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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000982.txt from 2004/10

From: Adam Michlin <>
Subj: [kl] Joe Allard
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 2004 18:08:29 -0500

Dear List,

I decided to dig up my copy of the wonderful dissertation done by Dr. Debra
Jean McKim which uses as source material recordings of Joe speaking about
his own pedagogy and opinions. My apologies to those on the list which are
only interested in the pedagogy and opinions of currently alive teachers
(or their own pedagogy and opinions). Those people are encouraged to move
to the next message right about now.

Lest I be accused of advocating a method or approach, I'll point out that
Joe's teaching was sought ought by an extreme range of players including
Harry Carney (bass clarinet), Eric Dolphy (bass clarinet), and Eddie
Daniels (to say nothing of the people who only played saxophone). If anyone
really believes these players sought out Joe for one method or approach
rather than for a basic understanding of how the embouchure (and
clarinet/saxophone) functions to allow them to achieve their own personal
sound and musical goals... well, we must be listening to different
recordings. The title of David Liebman's book (based on Joe's pedagogy and
research) "Developing a Personal Saxophone Sound" is no coincidence.
Incidentally, this book offers great information for clarinetists, I might
add, at least those clarinetists who feel they may not already know
everything (myself most certainly included). In my research for this
particular message I just found out a new printing of this book is available:

Anyway, back to Dr. McKim's dissertation. Joe's own words regarding
articulation syllables:

"I remember the first thing Hamelin ever said after he heard me play. He
thought I was French. He said that when I released my tongue from the reed
in order to produce the sound, I did it like the Americans do. He said,
"But you are French, you know the difference between 'tu' and 'teu'.
Whatever you do, don't say 'tu' like the Americans, but say 'teu'."

[text expands on the reasoning behind the advantages of 'teu']

Regarding the Larry Teal embouchure (quote now from both Dr. McKim's
dissertation and Joe's own words):

Larry Teal described this as the embouchure "wheel," asserting "the lips
should circle the mouthpiece with an equal pressure toward the center, much
the same as an elastic band."[footnoote referencing The Art of Saxophone
Playing]. Allard's investigation and experimentation caused him to refute
this approach to embouchure. He believe it focused the sound in a narrow
overtone spectrum by restricting the vibrations at the side of the reed.
"I've taken a rubber band and a drawstring and wrapped [them] around the
reed; all I could see was that it shortened the length at the sides of the
reed and left the reed open in the middle." [footnote, privately held
Allard clinic tape] Allard advocated the opposite, exerting the pressure at
the heavier center of the reed, thus allowing the sides of the reed to
vibrate freely. This creates a greater mixture of overtones, and a more
resonant sound.

There is much more to this document. Here's the relevant bibliographic
information for anyone interested:

McKim, Debra Jean. Joseph Allard: His Contributions to Saxophone Pedagogy
and Performance. Published Doctor of Arts Dissertation, University of
Colorado, 2000.

I got my copy through I hope you enjoy it.


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