Mouthpieces, their place in your development

I have written many pages on different kinds of clarinet mouthpieces, and I would hope that some of them may make some sense for the reader and be a help to those who may read wht I have written. My development as a clarinetist was never that of playing and picking different mouthpieces. No, I never ever thought of mouthpieces.

Some postings and writings concerning mouthpieces  seem to basically neglect the fact that it is you,  who makes the sound, who searches for solutions to playing intervals and articulations, it is not and never is/was/orwill be the mouthpiece. Only when you get to a point where you can say a certain mouthpiece facilitates the achievement of these problems can you or anyone really discern what is the proper mouthpiece for you.

As I have said, this was never ever on my mind as a student. I had problems to solve, many things which came only with practice and trying different ways of support, embouchure , fingering, legato and staccato,, tongue and everything that goes into,”the sound”. (Problems which return again and again.)

Everyone can and will give you their preference and many band directors will determine that each clarinet shall play the same facing of the same mouthpiece. They do this for (hopefully) intonation and they say it is for “the same sound’, but they don’t know. You know, and that knowledge comes only after you have developed to a certain extent.

If you have 50 Van Doren mouthpieces with the designation B45, each will play differently, yes, like fingerprints, no two mouthpieces are the same.

If you take but a part of what I say, you will realize that there is only one common denominator here, and that is you who determines what it is that will render for you, what it is you want . And you may change your mind, but wait until you and “your chops” (as they say) develop.


Keep oracticing.

Sherman Friedland


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