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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000072.txt from 2011/04

From: Lady <>
Subj: [kl] Need Help with Embouchure & Tuning
Date: Sat, 23 Apr 2011 15:36:20 -0400

Hi everyone.

I started playing Bb clarinet about 16 or 17 years ago, and I'm still
playing the Yamaha student model my dad purchased about 15 years ago. I
don't know much about the body of clarinets, but it seems to be in very
good shape except for a couple of keys that stick. I've never had any
formal clarinet training outside of the non-individualized concert band
courses I took in junior high (in the California Bay Area). I've been
trying to teach myself tonguing, and the result is that my embouchure
has had to change. I'm not sure I ever knew a proper embouchure
position, in fact; I've been figuring everything out on my own. I play
Vandoren reeds exclusively, and it's been several months now that I've
been playing a nice new Vandoren mouthpiece, size M13.

I'm afraid that my embouchure is incorrect. I have been experiencing
some mouth fatigue, but I assumed it was due to the new position I've
had to use for tonguing. I find it difficult to keep a tight, closed
grip on the mouthpiece in my current embouchure position, which results
in air escaping from the sides of my mouth sometimes. Although I have a
very strong, solid tone, I find the reed sometimes making a strange
noise - not the squeak of a beginning player, but a sort of high-pitched
squeal. It seems to occur when I'm not being careful about the strength
of my air flow. Trumpet is my primary instrument, and I've done a lot of
body work to be able to produce a strong air flow, but I feel that I
have to hold back a lot with the clarinet. I play my best on a Vadoren
size 3 (with this mouthpiece, anyhow), but I've tried going up to a 3.5,
thinking the 3 wasn't enough to handle the air flow. I found it too
stiff for me. I would like some tips or links or something to
information about correct embouchure. I can google my heart out, but I
don't know which sources I can trust.

Also, I'm having a terrible time tuning the instrument. This could be
related to the embouchure uncertainty, but I'm afraid it won't improve
because it's just a student model clarinet. I first tune the throat G,
then the G an octave above. This seems to work well for G, C above
middle C, and B, and the chalumeau register is ok. My clarion and upper
chalumeau E's, however, are consistently significantly sharp, more than
I can remedy by a change in embouchure alone. Middle C and D about are
always slightly flat. It almost seems completely impossible to tune the
upper clarion; when I play these notes, I have a sense of not being in
control and having to exert an extreme amout of control over my tone
because it is just so easy to put air through the instrument. It feels
/too/ easy; I feel the need for some resistance against the air flow,
but the Vandoren 3.5 is too much. I'm noticing myself getting into the
ugly habit of using my throat in an attempt to control the air flow
because keeping my throat open feels like unleashing a hurricane on the

I would be very grateful for any suggestions that might help me.
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