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 General sharpness
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2018-03-07 05:43

I have this problem of being sharper than most players. Usually, when I play, I would have to pull my 442 instrument with a 65mm barrel out around 2mm or right before I can see the cork just to be in tune after I warmed up. This problem is amplified when I play Eb clarinet (just picked it up so relatively new to the instrument). I would be over 40 cents sharp with the 42mm barrel all the way pushed in and would have to pull around 2-3mm to be in tune.

I don't really know what I'm doing wrong. I use softer reeds than usual and I developed a good habit of maintaining a firm embouchure while not biting. Could this be a problem with my tongue position?



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 Re: General sharpness
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-03-07 07:03

It could be a number of problems. You've ruled out too hard reeds as a cause.

You haven't identified the 442 clarinet, and I don't remember from your previous posts what you're playing. The 65 mm barrel might be part of the cause. I think 66 mm barrels are standard original equipment for Buffet Bb clarinets aimed at the American market. My Selmer 10G Bb, which was definitely meant for American consumption, came with a 66 mm barrel. If the clarinet you're using plays at a nominal pitch of A=442 Hz *because it was supplied with a 65 mm barrel,* maybe you only need a 66 mm barrel to bring the pitch down.

Mouthpieces can play sharp because of their design. I have mouthpieces that persistently play sharp on my instruments and need to have the barrel pulled a couple of mm out to get my A down to anything close to 440. I have others that are dead-on 440 with the barrel pulled just a sliver.

Does your teacher play sharp on your equipment?

Karl

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 Re: General sharpness
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2018-03-07 08:22

Never had my teacher play on my equipment. I'll have him look at it when I have my lesson later this week. Hopefully, I'll find the answer to this problem.

Would a tight throat contribute to this? I think I'm trying so hard to voice a Ee sound that it strains my throat during long slow soft music and slow etudes like the 1st rose etude and study.



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 Re: General sharpness
Author: Jeroen 
Date:   2018-03-07 13:06

Hi Eric, a 65 mm barrel is mostly considered as "short". So a longer barrel, e.g. 67 mm would be a nice solution. Nothing to bother about. More important is the internal tuning of the clarinet:

I have played Buffet RC's that were actually tuned to A=442-444. I had to pull quite a lot: barrel, lower joint and even the bell to get on A=441 and to get a balanced internal tuning. If you have such a high-tuned clarinet it might be a solution to change to a lower pitched version if you play only at lower pitches.


E-flat clarinets are not that standardized and more flexible in tuning than B-flat clarinets. So, it is not that strange to find a longer barrel.

Voicing Ee will rise pitch indeed. But if you are satisfied with the sound I would not change that. Voicing Ee is not my taste (I like Oo or Ue) but voicing Ee is part of large tradition of clarinet playing esp. in America.

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 Re: General sharpness
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2018-03-07 18:52

Some people naturally voice higher or lower in certian registers than others. It could be you, it could the the mouthpiece or barrel or clarinet itself. Yes, first have someone else play your clarinet warmed up to see if they have the same result then you can decide if it's you or the clarinet. Not only can a 66-67mm barrel make the difference but different makes can also make a big difference because of the different bore configurations. And sometimes one needs to pull out the middle joint a bit to make the intonation more uniform through out, even the bell if the break notes are sharper than the rest of the instrument. The lowest notes are more forging. Believe it or not, some bells will actually help the intonation in the clarion register but that should be a last resort and one would need to try many different brands to find out. The mouthpiece and barrel should be your first concern.

ESP eddiesclarinet.com

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 Re: General sharpness
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-03-07 22:14

GenEric wrote:

> Would a tight throat contribute to this? I think I'm trying so
> hard to voice a Ee sound that it strains my throat during long
> slow soft music and slow etudes like the 1st rose etude and
> study.
>

I would say generally that anything you do that causes pain or "strains [your] throat" is probably either a misapplied attempt to do something that might be beneficial, or it's just plain wrong. If you're straining to produce an "eee" voicing, you're overdoing it or using the wrong muscles. Try just relaxing the inside of your mouth without trying in particular to "open your throat" or produce any sort of specific vowel. See what effect that has on the pitch.

But in any case (whether or not it changes your pitch), you should revisit your tongue position to do whatever you're trying to do without strain.

Karl

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 Re: General sharpness
Author: Burt 
Date:   2018-03-07 23:45

Is your clarinet sharp for most notes, or primarily in the throat tones? If the latter, a longer barrel (or pulling out and using tuning rings) will solve the problem. If the former, try pulling out a little between the joints (as well as at the barrel) to see if that helps. At least on my clarinet, tuning rings need to be cut on the outside to fit between the joints.

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 Re: General sharpness
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2018-03-11 10:39

I had my teacher check my set up and it wasn't that sharp. Although more sharp than normal, it is tolerable. I think could be the angle of my embouchure.

My teacher said that I'm also clamping the reed because I am putting my teeth directly on where I press on with my lower lip thus causing more pressure than necessary on the reed which causes it to clamp.
If I keep the clarinet angle at a 40 degree angle from my body, I will have to move my upper teeth farther up and move my lower lip farther down so that I get more reed vibrating and there is less direct force on the reed. So far, it's working very well. I getting more flatter and my sound is getting better. I think the problem is solved!

Just had an epiphany and I think this might be a habit built off of playing the bass clarinet. The bass clarinet I played was the student yamaha which had a neck with the angle more tenor sax like. Might be the source of my problem :/ Just wanted to point it out

Thoughts?



Post Edited (2018-03-11 10:50)

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 Re: General sharpness
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2018-03-18 06:44

You seem to be pretty stubborn about not getting a longer barrel. Can you borrow one just to limit (or solve) one of your problems? I needed a longer Eb barrel and a longer Bb barrel to get my mouthpieces/clarinets to play very nicely in tune. The whole setup needs to work well together.



Post Edited (2018-03-18 18:50)

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 Re: General sharpness
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2018-03-18 07:40

Ehh I don't feel like "buying" my way out of a problem as I will not learn proper technique. Also, the clarinets at my school think that the more expensive your instrument, the better you sound. Although this may be true, they take it more literally which is why I try to avoid buying gear.

I agree for Eb that you need to buy a barrel that suits you because intonation is very important on it but i'm slowly becoming flatter as I learn to blow more air into the instrument.



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 Re: General sharpness
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2018-03-18 09:34

GenEric, the clarinets at my school used to think the same way about me, but after I played on their clarinets and other plastic school clarinets in mediocre condition, they finally understood that nothing beats hard work. Instead of asking "why do you have that fancy ligature" or "how much did your clarinet cost", they started asking questions like "how much do you practice", "how do you play those high notes so effortlessly", etc. So don't be ashamed. If you're a better player than they are, playing on cheap equipment like the ones they have will most likely limit you. Don't buy stuff like crazy, but spend money when necessary and don't feel bad for doing so.

You said your teacher checked your setup. Does that mean he played on your mouthpiece, barrel,and instrument? Because if all he did was swap his barrel and mouthpiece, that is not an accurate test, since barrel length and mouthpiece dimensions play a huge role in intonation.

-- Ray Zhang

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