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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001150.txt from 1998/03

From: Roger Shilcock <>
Subj: Re: "problem" notes
Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998 04:04:22 -0500

Re "Altissimo" D: If you find it generally sharp, I suspect it's because
(or whoever) doesn't actually *need* the RH Aflat/Eflat key. On my
instruments, at least, it's easy enough to play this note in tune without
it -- even the E can be got in tune on my B flat instrument without
it. A good way of learning to control these notes (for both players
concerned) is to try to play along with a flute, in unison.
The tuning of the throat notes varies enormously between models of
instruments, mouthpieces, barrel lengths --- you name it. Despite Roger
G's experience, I suspect he is over-simplifying considerably.
For instance, I have a colleague with a Thibouville A clarinet on which
the throat note is permanently *flat* in spite of all our best

Roger Shilcock

On Sun, 22 Mar 1998, Karl Krelove wrote:

> Date: Sun, 22 Mar 1998 09:26:16 -0500
> From: Karl Krelove <>
> Reply-To:
> To: klarinet <>
> Subject: Re: "problem" notes
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Roger Garrett <>
> To:>
> Date: Saturday, March 21, 1998 6:11 PM
> Subject: Re: "problem" notes
> >
> >On Sat, 21 Mar 1998 wrote:
> >> I teach jr high band, and some of the kids are ready to
> >> start listening for these. For example, on trumpet we start with low d
> and
> >> low c#.
> >>
> >> I know there are lots of variables, such as where the note appears in the
> >> chord, etc. but that's way on down the road. Right now I'm after the
> >> 'inherent' problem notes. Like 2nd space A ? :^)
> >> netwitt@-----.)
> >
> <snip>
> >All things being equal, bad notes to look out for, but not on all brands:
> >
> >Throat tones - open G, G#, A (you named this one) and Bb are usually
> >sharp. You can tune at the barrel for these, but often throws other
> >things out. Experiment with right hand fingers (yes....and pinky) down in
> >different combinations for these four notes....will drop pitch.
> >
> On some extreme instruments, you can even cover 2nd and 3rd fingers of the
> left hand. The only ones that HAVE to be open are LH 1st and thumb. Every
> instrument is different.
> >Bb concert (the one you tune them on)....usually sharp......tune at
> >barrel, but will drop throat tones too low often. Can tune at center of
> >instrument (between top and bottom joint) on many student grade
> >instruments.
> >
> This has not been my experience, but even if true I'm leary of pulling the
> center joint apart for routine tuning. The possibility of the thing coming
> apart or at least wobbling while playing it is greater, and the bridge keys
> may not function properly on some instruments. Also, the notes a 12th below,
> which are almost uniformly flat (see below), will be that much worse. I'd
> try pulling the bell out a little first (which will still flatten low E and
> F). I'd tune the instrument to a different note on a tuner and have the
> student learn to humor the concert Bb ("with the 'voicing'").
> <snip>
> >Low E, F often are flat........don't overblow, and keep the embouchure
> >firm.
> >
> But not pinched. If there's a unison involved, have the other instruments
> tune to the clarinet notes. This will be more of a problem if you've gone
> out of your way to flatten concert Bb (the C a 12th above low F) by any
> means other than embouchure (voicing).
> >These are the common ones......
> >
> Another area that is often a problem in junior high music is the area above
> high C. The kids have to be accurate about using their RH pinky - not on C#,
> but on all the others above it. D tends to be sharp (I have no idea why). E,
> F, and F# (not common in junior high) tend to be flat mostly because of
> embouchure insecurity. G (more common in high school parts, especially
> marches) may be unrecognizable. A reed/mouthpiece combo that is too easy
> will greatly aggravate the flatness, because enough firmness in the
> embouchure will close the reed. Keeping the embouchure firm, taking enough
> mouthpiece, and keeping the lower lip in firm contact with the teeth help
> with this. Supporting the instrument well with the RH thumb (so the weight
> doesn't tend to pull the lips away from the teeth and the mouthpiece out
> closer to the tip) is, in my experience, an important thing to be careful of
> here (everyone sitting up, no slouching, no right hands resting on legs,
> etc...). In a desperate situation, there are closed fingerings (look in a
> chart for them) that will tend to be sharper and more stable, but they are
> generally recommended to solve specific technical problems (wide leaps,
> mostly) and can introduce technical awkwardness or timbral changes you may
> not like.
> But you'll never have a problem with most of this. After all, these
> instruments are all tuned at the factory, n'est-ce pas?
> Karl Krelove

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