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 Bad workman or bad tool?
Author: Plonk 
Date:   2010-10-11 16:43

Most likely, it's a bad work(wo)man, but I'd still like some opinions!

In the Weber 1st Concerto 1st movement in the 4th bar from the end, there is a slurred Eb5 to F#3. I am having real problems slurring this. The only way I can get the F# to sound instead of a harmonic C# is by cutting the air flow very slightly with the same kind of throat contraction used in a glottal stop. (Or I could tongue it of course - that works!) If I try a true slur, I get the C# sounding for about a second before the pitch drops to the F#.

I have been trying this really really slowly and focussing on relaxing my embouchure, and what I've noticed is that no matter how slack my embouchure is, that C# sounds first. And then, with no change of embouchure at all, the F# finally sounds out a second or two later of its own accord.

Is this basically my bad technique and I just need to keep practising, (if so, any tips on how to get this?) or do you think this sounds like I've got a leak somewhere?

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 Re: Bad workman or bad tool?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2010-10-11 17:26

I think you need to stop the reed for an very small instant one way or another to get the reed and vibrating air to slow down - drop the air pressure for an instant as you make the leap or tongue lightly (which is, I suspect, the most common way to do it). At the risk of showing off my scientific ignorance, as I understand it from high school physics (a more sophisticated explanation would be welcome), it's a problem of inertia - the system is vibrating at a multiple (harmonic) of the tube's frequency and wants to keep vibrating in that mode. Something has to force it to slow to the fundamental mode, or probably in this case stop it completely for some very short time so the whole system can restart at the fundamental. Eventually, of course, the forces set up by the unvented tube overcome inertia and the pitch drops on its own, but not quickly enough in this context. Again, I would enjoy reading a better explanation of the physics involved.

BTW, I think slackening your embouchure is probably making the interval harder to play. It basically gives up control of the reed. Keeping a steady, firm embouchure may be more helpful, although opening the inside of your mouth a litte while maintaining control of the reed may help produce the lower pitch.

For what it's worth, a quick check of three different editions I own shows that none indicates a slur between Eb and F#. In one very old German edition there is a slur connecting F# to G with a long slur *from Eb to near the end of the G*, which may have been meant by the editor to be more a phrase marking than an actual legato (slur) articulation. The other two, including both versions in the Henle edition, separate the two notes.


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 Re: Bad workman or bad tool?
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2010-10-11 17:34

It's always hard to tell without seeing and hearing you but it sounds to me that's it a voicing problem. You're not "dropping" your throat or back of your tongue enough to sound the low F# without putting in a slight air break, which of course is not a big deal. My edition doesn't even have that slurred, So I just tongue it very lightly anyway. Every edition has different articulations so you have some freedom of choice in Weber. ESP

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 Re: Bad workman or bad tool?
Author: Plonk 
Date:   2010-10-11 17:38

Thanks for that! My edition is Boosey and Hawkes 1962. The slur is from Eb to F# but no slur on to the G. Well I'm glad it's not just me being rubbish - it seems such an easy thing to look at and is so frustratingly difficult! I will tongue it from now on!

Post Edited (2010-10-11 17:40)

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 Re: Bad workman or bad tool?
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2010-10-11 18:40

it seems such an easy thing to look
> at and is so frustratingly difficult! I will tongue it from now
> on!

> Post Edited (2010-10-11 17:40)

There's a lot of deceptively hard stuff in slower movements. Slurs between registers stink. Do your best to make it sound smooth and make that tonguing sound non-existant if you can.

Alexi <- tearing his hair out working on Benny's Gig right now and HATING some of those slowermovements.

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 Re: Bad workman or bad tool?
Author: Barry Vincent 
Date:   2010-10-12 00:35

You have to fake the slur as the clarinet doesn't work very well with such large downward moves. No problem sluring up in wide leaps. This downward slur also occurs a few measures from the beginning. It's actually a reed problem. And there's really no reason why it can't be played legato 'lazy tonguing' anyway.


Post Edited (2010-10-12 05:17)

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