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 Buzzing while playing in the ensemble
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2018-08-29 04:00

I'm hearing this buzzing sound when I play in an ensemble. When I play by myself, the sound seems to disappear. Could this be that since I cannot hear myself, I tend to play louder creating a harsher sound? Does anybody know if this is normal or am I producing a bad tone?

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 Re: Buzzing while playing in the ensemble
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-08-29 06:55

Are you sure you're producing the buzz? Does this happen in all ensembles you play in? No matter where you sit? Does it happen at all dynamic levels or just loud ones? All registers?

You don't give much information about the buzz or the circumstances when you notice it. If it only happens in loud passages, could you be blowing so hard that air is escaping through your nose? What ligature are you using? I have had experience with some ligatures that will whistle when even a small air leak around the mouthpiece happens (again, possibly especially in loud passages) especially ones like the Gigliotti ligatures that create a small space between the ligature and the mouthpiece body.. The air hits an edge of the ligature and makes a whistling sound just as a flute does when you blow against the edge of the mouth hole.

If there are percussion nearby, snares that are engaged can vibrate sympathetically, but that would be a very specific circumstance. You wouldn't hear it when playing by yourself and not near a drum or with the snares turned off.


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 Re: Buzzing while playing in the ensemble
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2018-08-29 07:13

Ok, I'll take a stab at this.

I tend to be an emotional player, so I realize when under "battle conditions," you can find yourself playing in ways that you would not in a room by yourself with just a sheet of music and a metronome. So it is possible that in the excitement of the moment you over do something. When my students get a "buzzy sound," it is because they are using too much pressure against the reed with their lips/jaw vs. the amount of air they are pressing against the reed. You have to realize that it is always a balancing act between the amount of energy used in your embouchure vs. the air that is needed for the dynamic you are playing. That would mean that when you do play loudly, be conscious of the physicality of your lips/jaw (and don't even think jaw by the way), and hear what happens (in rehearsal of course) if you back off that energy.

Oh and a real basic rule of dynamics in ensemble playing is: when the group is playing softly, you should hear everyone else and NOT yourself; when the group plays loudly, you should hear yourself more than your neighbors to the left and right.

.................Paul Aviles

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 Re: Buzzing while playing in the ensemble
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2018-08-29 08:07

Might need to define "buzzing" a little more clearly. I can get what I think of as a buzzing sound sometimes when I'm playing a little loud and the reed's not right, but I play with hearing aids, so I don't know if normal people get that. Anyway, I ditch the reed and it goes away.

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 Re: Buzzing while playing in the ensemble
Author: Anonymoose 
Date:   2018-08-29 17:25

As kdk mentioned above, check your ligature. I've found that if I don't tighten the ligature at all, the screws start turning themselves when I begin playing, which creates a whistling, buzzing sound. That's due to the vibrations of the mouthpiece.

Maybe a buzz is a good thing? I've read on here that some accomplished clarinet players in the past look for a good buzzing sound in a reed in order to project in a hall.

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 Re: Buzzing while playing in the ensemble
Author: SymphonyofMajesty 
Date:   2018-09-01 03:07

It could possibly be that you are a bit out of tune. I am not old enough to be in a professional orchestra yet, but I've been in youth ensembles for years and often when you are out of tune there is a little buzz. You wont notice it when you're playing alone because there is no other instruments to compare your sound to. There also might be a bit of spit stuck between your pad

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 Re: Buzzing while playing in the ensemble
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2018-09-01 09:08

I think this problem was somewhat fixed. Over the summer, I got into the habit of cycling reeds so they lasted a very long time. I might have overestimated how long they lasted so they became "warn out" and waterlogged. After opening a couple of reeds, there didn't appear to be any buzzing.

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