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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000782.txt from 2002/05

From: (William Wright)
Subj: Re: [kl] re: selmer intonation
Date: Thu, 30 May 2002 02:01:08 -0400

<><> Nanci=A0Ashley wrote:
it appears that the intonation problem is not just the clarinet. Before
I try the other avenues suggested, can I have a few opinions about the
intonation of the Selmer series 10 clarinet?

Nanci, I think that you need to redirect your thinking a bit and to look
at the problem in a different way. Put aside your concerns about
equipment for the moment.

You *do* have control over the intonation, regardless of the instrument
that you happen to be playing. That is, you can 'bend' any note by
changing your embouchure, raising or lowering your jaw, changing the
pressure that you put on the reed, changing the shape of your lips and
oral cavity, moving your tongue position, and so forth --- including
even the loudness that a particular piece of music asks for.

One of the standard exercises is to play a long tone (any note you wish,
but probably a lower note at first) and to bend its pitch in both
directions as much as you can. This teaches you to 'feel' (to be aware
of) what your mouth parts are doing and the effects thereof. Then you
will be able to decide whether it was your technique that was causing
the problem, or whether you would truly be happier with a different

You will discover that your embouchure and everything else about your
face and breath support *change* as you move up the scale. Every
clarinetist must learn to compensate (to control) this.

As Avrahm Galper has posted (and he _knows_ what he's talking about far
better than I do), your best strategy would be to take a few lessons
from an experienced teacher, who can demonstrate 'in the flesh' how to
control intonation as you move through the scale.

You cannot achieve perfect intonation simply by searching for the
perfect instrument. In fact, the 'ideal' intonation changes from
moment to moment, depending on the music and the people you are playing
with and the temperature and so forth. You will always need to adjust
your intonation no matter what instrument you own.



If I had Stadler's mouthpiece, would I play better? Or do I need his
ligature also? Or perhaps he and I are different persons? If I had
Mozart's pen, would I compose better?


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