Dear Mr. Friedland
Thank you for your great site! Since the first time I discovered your site, I almost checked it out everyday. This is really a great site.
Now, after playing in the high school band for more than 1 year as 1st clarinet, I had discovered recently that my embouchure is incorrect! As the book stated that the upper and lower teeth must be parallel while playing. But I have very extruding upper teeth, and I have to push out my lower to the maximum in order to make them parallel. However, it is almost impossible for me to do that as it is extreme tiring, and I am playing with a double-lip embouchure. So I tried to push my lower jaw a bit out, and have a low instrument angle, and surprisingly, I can get the highest C out without much pinching, even tough it is a bit flat and I cannot tongue the notes above the highest G. My question is, is this correct? If not, what should I do?
Also, my seniors tried to play the lowes t notes very depth, and make them ˇ°sound like bass clarinetˇ±, is this concept correct?
Thank you very much for your time.
You actually seem to have several problems, and although I cannot see and hear you I can try to help you solve them.
One of the first things I mention to all questions of mouthpiece placement and embouchure placement is that we go with what produces the best quality of sound, the most ease, the most range and the most intune, all of these under the heading of comfort and endurance while playing.
Stretching or contorting your embouchure will only make the problem worse.
Where do your teeth close naturally , you know when the dentist asks you to bite down?
If you are like most of us, you have what is called an overbite, wherein your upper teeth close over your lower.
Make your double lip embouchure. What feels and sounds best? What gives you the best intune, sound and range.
If you can answer these questions, then that is your embouchure.
I happen to play single lip embouchure, but I have played double lip, which I believe is the best way to play the clarinet.
In my embouchure I do move the lower jaw forward somewhst but I would be reluctant to suggest that you do the same.
I think you teachers want you to have a bigger and darker sound, a particular goal these days.
That is more the question of mouthpiece and perhaps reeds.
What you need is to be able to play with comfort and increasing endurance.
The “Art of Clarinet Playing” is a great book, but one should not neccessarily take it literally.Why? Because we each have different setups with our teeth, and they are all different. We take what makes us sound better.
I myself could not play with my teeth parallel but as I said, I do extend my lower jaw a very small amount.
I would remind you once again that comfort, tuning and endurance are important issues for you to consider before you begin following directions literally.
Now, there is a great debate going on at present about “bright” and “dark” sounds and the empahsis seems to be on dark, however that too is a matter of what it is that you most admire.
If you have a favorite player on records that you like to listen to, then perhaps you prefer his or her particular sound and you will almost play for that sound.
This is a general kind of answer, however I hope that it helps in some way (s).
best of good luck .