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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000774.txt from 1997/12

Subj: Re: patches
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 1997 22:57:32 -0500

To Neil L.

Good job at articulating regarding the mouthpiece patch. Its interesting
that such a small piece of rubber/synthetic can raise such discussion. I
like to use the BG when I can get them, or-as I am now playing on-a Ruyon. I
enjoyed your post. Regards, Tony

At 08:40 AM 12/15/97 -0600, you wrote:
>On Sun, 14 Dec 1997, J. Shouryu Nohe wrote:
>> Um...Do mouthpiece patches really alter tone? I never noticed a
>> difference after attaching mine...then again, I don't even know what I'm
>> doing 'right' half the time...But seriously, can patches affect your
>> sound negatively? Are there any particular brand I should steer clear of?
>One of the great mysteries of clarinet playing is how to attain a
>fully relaxed and integrated approach to producing tone. The old
>adage "less is more" comes strongly to mind in this case, for most
>players don't recognize that their strangle-hold on "control" is
>precisely what inhibits them from achieveing their true potential
>as clarinetists. While we all pay lip service (pun fully intended)
>to the notion that the air should do all of the work when playing,
>only the players who are at the top of the field are putting this
>concept fully into application. The rest of us are at various de-
>grees of advancement in the process, some merely at the formative
>stages, others on the cusp of a breakthrough which could take them
>to the next level -- but without realizing it. And the rest of us
>land somewhere in between these two poles.
>Sometimes knowing the truth and facts isn't good enough, because
>the brain and the personality aren't ready to act on the knowledge.
>With "less is more" in mind, the embouchure is a prime target for
>examination, because it is one of the areas where we feel the greatest
>need to have a tangible grasp on stability. So we say "teew" or "doo"
>or whatever, and hope that the rest falls into place. What is necess-
>ary, though, is to literally open up and let the air do the work. Jaw
>pressure confounds all hope for a leap forward and, for some players,
>the first-time experience of using a mouthpiece patch is nothing short
>of revelatory. If the patch is thick enough, it will occasion a wide-
>ning of the aperture and an openness of the oral cavity which, if per-
>ceptible by the player, is the first step toward freeing the reed to
>respond to the air stream. Some people experience this sensation as
>a result of alternating between soprano and bass clarinets, but then
>they promptly adapt to the difference and erect a dividing line be-
>tween the two instruments which prevents them from cross-pollinating
>concepts between the two.
>The idea is to recognize the oddity of having your mouth feel more open
>than "normal", and keep that sensation intact. Then adapt the rest of
>your approach to this new constant. It requires a strengthening of the
>lips, and development of greater capacity to focus the air stream. A
>mouthpiece patch is an external device which can help to get things
>moving in the right direction for a player who has never used one before.
>Thus begins the process of raising the tongue. What also begins is a
>mental journey where we draw a direct link between the diaphragm and the
>reed, actuated by the upper lip (of all things!). The jaw and lower lip
>become nearly superfluous as we begin to apply the idea that the upper
>lip and sides are primarily responsible for regulating pressure on the
>reed, and the lower lip is simply along for the ride.
>Just some random thoughts on my part.

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