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 How do some players make their sound carry, though they have a smallish tone?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-03-29 15:43

In the concert-hall, some clarinetists don't produce many decibels, but make their sound carry beautifully. I have in mind, Harold Wright, Karl Leister, Pascal Moragues. I suspect it is because their tone is/was so beautiful that one's ears prick up to listen to them: quality over quantity. Any other theories? Mine is basically psychological.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com
JL-Clarinette

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 Re: How do some players make their sound carry, though they have a smallish tone?
Author: Ed 
Date:   2019-03-29 16:01

In the case of Wright I would say that the purity, clarity and focus of his sound was a major part of his projection. You can hear that kind of focus from many of the legendary players of the previous generations https://rharl25.wixsite.com/clarinetcentral

While I hear many players who want a "large" sound, sometimes it is rather diffuse, which I think negates some of the volume they produce. I hear some players today who aim for a broad tone which gets a bit lost in an ensemble. I have always found that a tone with a lot of focus and ring will carry well with a clear voice.



Post Edited (2019-03-29 16:02)

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 Re: How do some players make their sound carry, though they have a smallish tone?
Author: Agomongo 
Date:   2019-03-29 16:49

From personal experience I appreciate the small sound much more. I've gone through every phase. Dark, warm, and bright. No overtones, some, overtones, lots of overtones. When I was younger my teacher that I studied with pushed me to get a BIG tone with lots of darkness to it. Once I went to college my teacher changed it to the total opposite. Small with lots of brightness. My heroes are people like Martin Frost, Nicholas Balderyou, and others like them. So, with that I've always preferred that bright sound with lots of high overtones, core, and focus. I've changed mouthpieces to a VD Traditional 3 with the D'Addario X15E. I would like to get the Aria reeds, but I'm still a poor college student.

Personally, I think the "small" tones do project a lot better. I mean that's why the French, Germans, and Spaniards still play that way. That's why Judith LeClair plays that way too. That's not to say that people with BIG tones can't project, but I remember when I was listening to my old teacher play that that was the first time (prior to traveling through Europe) I had ever heard a clarinet still being heard when the entire orchestra was playing double FF in America. I think the trend towards a big tone with darkness to it is because it helps them blend better and to their ears that has more core with plenty of ring, but not too much ring.

I agree with Ed when he says that the large sound eventually diffuses in a hall. If something is already as big as it can get then it's going to keep expanding until it disappears before it hits the wall. As opposed to something that is small and can still keep expanding and bounce off the walls. I know I've heard some people cite Bob Marcellus as someone with a big tone, but the funny thing is that Larry Guy, who has heard him live, said that up close he had a small tone adorable tone, then expanded the farther away you got from him. That was the same with my previous teacher. Even Andreas Ottensamer has a bright tone and when he came to do masterclasses at NYC people who saying, "Oh his reed is way too thin. That's why he sounded bad and bright." Uch... disgusting attitude. Just because something is different doesn't mean it's bad

It is the amount of overtones and core that help project. Dark tone quality CAN have that too, but not as much as a bright and flexible sound.



Post Edited (2019-03-29 16:51)

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 Re: How do some players make their sound carry, though they have a smallish tone?
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2019-03-29 18:58

IMO, being very picky about the setup, very solid but finely controlled breath support, and careful attention to what people refer to as "voicing." A lot of voicing is managing the overtones through controlling what happens with the embouchure and the inside of your mouth, which I'm guessing is what Agomongo is referring to. Although a "bright" sound can often carry well--Eduard Brunner is another example--Marcellus did not have a bright sound, and he drilled right through to the back of the hall, which many of his students can also do.



Post Edited (2019-03-29 19:00)

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 Re: How do some players make their sound carry, though they have a smallish tone?
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2019-03-29 19:19

There is more to 'More or Less overtones' than expressed here.
The clarinet is unique in the wind instruments in that the odd overtones are stronger than the even overtones.
So, the stronger the odd overtones, the more projection, center, ping etc. and the stronger/weaker of the upper overtones makes the sound brighter/darker. Marcellus and Wright both had strong odd overtones where Wright's higher odd overtones were stronger than Marcellus's.



Post Edited (2019-03-29 22:33)

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 Re: How do some players make their sound carry, though they have a smallish tone?
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2019-03-29 21:00

I've seen the exact same thing in (french) horns.....a sound that is big, warm, and beautiful up close does not carry that way into the hall. It carries more "muffy." The brighter, focused, even slightly harsh tone up close carries into the hall sounding much better than the "up-close better" one. The highs are lost in the travel somehow.

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 Re: How do some players make their sound carry, though they have a smallish tone?
Author: Agomongo 
Date:   2019-03-29 23:25

Sorry, yes I should've clarified that Marcellus was pretty dark, but by no means did he have a big tone either. His tone was still rather small, from what I've heard, but then became huge as you went to the back of the hall.

Yes, overtones and core is the key to projection and I find that a small tone is what gives me a myriad of those two things.

I use to control my overtones and core with my embouchure, however not anymore. My teeth are a little... not standard (I have an underbite.) So I end up pulling my bottom jaw back and using my air and tongue positioning/voicing instead to help control those things, but my air is my main focus since it will usually correct my tongue position/voicing.

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 Re: How do some players make their sound carry, though they have a smallish tone?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-03-30 02:08

Ken: correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the dissonant overtones: 2nds, 7ths, etc. made for a sour sound; the 3rds, 5ths, etc making for a sweeter sound. What is meant by "strong" or "weak" overytones?

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com
JL-Clarinette

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 Re: How do some players make their sound carry, though they have a smallish tone?
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2019-03-30 17:04

All sounds have at least some overtones that let the ear and brain know what it is that they are hearing - a baby calling or a lion attacking. If you have a smartphone, there is a free app called 'Spectroid' for Android and iPhone that gives a spectrum analysis of any sound. Play a good clarinet sound and you will see peaks at odd overtones that show what a good clarinet sound is. Then make a poor clarinet sound and the peaks change. Yes, there is a lot of 'noise' in there that is other overtones that contribute for the sound color but the peaks are what identify the sound. It is a good teaching tool because a student can see when a sound is more like a clarinet sound.

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