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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000073.txt from 2011/04

From: <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Need Help with Embouchure & Tuning
Date: Sat, 23 Apr 2011 16:58:37 -0400

I'm sure you will get many answers, but it sounds like you might have too
much mouthpiece in your mouth, from the high-pitched squeel you mention, as
well as having to hold back on the air, and the air leak. Becoming
fatiqued would also happen more quickly with too much read and mouthpiece
inside your mouth. I would just try backing off a little, and see if it

See if you can locate a copy of "The Art of Clarinet Playing" by by Keith
Stein. There are some pretty good pictures of embochure in it, and lots of
other helpful information, as well.

I know there are many fine teachers in your area. Maybe a few lessons would
help you on your way as a clarinetist.

Penny Ward Marcus

----- Original Message -----
From: "Lady" <>
To: <>
Sent: Saturday, April 23, 2011 2:36 PM
Subject: [kl] Need Help with Embouchure & Tuning

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