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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000016.txt from 1997/12

From: "Edwin V. Lacy" <el2@-----.edu>
Subj: Re: Bass clarinet necks
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 1997 15:07:57 -0500

On Mon, 1 Dec 1997, Da Shouryu-man wrote:

> In truth, there is no such thing as a 'sax embochure (sp?)'. The
> embochures of the saxes and clarinets are the same fundamentally. The
> real difference is pressure.

This statement is subject to a lot of interpretation, and unfortunately, a
lot of misinterpretation. By "pressure," are you referring to air
pressure, pressure of the embouchure on the reed, muscular exertion, or
what? Actually, the sax and clarinet embouchures are formed in a similar
way, but there the relationship ends. The saxophone embouchure should be
structured, but much less firm than on the clarinet.

> The construction of the saxophone requires that from the middle C
> (fourth space) and up, you can play with pretty much the same pressure
> the clarinets, and virtually the same embochure altogether

I don't think so. I don't like the tone of the saxophone when played with
the clarinet embouchure. As using this much pressure on the reed causes
the saxophone to go sharp, the usual response is to pull out the
mouthpiece. This can correct the pitch problem, but results in a thin,
pinched tone quality, to my ears.

> Saxes, in general, do not use the exact same tonguing method
> clarinetists use, which is the tip of the tounge striking only the tip
> of the reed.

There is a range of techniques possible here, but for me, in no case does
the tip of the tongue touch the tip of the reed. On the saxes, I try to
let an area on top of the tongue, about a quarter inch back of the tip,
touch the reed - underneath the tip of the reed, not directly on the end
of it. On the clarinet, I agree that the tongueing is closer to the tip,
but still not quite directly by the tip of the tongue on the tip of the
reed. And, I would never use the term "striking" in any discussion with a
student about articulation. The tongue doesn't "strike" the reed, it
pulls away from the reed to start the sound.

> Because of the angle that the mouthpiece is inserted, saxists cannot
> tongue as fast with this method with so much mouthpiece in their mouth.

Usually, there is quite a bit of mouthpiece in the mouth when playing with
a jazz-oriented sound, but not much more than for the clarinet on most
other, more "legit" saxophone mouthpieces, especially for the alto. But,
many saxophonists can tongue just as fast as clarinetists, no matter what
embouchure or mouthpiece/reed setup they use.

> This is because the tongue must be pulled back farther into the mouth to
> make a tip to tip connection. Clarinetists do not have this problem
> because the mouthpiece is angled up more--we have the same amount of
> mouthpiece in our mouths, but it doesn't protrude as far back due to the
> angle, so our tongues can remain relatively less strained than saxes.

I'm having trouble following this logic. I don't feel that I pull the
tongue "back farther into the mouth," and I don't feel that the tongue is
"strained" when I play the saxophone.

Ed Lacy
*****************************************************************
Dr. Edwin Lacy University of Evansville
Professor of Music 1800 Lincoln Avenue
Evansville, IN 47722
el2@-----.edu (812)479-2754
*****************************************************************

   
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