The Throat when we play, what happens?

dear Sherman Friedland

I have a problem with my larynx.
I think i make an effort sometimes with the larynx and
I would like to know the reason to this and if it is connected to support and if there is any solution

thank you very much about listening..(clarinetist from Israel)


You are speaking about one of the most complex of human actions concerned with playing the clarinet. Its complexity is caused by the fact that few know exactly what happens in the larynx or throat when a clarinetist or any kind of wind instrument player plays. We speak about opening the throat or closing it when we wish to exercise certain sounds, certain registers, certain leaps while playing, and most of the actions we take in order to play, especailly in a musical manner, we cannot pinpoint exactly, mostly because it happens internally and it is usually taught by listening to our teachers play or someone whom we admire. The more sensitive the kind of playing we hear and wish to execute, the more changes, some infinitely small, we make. And we are taught not to move any more than is necessary, because if we move our embouchure, including the larynx, we distort the sound. So, it is a matter of sensitivity, and most probably it is different with each clarinetist as he or she learns their craft. Finally, yes, certainly it is associated with support, though not independant.If one plays a chromatic scale legato, certain changes take place in the throat. There has not been enough tangible research to say exactly what. I believe that the actions of the throat have a great deal to do with the sound we make and the kind of phrasing,as it is called we make. I also believe that without this sensitivity, indeed this movewment, the sound of the clarinet is rather uninteresting. Naturally, I would have to see you, the player and observe as I listen. Without this, it is difficult to be specific.
A good question to ask yourself when you play is what does the sound I am making tell me? Do I approve of this slur, this passage? If I make a change of some sort, what is the change and does it please my ear?
I hope that I am not being too general, for this is a subject that interests me considerably, as I have spent a lifetime in listening to exactly what the sound is saying as I play.
So, if this helps in some small way, I am happy.
Good luck.
sincerely, Sherman


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