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 Tone VS Articulation
Author: patrickryan04 
Date:   2008-06-10 06:23

Hello all,
I have been on a recent mouthpiece search and have found two potiental mouthpieces that I am pleased with. Mouthpiece A provides me with a lovely dark tone but Mouthpiece B provides me with great ease of articulation and response. Both mouthpieces are pretty even when it comes to intonation. I am tired of trying to decide on one I find myself playing on one for about a week and then switching to the other and so on. My question is would you go with the mouthpiece that provides the tone and work on the articulation or go with the mouthpiece that provides that provides the articulation and work on the tone. I am not listing the names of the mouthpieces so we wont have to worry about any bias opinions.

1st Armored Division Band
Dixie Band
Woodwind Quintet

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 Re: Tone VS Articulation
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2008-06-10 06:56

I'd go for the easier articulation. In fast passages, tone is secondary, and in slow passages you have all the time to shape your oral cavity and such.


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 Re: Tone VS Articulation
Author: Bassie 
Date:   2008-06-10 08:55

Me too. Personally I don't like a mouthpiece where it feels like you're trying to drive a bus, having to work really hard to sound each note. Distracts from playing the music. I'm also biased that I don't particularly like an overly dark sound. Sounds good at first but in the long run just doesn't cut the mustard. And remember there are a lot of things you can do with reed choice.

In the past, my own decisions have been made in dress rehearsal in the orchestra pit, and sometimes during a performance. When the going gets tough, that's when the right mouthpiece will show its colours.

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 Re: Tone VS Articulation
Author: Danny Boy 
Date:   2008-06-10 10:01

Tone is never secondary in my opinion. Ease of response can be a bad thing as far as I'm concerned, I prefer to have some resistance to blow against in order to create my best sound.

As for articulation, I can't say I've ever noticed a difference between one mouthpiece and the time I've adjusted to a mouthpiece articulation feels pretty similar from one to the other. Sound on the other hand, there' a difference, so I know which I'd pick.

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 Re: Tone VS Articulation
Author: duxburyclarinetguy 
Date:   2008-06-10 12:19

If you get great response from one mouthpiece versus the other I would think that you might be able to offset the tone considerations with reed selection and/or adjustments. ahh..... the search for the holy grail of a mouthpiece!

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 Re: Tone VS Articulation
Author: Phurster 
Date:   2008-06-10 13:49

Why not use them both. Use the one with great tone for Brahms etc. The other when you have to articulate quickly. Of course finding a good reed for either is likely to influence your choice.

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 Re: Tone VS Articulation
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2008-06-10 14:14

I would choose the one with the best toniculation.

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 Re: Tone VS Articulation
Author: Tobin 
Date:   2008-06-10 14:17

Why not the one with the best artoniclution?


Gnothi Seauton

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 Re: Tone VS Articulation
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2008-06-10 15:22

That’s a difficult choice because you really want both. I’d suggest that you try several more mouthpieces of the same model as the one you like the tone best and see if another one gives you the same basic tone you like but perhaps plays a bit freer. No two mouthpieces play exactly the same. If that fails and you don’t want to continue your search for the “perfect” mouthpiece I would recommend you go for the better tone and make adjustments to your reeds or visit someone that works on mouthpieces and have them “free” it up a little. If after a month or so you still can’t play with the necessary comfort you can begin the search again. It may just be that you’re not used to it yet, give it some time. ESP, (listen to a little Mozart)

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 Re: Tone VS Articulation
Author: bcl1dso 
Date:   2008-06-10 20:54

I would always go for the mouthpiece with the better sound. You shouldn't have to change much orally to to achieved the desired sound going from something that is technical to something that is lyrical. Ed made a very valid comment by saying that you can always adjust your reeds for easier articulation. It is much easier to make your reeds play with easier articulation than it is to build a good sound into your reeds.

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 Re: Tone VS Articulation
Author: Arnoldstang 
Date:   2008-06-10 23:21

I take the opposite view. If a mouthpiece doesn't articulate fast amount of reed fixing will solve this problem. Get rid of this mouthpiece.

Freelance woodwind performer

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 Re: Tone VS Articulation
Author: Ryan25 
Date:   2008-06-10 23:29

It is in your best interest to find a mouthpiece that does both.

Would you buy a car that only goes in reverse?

An oven that only cooks on the broil setting?

A coat that only zips half way up?

I would keep looking.

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 Re: Tone VS Articulation
Author: LonDear 
Date:   2008-06-11 03:58

A good reed-m/p-barrel combination provides the response, aka articulation.
You provide the tone.

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 Re: Tone VS Articulation
Author: bcl1dso 
Date:   2008-06-11 20:07

90% of your ability to tongue fast comes from yourself and the reed. You can fake tonguing i.e. double tonguing, but you can't fake a good sound

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 Re: Tone VS Articulation
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2008-06-12 01:44

I think some of you are missing the point. Of course you have to be able to articulate properly and comfortably but some times that simply just takes a little time to adjust to the set up, or make a few adjustments to your reeds. I’ve taught for along time and conclude that it is much more difficult to get a student to find a mouthpiece that gives them a good tone then it is to get them to articulate well, unless of course they were having a problem articulating in the first place. That’s a whole different bag of tricks. Yes, there has to be a reasonable amount of comfort involved in choosing a mouthpiece but finding one that gives you the best tone you can achieve, with reasonable comfort, is a very difficult thing to achieve. In my opinion, if you find a mouthpiece that gives you the tone you’ve been searching for, work with it, you may never find it again. I did exactly the same thing many years ago with the mouthpiece I now use. After a few weeks I put it in the draw and after a few months later took to out again, worked on my reeds to get the comfort I desired and never looked back because I missed the sound I was getting with it, which is why I choose it in the first place. After a few weeks it felt so good I could not go back to my other mouthpiece. I still love my sound, and feel fine playing that moutpiece fifteen years later. ESP (Listen to a little Mozart, with that mouthpiece)

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