Advertising and Web Hosting on Woodwind.Org!

Woodwind.OrgThe Clarinet BBoardThe C4 standard

 
  BBoard Equipment Study Resources Music General    
 
 New Topic  |  Go to Top  |  Go to Topic  |  Search  |  Help/Rules  |  Smileys/Notes  |  Log In   Newer Topic  |  Older Topic 
 Airstream velocity and issues
Author: maiohmai 
Date:   2017-10-27 18:11

I've always had this issue where I could not achieve the same quality of sound of my pianos to apply to anything louder than a mezzo forte.

From my lessons, I completely understand what is being asked of me when I need to play louder; it needs to be fuller, richer, still have the same ping as my "piano" sound, and it needs to be stable. What I end up achieving is a dull sound (losing the ping and roundness,) it always sounds overblown and I crack/squeak quite often, even though my version of a "fortissimo" would be considered "MF" in an orchestral setting at max. It doesn't carry or float above the orchestra in a concert hall.

Another example that I think will give you all a better idea is that when I tongue (specifically staccato) on anything pass an above the staff G, I get these terrible undertones that won't seem to go away, especially when I play the Efer Clarinet... I think it ties into this issue as well.

I also understand that it is most likely air velocity issue, as my airstream becomes very "wide" when I attempt to play loud, making the airspeed relatively slower than what it should be. No matter how "small" or attempt to increase the air speed, I just don't think I'm changing the "wide and slow" air stream. It just ends up being a huge wall of air that hits the entire reed surface.

Of course my lesson teacher and I have discussed high tongue, Ee syllables and even talked about using colder air vs. warmer air. It's frustrating because I know what is needed from me to achieve this, but I can't apply it, simply because I have a hard time figuring out visually and physically what is needed to be done from myself, even with all these things to think about.

What are some of your thoughts about air velocity in general, and what would you suggest as supplements to improve airstream and it's control as a whole? Or anything else you want to add, that is 100% awesome as well.

Thank!

On the road to a non-collapsing embouchure!

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Airstream velocity and issues
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-10-27 20:44

maiohmai wrote:

> I also understand that it is most likely air velocity issue, as
> my airstream becomes very "wide" when I attempt to play loud,
> making the airspeed relatively slower than what it should be.

How do you know that this is true? What is a "wide" airstream? How do you know at what speed your air is moving?

> No matter how "small" or attempt to increase the air speed, I
> just don't think I'm changing the "wide and slow" air stream.
> It just ends up being a huge wall of air that hits the entire
> reed surface.
>
How huge can it be? Your mouth is only so wide. :) Really, as mental images these may be useful concepts, but the actual air speed can only be controlled, if at all, by tongue shape, and if manipulating your tongue hasn't helped, there's not much more you can consciously do about it.

> Of course my lesson teacher and I have ...
> talked about using colder air vs. warmer
> air.

This, as I have come to understand it, is synonymous with "faster vs. slower" air. So you're just working with different words.

> It's frustrating because I know what is needed from me to
> achieve this, but I can't apply it, simply because I have a
> hard time figuring out visually and physically what is needed
> to be done from myself
>
Maybe because these are primarily images, and the imagery is not meaningful to you and, therefore, not helpful. I have to confess that I got through most of my playing years never having heard the terms warm, cold, slow or fast applied to my air stream from any of my teachers or colleagues. My first exposure to those concepts was here on the BBoard. Since none of my early training depended on them, I don't find them personally very useful even now.

So, my main suggestion, since all this focus on air stream hasn't helped, is to stop worrying about any of it and think about more practical ways to control the sound instead, particularly focusing on your embouchure.

In my own experience both as a teacher and a player, the most important thing in getting a controlled sound at any dynamic and, not coincidentally, getting a controlled response in the upper ranges of the clarinet, is control of the reed. That's mostly a function of embouchure. Wind makes the reed vibrate. Oral shape can affect the way the wind arrives at the reed-mouthpiece aperture (including, probably, the air's speed). But the way the reed vibrates is controlled mostly by the lip muscles and the way they allow the reed to vibrate while inhibiting it from vibrating in unwanted ways (damping).

I suspect your reeds may not be the optimal strength for your mouthpiece, maybe too soft. This can prevent you from using enough pressure on the reed to keep it under control. Also, the pressure you *are* applying may be jaw pressure upward against the reed. Pressure should be applied evenly across, or around, the reed, not directly up against the heart. Your lips have their best control when they are wrapped around the reed and mouthpiece like a rubber gasket, supporting the reed without closing it.

You might try, at least as a temporary experiment, to use a double-lip embouchure. It pretty nearly forces you to use a rounder, more supportive, less restrictive approach to the reed. You can't make a complete switch all at once - do short stretches of double lip interspersed with a single-lip that tries to emulate the shape of the double-lip without putting the top teeth on the lip.

You might also experiment with reed strengths that are adjacent to what you're using - both harder and softer, though, again, I suspect you're using a reed that's slightly too soft. But I would do this only after you've begun experimenting with the embouchure if the problems are still severe.

Karl



Post Edited (2017-11-01 16:53)

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Airstream velocity and issues
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-10-27 22:08

When I first read this I though an airstream was one of those trailers!

OK, Karl gave you some amazing advice here. What bothers me a bit is the Ee. Therefore I think a double tongue is also in order.

The tongue should be place close to the reed. There is a short video on youtube with Lee Morgan who studied with Robert Marcellus and Fred Ormand. He talks about the tongue position. Also the air flow. A must see video.

STEUER REEDS Importer played by Sabine Meyer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




Post Edited (2017-10-31 06:04)

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Airstream velocity and issues
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-10-27 23:23

Somewhere, maybe in his Compendium, Daniel Bonade recommends an oral shape that's like a French "u" - that is "ooo" with the lips and "eee" with the tongue. That isn't necessarily in conflict with the idea of keeping the tongue close to the reed, but it may take separate attention. And I think because of a Venturi effect that it will produce a faster stream of air. This is part of a French concept of sound and not universally accepted. But even the thickest-sounding German-style players of the early 20th century were able to play "above staff G" (G5) without getting undertones or other distortion.

Maiohmai, I didn't think before to add that a lot of scooping and grunting and bad response as you go higher can also come from moving the jaw up and down with the tongue motion. Look in a mirror next time you practice and see if your jaw moves up and down - even a little - with each note in an articulated passage.

Karl

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Airstream velocity and issues
Author: Wes 
Date:   2017-10-27 23:43

There is good advice here. I've mostly heard the words "warm", "cold", "fast air", and "slow air" from brass players. After playing for many years, I still do not understand them.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Airstream velocity and issues
Author: echi85 
Date:   2017-10-27 23:56

I grew up hearing all sorts of things about air that really never made any sense. The cold/hot air thing was one of those. What really never made sense was the idea that you could play with really fast air but less volume.

I would advise you to get one of these:

https://www.amazon.com/Breath-Builder-Isomeric-Exerciser/dp/B0002F6YIK

This combined with a 5L breathing bag were the only things that really helped me understand air better. They're not conceptual, they are physical devices that show you if you are doing things right or wrong.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Airstream velocity and issues
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2017-10-29 03:37

There's been threads about air stream speed here before. I couldn't understand them. If a technique cannot be explained in terms of specific muscles being used in specific ways - contractions, relaxations, or held positioning - then I become suspicious if it is a real thing at all.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Airstream velocity and issues
Author: Claudia Zornow 
Date:   2017-10-31 01:29

"There's been threads about air stream speed here before. I couldn't understand them. If a technique cannot be explained in terms of specific muscles being used in specific ways - contractions, relaxations, or held positioning - then I become suspicious if it is a real thing at all."

In case you didn't already read this in The Clarinet magazine, here are some of the specifics you may be looking for:

http://clarinet.org/2017/10/04/science-in-the-art-of-the-legato-2016-research-competition-winner/

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Airstream velocity and issues
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2017-11-01 03:42

Many thanks for the link Claudia. I like the explanation it gives.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Airstream velocity and issues
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2017-11-01 15:43

But I don't.

Tony

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Airstream velocity and issues
Author: Claudia Zornow 
Date:   2017-11-02 21:19

Tony, tell us more.



Reply To Message
 
 Re: Airstream velocity and issues
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2017-11-03 21:23

Well, I perhaps will.

But my first reaction is that it isn't science at all, just bullshit propaganda for a particular view. 'Legato' is achieved by much more sophisticated embouchure/mouth cavity/diaphragm modulation than the author suggests.

I'm very glad, if this is the quality of a prize-winning presentation, to have cancelled my subscription to Clarinet after a year's trial.

Tony

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Airstream velocity and issues
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2017-11-03 22:40

Tony,

If you write a more correct scientific account about clarinet legato for the ICA journal, they will surely accept it for publication, and the many members of that organization will read it either in printed form or from the online copy.

The author of the account that you don't like is a dentist and well-known jazz clarinetist still actively performing now at the age of 85. Like many other American clarinetists, he does seem to have been strongly influenced by the teachings of Daniel Bonade.



Post Edited (2017-11-03 22:43)

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Airstream velocity and issues
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2017-11-03 23:41

>> The author of the account that you don't like is a dentist and well-known jazz clarinetist still actively performing now at the age of 85. Like many other American clarinetists, he does seem to have been strongly influenced by the teachings of Daniel Bonade. >>

The 'teachings of Daniel Bonade' don't constitute science.

I did once suggest an article for Clarinet. James Gillespie rejected it.

Tony

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Airstream velocity and issues
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2017-11-04 00:32

Did Gillespie say why he rejected your suggestion?
The person to see now about submitting an article to The Clarinet is Rachael Yoder at rachelyoderica@gmail.com.



Post Edited (2017-11-04 00:40)

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Airstream velocity and issues
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2017-11-04 00:43

I'm not interested in the Clarinet.

Tony

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Airstream velocity and issues
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2017-11-05 22:47

I have to say that I am quite saddened by this interchange.

To me, it's very obvious that to think about how resonant frequencies are affected by things like airspeed is to look at the problem from the wrong perspective.

Of course, you could argue that I'm not a 'proper' scientist. I did a mathematics course in vibrations in my first year of a mathematics degree, but though I finally graduated, my heart – and my talent – wasn't in it. I became a professional clarinet player instead.

But – if you think that tongue position, instead of affecting speed of airstream, affects the shape of resonant cavities behind the reed, then the whole problem makes much more sense. These resonant cavities affect individual notes, and the ability to change them in real time is a large part of what constitutes excellent clarinet playing, and indeed excellent legato.

'Resonant cavities' operates on a timescale far removed from 'airspeed'. In fact, airspeed is almost irrelevant. You can even reverse its direction on the horn by 'sucking', and still obtain a note.

That Robert can imagine that I could be swayed in this judgement by the fact that the author of "the account that (I) don't like" is a respected 85-year-old jazz playing dentist, remains extraordinary to me.

Yes, I know that Bonade and others have said the contrary. But science doesn't progress by taking as gospel what other people have said. Bonade's advice may have been useful – but not for the right reasons.

I don't know why The Clarinet doesn't include on its advisory committee people who are scientifically sophisticated, who would understand that blazoning Bernouilli's equation above an argument to which it is really irrelevant doesn't thereby render the argument 'scientific'.

It's why I finally said, "I'm not interested in The Clarinet".

Tony



Reply To Message
 
 Re: Airstream velocity and issues
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2017-11-05 23:58

Tony,

I am saddened that you took my comments in the wrong way. I was not trying to defend anything that was written in the Clarinet article, but merely providing a little factual context and background about the author in case you didn't know who he was. I fully agree with you that practicing dentistry, playing modern jazz clarinet, or continuing to play well at an advanced age do not insure that anyone will be correct in an analysis of the science behind legato production. Actually, I would rather expect that someone with your background in math and your performance interests in classical music and experience getting period instruments to work might well do a better job of scientifically accounting for legato.

Nor do I uncritically accept all the advice and explanations offered by Bonade to his students. I mentioned Bonade only to indicate that I recognized adherence to many of his received ideas in the article--not as a endorsement of them. I studied with one of Bonade's last pupils after he graduated from Julliard, and I can tell you the many times that both of us laughed about how quickly his students found fault with his teachings and obiter dicta and energetically departed from them! My teacher, like many of Bonade's students, used to hide their favorite mouthpiece from him and played the one he recommended (actually required) only while he was watching. Many of them thought his advice on reeds and embouchure tended towards the production of a nasal and reedy sound and they went quite the other way towards Kaspar mouthpieces, reeds shaped from thicker cane, and so on. Some felt his advice on articulation resulted in a picky, unpleasant staccato, and they found more relaxed ways to articulate. The list of deviations from Bonade's advice goes on and on. So please don't think that American players have enshrined Bonade's every word and idea as doctrinal truth.

Many of the players well respected today in America have gone a long way from the original Bonade camp. Morales, Anthony McGill, Julian Bliss (who studied in England, Germany, and American), Stephen Williamson, at al, have pursued their own conceptions of how to play the clarinet. Even American players like Harold Wright did not always follow prescriptions such as beginning the tone by withdrawing the tongue from the reed; for some entrances and in some passages, I am told, Wright used very delicate glottal articulation, which either Bonade or some of his more ardent disciples considered verboten.

I'm sorry that you had a bad time with your suggestion for an article in the ICA journal. I, for one, would like to see them publish your views at length, and I'm sure many others on this list would also. If that is not possible, I'd like to see your views collected in book form. Have you considered publishing a set of collected essays on the clarinet? If you do plan to, I will happily pre-subscribe.



Post Edited (2017-11-06 02:53)

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Airstream velocity and issues
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2017-11-07 17:48

>> I'm sorry that you had a bad time with your suggestion for an article in the ICA journal. >>

In fact, it was Gillespie who invited me to contribute. We both played a part in a productive international correspondence on the Klarinet list about a dubious note in Garbarino's edition of the Castelnuovo-Tedesco sonata, and he said that if I ever wanted to write something for The Clarinet it would be very welcome.

He suggested that I might write an article in what he called the 'Masterclass' series: various supposed clarinet authorities gave their versions of the truth about the great pieces – Mozart concerto, Brahms sonatas and so on. As you can probably gather from my usual stances here, I didn't think much of this idea. I proposed, instead, to present my reasons why I thought it counterproductive to add ANOTHER layer of printed dogmatism to the musical texts we have – a sort of 'anti-masterclass' masterclass – if indeed it's at all appropriate in any case to call such articles 'masterclasses'. Real masterclasses, in which students play, are another matter.

Anyway, Gillespie wrote back and said that his Masterclass series was an entirely appropriate idea, and had proved to be very beneficial for students reading it. I asked him how he knew that, but he didn't reply.

After a bit I wrote again, and said that if he didn't like my proposal, there was something I'd already written that hadn't been published anywhere, and would he like that, instead?

I sent him my effort, the essential substance of which you can now read here:

http://test.woodwind.org/Databases/lookup.php/Klarinet/2001/05/000572.txt

...but received not even the courtesy of a reply.

When I subscribed to The Clarinet for a year, I started to see something of the true situation.

Tony



Reply To Message
 
 Re: Airstream velocity and issues
Author: Dibbs 
Date:   2017-11-07 21:21

Tony,

I read the article you linked to there. By coincidence I've recently been reading a book recently that in some ways covers a similar area. You might find it interesting.

Voice Leading: The Science Behind a Musical Art by David Huron.

His earlier paper covers much of the same material:

https://musiccog.ohio-state.edu/Huron/Publications/huron.voice.leading.html

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Airstream velocity and issues
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2017-11-07 23:54

Tony,

The questions that you raise in that short summary of your intended article could take many hours, many books, many seminars, many classes, many discussions and conversations to explore much less resolve. You should not have been given such short shrift by the editor, who ought to have offered some reply. I suspect the thought may have been running through the editor's head that this rather abstract discussion of musical interpretation without specific instances, excerpts, illustrations, and so on from a particular composition for clarinet or a particular period instrument was just too general for them to understand. They may have felt it was more suited to a musicological journal or even a more literary humanities/music oriented journal like Music and Letters. It may be an occupational hazard for those trained in math to present valid ideas that others reject out of an unwillingness to perform the mental effort necessary to "unpack" the propositions and search for the concrete examples they need to understand them.

Nevertheless, had I been the editor, I would have accepted your contribution for publication as important and thought provoking

Linguists agree that language originates in speech, and written graphs only approximate what is said. But it is also true that written language allows the writer time to revise, edit, and improve what might have been unclear in speech. Even so, the way an actor reads a written script can add or subtract meaning from the way the writer intended the script to be read. So there is a reciprocal relationship between original speech, recorded script, and the reconstructed interpretation that a secondary reader offers for any given text. The same is true of music--even modern music that is presumably written in accurate notation never can represent the composers intention with complete fidelity. (That is, the way the composer "sings" the piece does not invariably come through in the written notation). Clarinetist John Yeh remarks on the difficulty he and other skilled players from the Chicago Symphony were having in combining the lines and fitting the notes in when they practiced a difficult Boulez piece. It was a revelation to them when Boulez offered to rehearse and conduct them. He explained that they were overdoing literal adherence to the notated parts, and he got them to loosen up and play more vocally. Then the parts hung together and the relationship of each line became clear.

Here Yeh very briefly recounts this experience: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=John+Yeh+on+Boulez.

In your estimation, could they have reached the same satisfactory understanding on their own, applying some universal principle of vocalized phrasing and emphasis?

When I studied the polyphony of the late middle ages and the renaissance, it was quite a game in the complexly woven structures of Dufay and Ockeghm,for instance, to make head or tail of where the cantus firmus (either Gregorian chant segment or popular tune of the day) happened to be floating at the time.
Sometimes the words helped and sometimes they hindered. It was so much easier when you looked at nice Italian frotolla which, as Gustave Reece said, were "heightened by the Italian fondness for clear-cut phrases, in which all voices begin and end together." In frotolla, the general principles of vocal phrasing are evident, probably because they are based rather directly on ordinary speech.

But what happens in very complex works like renaissance polyphony at its most dense, or the 20-21st century polyphony of composers like Boulez. Perhaps these are also based ultimately on speech patterns, but these patterns are transformed as they are in James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake "novel" far past easy recognition.

Are there really "general principles that can be used to learn how a particular composition from another historical period would have been played?" Suppose it possible to go back in time and hand Carl Baermann copies of the best transcriptions of jazz recordings by Benny Goodman and Eddie Daniels, including the rhythm section contribution. Judging from his method book, and the compositions that he played, Baermann could play all sorts of difficult things so I judge that with sufficient motivation he could handle the notes and syncopation (as he understood them according to the rules of his time), but without the recordings, would he sound even remotely like Goodman or Daniels stylistically unless 1) he was extensively coached by someone from the 20-21st century or 2) given the recordings by these two players to study? If the answer to this question is that he could not possibly know what it was to "swing" unless he heard someone else play or sing that way, would that be because jazz is somehow an exception, a sort of folk music outlier that doesn't follow the rules? Or is all music rather like that? Would we be shocked to hear Bach at the organ? Or is there simply more continuity within the various classical periods of European based ("Western") music than in folk styles?

Or it is more a matter of the Goodman and Daniels transcriptions being after the fact annotations of improvisation rather than scores originally written to be read and performed? Do improvisations in any age of music live in a sort of parallel universe where the rules are different?



Post Edited (2017-11-08 04:22)

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Airstream velocity and issues
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2017-11-12 22:35

In 'Phrasing in Contention', I wrote in part:
Quote:

An eminent musicologist and conductor responded to an earlier draft of this article by saying that for him, what would be even more interesting than the article itself would be the discussion and correspondence it would provoke. But though I would be happy if the article were noticed in this way, I want to be clear that discussion and correspondence is not primarily what I am after.

I want the response to be in the creative register of today's performers. I am suggesting that they first consider, and then investigate, the implications of changing one aspect of the way they think about the music. I don't necessarily want to persuade them to try to copy the details of what some performer of a previous era said they did, or what they said other performers should do. In fact — and this is crucial — what may be more important for us is what performers of the time took for granted, and therefore did not say.

In this spirit, I suggest that reading Leopold Mozart (for example) is different, and probably more useful, if we read it against the background of the simple structure I propose.

But of course, in a way reading Leopold Mozart is a minor issue. As a pedagogue, Leopold Mozart — perhaps more able than some of us, perhaps more important as a composer and musician — is nevertheless, like us, hogtied by his particular task.

Much more to the point is the effect on how we read, and therefore play, the 'other' Mozart — Wolfgang Amadeus.
So I think your imaginative questions unintentionally complicate and obscure the rather simple thing I was trying to say.

By the way, I don't BLAME Gillespie for anything – other perhaps than his rudeness. His idea of the style of The Clarinet wouldn't be in accord with my attitudes, so I'm happy to avoid it.

Tony



Reply To Message
 
 Re: Airstream velocity and issues
Author: Sean.Perrin 
Date:   2017-11-19 09:05

Here's something that sometimes works for my students as a last resort if there's a block like this.

FORGET EVERYTHING and JUST LISTEN AND MATCH. Then go back and try and reconstruct what you did.

Seriously.

Just listen to your teacher creating the sound you want (whether it's a tone, and articulation, or whatever). Then try and emulate it just using your ears. Kind of like humming back a pitch, your body MAY naturally just help you out to do what you need.

Seems to me like you are overthinking things. You can't explain someone how to hum a pitch by telling them "ok, please exhale at a rate of 200 psi while dropping the jaw down 1/4 inch and expanding the..." etc. You have to have a good inner ear and sense of what you want. This is what I mean. Of course, this assumes a general level of proficiency, I would not advise working with a beginner this way! Are you taking lessons?

As for the the cold/hot/fast air thing. I think the conclusion is that people are often describing their perceived experience instead of objective reality. The air might FEEL hotter or colder, but your body is one temperature. Is it REALLY possible to blow air that's different from your body temperature? No. It's the IDEA of one of these things, and this is why people become rightfully confused, and why it's wrong to teach them as objective truths. It's kind of like metal and plastic. These two substances feel different temperatures in the same room because they conduct energy (heat) at different rates from your body. Objectively, however, they are the same temperature.

Anyways, if you're interested in listening to a discussion about this, it was recently debated on an episode of my podcast.

See here: https://clarineat.com/57-debate-episode-2/



Reply To Message
 Avail. Forums  |  Threaded View   Newer Topic  |  Older Topic 


 Avail. Forums  |  Need a Login? Register Here 
 User Login
 User Name:
 Password:
 Remember my login:
   
 Forgot Your Password?
Enter your email address or user name below and a new password will be sent to the email address associated with your profile.
Search Woodwind.Org

Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale

The Clarinet Pages
is sponsored by:

For Sale
Put your ads for items you'd like to sell here. Free! Please, no more than two at a time - ads removed after two weeks.

Instruments
Retailers and manufacturers of clarinets, both modern and early replica

Events
Major events especially for clarinetists

Music & Books
CDs, Sheet Music, and some of the greatest reference books ever written!

Accessories
Accessories that every clarinetist needs - reed makers and shapers, ligatures, greases, oils, and preservatives ... and more!

Reeds
Great reeds available from around the world

Miscellaneous
Services and products too varied to categorize! Repair, recording, news

Mouthpieces & Barrels
Fine makers of mouthpieces and barrels, from wood to crystal to hard rubber and plastic

Service
Instrument repairs, restorations, adjustments, and overhauls.

 
     Copyright © Woodwind.Org, Inc. All Rights Reserved    Privacy Policy    Contact charette@woodwind.org