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 The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2018-09-10 18:06

In my attempt to find videos on air support and such, I found this:


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


WATCH IT FIRST


So you could do the same for clarinet, except it is the REED that needs to vibrate, not the lips. I think we all accept the idea that it is the air column in the clarinet that is vibrating and producing the sound, not what we blow into it. But it is cool to actually see this illustrated so clearly.


It follows then that all the stuff we talk about regarding breathing, support, diaphragm, oppositional forces, etc., boils down to getting the reed to vibrate properly.


I'm just throwing this out there as food for thought. The bottom line is that it doesn't change much about the reality of what we do, unless addressing the reed vibrations directly brings up some better suggestions for making our process easier.



Let's discuss.






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



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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-09-10 18:23

Why doesn't (or how does) the turbulence created by the air being blown into the instrument interfere in some way with the vibrating air column? Can it be that the blown air's movement through the instrument doesn't somehow affect the resulting sound? That the blown air isn't necessary doesn't intuitively imply that it doesn't have an important influence on the final result.

Karl

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2018-09-10 23:35

'Turbulence' is a technical term that has no relevance to the slow airstream that enters the clarinet – EXCEPT that, if the higher velocities associated with the VIBRATIONS of the aircolumn in forte encounter sharp edges, turbulence can become important. (See Benade.)

Yes, the slow airstream has little direct effect on the resulting sound. A faster airstream is typically associated with a different sound because, to achieve a faster airstream, you need a particular sort of mouthpiece/reed combination. And it is THAT that does affect the sound.

>> It follows then that all the stuff we talk about regarding breathing, support, diaphragm, oppositional forces, etc., boils down to getting the reed to vibrate properly.>>

Or, you could say that all the stuff we talk about reeds, embouchures etc boils down to getting the aircolumn in the clarinet to vibrate 'properly'. (The leakage of this vibration into the environment is what constitutes the the sound of the instrument.)

There is no adequate scientific characterisation of this 'properly'. Everything defers to musical contexts. What is acceptable – even required – in jazz, would not be appropriate to a Mozart symphony.

I wish, however, that you wouldn't ask these questions here. If you do, you get dogmatic answers from ill-informed people therefore ill-equipped to answer them, and you make the BBoard ever more useless to someone trying to find the truth of these matters.

Instead, do a bit of research; say by first reading the excellent website:

https://newt.phys.unsw.edu.au/music/

...which explains some of the science.

Tony

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2018-09-11 01:06



Thank you so much for posting the link to this wonderful resource. This will certainly help fill in the holes in understanding for a lot of us (myself in particular).


My first thought about "proper vibrations" had more to do with whether there was a simple formula for reed strength and mouthpiece opening that could serve as a "gold standard" with everything else being a divergence by those who prefer "going it alone."


But now as I ponder "proper vibrations" I realize that I left out (in terms of what responses I thought this query would get) the very poor playing practice that I have been attempting to correct both in private lessons and here on the Bulletin Board. The typical nascent player gets a basic sound, the reed is producing a buzz that creates the correct notes, but we can all hear that the sound lacks depth, resonance, projection. I would add to this the complication of the German clarinet mouthpiece/reed acoustic where there is much less effort involved in producing what we would all agree is a wonderful, concert worthy sound.


The beauty of this forum, as I see it, is the very notion that there are ill informed, dogmatic ideas that hopefully in the hashing out will illuminate a solution for everyone......including the ill informed (and I put myself firmly in that category).




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



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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2018-09-11 01:29

>> The beauty of this forum, as I see it, is the very notion that there are ill informed, dogmatic ideas that hopefully in the hashing out will illuminate a solution for everyone......including the ill informed (and I put myself firmly in that category).>>

I'd say that if you're ill-informed, it doesn't help to pontificate. Surely the better option is to inform yourself.

Anyway, I find that whatever truth I may try to offer here is drowned out by ignorance, and the assertion that I'm simply giving 'an opinion'.

Beauty???? Enough already.

Tony



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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2018-09-11 06:45

I still think that have a nice sound has more to do with voicing and what’s in our head than what mouthpiece we use. The mouthpiece just makes it more comfortable to play in the way that produces a nice sound. This way of thinking has led me to using softer reeds and playing in a more relaxed way. Just letting the reed vibrate as much as possible. And I’ve found I end up sounding like myself except, with less effort than before.

I’m certainly ignorant when it comes to most of this stuff. I do enjoy reading what others think about playing the clarinet, even if some input might not be spot on.

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour Libertas, Mouthpiece: Bernardo’s 1940 Cicero Reeds: Behn Aria 4, Ligature: BG duo

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2018-09-11 11:16

The main advantage of his exact method is that the trombone can't reproduce :)

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2018-09-11 13:17

That video really helped me to understand more about how the instrument works. Thanks for posting it.

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Dibbs 
Date:   2018-09-11 14:44

I don't fully understand why the trombone's tube dominates. Or, to put it another way, why doesn't he get a note corresponding to the length of tube sticking out of the side of the mouthpiece?

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2018-09-11 15:08

Working out the details of how his modified mouthpiece favours the bore of the trombone – rather than the length of thin tube – as a determinant of the sound production is probably quite complicated. And you notice we didn't get anything like a 'tune' to assess other aspects of the modified mouthpiece.

He'd made his point quite effectively when he sucked air through the instrument, as I mentioned myself in the thread:

http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=466065&t=466062&v=t

Tony

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2018-09-11 16:36

A friend of mine off the Board made me aware of the "Bernoulli Principle" as the mechanism that is responsible for the vibration of the reed against the mouthpiece.


The pressure differential between the interior of the mouth and the interior of the clarinet (the standing air column) would then be mechanism of the "better sound."


So this brings up two things for me.


ONE: Teach that you need to push enough air while you play to puff out your cheeks........just don't let them.


TWO: The reed/mouthpiece need only be resistant enough to buzz through an acceptable dynamic range and provide some pitch control.



Is that fair?






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



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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2018-09-11 16:59
Attachment:  P8110006.JPG (673k)
Attachment:  P8110002.JPG (685k)
Attachment:  P8110005.JPG (690k)

I've been experimenting - see attachments.

It's a case of finding the correct diameter and length of tube and also the right type of material for the diaphragm.

I can get both lower and upper registers to play a crude scale, so this principle works.

Chris.

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Dibbs 
Date:   2018-09-11 17:37

Wow! I was thinking about having a go myself but I'd probably never have got round to it.

I take it that the lower hole didn't work seeing as you've blocked it up with blu-tak.

Don't you need a very long barrel since you've shortened the vibrating air column? I'd imagine the bore and toneholes would need a redesign too since you have something much closer to a cylinder at the mouthpiece end. Perhaps the tube can compensate for that somehow.

What have you tried for the diaphragm? I thought a balloon might be a good starting point.

If it works properly there would certainly be advantages in not blowing warm damp air down a wooden tube.

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2018-09-11 17:41

Great work Chris P. I love 'proofs' of theories.

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2018-09-11 17:57

Proof of the pudding and all that.

I used the plastic from those air bags used in parcels as that vibrated, but also sounded an 8ve lower in places so I got some bass clarinet fundamentals!

I tried a piece of sturdier plastic from the bag Padsavers come in, but that wasn't compliant enough. I'll try a surgeons' glove or a balloon to see if that works.

Chris.

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2018-09-11 18:20

The scale is off, but it gets flatter as you go up the scale instead of sharp.

And the surgeons' glove diaphragm works much better than the plastic ones - I cut the tip off the thumb from a vinyl glove which is a perfect fit over the mouthpiece tenon.

Chris.

Post Edited (2018-09-11 18:22)

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: shmuelyosef 
Date:   2018-09-12 02:14

Chris,
With this setup does the clarinet overblow at the octave rather than the 12th?

Regarding the initial comments, the control of "air" is about more than just producing a sound
- The basic sound production is accomplished by just pushing air, but the tone comes from a consistent pressure and flow and shaping the 'buffer volume' (i.e. mouth and throat) as a resonant cavity to shape the frequency spectrum that the reed generates
- Starting and stopping the air is the next most important facet; music is more interesting with articulation and a 'quick start' of the note requires a ready source of pressurized air, and the tongue to stop and restart for repetitive notes
- Modulation (i.e. vibrato and other parlor tricks) requires control of the air pressure/flow vs time during note sustain

All of these need to be mastered and personalized to find your own 'sound'

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2018-09-12 16:17

Even with this set-up, it still overblows a 12th - the upper register is really flexible as you can finger the one note (eg. upper register C) and you can get pretty much any note you want using just your lip pressure.

If it can be refined to make it play as good as playing a clarinet in the normal manner, then imagine the implications and possibilities!

I might try it on an alto or tenor sax to see how that works.

Chris.

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Jeff Chan 
Date:   2018-09-12 19:24

I would expect that this set-up would still overblow a 12th since it is still a cylindrical closed-end instrument, even more so with the diaphragm.

I wonder if a flute would overblow a 12th (rather than the usual octave) if one were able to make a head-joint plus diaphragm set-up play, since this should change the open-end cylinder to a closed-end one.

Jeff

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2018-09-12 20:34

No, the diaphragm is 'transparent' to the wave – though not to the airflow.

A thin partition between two rooms will stop you being blown on by a fan in the other room, but not insulate you from sounds. The partition vibrates and so passes on the wave.

Tony



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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2018-09-12 20:57





Post Edited (2018-09-12 21:18)

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: rtaylor 
Date:   2018-09-12 21:36

I recently came to a similar conclusion as Paul about sound creation on the clarinet.

For me the epiphany was re-reading Keith Stein's book and remember what he said in my lessons about sound and support.

To boil it down, he said to imagine a box directly under your nose and you blow into it to produce sound and focus the air. He did also say that imagining blowing into the instrument and the sound coming from half way down the pipe is another approach.

So I followed up with his first ideal and took that leap that there is always air in the instrument that needs to vibrate for sound. The notion that you blow through the instrument to "fill it up" with air stills might give a better idea for students, but technically the sound is generated by the reed vibrating the air already in the tube.



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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Dibbs 
Date:   2018-09-13 13:00

Tony Pay wrote:

> No, the diaphragm is 'transparent' to the wave – though not
> to the airflow.
>
> A thin partition between two rooms will stop you being blown on
> by a fan in the other room, but not insulate you from sounds.
> The partition vibrates and so passes on the wave.
>
> Tony
>

Ah! It works a bit like a capacitor blocking DC but passing AC.

So that's why the scale gets flat rather than sharp as you go up. The hole and tube make it like the mouthpiece has a massive volume.

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Tobin 
Date:   2018-09-13 17:47

Hi all,

I’m working to incorporate this into changes I’ve been making. In theory what you describe makes perfect sense. Resolving it with fundamental misconceptions that I have is tricky.

Before I go any further about my own issues: would it be safe to say that all instructions provided to a student about “blowing through the pipe”, that improve the sound, are not in any way enabling them to blow through the pipe at all. Those instructions/descriptors are actually helping them create a more successful pressure differential which allows the reed to vibrate more freely?

James

Gnothi Seauton

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2018-09-13 19:13

>> Before I go any further about my own issues: would it be safe to say that all instructions provided to a student about “blowing through the pipe”, that improve the sound, are not in any way enabling them to blow through the pipe at all. Those instructions/descriptors are actually helping them create a more successful pressure differential which allows the reed to vibrate more freely?>>

Well, they are enabling them to blow through the pipe, but the airflow is not essential for the sound production.

In the introduction to my chapter in the Cambridge Companion to the Clarinet, I wrote:
Quote:

When I went to my very first teacher, Wilfred Kealey, he started to talk to me about music, and suggested ways of thinking which weren't directly related to the instrument, or even to the details of what I myself did. One thing which stuck in my mind was that I should imagine the clarinet sound as a smooth, round tube, which should begin deep inside me and stretch out through, and beyond, the bell of the instrument. It was my first encounter with a playing metaphor…In this chapter I will use this 'tube of sound' as a sort of reference. It divides up naturally into a number of bits, beginning with the abdomen/diaphragm system, proceeding to the space inside the mouth and throat, then the embouchure, and finally the physical instrument itself. I want to look at some aspects of each of these bits in turn…

[But] although there seems to be a sequence, in the sense that the later bits wouldn't work without the earlier ones, it is a mistake to think that it is a sequence like an assembly line, in which some product undergoes independent processes at a number of different points and emerges complete at the end. When we play a note, all the bits are interacting with each other in a complicated way, so we shall need to remember that simply considering them in order may be misleading. This is particularly true when we talk about the sound of the clarinet.
Sometimes people, including people here, talk about "types of air". The phrase: "types of air" is a natural consequence of teachers trying to push the 'tube of sound' metaphor beyond its domain of application, so that they are indeed thinking of an 'assembly line'. All the bits of the assembly line, particularly mouth shape, can affect the sound, they reason; therefore that quality of sound must be somehow 'coded' in the air that enters the instrument.

But the quality of sound isn't 'coded' in the air. There are no 'types of air' entering the instrument. The only variable is the pressure, and consequent small variations in speed of entry, depending on the current reed aperture. And the air is at body temperature, despite talk of 'cold' and 'warm' air in some pedagogy.
Quote:

One of the consequences of thinking of the sound of the clarinet as a smooth tube passing down the instrument may be that we are led always to associate a strong sound with a strong flow of air. This association, whilst useful in some ways, can create problems. We can begin to want the experience of pushing lots of air through the instrument in loud passages, and perhaps start to use reeds that are too stiff.

A more useful metaphor is to think of the tube of air vibrating rather like the string on a 'cello.

The fact is that the sound of the instrument is made by the vibrations of the air column; and the air is already inside the instrument -- we don't have to put it there. Some extra air obviously does pass down the instrument, but this is incidental. If the reed's motion were to be driven by some other means than blowing, we would still obtain a sound from the tube.

If we think about the matter in this way, we can see that we may indeed on some occasions be putting more air down the instrument than we need. It is not always the case that a large quantity of air is necessary to produce the most powerful, effective, or resonant sound. What IS required is to have the most efficient coupling possible between the reed and the air-tube, and to allow the instrument and the reed to vibrate together.

To succeed in this requires that there is sufficient air pressure to set the reed vibrating, and will also certainly have to do with precise details of the embouchure. The idea of the delicate control of a freely vibrating object (the reed), already co-operating with the resonance of the vibrating air inside the instrument, is a pleasing one, and it is also a mental image almost guaranteed to have the effect of avoiding an unduly tight or restrictive embouchure.

The shape of the inside of our mouth is not often thought of as having a strong effect on the sound of the clarinet. But though pressure waves inside the mouth are not audible in themselves, they clearly have some effect on how the reed behaves, just like the waves in the instrument, and therefore they indirectly make a contribution to the sound of the clarinet. Strong evidence in this direction is that in special circumstances we can completely change the 'normal' behaviour of the clarinet: simply by altering the position of the tongue we can glissando down from the one-thumb plus register key C” through a sixth or more. Mouth shapes control intonation [and sound quality] in other parts of the instrument too, provided the reed is sufficiently responsive.
All this isn't to say that metaphors like the 'tube of sound' aren't useful. But each of them has a limited domain of application; and when one of them breaks down, as in this case, we have to return to physical reality, which means some sort of scientific description.

Tony

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2018-09-13 20:02

Finally got around to reading this thread, and it's fantastically interesting. One thing that struck me about the video, though, was that he didn't sound especially good, nor did he seem to be trying to. It's one thing to get the notes of the standard range with the air being diverted and the vibrations from the reed transmitted through a membrane, and another to sound like, say, Marcellus or Leister with a setup that does that. A lot of the things we do mentally in trying to feel a certain way while playing are to get a sound we really like, so it would be interesting to take these experiments a step further and see whether it's possible to get a really great sound with just a membrane creating the vibrations in the instrument. Maybe we'll end up having to pay several hundred dollars for very special membranes.

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Tobin 
Date:   2018-09-13 20:20

Thank you for your response, Tony.

Quote:

If we think about the matter in this way, we can see that we may indeed on some occasions be putting more air down the instrument than we need.


This is exactly the conceptual problem that I've been working on. My instinctive approach is to use too much wind.

Quote:

But though pressure waves inside the mouth are not audible in themselves, they clearly have some effect on how the reed behaves, just like the waves in the instrument, and therefore they indirectly make a contribution to the sound of the clarinet.


This was my next question: I think of the oral cavity as a modular mouthpiece, a chamber that we can change (voicing) to improve the response of the instrument. Along that idea, then, and applying Bernoulli's principle, the pressure differential is created before the oral cavity?

Or am I devolving into your "assembly line" here and I should reapproach with integrated "tube of sound"?

Gnothi Seauton

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2018-09-13 21:53

All I meant by:

>> If we think about the matter in this way, we can see that we may indeed on some occasions be putting more air down the instrument than we need. >>

...was that it's possible to err on the side of a too-open setup.

You say "My instinctive approach is to use too much wind". So, for a given musical demand, try using less, and see whether that helps. I wouldn't think it's a problem.

>> I think of the oral cavity as a modular mouthpiece, a chamber that we can change (voicing) to improve the response of the instrument. >>

Indeed.

>> Along that idea, then, and applying Bernoulli's principle, the pressure differential is created before the oral cavity? >>

At any moment the pressure in your mouth is the same as that in your trachea, which is the same as that in your lungs. There is a difference between that pressure and the pressure in the mouthpiece. This pressure difference is what drives the vibration of the reed.

You don't want to worry about this Bernoulli thing. Though it comes into the analysis, and is a factor in mouthpiece design, it's not an important part of a player's concerns. You choose a mouthpiece that you can get on with.

There are a number of ways in which players can encounter problems. But EVERYONE, including all the people that this list considers 'magicians', is involved in dealing moment by moment with the difference between what they want to produce and what they are currently producing. There is no 'answer'.

>> Or am I devolving into your "assembly line" here and I should reapproach with integrated "tube of sound"? >>

The 'tube of sound' metaphor is just that: a metaphor. My teacher thought it the best one to lead me as a 9-year old lad to the experience of playing well. But it's not THE TRUTH, and indeed can be counterproductive for some people.

My basic message would be, forget about what you SPOZED to do. Be interested in the music.

Tony

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: QuickStart Clarinet 
Date:   2018-09-13 22:41

That is awesome! I think you could do something similar with the clarinet by placing the diaphragm in between the mouthpiece and the barrel and then venting the air out of the clarinet mouthpiece. (Essentially exactly the same thing he did with the trombone mouthpiece)!

I do however think there aren't really a lot of greater implications for this other than the fact that the way our air vibrates the reed is what is most important, but I think, for the most part, we already knew that.

It is really cool to see an experiment that basically proves that though!

Josh Goo
QuickStart Clarinet Founder
www.quickstartclarinet.com

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2018-09-14 00:16

I wrote:

>> This pressure difference is what drives the vibration of the reed. >>

It might help our understanding of our mental models to see that of course there is that gross pressure – both inside the mouth and inside the mouthpiece – but then, and more importantly, the microvariations of pressure that constitute sound and vibration.

One of the useful ways of thinking about our playing is to see that it's about VIBRATION, not about airflow and associated pressure. We may then be more able elegantly to LET the instrument do its work.

Tony



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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2018-09-14 00:41

Quote:

My basic message would be, forget about what you SPOZED to do. Be interested in the music.


If only I had understood this concept earlier in my learning process!

Eventually, I figured it out...but what a long, silly journey I took!

Fuzzy

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Clarence Beale 
Date:   2018-09-14 00:55

Tony,

You wrote:

“You don’t want to worry about this Bernoulli thing….it’s not an important part of a player’s concerns.”

Why is understanding how fast moving air causes the clarinet reed to vibrate via the Bernoulli Principle of Fluid Dynamics a “worry” and “not an important part of a player’s concerns”? For me, understanding this enables me to produce a better clarinet sound more efficiently.

You also wrote:

“There is a difference between that pressure [inside the mouth] and the pressure in the mouthpiece. This pressure difference is what drives the vibration of the reed.”

It seems to me that the most important pressure differential is the difference in the air pressure inside the mouth and the air pressure in the space immediately above the mouthpiece facing rails and behind the back of the reed. That space above the mouthpiece rails isn’t inside the mouthpiece at all.

My ultimate mechanical concern when playing the clarinet is how to get the clarinet reed to vibrate most efficiently. No clarinet teacher ever told me how to do that. I have never read in the many journal articles and books written by clarinetists how to do that. I had to discover that on my own with help from some physicists interested in musical acoustics. Once I discovered how fast moving air causes the clarinet reed to vibrate via the Bernoulli Principle my mental image of how I use moving air to create the clarinet sound completely changed, for the better in my opinion. I wish I had known this information when I started learning how to play the clarinet.

Clarence

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2018-09-14 15:05

Clarence,

I certainly wouldn't want to interfere with the mental models you use in your playing. Clearly you are doing well; even if at an earlier time you were less able:

"I wish I had known this information when I started learning how to play the clarinet."

...you have now achieved success.

I think what may help is that I wasn't talking to YOU when I wrote about 'Bernoulli's principle". I was talking to Tobin, who had just said:

"I think of the oral cavity as a modular mouthpiece, a chamber that we can change (voicing) to improve the response of the instrument. Along that idea, then, and applying Bernoulli's principle, the pressure differential is created before the oral cavity?"

I don't know what this second sentence means. Perhaps I should have asked him to explain further, but it seemed to me that he was confusing himself, and I thought the best solution was to avoid talking about Bernoulli entirely. Bernoulli is to do with what you can say about pressure in laminar flow, and indeed can yield insight into what happens at the reed tip. That didn't seem to be the case with what he was saying.

I have several times lamented the fact that people here quote teachers out of context, as though they were providing eternal truths, when probably they were just dealing with the player in front of them. It's because we all have different collections of ideas in our heads that teaching is difficult.

I remember, on a clarinet course in Ramsgate many years ago, a mature student suddenly saying, "Of course! I get it! The clarinet is a system that operates under pressure!" For many people those words wouldn't have had the force of revelation that they did for him; but he was an engineer, and his mind was prepared for something like that.

I would be interested to know what you now think your problem was, before learning about Bernoulli. (I imagine that 'Bernoulli' for you primarily meant that the reed closes against the mouthpiece facing for a short part of the cycle; but perhaps not.) What did your realisation release you from?

Whilst on the subject of out-of-context quoting, there's another example in this thread, where Fuzzy sarcastically has me seeming to say that 'analysis is useless: just think about the music':-)

Tony

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Mojo 
Date:   2018-09-14 18:35

I’m quite fond of Bernoulli’s principle. But it seems to me that one would learn about its applicable effects empirically by trial and error way before the mathematical theory was explained to them. Blow air fast and slow. Which one works better? Keep doing that.

MojoMP.com
Mojo Mouthpiece Work LLC
MojoMouthpieceWork@yahoo.com

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2018-09-14 20:36

Tony,

Appologies if that's how my quote of you came across. My intended point was much closer to saying something along the lines of "I realize that we all learn things differently, but I wish someone had made this statement to me during my earlier education..." - in fact, this was stated in an earlier (longer) draft which I didn't post.

During those years of my schooling, I was too much a literalist when the teacher(s) would explain a concept to me. I would focus on the steps and not on the overall concept/idea/sound.

Thus, my wish for having someone say the words you said. Eventually (after college), I figured it out, and things progressed much more quickly for me at that point. Not only that, but (in retrospect) the steps provided by the teachers suddenly made a lot of sense to me.

That's all I meant.

I appreciate your presence in this bboard, and did not intentionally attempt to cause any friction.


Fuzzy

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2018-09-14 20:38

OK, Fuzzy. Apologies.

Tony

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 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Clarence Beale 
Date:   2018-09-14 20:58

Tony,

Thank you for taking the time to write your lengthy response to my question. Now I understand the rationale for your Bernoulli comment.

Like you I am baffled by the comment: “Along that idea, then, and applying Bernoulli’s principle, the pressure differential is created before the oral cavity?” He may have been referring to a concept of air flow above the tongue which Joe Allard called “coning”. I have never understood how this can work (change anything) since according to the Bernoulli principle an increase in the speed of air flow results in a corresponding decrease in air pressure. As you suggest, it would be helpful if Tobin would explain in scientific terms exactly what he means.

You wrote:

“I would be interested to know what you now think your problem was, before learning about Bernoulli…What did your realization release you from?”

My new understanding of how air flow causes the reed to vibrate via the Bernoulli Principle released me from IGNORANCE. Before I had no useful mental image of how air flow causes the reed to vibrate.

At my first clarinet lesson, after being told how to form a version of the single lip embouchure, after being told how to hold the clarinet and place it in my mouth, and after being told to close my lips so air wouldn’t escape, I was then told to blow with enough air pressure inside my mouth so the reed vibrates thus creating the clarinet sound. That was it! The reed vibrates because of “magic”. That became my mental image of how to produce the clarinet sound. I think it was assumed that if I had “talent” I would discover on my own how to create a pleasant clarinet sound.

Strangely, none of my clarinet teachers said much more about how to use air to create the clarinet sound. My teachers were more interested in teaching me how to play music. That is easier than saying something intelligent about how to use air flow efficiently to create the best reed vibrations possible which requires, in my opinion, some precise scientific knowledge.

Actually, I was rather successful learning how to play the clarinet using my highly deficient air flow mental image. After years of lessons, reading about what others wrote about how they played the clarinet and actually playing the instrument, I came to the conclusion that, at least for me, everything ultimately depends upon the efficient use of air flow to create the best clarinet sound possible. This was especially important with regard to articulation. That’s when I decided to try to learn on my own how moving air causes the clarinet reed to vibrate. I discovered that the Bernoulli Principle was the key to the explanation.

Now I have what I think is a realistic mental image of how fast flowing air causes the clarinet reed to vibrate, and I try to use it every time I play the clarinet in order to produce the best kind of sound I want to create using the least amount of effort possible.

Clarence

Reply To Message
 
 Re: The Clarinet does not need air
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2018-09-14 22:49

Just about the Bernoulli effect: it's worth looking at:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernoulli%27s_principle

...to see that invoking it isn't trivial. Read particularly the bit under "Misapplications of Bernoulli's principle in common classroom demonstrations"

Tony



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