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 Articulating with the throat
Author: Richie 
Date:   2017-09-03 08:45

Been getting some mild sore throats recently when I've been playing. I can't tell if it's just the clarinet stirring up my seasonal allergies, I'm closing the throat when I articulate, or overall I'm tensing the throat too much when I play. I mean--I don't believe I am, but I haven't had past experiences with these sort of problems. So what are some characteristics of these habits?

Post Edited (2017-09-04 07:31)

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 Re: Articulating with the throat
Author: eddiec 2017
Date:   2017-09-04 10:35

Throat articulation doesn't create a clean, "square" start and stop to the sound, and can't go as fast as tongue-on-reed, although you can get surprisingly good at it. Some part of the tongue should definitely touch some part of the reed; you should be able to stop a note, leave the tongue on the reed, and confirm that it touches.

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 Re: Articulating with the throat
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2017-09-04 17:09

I guess that throat articulation must be actuated with the tongue. Some ways of multi-tonguing, like the "du-gu" or similar syllabifications, also involve the tongue operating somewhere off the reed (alternating with on the reed.)

It doesn't seem like those movements would hurt the throat, but it might if things stayed very dry in there. Reflexive dry swallowing can lead to a sore throat, but that's probably different.

From afar it sounds more like there's something separate going on with your throat, which playing aggravates. Possibly even the vibrations of the air stream could be doing it. Look for other symptoms.

As for what you do muscularly when you play, there are many simple experiments you can devise to increase your awareness and control of what you do. Devote some practice time to focusing just on your areas of concern, tongue use or tenseness, right down at the level of what muscle is doing what. Leave music out of the effort; it's about you and your primary instrument (which is not that contraption of metal and wood.)

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 Re: Articulating with the throat
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-09-07 02:47

Richie, have you made any reed changes? Strength changes?

What reeds are you using?

Reeds are pretty much from the grass family. Maybe an allergy?

STEUER REEDS Importer played by Sabine Meyer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist

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 Re: Articulating with the throat
Author: Richie 
Date:   2017-09-07 08:03


I've recently switched from rue lepics to v12s (equivalent strengths), if that answers any questions. Initially I thought it might be an allergy as well, but I've been playing for 3 years now and haven't ever really encountered something like this, so I figured it unlikely. Just to be sure I tried holding the reed in my mouth for about 10 minutes and observed no allergy symptoms.

I have experienced this a few times before but it went away after a day (sorry forgot to mention that). My main theory right now is that my throat is already raw or tender before I play, and like Philip said, the air might be irritating it to the point that it's a bit sore. Does this sound plausible?

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 Re: Articulating with the throat
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2017-09-07 17:42

Chronic mild throat irritation could ultimately be caused by a number of things. For example, snoring or dryness of the air passage during sleep. It might be something easy to fix. In case of doubt see a doctor, especially for persisting symptoms. And/or internet search the symptoms.

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 Re: Articulating with the throat
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-09-09 08:06

I'm still at a loss sorry to say. What you did to see if you had an allergy was a great idea; putting a reed in your mouth for a period of time.

I very much like some of the other ideas posted. Do you snore? That was a great call. I'm not fond of plastic reeds because I play with a double lip and after a period of time my lips will actually bleed, because the plastic reeds require pressure on the embouchure. But you may wish to try it. Some really great players are using them. See if you still have the same experience.

I wish I could help you out. Please let us know what you discover. I can't begin to tell you how interested I am in this subject.

STEUER REEDS Importer played by Sabine Meyer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist

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