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 Playing E-flat hurts...
Author: Morrigan 
Date:   2006-08-10 12:46

Howdy all,

Thanks for all the advice, info and support about my throat infection - it seems to have all cleared up after a heavy dose of antibiotics! My new concern, and still with the throat, is whenever I play E-flat clarinet, I get a sore throat. It's obviously a sore muscle thing because it stops hurting in a matter of hours, but happens after only 30 minutes of playing it.

The thing is, whenever I try a less tense embochoure & throat position, I don't seem to get quite the same tone; flat high register, spread tone, unreliable intonation, and just generally not great.

Where am I going wrong? Can someone give me some pointers about E-flat clarinet embochoure? My teacher isn't an E-flat player and I'm really not sure where else to look!

Thanks in advance!

Principal Clarinet, Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment, London
Masters Graduate, Royal College of Music, London

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 Re: Playing E-flat hurts...
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2006-08-10 14:24

Perhaps your Eb mouthpiece is exceptionally resistant and is causing you to tighten up your throat/oral cavity --- have you tried a few different mouthpieces? A good one (such as a Greg Smith or Clark Fobes) can make a world of difference in all aspects of your playing, especially on a problematic instrument like the eefer.

Embouchure-wise (and I say this not as an experienced Eb player, but as a doubler) it seems to me that there is little if any difference between playing Eb and playing standard Bb soprano.

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 Re: Playing E-flat hurts...
Author: clarinetmc 
Date:   2006-08-10 15:06

Try the Richard Hawkins Eb mouthpiece, it is amazing! The best I have ever tried. Intonation is exceptional, plays evenly in all registers, and allows you to play the softest pianissimos in the upper altissimo register of the horn. A great piece of equipment! Go to his website:

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 Re: Playing E-flat hurts...
Author: Katrina 
Date:   2006-08-10 15:28

Your embouchure can remain more firm while your throat relaxes. It may take some fussing and practicing, but your lip muscles are basically independent of your throat muscles.

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 Re: Playing E-flat hurts...
Author: Sean.Perrin 
Date:   2006-08-10 21:44

I laughed so hard when I read the title of this post.

Founder and host of the Clarineat Podcast:

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 Re: Playing E-flat hurts...
Author: Morrigan 
Date:   2006-08-10 22:40

Haha Sean.Perrin! Coz it's more than my throat that hurts when I play it, and it's more than me who feels the pain! LOL!

Principal Clarinet, Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment, London
Masters Graduate, Royal College of Music, London

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 Re: Playing E-flat hurts...
Author: Sean.Perrin 
Date:   2006-08-11 17:12


Well all that aside, take more mouthpiece than you usually would, and you can't bite at all. Any biting will be amplified on the instrument because it is so much smaller. The biggest thing is probably to spend a lot of time witha tuner learning how to control the pitch... especially in the extremities of the range.

Founder and host of the Clarineat Podcast:

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