Klarinet Archive - Posting 000872.txt from 1998/10

From: Tony@-----.uk (Tony Pay)
Subj: Re: [kl] grunt- register tube
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 09:29:32 -0400

On Thu, 15 Oct 1998 08:18:22, -0500, NGSH50E@-----.com said:

> I've noticed several postings about the "grunt" in the upper register
> on some clarinets.


> ....the clearance of the register pad is critical--if the key opens
> too far, the horn is more likely to grunt.

I've sometimes wondered whether the design of the register key on early
clarinets (the touchpiece stands very proud of the body of the
instrument) is that way so that you can control the clearance. The
acoustics of early clarinets can be quite wayward, especially in the
higher register, and you can alter both intonation and response to some
degree in this way.

This is a particularly good trick for playing the very quiet passages in
the slow movement of the Crusell Second Concerto even on a modern
instrument, actually; an almost closed register key is a great help.

> Remember also that there's no substitute for correct embouchure and
> tongue position in the upper register.

The best way of going about practising this is to work out how to *play*
the grunt quite loudly. With a little practice, you can alternate
between grunt and note on the same fingering, and even make up little
tunes for yourself that incorporate grunts. That way you're not
frightened of them. Knowing how to play them is one way, and a very
good way I'd say, of knowing how *not* to play them.

There's nothing *wrong* about grunts, of course: a grunt is just the
first mode of vibration of the the section of tube to the first open
finger hole, but with the register tube open to the air. Careful design
makes this first mode of vibration unstable, and thus we get the second
mode. But because there's no such thing as an isolated clarinet (only
clarinet systems, which include embouchure, tongue position and so on),
we can make the grunt a stable regime, and thus 'play' it.

One of the difficulties is that when you're frightened of grunts, you
tend to imagine them, and then....guess what?

_________ Tony Pay
|ony:-) 79 Southmoor Rd Tony@-----.uk
| |ay Oxford OX2 6RE
tel/fax 01865 553339

... 90% of being smart is knowing what you're dumb at.


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