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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000507.txt from 2001/02

From: "Tony Wakefield" <>
Subj: [kl] Oral Moisture.
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2001 08:49:16 -0500

Bits of water drip out of places quite often, depending on the
temperature/humidity in the auditorium. You will witness brass players
always opening their water release valve and blowing as silently as
possible, even during the performance. Woodwind only have a couple of
options, one of which is to swallow the excess saliva just before starting
to play. Try to blow without spitting into the mouthpiece. The secret is NOT
to blow but to <breath> (as is generally known). Another situation is when a
pad becomes water-logged, then the only recourse during actual playing is
the panic measure of waiting for a bar`s rest to blow ferociously as quietly
as possible, (impossible) into, and frequently across the hole in question.
Keep a ciggy paper handy, you might have time to use it. You will need
10/15/20 bars rest at least to be able to use the pullthru` (swab) though.
It`s not possible to stop moisture from travelling the full length, but then
it`s acceptable to see one or two drops plunge onto the front of stage. It
rarely gets that far.

Some saxophonists used to (some still do) arrange a small shaped "dam", an
upside down "V", just inside the top of the main body, to avert the flow of
water away from tone holes. It`s not done on clarinets - as far as I know.

So - keep the spittoon handy - hide it behind a small screen. Make sure you
partially fill it with water first, or the sound of the first aim will clink
all round the concert hall to the utter displeasure of the ladies. There`s a
biker`s bar I`ve heard of where one can practise this on the bandstand,
before the elevation and honour of progressing to the gold plated spittoon
in Carnegie Hall. I believe Stokowski was presented with one upon his


From: "William Wright" <>
Subject: [kl] Swabbing (more)

> Forgive this "ugly' question, but can a competent clarinetist
> control his or her 'oral moisture' (<euphemism alert!>) during a
> performance sufficiently that nothing drips out the bell in between
> opportunities to swab?
> Several of you have posted: "Swab from bell to mouthpiece because
> this doesn't drag moisture into new areas of the instrument", and I
> wonder if it's possible to keep moisture from travelling the length of
> the instrument during a peformance, regardless of how you choose to
> swab?
> Cheers,
> Bill
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