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 Eb Clarinet and Flutter Tongue
Author: maiohmai 
Date:   2018-03-03 07:22

We recently read the Strauss' Alpine Symphony in our Literature and Repertoire class and all was going well until we hit the section where the E-Flat clarinet has to flutter tongue a high C and a B at "pp" dynamic. Even ignoring the dynamic marking, I fail to produce any sound when attempting to flutter.

I roll my "r's" without having to growl on B-flat clarinet fairly easily, although it's quite flat in pitch (more or less having to be really loose in the embouchure in order for the flutter to be successful.)

On E-flat, I can only flutter up to the throat tones and no higher...

Any advice, tips or tricks to keep in mind?

On the road to a non-collapsing embouchure!

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 Re: Eb Clarinet and Flutter Tongue
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-03-04 19:06

I'm disappointed that no one who has played this has chimed in with any help. I doubt if many clarinetists (I imagine there may be a few), even skilled ones, could do this on an Eb clarinet at the written dynamic with real flutter-tongue. My best suggestion not ever having had to perform this part would be to try humming as you play the notes otherwise normally. Jazz players do this all the time to produce a kind of "dirty" or growling effect.

It's a head-scratching spot, looking at the score. It's there, I think clearly, as a sound effect, but it's structural in that violins echo it shortly after still at PP as a trill and the oboes, albeit at F answer after that. Must be some kind of Alpine bird call. So it isn't as though it can be left out without lessening the effect, and the flutter effect is important for unity with the echo and response, so it really can't be played with straight tone, either without musical loss. It makes me wonder if Strauss knew someone who could actually do it, or if someone told him it was doable, or if he just assumed since it could be done fairly easily at a lower pitch level that those two notes should be fine as well.

Maybe, since the violins have trills and not tremolo, the Eb clarinet can substitute a trill instead of the flutter without losing the consistency?

I hope someone who has played the part will offer some help. I'm interested, too, to know how this is best accomplished.


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 Re: Eb Clarinet and Flutter Tongue
Author: qp 
Date:   2018-03-05 03:27

Try this: Insert the mouthpiece further into your mouth than is usual (but not a ridiculous amount, of course) and use more slightly more pressure than normal. Maybe try using both, or one or the other.

Worked every time for me.

Edit: use lots of air and do not be shy. It is meant to be heard. For proof, listen to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Live recording from this decade on Spotify.

Let me know if it helps :)


Post Edited (2018-03-05 03:30)

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