Clarinets, mouthpieces, and reeds do not come with sounds.

Dear Mr. Friedland:

Dear Mr Friedland:
I imagine that sometimes you are deluged with email and that a response to all of them may be difficult.
I am not at all opposed to a private response that is not to be posted, even if it is only your consistently graceful expression of gratitude, something like, “I really don’t have anything particular to add that may be useful to you in response to your query, but I thank you for writing.” Or, “I believe I’ve answered your questions in other postings, so you may want to conduct a search for them.” Or, whatever you want to say.

In any case, you are doing a wonderful thing for all us clarinet players at various levels of development and with an assortment of questions. And for that I am among the grateful beneficiaries of your shared knowledge and experience. I have been considerably enriched by reading your “clarinet corner.”
Hello C:
I am sorry that I did not answer your last letter. I was simply swamped with responses to write. I do respond to all .

As far as mouthpieces are concerned it is not my belief that any mouthpiece has a particular sound, nor does any clarinet, regardless if it was played by Benny Goodman or Richard Muhlield.

As you may have read I knew Benny, rehearsed his Concerto parts with the orchestra and later checked balance for him at a concert he played with his daughter, Rachel at the Gardener Museum in Boston.
I didn’t ask him what mouthpiece he played , but someone else did and he seemed not to know or was indifferent in his reply.

My reasoning and (perhaps his)is simply that these are inanimate objects, reeds, mouthpieces and clarinets, though reeds by their very function do indeed vibrate, however the sound is always made by the player through his intelligence, sensitivity, education and chosen metier.

Benny Goodman played the way he did because that sound was in his head , his ear,education and desire to play. His playing can be emulated to a certain extent, but that too is done by listening and absorbing. If the reed, mouthpiece, instrument doesn’t give you the sound you hear or desire, you change whatever aspect you need to change.It is after all, a process, sometimes a long process.

The conventional wisdom on reeds is exactly what you have found: most play on softer rather than harder reeds. I myself usually play a medium number 3 reed, but am usually not happy with it until it breaks in and plays quite easily for me. Too much resistance gets in the way of flexibility.

The same results from a mouthpiece that requires a hard resistant reed.

As far as particular names of mouthpieces, reeds and clarinets, there are none that make a sound despite what wonderful player happened to like them, for their travels took them on the same paths that all of us take in order to reach our goal.

Good luck in all your endeavors.
sincerely, sherman


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