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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000505.txt from 2003/06

From: Dan Leeson <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Vibrato on the Clarinet
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 16:51:05 -0400

A number of years ago, my friend Chris Weait, then 1st bassoon with the
Toronto SO, made a motion picture with x-ray film. He lay on his back
on a table with his bassoon and played both with and without vibrato.
On viewing the motion pictures following development, his conclusion was
that the source of his bassoon vibrato was in his vocal chords. It is
the only scientific approach that I know of to find the source of the

Some will say that it comes from the diaphragm, others from the jaw. I
don't think there is enough reliable data to conclude very much, though
I admit it is not a topic that I stayed up on. However, whatever the
source, it is a matter of great controversy as to its use in clarinet
playing. I once reviewed a book in which the author said, "Vibrato is a
disease used only by jazz players." I did not revue his book favorably,
for that and many other sill comments.

Previous discussions of this subject on Klarinet have engendered more
heat than light.

Dan Leeson

Jason Spradlin wrote:
> At the risk of sounding silly, I have a simple question to ask. I hear
> songs all the time where a clarinet is holding a note vibrato. But, I've
> always been taught to try my darnedest to hold a note steady. So my basic
> question is, is playing vibrato accomplished through the embouchure or the
> diaphragm? I asked my aunt the same question (she has been playing for
> about 20 years or so) and she hadn't a clue, never tried, she said. And,
> I've been having trouble accomplishing it myself.
> Jason Spradlin

**Dan Leeson **
** **

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