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 Stop clarinet from "squaking"
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2018-02-05 12:15

Just a quick question. I'm learning the Beethoven 6th Symphony clarinet solo for fun.
I'm having a problem with having notes having a full sound in the start. Most of the time, especially in the upper register from anything from G and up in the clarion register, notes sound pinched for a second when I play short staccato excerpts. When I play short altissimo D, it sounds very squaky and I cant even start the note sometimes.

I play on the BD5 with 3 Traditional reeds. Any way to remedy this? Specific Rose etudes or studies to practice? Specific Scale pattern to practice? Change in air?



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 Re: Stop clarinet from "squaking"
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-02-05 18:11

GenEric wrote:

> I play on the BD5 with 3 Traditional reeds. Any way to remedy
> this? Specific Rose etudes or studies to practice? Specific
> Scale pattern to practice? Change in air?
>

The way to remedy the problem has nothing to do with the music you practice. It has to do with changing or at least refining the way you form your embouchure, the way you move your tongue and the way you use the air coming from your lungs. Also the way you select or adjust reeds. The most convenient materials to use, once you've learned enough of them, are scales because you already have them under your fingers.

> Just a quick question. I'm learning the Beethoven 6th Symphony
> clarinet solo for fun.

Are you talking about the one near the end of the first movement? There are several important solos in the symphony.

> I'm having a problem with having notes having a full sound in
> the start. Most of the time, especially in the upper register
> from anything from G and up in the clarion register, notes
> sound pinched for a second when I play short staccato excerpts.

Probably, you *are* pinching the notes to start. Your embouchure shouldn't be actively involved in articulating anywhere in the range, but the higher you go, the more audible the bad consequences become. Your reed needs to be responsive without closing easily. Your jaw needs to stay still, not move up and down against the reed. A continuous air stream provides the cleanest start to the individual notes in an articulated series - making a new puff of air for each note takes longer to produce a response and introduces a need to coordinate the breath with the tongue that can muddy the response. If the air stream is continuous, you only need to stop the reed from vibrating with light contact between your tongue and the reed tip *while continuing the air pressure* to stop the tone between notes.

Karl

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 Re: Stop clarinet from "squaking"
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2018-02-05 18:50

You are probably pinching. A lot of times we see short staccato notes and automatically close off our throats. Maybe it doesn't sound that bad most of the time, but it becomes apparent in high notes and more troubling notes on the clarinet.

Michael Lowenstern just happened to post this video a few days ago, and I found it quite helpful:

https://youtu.be/gxYqVALxHW4

-- Ray Zhang

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 Re: Stop clarinet from "squaking"
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2018-02-05 19:46

Was thinking about a snarky comment, but "squak" is actually a perfectly good word, meaning the sound that geese make. We get a lot of them here during the two annual migrations. I think I've heard a clarinet sound roughly like that, but never in Beethoven 6.

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 Re: Stop clarinet from "squaking"
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-02-06 05:39

Does the horn leak?


NEWLY DESIGNED - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Stop clarinet from "squaking"
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-02-06 05:46

This is one of the times I wish I was sitting next to you. The BD5 is a pretty open mouthpiece. A lot of players seem to want open mouthpieces but the 3 strength reed is about right for the mouthpiece.


NEWLY DESIGNED - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Stop clarinet from "squaking"
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2018-02-06 06:56

Hmm I think you guys might be correct about the pinching reed. After some close observation, I realized that I am tightening my embouchure for a split second to allow the note to pop out. I really liked the style and sound a senior in my section produced so I tried to imitate that. Seems like pinching probably isn't the solution... I'll need to practice not to move my embouchure as I play. I'll talk more about it with my teacher but it seems like I have a lot of information in my hands!
Unfortunately, playing altissimo is one of my weaknesses because my family members don't exactly the sound of it :/ I really need to get the voicing locked on for those high notes. It's really hit or miss.

Over the winter break when I had my instrument checked out, I realized that he didn't do a very good job checking it. I ended up with a misaligned trill key and I'll need to go to another repair person to get it fixed. Hopefully, a nonfunctional instrument isn't the problem.



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 Re: Stop clarinet from "squaking"
Author: shmuelyosef 
Date:   2018-02-09 03:37

Actually, fixing a nonfunctional instrument is better than an entrenched habit, as you really can just forget about it and move on. Bad habits require constant diligence to change your 'muscle memory'

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 Re: Stop clarinet from "squaking"
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-02-09 06:22

Well can you hold all of the upper joint keys down and jet at least 30 seconds of a complete seal? THen check the lower joint. Same thing. Are any of the connecting joints wobbly? Air can leak there as well.

Yes I'd find a good repairman and I think the BD5 is way too open for the average player, 1.01 to 1.08 is ideal. The BD5 is 1.13 and higher, so don't bite and have fun with music. Get another mouthpiece. Not a Zinner, nor the Vandoren M series as they will play flat with Beethoven's 6th. Maybe get the Selmer Concept and send it to me for some adjustments at no charge, as it is the best mouthpiece right now. I do like the Yamaha Custom mouthpieces, but the tip openings are 1.23 or so and require a major refacing.


Good luck...


NEWLY DESIGNED - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Stop clarinet from "squaking"
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2018-02-09 07:15

The Selmer Concept is still 1.10 tip opening. Maybe Selmer Focus will be better: its the same as the Concept, but has a smaller tip opening at 1.05.

-- Ray Zhang

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 Re: Stop clarinet from "squaking"
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-02-09 08:45

Ray you are correct, but in about 10 minutes I can redo this nice mouthpiece, including the facing and it could sound like an old Kaspar. The question though is what kind of Kaspar as so many horrible ones were made. So the answer would be a very decent Chicago Kaspar from the early 1960's or so. Bringing the facing down to 1.06 or so, takes about 5 minutes or less, the rest of the time is spend adjusting the rails, which is a secret, allowing for the reeds to speak well and vibrate properly, which is a major problem with today's mouthpieces. For whatever reason a lot of players like that feeling of back pressure. A good mouthpiece should be free blowing and ring like crazy. But we are often stuck with that covered dark sound which sounds so great 3 feet away and not so great in a concert hall. It's not our faults.

So since some players like that back pressure mouthpiece some makers are making mouthpieces with tip openings around 1.15 - 1.25 to gain that lost freedom. Who designs these mouthpieces? Surely not the gifted pros with great sounds.

I again refer back to Eddie Daniels. He is using a 1.03. He went from a 1.10 because it was easier to play! Less sore lips. Still projects nicely. Same with top symphony players, very few are over that 1.10 mark.

Added to this mess if the baffles and chambers are really shallow you can get away with a more open mouthpiece, because more air is required. At the same time if you are playing on a very deep baffle and chamber like the Zinners you can get away with a tip opening of 1.01 or less, but the sound doesn't carry.

The bore and the chamber of the Selmer Focus is OK, but tight. My first choice remains the Selmer Concept. The bore is already good. The baffle and the Chamber looks good, the tip opening and the rails can be fixed and polished with the right tooling in just a few minutes and play close to a decent Kaspar. Without the tooling DON'T BUY IT. It won't sound like a Kaspar - EVER!


NEWLY DESIGNED - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Stop clarinet from "squaking"
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2018-02-09 11:59

I just did the leak test and it does appear that my upper joint is leaking! I'll have to get that fixed as soon as possible. Didn't know that was a trick to tell if your horn was leaking! Hopefully, this problem will go away after I get my horn repaired.

I do agree with Bob's statment about the BD5 being too open. After going back to some other mouthpieces like the Debut, M13L, and B45, my upper register was way too shrill and it was like playing an Eb clarinet. Perhaps the BD5 is way to open for the average player.



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 Re: Stop clarinet from "squaking"
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-02-10 10:53

Simple test for leaks, works the same way with the lower joint. Everyone should know this and test your horns often.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_pTdBmcRV8


NEWLY DESIGNED - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist




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