The Fuzzy sharp throat Bb

Is my Bb sharp, soft and fuzzy?
The very first consideration should be the awareness that literally hundreds of clarinetists at many levels are rather bothered, (read frightened) by the throat Bb, mainly because it is simply a bad note on many makes of clarinet, (read most). So, what they do is to back off or back away from the note, making it immediately more fuzzy and sharper, especially if you are playing a lyrical melody. If you will just play through the note with your best quality and without making it softer, you will experience improvement immediately. It is the “wolf” note of the clarinet, and, most importantly it is an embouchure problem and a technical problem as well. Play Bb to C and die, unless you are very certain that you lead with the first finger of the left hand landing squarely on the first ring, almost before the rest of your fingers go down. Most players, especially younger players always panic and forget this, while it is very simple to learn to improve this difficult motion. Also the embouchure usually almost always follows suit, and moves; some players move their shoulders as well. Practice in front of a mirror and do not allow your throat to move at all when in Bb country. Further improvement will occur. (shoulder, eyebrows also must not move)
Throughout clarinet history there have been many that have attempted to improve the Bb, proving that is is a problem.
But is it , really?
Adding fingers adds to your misery, for while you think you are improving resonance you are suffering with intonation and you cannot play with these additional so-called resonance fingerings with any kind of real velocity.
This is not a recommendation for any kind of key system, simply a suggestion that technic be cleaned up first and foremost prior to perhaps relegating the poor Bb to the lair of the wolf. There is of course, another fingering for Bb which is exactly where it is supposed to be, and we are all capable of using it much more than we do. This is the third trill key with the A apatule. Such a lovely note on the clarinet.
Or , get a Mazzeo clarinet.
stay well, Sherman Friedland


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