(Glissando, in detail.?) First comes a private teacher

September 28, 2006

Hi,
I’ve been trying for the past few days to gliss from G to C above the staff.From what I’ve learned so far, in order to gliss, I should first practice dropping the pitch of one note using only my mouth. I can only drop the pitch about 1.5 half steps. So I’ve done that, but I haven’t been ble to figure out what exactly it is that I should do after that. Apparently, If I ‘slide’ my fingers off the holes and bend my pitch up at the same time, I should get a clean sliding effect. But I’m confused about certain things, such as ‘which fingers do I slide off first’ and ‘do I bend the pitch of the first note, then drop my embouchure again for the second note, etc. ?’ and all the details that I believe will help me a great deal.
Can you provide the steps (in detail) about how to gliss/lip slur on a clarinet?

———————————————————————-

Hi :
Frst you are asking two different things: one, a gliss from g to c above the staff, and next how to do a lip-slur or a glissando on the clarinet.

NO, whomever told you to first drop the pitch is incorrect
The answer to the first as I see and hear it, and do it, is to first
practice a chromatic scale between those two notes until you can do it very rapidly, and than quite simply, do the same thing with the idea of the glissando, always working from the sound first, not the mechanics, the mechanics of relaxing the embouchure, something relatively simple to do once the basic chromatic scale is achieved.
This glissando, being a very short space is easy to do and since it remains within the same part of the clarinet can be done almost immediately, keeping the technical aspect as your first duty.

To do a longer, or the longest glissando written for the clarinet, Rhapsody in Blue, the very best thing to do is to get several different recordings and listen very carefully with the idea in your ear that it is you who is playing.
From there it is a step or two to doing the glissando and a teacher who has played it will be the biggest help to you.Without hearing you or your level of playing, it is almost impossible to
give it to you step-by-step.
I have had many beginning clarinet-hopefuls who wish to play the Gershwin first before almost taking the clarinet out of the case , and that, is
impossible.

best of good luck, and practicing the instrument without the glissando is the best thing you can do.
DO YOU HAVE A PRIVATE TEACHER?

If not, get one before you do any glissandi.

good luck

Sherman Friedland—–


That glissando

September 28, 2006

Hi,
I’ve been trying for the past few days to gliss from G to C above the staff.From what I’ve learned so far, in order to gliss, I should first practice dropping the pitch of one note using only my mouth. I can only drop the pitch about 1.5 half steps. So I’ve done that, but I haven’t been ble to figure out what exactly it is that I should do after that. Apparently, If I ‘slide’ my fingers off the holes and bend my pitch up at the same time, I should get a clean sliding effect. But I’m confused about certain things, suck as ‘which fingers do I slide off first’ and ‘do I bend the pitch of the first note, then drop my embouchure again for the second note, etc. ?’ and all the details that I believe will help me a great deal.
Can you provide the steps (in detail) about how to gliss/lip slur on a clarinet?

———————————————————————-

Hi :
Frst you are asking two different things: one, a gliss from g to c above the staff, and next how to do a lip-slur or a glissando on the clarinet.

NO, whomever told you to first drop the pitch is incorrect
The answer to the first as I see and hear it, and do it, is to first
practice a chromatic scale between those two notes until you can do it very rapidly, and than quite simply, do the same thing with the idea of the glissando, always working from the sound first, not the mechanics, the mechanics of relaxing the embouchure, something relatively simple to do once the basic chromatic scale is achieved.
This glissando, being a very short space is easy to do and since it remains within the same part of the clarinet can be done almost immediately, keeping the technical aspect as your first duty.

To do a longer, or the longest glissando written for the clarinet, Rhapsody in Blue, the very best thing to do is to get several different recordings and listen very carefully with the idea in your ear that it is you who is playing.
From there it is a step or two to doing the glissando and a teacher who has played it will be the biggest help to you.Without hearing you or your level of playing, it is almost impossible to
give it to you step-by-step.
I have had many beginning clarinet-hopefuls who wish to play the Gershwin first before almost taking the clarinet out of the case , and that, is
impossible.

best of good luck, and practicing the instrument without the glissando is the best thing you can do.
DO YOU HAVE A PRIVATE TEACHER?

If not, get one before you do any glissandi.

good luck

Sherman Friedland—–


The middle b and the c are difficult at first .

September 26, 2006

Hi Mr Friedland,
First, I want to thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience
with others.I am a retired professional musician and have become active in my community helping students with their woodwind aspirations. I have sucessfully avoided the clarinet for many years. Last year I was asked to play clarinet in our local orchestra. I struggled through it and have been putting some effort learning to play. Everything is going well except that I am very frustrated with middle B and C. It feels as though the resistance on these notes increases dramatically. These notes have a difficult response and they do not sound clear.(like two notes sounding at the sametime)
I have tried different mouthpieces, barrels, reeds and clarinets. The problem persists pretty much to the same degree with all combinations. Is this just the yoke around the neck of all clarinetists or is it just me? I have tried changing my embouchure but have not stumbled onto any secrets. Playing with an extremely loose embouchure seems to help the clarity but not the response.
Do you have any thoughts ?
Thank you,
G

Equipment: Patricola CL2 Clarinet
Gigliotti Mouthpiece
Rico Grand Select 2 to 3 strength
———————————————————————
Hi:
In reading through your letter and considering all the changes you have made in order to clear up the stuffiness in the b and the c, I am led to believe that there is the possibility of the fact that your clarinet is not adjusted properly and is leaking air at some point, or that you are not covering completely all of the fingers employed in the production of the b.
If you were not a clarinetist to begin with, having “avoided the clarinet for all these years”,the covering could well be the problem.
Try first to get the c , begin with it. It will not come out until all fingers are covering. When they do and you achieve the c, try to remember exactly the positions of all your fingers, and then simply close the left little finger which gives the b, and it should come out immediately.
Starting to play that particular place on the clarinet is most difficult initially.
If that is not the case, it has to be either the clarinet is out of adjustment or the mouthpiece is faced improperly, or the reed is too stiff or too weak, both of which could keep the b and the c from sounding, but I think that the problem lies in the placement of your fingers, which is why I suggest getting the c first.
The amount of support necessary for producing these notes is more as well. When you say loosening your embouchure helps, I think that you also loosen your fingers, and that you could be clutching the clarinet in desparation to get the b and the c.
Good luck. I hope this helps.
sincerely,
sherman


To repair or to replace an old instrument?

September 24, 2006

Hello and thank you for your time and response.

I have an old Bundy that I have had for close to 20 years, and we bought used from an older gentleman when I was a kid. Now my son is interested in playing but the poor instrument needs re corked.

Would it be worth it to service this one or buy a newer clarinet for my son to learn on? The Serial number is 568524. The instrument looks to be in good overall condition it came in an old fashioned tweed case.

I just wanted to know about how old it is and if it is worth re-corking as opposed to getting a new(er) one.

Thanks again, ES

——————————————————————

Hello:
and thank you for writing about your old Bundy clarinet. The exact value cannot be determined because it is mainly intrinsic.The serial numbers do not date-correlate
Which of course, brings up the replacement or overhaul cost of such an instrument.
It is important that we understand the terminology and it’s meaning.It is incorrect to use the word “service” for repair and overhaul. It is never a matter analagous to changing ones oil on an automobile. General overhaul means all pads, corks,replaced and adjusted, on wood, wood treated with oil, sometimes springs replaced as well and it is time-intensive and can cost anywhere from 100 for a very poor job to 500 and more for a rather perfectly adjusted clarinet
Therefore theses prices charged for overhaul on instruments which have no value as antiques can be prohibitive, and it is better to replace the instrument with a new one. These can be obtained at about the price of an overhaul and the good thing about it is that you have an instrument that will last another 20 years or so, and should come perfectly adjusted.
Beware of instruments with names like Mareeno, Iguana, Merengue, and the like, costing about 99.00 brand new, and with the question, “Why buy used, when you can buy new?” Why?, because the 100 dollar clarinet plays without a scale and the temperament has caused more band directors to end up on Skid Row because of madness caused by these terrible worthless, though “new” instruments. Please, always remember, CAVEAT EMPTOR. Find out about what you may be buying.
Yamaha is one of the best student clarinets, by far, exceeding most others.
A friend bought a Yamaha model 20 clarinet, which has been discontinued and replaced with the model 250, for about 250 dollars, new in the box with a warranty and it plays beautifully. The 250 model costs about 750, but one should never ever pay list price for a new clarinet, actually no more than about one third less for brand new.
However one can get a nearly new instrument that will also be perfect for a very good price, but how do you know what you are buying?
You do not, and so, there is an element of chance, always the case.
So finally, I would suggest that you explore the prices for overhaul, which can sometimes not be great or very very good. Or you can buy new, but you should not pay too much.
I am sorry that I cannot be specific, but on ebay, there are literally thousands of “bad deals” and some very good ones. Of course, at this point a good private instructor is very important, and it is better to work with your son’s teacher.
Good luck.
best regards,
sherman friedland


Symphonic Technic and Style in the Orchestra

September 21, 2006

Dear Sir,

I am a professional clarinetist and I was asked by a local high quality liberal arts college to give a talk and demonstration about Symphonic Technique and Tradition of the clarinet.
There are so many possibilities, and I would like to do a nice job for these highly intelligent students.

The talk would be for an hour. Can you give me guidance as to what you feel would be the most interesting items to talk about?

Thanks
———————————————————————
Dear Mr. S:
Thank you for your note, and if I have the correct person, I do hope that things go well in –.
If I do have the correct person, you also play Saxophone which means you have a conversance with Jazz, which may come in very handily in describing clarinet technic within the Orchestra.
The Tradition of the Clarinet should be relatively easy to prepare,basing it upon what you know and observing a few of the important dates in the development of the instrument as first the Chalumeau, then the adding of the register key, then its use in ensembles, followed by perhaps, it’s first use within the Mannheim School and the orchestras of the period.
Mozart’s love and his use of the instrument could take either an hour or how much or little you wish to say , including his first use of the instrument, his letters to his father concerning how beautiful he felt the instrument was, the use of a pair of clarinets in the orchestra, and of course, Beethoven’s way of using the instrument. Following that, there are all of the Romanticists, and the various enlargements of the clarinet part, the addition of the little clarinet and the big one with Berlioz,Wagner and Company, and R. Strauss.
All of the above contributed to the technic of the instrument, demanding more and more virtuosity from the players within the orchestras , from Berlioz through the end of the century.
Back to the technic of playing the clarinet within the orchestra, you can easily demonstrate some of the facets of embouchure and absolutely correct articulation, intonation, and even expression within the symphonic repertoire, contrasting it with the entirely different technical style frequently employed in Jazz.
Here is an old story for you, and it is true. When attending the New England Conservatory, I had the opprotunity to hear and to meet and to play clarinet duets with Gerry Mulligan, who asked me if I wanted to play some together. (He had a lady from the Conservatory).
We met and played some of the standard duets found in the many books of them that abounded. Every phrase that included 8th or 16th notes at any tempo, he would accent the second and forth note. I had a big mouth (at the time) and told him that “we don’t play that way in this type of music” He got totally upset, and threatened me physically.

This contrast may help in a demonstration of orchestral technic.

I do hope that these comments will help you in your lecture. Make sure you play examples for them.
“There can be no dialog about music without music”. Igor Stravinsly. Most sincerely,
Sherman Friedland


Mazzeo System Selmer Signet, basic fingering

September 18, 2006

Greetings! I have recently acquired a Mazzeo Special by Selmer, Signet.
Any help you could provide with a fingering chart would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you!
Jim
——————————————————————–
No fingering chart is necessary if you know the basic clarinet fingerings.

If the horn is in correct adjustment when you put down the right hand the third trill key will open. With that open all you do is open the a spatule A key and you have the throat Bb, the best one there is on the clarinet.
Any combination of fingers including either the right hand rings or the left hand will open the trill key, so it is a good way of playing the throat Bb.
The only problem is that you cannot put any fingers down when you are not playing Bb, meaning that anything down will again open the trill key, giving you some other note than the one you want.
Probably it will be much easier to do it with the clarinet in hand.
If the trill key doesn’t open, either there is a clutch on the right hand to keep it shut, or it needs to be repaired. The clutch is a small slide that goes up and down, up closes the third trill key, down allows it to open freely

Good luck, sherman


More on Mouthpieces, igatures,clarinets, dark and bright

September 17, 2006

Dear Mr. Friedland,
Which of Mr. Ridenour’s clarinets is in your opinion the best (I’m quite confused between the Arioso and the Lyrique–are there more than these)?
Would you say that in terms of physical nitty-gritties like keywork and aesthetic qualities like tone colour, even resistance, intonation, Ridenour’s clarinets are superior to professional Buffet clarinets like the Festival and Tosca models? I would like a clarinet that I will be satisfied with for a life-time of learning and performing.
Can a warm, fluid and dark tone colour with depth (like that of Martin Frost and Sabine Meyer) be achieved with Ridenour clarinets? I use Ralph Morgan mouthpiece RM06, Zonda reeds size 3.5 and Eddie Daniels ligature.
May I know your set-up?Thank you very much for answering my questions.
Yours sincerely,
Tim
P.S. To help me clear up my understanding of tone colours, could you please describe what is bright and what is dark? Is Buffet RC or R13 brighter?
——————————————————————–
Tim:
Thank you for your letter.
As far as Mr. Ridenour’s clarinet models, my awareness is that the Arioso is the basic model and that the Lyrique is somewhat similar, however comes with a personal warranty from the designer himself for service, something like a luxury automobile, however I may have that somewhat confused. I have not as yet played the Lyrique clarinet, so I cannot comment further on the model.
The Arioso, which I own. Tone color, resistance and intonation, it is equal to any clarinet made.
As far as sounding like those whom you mention, you will sound like you sound, and there are a number of reasons for this: it is not a matter of just sound per se, but also of attack, release, conception and perception of the player.

No setup can make you sound like an admired player, but of course you must have at least correctly made materials, including clarinet and mouthpiece, etc. My feeling is that ligature is more a fad concept and one more of perception than material, although of course if you tighten the material enough, you can choke your reed ,rendering it impossible to do much in the realm of flexibity. Please do not use a wraparound string ligature. It is expensive and it does not work in a quickchange situation.

People just love to question and to interpret what is bright and what is dark, and as well, they adore making derisive remarks about the meaning of these terms pertaining to clarinet sound.
Right now, these terms are considered equal to good (dark) and bad(bright), but that is sure to change again and again, depending upon the particular player and the following they acquire.These qualities are not just a matter of frequencies, but more I think of actual musical execution and the ability to really espress the music of the particular composer.
If you ask a number of players whom they admire and why, you will get answers that are completely disparate.
A correctly made mouthpiece is more important than the make, and there are differences there as well as to symetrical or asymmetrical facings, rather violent differences at that.
Most of the great players of the past used symetrically faced mouthpieces.
I play on a Gennusa mouthpiece, copied from an old one I had found so that now I have two very close mouthpieces which play many reeds and I am at last, and at least satisfied. They are also very much intune and I like the sound. Gennusa used a different mix for his blanks and they do sound different , which I prefer.
My facing is supposedly similar to that of Harold Wright, I have been told, (by Tom Ridenour, after I sent him my measurements).
I use Gonzalez FOF reeds which I find perfect for my playing. They are similar to Zonda, which I have also tried, however they last longer and remain consistant more than Zonda or any other I have played. Supposedly they are similar to the old Morre cut used by legendary clarinetists, the blank being thicker.
I used that type of ligature(like ED) but without all that gold filagree on it and no different plates to put under it to change your sound. This stuff for me is all pure “sell” and really nothing more.
The optimum ligature made by VD is the most expensive thing you can buy, is heavy and slipped off my clarinet each time I removed the mouthpiece to change clarinets.Worthless, for me.
I am told that all Buffet clarinets are the same instrument, with different labels and prices to match (and my source will remain anonymous). I do not know which is brighter and/or darker.
A lomg time ago I played an R 13 and then changed to an RC, and I didn’t like the change one bit. The RC seemed to me to be tubby, flaccid ,if you will.
Ridenours clarinets are not finished as well as the big three french clarinets, or the Yamaha, at least the top of their lines, however that is not to say that you could not play for a lifetime of playing music on them, with great pleasure.
Hard rubber I believe is a superior material to grenadliia and it cannot crack, so that is that; and I do not subscribe to the popular folklore that you can only make a good clarinet sound on wood, not for one minute.
I don’t know thw Ralph morgan mouthpiece, but I know that Ridenour knows more about mouthpiece manufacture than any other mouthpiece craftsmen as they are prone to call themselves.

Best of all good luck with you clarinet and all else.
sherman