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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000416.txt from 2004/10

From: (Ormondtoby Montoya)
Subj: [kl] Stopping the air (was: Anticipation)
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2004 12:33:07 -0400

Somebody wrote: (I lost track of who wrote what?)

> Additionally, there is also a very significant
> school of playing which believes you should
> never use the tongue to stop the air for an
> attack.

and somebody else wrote:

> You don't stop the *air* -- you stop the
> vibration of the reed.

The list had a strenuous discussion about this a year or so ago, I
believe that I participated. My memory is (I don't have time to search
the archives this morning) that the majority of people 'who ought to
know' posted that the air does stop. Otherwise you'd hear hissing
between notes. When people such as Keith Stein wrote about continuous
air flow, Stein (allegedly) did not mean that air movement actually
continues. He only meant (allegedly) that good technique maintains
constant breath support, despite changes in flow, in order that air
begins to flow at full velocity immediately after the tongue releases
the reed from the mouthpiece --- and this is best accomplished by
*imagining* continuous air flow even though it doesn't actually happen.

To say it another way, the reed is (allegedly) always so close to
closing against the mouthpiece that the slightest touch of the tongue
causes it to close completely, and it's the reed (not the tongue) that
actually stops the air flow.

It occurs to me that truly skilled musicians may be able to *choose*
whether or not to close the reed completely as they also stop the reed's
vibration? After the discussion ended, I tried to 'feel' what happens
inside my mouth when I tongue. At any reasonable tempo, I was unable
to reach a decision. I can't imagine that I'm sufficiently skilled to
control my own tongue well enough to make such a conscious choice.
When I was at the dentist last week, the poor fellow was truly
aggravated that I wouldn't (couldn't) put my tongue where he asked me to
put it.

The most recent issue of Clarinet (ICA's magazine) has an article with
high speed photography of the reed, but I haven't read it yet and I
don't know if it says anything about this topic?

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