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 Why Did My Clarinet Stop Working Midway Through Concert?
Author: jeriannes1 
Date:   2018-04-16 20:15

Oh my goodness - halfway through a concert, suddenly I'm squawking and no tone will come out.

Now, I wasn't as well rehearsed as I should have been. Was this because my lip was starting to fail. or my fingers weren't on the holes well enough? I've had my horn checked out and all is good. Help!! I've been playing for 50 years, but working full time, home responsibilities, etc. and other than a 2 hour rehearsal last Monday, I had only practiced for 30 minutes one day.

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 Re: Why Did My Clarinet Stop Working Midway Through Concert?
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2018-04-16 20:36

It's one of 2 problems


Reed (collapsed)

or

Clarinet (broken Spring and key popped open, or pad tear that clarinet won't seal, or crack that went nuclear)


Not you!!

http://www.MyTempoMusic.com

http://www.skypeclarinetlessons.com/about.html


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 Re: Why Did My Clarinet Stop Working Midway Through Concert?
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2018-04-16 20:39

If it was checked out, then it must have been either the reed, or you experienced a collapse of your Nasal seal (velophryangial insufficiecy),

Was air leaking out of your nose when trying to play?


https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/ear,-nose,-and-throat-disorders/oral-and-pharyngeal-disorders/velopharyngeal-insufficiency

I'm not a Doctor, but am an experienced teacher, and play a Doctor on TV  ;)

http://www.MyTempoMusic.com

http://www.skypeclarinetlessons.com/about.html


Post Edited (2018-04-16 20:39)

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 Re: Why Did My Clarinet Stop Working Midway Through Concert?
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2018-04-16 20:41

Assume the instrument has passed a "leak" test, and that the problem seems to have gone away since . . . .

I've heard that worn pads can get full of moisture and stop closing holes properly, and that could cause squawking. Check the pads for any torn or fuzzy or loose ones, and replace any questionable ones.

Another possibility is something moved to an incorrect position, like the reed if it wasn't secured enough. Or possibly the linkage between the main sections, if the joint got rotated just a bit - the cork of that linkage gradually wears, and the positioning gets progressively finicky until the cork gets replaced.

One time long ago I noticed the screw in the middle of the throat G# key was "loose", so I tightened that. That made the clarinet cease to function, because tightened down that G# key won't close - live and learn.

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 Re: Why Did My Clarinet Stop Working Midway Through Concert?
Author: jeriannes1 
Date:   2018-04-16 21:44

I noticed my left thumb was wet when this started, moisture coming out of that hole. I don't recall ever having this problem with years of using my good old original Selmer Bundy resonite clarinet my dad bought me in 1958!!! My new one is a LeBlanc and it's about 10 years old. I've had screws loosen, etc. that never happened in all the years of high school band, etc. with my old reliable Bundy.

I blew through the thumb hole, and it seemed to clear a bit, but still seemed harder to get a tone out.
Lack of practice maybe?

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 Re: Why Did My Clarinet Stop Working Midway Through Concert?
Author: Steven Ocone 2017
Date:   2018-04-17 04:47

A crack can open up after a few minutes of playing, then close up again after some rest. After weeks ago I forgot to mark the crack on a clarinet when it was brought in. When I finally had time to repair it I couldn't find it.

Steven Ocone
Ann & Steve's Music

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 Re: Why Did My Clarinet Stop Working Midway Through Concert?
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-04-17 07:00

Wow! This sucks! At a concert!

Great advice from the above. Try playing it everyday for 20 to 30 minutes and see what happens. If it happens again change reeds. If it still continues send it in for repair. Most likely you have a crack, a bad pad, hard to say. Are any of the joint connections loose? Bad cork seals can do this. The mouthpiece cork.

You've been playing for a long time. I don't think it's your embouchure unless you've suddenly changed mouthpieces.


Designer of - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces and the La Vecchia mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist 2015




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 Re: Why Did My Clarinet Stop Working Midway Through Concert?
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-04-17 14:31

Bob is right= this sucks and is very discouraging for you!
One time I was flown down to a city in our south (the colder end of countries in the southern hemisphere) to fill in for the Principal clarinet of the symphony there... it was cold and dry and my lips cracked with the climate change....
One piece (Ibert something i think) started with a clarinet solo. In the rehearsal I nailed it, yay for me.
In the concert?
Nothing happened
the clarinet felt like it was "blocked", no sound....
When i looked at the reed, nothing looked wrong. Then I looked into the "slot" between reed and mouthpiece, and a tiny piece of my lip was stuck there!!!!!!
Yep, gross I know, but dead lip skin- just a minute piece- was enough to completely stop the sound.
That was a disaster, and no one cared what my excuse was.

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 Re: Why Did My Clarinet Stop Working Midway Through Concert?
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2018-04-17 15:56

It could be as simple as the tiny screw on top of the A throat tone key moving down slightly raising the G# neighbor key. That happened to me once years ago while warming up and I recognized it in a few minutes. Than again, it could be any of the things mentioned already.

ESP eddiesclarinet.com

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 Re: Why Did My Clarinet Stop Working Midway Through Concert?
Author: Adrian_B-flat 
Date:   2018-04-17 18:22

I once had a time when my clarinet got funky (squeaking, notes sounding "off", etc) similar to what you described. Fortunately, for me, that was during a practice. However, what I found in my case was that there was a buildup of moisture in the upper-joint C#/G# tone hole. I blew it out and I was fine afterwards. I've noticed that, when it happened, it was with a couple of the tone holes on the underside of the clarinet- register key tone-hole, C#/G# tone hole, and, once, the thumb-hole. I'm assuming it's gravity-based.

Anyway, it doesn't happen often- quite rarely, actually. Each time, it was a matter of finding which hole had the buildup and clearing it.

The other answer above that I think is good is that your reed could've been giving out for some reason or another.

-Adrian

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 Re: Why Did My Clarinet Stop Working Midway Through Concert?
Author: jeriannes1 
Date:   2018-04-17 18:57

THANK YOU ALL for your responses and suggestions. I have a new Rovner ligature, the black kind with the single thumb screw. I really like it, but someone said you have to tighten it "just right," or it will mess up. How much is just right? ha ha. The reed is fairly new. I'm still using a size 2, and sometimes a 2 1/2.

This clarinet is wood, different from my old standby resonite Selmer Bundy from 1958. I never had any problem like this before I began using this clarinet for longer periods, like a 2 hours rehearsal and a 2 hour concert. I never thought about a crack in the instrument. I'm going to take it back to my repair shop and have them give it a super going over.



Post Edited (2018-04-17 18:58)

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 Re: Why Did My Clarinet Stop Working Midway Through Concert?
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2018-04-17 19:32

It's too bad the problem happened during a concert. Frankly, but meaning no disrespect, if this problem were repeatable at home then I can't imagine not discovering the cause myself. Air is supposed to escape in defined places but nowhere else. Problems will usually involve the hole just below where the last good pitch sounds. Defective pads, water in holes, loose screws, spring tensions, reed position, linkage misalignment - all those things are easy to note. With a little time and experience checking them becomes automatic, almost unconscious. A crack that changes with playing might be hard to ascertain, but any visible crack would be a red flag.

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 Re: Why Did My Clarinet Stop Working Midway Through Concert?
Author: Ed 
Date:   2018-04-19 06:25

I once had a problem years ago where one of the pads absorbed moisture, and swelled, changing shape so it did not seal the tone hole.

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 Re: Why Did My Clarinet Stop Working Midway Through Concert?
Author: MoonPatrol 
Date:   2018-04-23 07:53

I own two clarinets and often bring both to concerts. I have an important concert coming up and plan to have one as a back-up sitting on an additional stand. If something goes wrong I can switch. Getting prepared and devoting time to a project deserves an alternative for the unlikely. Plus what good is it to own two clarinets when one is in the closet at home when you need it?

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 Re: Why Did My Clarinet Stop Working Midway Through Concert?
Author: jeriannes1 
Date:   2018-04-23 18:54

I had my clarinet checked out last week, and no problems, cracks, etc. My repair guy said that it's hanging onto moisture and I need to swab it out every few songs. I have never had to do this, but will surely do it NOW. And the last concert I did take my second clarinet but did not set it up. I will do the swabbing between songs at the next concert. I never EVER had this problem with my good old Selmer Bundy resonite clarinet from 1958!!! But my repair buy said that beginner clarinets are a bit larger bore, which I did not know and that could account for moisture going right through and not clogging up the pads/holes.

Thanks to everyone for your input. I appreciate it.

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 Re: Why Did My Clarinet Stop Working Midway Through Concert?
Author: bmcgar 2017
Date:   2018-04-23 20:15

Re. Ed Palanker's post about the A key screw. Right on, and the first thing to look for!

There have been at least a dozen times when people have come to me panicked after trying to warm up before a concert saying that their clarinets all of a sudden won't play, and it's turned out that that screw on the Ab key was turned in too far, not leaving a little gap between the A and Ab "linkage."

Some people have turned the screw in thinking it should be tight against the A key, not realizing that this gap should be there. Then, when the pad on the A key expands during warm up, it pushes up the Ab key and creates a leak. Others simply don't have enough of a gap there, and the same thing happens, especially in humid, warm conditions.

You can't imagine the glee I have when I take their horns, turn around so they can't see what I'm doing, back off on the screw, and hand back a clarinet that plays. ABRACADABRA! Magic!

(Yeah, I let them know what I did when the amazement wears off.)

B.



Post Edited (2018-04-23 20:21)

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 Re: Why Did My Clarinet Stop Working Midway Through Concert?
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2018-04-23 21:46

Since you've had it checked we must assume the problem is not a pad or screw or anything to do with the instrument. I've never heard of one kind of clarinet "holding water" more than another - anyone else? I suppose that's to say the problem was water in one or more tone holes. But that wouldn't usually cause the original symptoms reported (except for a wet left thumb; usually water in a tone hole just makes for a bubbly sounding note or two.

I get considerable moisture in my instruments when I play, and if there's time I swab. Otherwise, I just blow the chronic offending tone holes clear from the outside, or sometimes slide a bit of absorbing paper in. The chronic offenders are the side keys, the throat tone keys, maybe the first pad above the l. index finger, maybe the lh sliver key. But internal water has never reduced the situation to "squawking / no tone coming out" in my experience.

There's a number of older threads about the problem of water in tone holes.

Anyway, given the reported symptoms, Dave's suggestion of a reed issue seems likely now. If you're careful with the position of the reed, it might not happen again. But check the tone holes too.

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