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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000847.txt from 1997/12

From: "Lorne G. Buick" <>
Subj: Re: Ten cents -- can you spare a dime?
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 1997 13:13:03 -0500

> > On Thu, 18 Dec 1997, Ed Lowry wrote:

> How much does a note need to be flat or sharp, in terms of cents on the
> meter, to raise concerns about whether the clarinet should be adjusted?
> Does Jacqueline (or any professional clarinetist) adjust for those ten
> cents whenever she plays that particular note?

My approach for several years now has been to adjust the horn so that it
has no flat notes, only a few sharp ones. My reasoning (and experience) is
that it's much easier and less tiring to lip down than lip up, and also (as
Floyd Williams pointed out) when tuning chords, you never have to raise a
note as far as you have to lower a major third.

As far as how much, I think one should be able to get every note/interval
within 5-10 cents on any "professional" clarinet. (I mean they should play
that close without embouchure adjustment - obviously you have to be able to
play every note bang on if you're going to play professionally.) Lee
Gibson's column Claranalysis in Clarinet magazine discussed how to achieve
this for many years, including matching the volume of mouthpiece and barrel
to the clarinet, undercutting tone holes, adjusting the size and position
of tone holes and register vent, etc. In many cases it's just a simple pad
height adjustment tht's needed.
> >
Previously, Jacqueline Eastwood said:
> > 2) Adjust my embouchure/oral cavity -- tongue position slightly lower &
> > more back, lower jaw dropped somewhat -- the note feels like it is coming
> > from the back teeth area instead of high on the soft palate.

and Roger Shilcock asked:
> ** That feeling is familiar - unfortunately for me it tends to go with
> damage to the tone if I do too much of it, producing a hollow,
> lugubrious sound. How can I avoid this?

One of the most important things I ever learned (no, I didn't learn it in
kindergarten ;-) was to use lots of upper lip pressure as well as lower
lip (not playing double lip, but applying pressure on top of the
mouthpiece). This is a constant thing but especially important to keep tone
quality when lipping a note down (also helps high register tonguing, throat
register tone, etc.). You might also experiment with just lowering the jaw
to lower the pitch, but keeping the oral cavity narrower to preserve tone -
it's a delicate balance. (but of course worth the effort!)

best regards, lgb

LGB Lorne G Buick St. John's Newfoundland

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