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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000517.txt from 2004/10

From: Tony Pay <>
Subj: [kl] Different sounds
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2004 17:25:52 -0400

--- Ormondtoby Montoya <> wrote:

> High speed photographs --- such as shown in the most recent issue of the
> ICA magazine "Clarinet", which I haven't read yet but I've glanced at
> the photographs --- show that the reed usually closes *all the way* as
> the reed makes contact with the mouthpiece; but in theory, contact is
> not necessary. In theory, pressure waves would result if the reed bent
> enough to reduce the air flow but not enough to contact the mouthpiece,
> and in theory the waves could be of sufficient amplitude to be audible.
> Whether the sound would be 'good music' is another issue.

Although I'm away, I thought it would be worthwhile clearing this up.

It's not a question of 'in theory' or 'would it be good music if' or any of all
of that. The sound of any good musician varies as they play, and there is a
proportion of sound that doesn't involve reed/mouthpiece contact in that
variation, even if that proportion is sometimes small. A sound that *never*
involves reed/mouthpiece contact is called, 'echoton', but the suggestion that
you should strive for continual contact is unrealistic, and might even be
counterproductive to a student.

Certainly, pushing the reed against the mouthpiece with the tongue to begin
with is no guarantee that contact is maintained subsequently. That's to do
with the air pressure you maintain behind the reed.



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