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 Sweeter, darker, larger sound?
Author: xpedx7342 
Date:   2010-06-04 21:18

I was hoping that you guys could help me achieve this. Right now, I find my tone bright and not wide. Also, it seems to have an "edge" to it, expecially in the upper register. I know that all these termsare somwhat subjective, but I think you udnerstnad what this all means. Is there anythng that I can do to work on getting that sound? I use a Richard Hawkins B MP, Rovner Versa lig, Gonzalez FOF 3.75, and a Chadash barrel.


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 Re: Sweeter, darker, larger sound?
Author: weberfan 
Date:   2010-06-04 21:22

What clarinet to you put underneath all that?

As far as knowing what these terms mean, you're right. We probably all think we know but many opinions will differ. As a Supreme Court justice once said about pornography, "I know it when I see it."

Is there a specific sound (enter well-known clarinetist's name here) that you'd like to emulate? Might help us to form a better aural sense of what you're after.

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 Re: Sweeter, darker, larger sound?
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2010-06-04 22:04

Before juggling with equipment, try to vary your own part of the equation (tongue position, air speed, oral cavity, the works).

Just start playing long tones, then experiment inside your mouth what happens if you curl up your tongue or retract your wisdom teeth or whatever can be done. Think of (or form) different vowels when playing, try to make your sound even edgier than it already is, then do the opposite of it. It's difficult to explain, maybe some spectral analyzer can help you:
http://www1.ocn.ne.jp/~tuner/tuner_e.html, scroll down to "Sound color analyzer" (Freeware)


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 Re: Sweeter, darker, larger sound?
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2010-06-05 02:51

>> Sweeter, darker, larger sound? <<

Eat a few tea spoons of sugar, play in the night and follow a body builder's workout  :)

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 Re: Sweeter, darker, larger sound?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2010-06-05 03:10

For me it ALL comes down to AIR SPEED. You need to have the most focused, quickest column of air that you can produce streaming into the mouthpiece to produce a large, dark sound.

Several suggestions: think of the sort of airstream you produce when trying to cool a hot cup of coffee.

Try holding a six inch by six inch piece of notebook paper against a wall with your just your air standing about a foot away for as long as you can.

If you can feel the clarinet vibrating under your fingers.......you're well on your way.

..................Paul Aviles

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 Re: Sweeter, darker, larger sound?
Author: TianL 
Date:   2010-06-05 05:38

you could also use a harder reed.. which will get you there because you will have to blow harder and it will definitely bring you a larger and darker sound.

however that is also a very very dangerous path, and i wouldn't recommend it (except if currently you are using a very soft reed, which doesn't seem to be the case).

also keep in mind that what sounds to you doesn't necessarily sound the same to your audiences.. especially if you are in a big orchestra. sometimes a brighter sound will actually project much better than a covered, completely dark sound.

just my two cents.

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 Re: Sweeter, darker, larger sound?
Author: skygardener 
Date:   2010-06-05 12:31

Ben wrote-
"then experiment inside your mouth what happens if you curl up your tongue or retract your wisdom teeth or whatever can be done."
This is a technique I don't want to try!! [hot]

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 Re: Sweeter, darker, larger sound?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2010-06-05 13:29

A few thoughts, for whatever they're worth -

What kind of musical material are you mostly playing? The context can greatly influence what kind of tone you need to produce.

As far as your description goes, you're right - they're (at least) somewhat subjective, and I'm not at all sure I know what you mean by them. Those same terms might easily describe a well-shaped sound that has great projection through a large orchestra, or it could describe something grating with spready pitch and little focus. It would be easier for someone who can actually hear you to make recommendations.

Be careful about using harder reeds - I use very close-tipped, medium length mouthpieces and haven't found Gonzalez FOF 3.75 easy blowing or too soft (but as a personal preference I don't use FOFs). I don't know anything about Hawkins B, but if you go harder in Gonzalez FOFs and find the sound stuffy, it probably isn't the solution. Stuffy is generally not equivalent to larger or rounder or darker - it's just fuzzy and breathy, especially in the chalumeau and most specifically in the throat tones. A different brand reed with a different cut from FOF may bring you closer to what you're looking for.

Also, be careful about changing too many things at once in trying to change your sound. Once you change more than one thing, you don't really know which change was effective or what each contributed. My advice (FWIW) would be to start by trying changes in your physical approach - different vowel shapes, tongue positions, taking more or less mouthpiece into your mouth, different mouthpiece angles, etc... If you get anywhere with that, try to establish the new habit before you look for equipment. It may be that the Hawkins B (again, I don't know anything about it) has tendencies that you don't like and a different mouthpiece may make you more comfortable than just changing reed strength or brand.

It's often easier, depending on your level of experience (which you don't really tell us about), to have a teacher working on this kind of change with you who can hear you - may hear you differently from the the way you hear yourself - and who may well have helped other students solve the same kind of problems in the past. You may be trying to re-invent the wheel on your own. That can be a frustrating waste of energy.


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 Re: Sweeter, darker, larger sound?
Author: Ed Palanker 
Date:   2010-06-05 14:44

Just using a harder reed is probably just going to give you a harsher tone. Although the equipment you're using is decent the only one that will have a really large impact on your tone is the mouthpiece and reed combination. I've had a few students that have used a Hawkins and it works fine for some but some others got a bright tone. Everyone is different and what works one way for one person does not always have the same effect with another. My suggestion is to try as many different mouthpieces as possible. When you find one or two that give you the type of tone you're looking for you will have to work with it to find a comfort level without going back to the tone you're getting now. I always suggest you try MPs with a few different reeds because one will play better with a harder reed while one will play much better with a softer reed. I would suggest you try the Backuns, McClunes, Vandorens and so many other fine MPs on the market as well. Even with those I mentioned, each has several different models. It's not possible to tell which one will give you what you're looking for. Remember, one person can get a real dark, mellow, sweet tone on MP X and someone else will get a bright thin tone with the same mouthpiece. That's the reason I'm not telling you to get the mouthpiece I use, it may not play well for you at all. Try as many as possible. ESP http://eddiesclarinet.com

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 Re: Sweeter, darker, larger sound?
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2010-06-05 17:13

Skygardener wrote:

> Ben wrote-
>> "then experiment inside your mouth what happens if you curl up your
> >tongue or retract your wisdom teeth or whatever can be done."
> --
> OMG!
> This is a technique I don't want to try!! [hot]

It's just a mental experiment. I have yet to come up with a better metaphor. In a way it's like describing what happens inside your mouth if you bite into a lemon. (don't think of biting into lemons while playing, it doesn't work the way you'd wish it did).


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 Re: Sweeter, darker, larger sound?
Author: SantiandCo 
Date:   2010-06-06 03:10

Post Edited (2010-06-06 05:34)

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 Re: Sweeter, darker, larger sound?
Author: Bassie 
Date:   2010-06-06 18:10

Support. Think of your body as part of the instrument.

A bit of 'bright' is a good thing, helps you project. In the practice room I get all sorts of lovely cosy sounds that I take on the stage and they just won't sing. Gotta have a little bit of fire and ice.

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