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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000404.txt from 2001/02

From: "Roger E. Keller" <rekeller@-----.com>
Subj: [kl] Fw: [kl] Overtones
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 2001 20:23:44 -0500

Regarding Bill Wright's answer to the inquiry by Donna Higgins, I am afraid
that it isn't what she was looking for. Although it has mostly valid
information, it doesn't address the embouchure exercise she referred to.

This embouchure exercise was taught by Dominck Fera to me and all of his
students in the late 60's. It is analogous to a brass player producing
overtone sequences without using any valves. I don't know if Dominick
originated the exercise, or his teacher, Ralph McClaine.

All played legato; the entire sequence with one breath.
1. Starting on low E, blow the clarinet, making the necessary embouchure
and airstream adjustments so that a tone a twelfth higher sounds (B on the
staff), without the use of the register key.
2. Make the necessary embouchure and airstream adjustments so as to sound a
G just above the staff.
3. Make the necessary embouchure and airstream adjustments so as to sound
the B on the staff again.
4. Make the necessary embouchure and airstream adjustments so as to sound a
G just above the staff again.
5. Make the necessary embouchure and airstream adjustments so as to sound
the B on the staff again.
6. Make the necessary embouchure and airstream adjustments necessary so as
to sound the original tone, the low E.

As the player gains strength and proficiency, he can continue to further the
exercise by blowing higher overtones in similar sequences.

Please be warned that this far from a pleasant sounding exercise, but is
extremely efficient at building a large sound, strengthening the embouchure,
and learning to control both airstream and embouchure changes necessary to
play quick leaps in different registers.

Hoping to have helped out,
Roger E. Keller

----- Original Message -----
From: "William Wright" <Bilwright@-----.net>
Subject: Re: [kl] Overtones

> <><> Donna Higgins wrote:
> I was reading an article recently about exercises to improve embouchure.
> The method involved producing overtones. What exactly is an "overtone"
> in this context?
>
>
>
> Without having seen the article, most likely the article is
> explaining that a musical instrument does not produce a 'single'
> frequency when you play a note.
> Our nervous system and ears are set up in such a way that we decide
> the sound's pitch on the basis of the lowest frequency in the sound.
> All the other frequencies affect our perception of the sound's 'timber'
> or 'tone color' or 'tonal character.'
> The lowest frequency (the frequency that we perceive as the 'pitch'
> of the sound) is called the fundamental and the higher frequencies are
> called overtones. Sometimes you will see the phrase 'upper partials'
> instead of overtones.
> Thus a string instrument and a horn can both play at the same pitch
> (same fundamental frequency), but our brain and ears can tell the
> difference between them because the overtones of each instrument are
> completely different.
>
> ...and the point is: You can manipulate the overtones of your own
> playing by changing your embouchure, such that your playing will have a
> particular tonal character --- which we describe with such metaphors as
> 'dark', 'bright', 'focused', 'ragged', 'sparkling' and so forth because
> nobody has (yet) been able to unravel the precise effect of different
> overtone patterns --- except that most people agree that 'bright' means
> to emphasize the higher overtones and 'dark' means the opposite.
>
> The following web page has graphs that illustrate 'overtones':
>
> http://hughes38.som.ohio-state.edu/spectra.htm
>
>
>
> Cheers,
> Bill
>
>
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