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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000496.txt from 2003/10

From: "Gene Nibbelin" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] the embouchure - Double Lip, that is
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 16:12:20 -0400

Tom ---

A thousand cheers for Double Lip from one who was taught single lip back in
the '30s & '40s. After switching to double lip several years ago, I believe
that if I had started as a double-lipper, I might have had a successful
professional career if I had wanted it. As related many times, I resumed
playing back in 1996 and re-started lessons in 1999. I was doing OK, but
was having "amateur" tone problems. At a lesson while experimenting with my
embouchure trying to eliminate some fuzziness, I tried double-lip. Voila!!!
The problem largely disappeared in a matter of minutes. Since then I
probably have not played more than a dozen measures single-lip.

Everything has improved -- Technique, tone, response, control, extreme
pianissimo and fortissimo, -- In short; I am able to play with a skill I
never thought possible before. If I had not made this switch, I would not
have made this progress and would probably have given up in frustration.

I play and study for my own amusement, amazement and sense of
accomplishment. (Also, to keep this 75 year olds brain sharp. Currently
polishing up the Kroepsch Eb Minor (6 flats) study.) And, am returning to
the Mozart 622 after not playing it since changing to double-lip. What a
difference!!! I'm easily including delicate interpretations (a la Robert
Marcellus and Stanley Hasty) which I couldn't do well single-lip. It amazes
both my teacher and myself. (My teacher plays single-lip on Bb, but
double-lip on bass.)

Someone on the list quoted a famous double-lipper (whose name escapes me)
saying something to the effect that while many excellent clarinetists play
single-lip, think how good they would be if they played double-lip. While I
don't know how much of this was said in jest and how much was serious, it is
something to think about when both playing and teaching.

Happy "Double-Lipping"


Gene N.

-----Original Message-----
Subject: Re: [kl] the embouchure

In a message dated 10/17/2003 9:01:29 AM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

> not interested at this time in
> double lip embouchures unless someone has a convincing
> case as to why I should teach beginners to use double
> lip

1. It is the easiest embouchure to teach," Like sucking on a soda straw but
blow the air instead"
2. The only thing you can do with an embouchure is stop the reed from
vibrating,thats it. If you want a great sound you have to allow the reed to
vibrate to it's maximum. thats easier to teach with a double lip.
3.Most beginners have a fuzzy tone, I don't think it is caused by
mouthpieces that are too open or reeds that are too hard. It's caused by too
much pressure on the reed at the wrong spot. I think double lip allows for
the pressure to be spread around the mouthpiece more.
4 and here is the most convincing reason to have beginners use the double
emboucure: they will sound better faster!!

Take the Puwalski challenge! the next 2 beginners that walk into your
studio. Find the one who you think has the most natural ability, and start
teaching them "single lip", The other student tell him or her to wrap both
lips around their teeth, put the mouthpiece in their mouths and exhale like
they're blowing out birthday candles. I guarantee that in one month's time
the double lipper is sounding good and the other is still looking at you,
making attempts to make all those single lip "faces" that teachers like to
make to demonstrate embouchure.

Now I know that at least half of this list will think and say that I'm full
of Crap. But maybe someone will actually try this and actually prove me
right or wrong.

Tom Puwalski former Principal Clarinetist with the US Army Field Band,
Clarinetist with Lox& Vodka, Author of The Clarinetists Guide to Klezmer and
Coming this winter: A new set of Books entitled " At the Simcha" lead sheets
and harmony for the complete klezmer party

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