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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000384.txt from 2001/05

From: (Tony Pay)
Subj: Re: [kl] Professor Wheeler's tongue
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 18:45:26 -0400

On Mon, 14 May 2001 07:10:12 -0500, said:

> I wrote:
> > But it is true that such a "feel" is proof that it is in the exact
> > position that Wheeler describes.
> I meant: But it is true that such a "feel" is NOT proof that it is in
> the exact position that Wheeler desccribes.


One of the things that interests me, and probably you too, about this
subject, is: can we make Wheeler's discoveries do any work?

It's difficult to see how, to begin with. As you say, we can't make the
precise details of the appropriate tongue position come into the
learning situation.

Wheeler does make some teaching suggestions in the remainder of his
paper, of which the following is an example; but it doesn't really use
his discovery -- just the notion that we can sometimes use an artificial
exercise to lead a student into a successful experience.

> In the first case, during earliest explanations of embouchure a
> beginner is advised to finger "open" G and to place the lower lip pad
> very close to the end of the reed. The only tone possible with that
> placement is the G, though admittedly not a very free resonant tone.
> Then he is advised to keep the G fingering and to move the lip pad
> much too far down the length of the reed. The only sound possible with
> that lip placement will be the overtone D above the staff, or possibly
> an even higher overtone. In any event, the tongue automatically and
> with no conscious effort will have been forced to move correctly down
> and forward for the upper tone(s). Teachers experimenting with this
> idea will agree readily that only with a great deal of "strain" are
> they able to produce the open G when the lip pad is placed too far
> down the reed's length. The instrument just doesn't want to allow the
> G to sound with that lip position.
> By using both the "too close" and the "too far" lip pad positions the
> only tones possible will be the open G and its overtone D. In either
> case the correct tongue position will be automatic, and during
> practice at sustaining both tones the tongue already will be
> memorizing and learning to differentiate which shape is needed for
> each tone.

The only further thing that occurs to me is that we might try relating
all this to the experience of *whistling*. If I whistle, then my tongue
placement absolutely determines the pitch, but I have almost no notion
of exactly how.

How about making that connection, rather than the 'vowel' connection?

Have you, or anyone else, tried that with a beginning student in

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

... I did it. I killed them all.

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