Klarinet Archive - Posting 000785.txt from 2002/05
From: "Forest E. Aten Jr." <forestaten@-----.com>
Subj: Re: [kl] re: selmer intonation
Date: Thu, 30 May 2002 10:41:52 -0400
I don't think it's a good idea to "redirect" Nanci's thinking. Even if Nanci
is an expert clarinet player her ability to "control" intonation will be
limited by her equipment.
The key is to start with good equipment. This allows a player to concentrate
on the task....performing music.
Selmer's manufacturing standard has always been excellent but the one area
that they have suffered in building clarinets has been intonation. This is
the primary reason Buffet has the lions share of the market place
You addressed many of the physical changes players can/must make to improve
intonation. How about the physical changes that you can make to the clarinet
(to avoid standing on your head to play in-tune with others)? Bores can be
re-reamed, tone holes frased, tone holes taped or shoe polished, barrels
selected, pad elevation adjusted and mouthpieces matched.....all at great
expense with many an anxious moment (there are only a few repair techs in
this country that I would trust my clarinets with). I find that players
taking extra time when selecting their clarinet (with intonation being a
primary concern) are always happier with their choice in the long run. When
I buy a new clarinet, I take my time. When I test clarinets I always bring
along my tuner and another clarinet player that plays at a professional
standard...a player that is known to have good equipment and a good sense of
what "in-tune" means. I have a simple but effective set of protocols for
evaluation of a clarinet's ability to "play in-tune" (easy). If a clarinet
can not meet this first and most important standard....it's eliminated from
the selection process. It's easy to find a clarinet that sounds good....it's
far more difficult to find one that will play in-tune at a professional
standard. I say difficult....I should probably say that it simply takes
time. You have to play clarinets until you find one that can be played
in-tune at a top professional standard. You don't have to be a professional
to have this quality in a clarinet! Clarinet players may need/should have
professional help when selecting equipment. You may have to live with what
you pick for a long time....
----- Original Message -----
From: "William Wright" <w7wright@-----.net>
Subject: Re: [kl] re: selmer intonation
<><> Nanci Ashley 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?