lyre mouthpiece – I have also used the Vandoren B45 and M30 and the Eddie Daniels Acubore 64mm barrel with no luck) How can I correct this problem? Thank you for your time.
Many times I have heard this or similar stories. Of course, It is impossible to tell you too much without hearing and seeing you play.
The setup you describe, or setups in your case are never the answer to this kind of problem, nor is the instrument. It is most probably the kind, and quality of the reed your are playing on. Do you have a teacher? If the answer is no, then you are in tiger country because the opinions you receive are most likely not terribly well-informed, as well-meaning as they may be.
So, no I cannot help you, but I can say that this is a very familiar problem. The best answer is to consult or to study with a clarinetist who plays the clarinet. That is very important.
Your problem has to do with the embouchure you make and the reeds you play, both of which need corrction.
What correction? I am a musician, but not a magician, though I have been called that, so without more information, that is the best answer I can give.
If you can send me a recording of your playing, that would be ideal. It would have to be on MP3. Do you have one?
I wish you the very best of luck, but without the information I must bid you adieu.