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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000780.txt from 2001/02

From: (Tony Pay)
Subj: Re: [kl] gliss
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2001 14:21:54 -0500

On Mon, 19 Feb 2001 01:10:14 +0100, said:

> Several times I put on this list the question how to make a glissando
> Many people have reacted, but, remakably enough, all about
> glissandoing up. Most of the responses were about finger movements,
> none about what to do with your embouchure, which, in my moderate and
> unexperienced opinion, is very important. And what about pasing the
> break?
> Is on this list someone, who lives near enough to teach me, how to
> make one? Let's say one from D2 down to G1 and back? And from G1 up
> till C3 or higher?

Leaving your specific requests aside, the way I'd suggest you approach
the matter is to finger A one ledger line above the treble stave, but
then semi-cover all the lower holes including the RH little finger.

(This fingering could alternatively be described as a 'leaky' C
fingering, one space down in the treble stave.)

If you now play as though to obtain a clarion note, with a normal
embouchure (ie, not relaxed at all) you'll find you get something
flatter than the A, but with a very strange, almost strangled quality.

Also, you'll find, if you experiment by putting your tongue in different
positions -- rather as you do when whistling -- that you can change the
pitch of what's coming out, first of all through a third or a fourth,
but eventually as much as an octave.

Try playing the first bit of 'God Save the Queen', or something similar
involving small intervals, keeping your fingers in exactly the same
position throughout.

This is possible because normally, the length of the clarinet tube is
the dominant factor in determining the resultant pitch. But here, it's
as though the reed 'doesn't know' what length of tube it's 'looking at'
as it vibrates, because of the leaks. So you can change its frequency
of vibration much more easily by what happens inside your mouth.

In my own experience, the embouchure has little to do with the matter.
It's what happens to the tongue, particularly at the back, that is
crucial. And once you get the hang of it -- and it's about as elusive
as learning to whistle, I'd say, going from impossible to obvious in a
quantum jump -- you'll find that you can bend a top C (two ledger lines
on treble stave) down as much as a fourth, or even a fifth or sixth
eventually, without using the fingers at all.

This is because the effective tube length on this C is short, and so
doesn't dominate the reed frequency to the same extent as do longer
effective tube lengths.

'Pure' glissandi are much easier to approach after this experience, I'd
say. Obviously there's a big spectrum of possibility available if you
can alter both tongue and finger position.

But the key to it for me was discovering the 'leaky tube' idea.

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

.... Well, this day was a total waste of make-up.

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