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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000950.txt from 1998/03

From: "Eric Lin" <>
Subj: Re: touguing problem
Date: Mon, 16 Mar 1998 01:26:52 -0500

thanks a lot neil, this really helped alot!

-----Original Message-----
From: Neil Leupold <>
Date: Sunday, March 15, 1998 10:20 PM
Subject: Re: touguing problem

>On Sun, 15 Mar 1998, Eric Lin wrote:
>> I often found my tonguing inconsistant from day to day practice, and I
>> have the control of how fast I'm tonguing. Another problem is that my
>> fingers can never match my tonguing, especially in a scale tongued fast.
>> When people say keep the tongue high and arched back on top of the mouth
>> feel the side of the tongue touching the teeth, and keep the tip of the
>> tongue close to the tip of the reed, I don't get the picture.
>Given your last five words above, this is in no way meant to be
>sarcastic or derisive: you might try literally drawing what you
>have described above. The configuration of tongue shape you've
>described is basically correct, and it might help you to see a
>graphic representation of it in order to visualize what it looks
>like inside your own mouth. Draw a face from profile orientation,
>including a mouthpiece inserted into the mouth opening. Even draw
>upper and lower teeth in profile inside the mouth. Include a reed
>attached to the mouthpiece in your drawing, and then depict the
>tongue to appear as you've outlined above. After completing your
>picture (it needn't be a work of art to get the point across),
>try looking at it and duplicating what you see. You can even
>just use your thumb instead of a real mouthpiece. Pop your
>thumb in between your lips (thumbnail facing down) and con-
>figure your tongue the way you see it in your drawing. Then
>move and touch only the tip of your tongue to the tip of your
>thumbnail. Say "dew." If your tongue is poised as close to
>the thumb as your picture shows, the degree of motion from
>tongue-tip to thumbnail should be quite small indeed. You
>must pay attention to what it feels like in order to duplicate
>the sensation and the motion consistently.
>The idea is simple: when you make an attempt to improve your
>playing via a new technique or concept, you should not only
>expect the physical sensations to be foreign, you should make
>certain that they are. This is not a clarinet-specific concept.
>If you are attempting to change a situation, then an element
>which is foreign to the present situation must be introduced.
>In the case of tonguing, nothing is going to change or improve
>if new physical sensations are not felt during the process.
>Apparently you've only been given information with regard to
>how the tongue should be shaped inside the mouth -- without
>an explanation with regard to the effect that this configuration
>has on such things as oral cavity shape, air focus, and voicing.
>There are many multiple ways to convey a concept so that a par-
>ticular student will immediately grasp and apply it successfully.
>For you, it might be better served by suggesting that you "hiss"
>the syllable "heeeeee" without invoking vibration of the vocal
>chords. Consciously arch the back of your tongue while doing this.
>All you get is air without vocalization. The result? The back of
>the tongue is high in the mouth, sides touch the molars, and the
>tip is nice and close to the lower edge of the top two front
>teeth -- where the reed is.
>Perfection of tongue technique requires development of other areas
>of clarinet playing, but having the basic idea behind how the tongue
>operates in the equation is helpful while you build the other elements.
>These include strength of the embouchure and control of the air stream
>via support from the diaphragm. And becoming expert at any of these
>things requires practicing the invocation of physical relaxation as you
>develop. If you're receiving the benefit of private instruction, your
>teacher should be able to help in your guidance and growth toward con-
>summate clarinetistry.
>Best of luck,

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