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 making the high D to B smoother?
Author: Erez Katz 
Date:   2019-05-05 15:17

Hi all,

The second break, high/3rd D to high/2nd B, is a little challenging (at least for me) to get perfectly smooth.
I usually relax my throat for a split second to avoid the high pitch artifact, which works better when the passage is slow.

Any suggestions?

Erez

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 Re: making the high D to B smoother?
Author: Erez Katz 
Date:   2019-05-05 15:33

I just saw a similar discussion a few weeks ago... I will take a look

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 Re: making the high D to B smoother?
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2019-05-05 17:02

Slurring down to another register and getting an overtone instead is sometimes caused by a two dimensional 'bite' embouchure. Use the side muscles like when whistling, to push in against the sides of the mouthpiece. Kal Opperman used to say to push in so strong that you can let go of the clarinet and swing the clarinet back and forth like a pendulum. (hahaa) A good exercise to master is C above the staff slurred down two octaves, B down etc. This can be done without changing the embouchure. For the D to B mentioned above, of the course the fingers must also be co-ordinated.

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 Re: making the high D to B smoother?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-05-05 17:40

Erez Katz wrote:

> Hi all,
>
> The second break, high/3rd D to high/2nd B, is a little
> challenging (at least for me) to get perfectly smooth.
> I usually relax my throat for a split second to avoid the high
> pitch artifact

Ken Lagace wrote:

> Use the side muscles like when whistling, to push
> in against the sides of the mouthpiece.
> A good exercise to master is C above the staff slurred down two
> octaves, B down etc. This can be done without changing the
> embouchure.

I'll second Ken's advice on embouchure, which can generally allow more flexibility throughout the entire range, not just when moving between high clarion and altissimo notes.

When my students have trouble crossing between clarion and altissimo in either direction it almost always turns out that they're changing something, usually embouchure pressure, from one note to the other. Nine times out of ten, when a student has trouble with D6-C6 or D6-B5 (or similar intervals) he's dropping his jaw and releasing pressure to avoid a squeak. Check that you aren't changing your embouchure - shape or pressure - as you move your fingers. Your "relaxing" your throat may even be contributing to the problem, first because your throat shouldn't be tense to begin with and second because you might be changing something in your mouth (which can change your embouchure) as well. Pay careful attention to moving only your fingers.

Of course, as Ken mentions, your fingers need to be well coordinated. If, for example, your RH index finger lifts too soon, you could get an unintended E6 in between. If everything comes up but the LH index doesn't go down cleanly or soon enough, you could get an unintended (and probably flat) G6. Do you know what pitch the "high pitch artifact" is? If simply eliminating embouchure changes doesn't help, it may (or may not) be useful to figure out where the squeak is coming from by figuring out which fingering is actually generating the harmonic.

Karl

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 Re: making the high D to B smoother?
Author: Erez Katz 
Date:   2019-05-05 23:33

The advices are excellent and right on the mark.
Thank you Ken and Karl for taking the time write them up.

I am in the progress of getting back into shape, after many years off. [I find it helpful for my day at work to happen after an hour practice in the morning]

This is also an opportunity to re-evaluate what I do and if something does not work, change it.

An old bad habbit of mine is to choke up the air stream while going higher, from A3 above then the down slurs require some "fiddling" to avoid squeaking. While I didn't initially understand it was a bad habit, I could hear how "choking" degrades the sound, and complicates articulation. I started realizing that keeping a good steady air stream, is not only simpler, but all that is really needed, so in sort of speak I am "unlearning to ride the bike" ...



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 Re: making the high D to B smoother?
Author: johng 2017
Date:   2019-05-06 00:51

If you can half hole the LH 1st finger while playing the D you are able to slide, or better roll the 1st finger back for the B, making a smoother transition. This may depend on how the intonation is for the half holed D, though.

John Gibson, Founder of JB Linear Music, www.music4woodwinds.com

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 Re: making the high D to B smoother?
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2019-05-06 17:53

Even after establishing a good embouchure and good air support, making the 2nd break transitions truly smooth and seamless takes some finicky finger coordination. I think it's harder to get really smooth than the 1st break. Contrary motion on and between hands is frequently involved.

Even if there's no gap in sound, sometimes when crossing upward a noticeable "pop" happens at the start of the second note. An example of where that is frequently noticeable is the clarinet entrance to the Weber Quintet, 1st movement. Few performers achieve a truly seamless slur between the C and C#. (My personal uninformed theory about that "pop" relates it to the unchimneyed tone hole under the lh ring finger, and curing it seems to involve how that finger closes that hole - it needs to lay down, not slam down. Why that, I don't know. The difference is less noticeable in lower registers.)

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 Re: making the high D to B smoother?
Author: Erez Katz 
Date:   2019-05-09 20:50

My wife asked me how I was doing while I was practicing and I told her about this thread. She took a close look at my fingers at the D-B slur and pointed out that my left ring finger was "behind" the rest going up... and right she was...

I also started to apply the embouchure advice.

Gratefully,


Erez

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 Re: making the high D to B smoother?
Author: TomS 
Date:   2019-05-10 08:27

At my advanced age, still working on, as I think is described above, the "pucker" or "drawstring" embouchure. When I remember to do this, it makes significant difference in playing intervals, centering the sound and improving intonation (especially in the high register). Relaxation in the throat (and mind and fingers) and a "proper pucker" is the key, I think, to becoming the player I'd like to be.

Tom

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 Re: making the high D to B smoother?
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2019-05-10 17:02

It is my belief in all my years of teaching that you are over thinking this. I've taught hundreds of students from age 12 to 70 and never remember coming across this problem. If your fingers move in perfect sync there's no reason to change anything in you embouchure or air column. With that said, if there is still a problem you are either changing your embouchure or voicing unconsciously. Just keep a steady air column, relax and coordinate your fingers. I suggest you do it several times back and forth forte in quarter notes so your air flows steady. Once you have confidence play it softer with the same relaxed air flow. You did not have to change anything but you probably are.

ESP eddiesclarinet.com

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 Re: making the high D to B smoother?
Author: Erez Katz 
Date:   2019-05-10 20:14

>> It is my belief in all my years of teaching that you are over thinking this.

Most likely true... well, at some point in the past I must have picked up a habit of voicing that passage to avoid the high pitch artifact.
It did not occur to me it was just an over tone caused by uncoordinated finger movement. I thought it was just a squeak.

>> I've taught hundreds of students from age 12 to 70 and never remember coming across this problem.
>> If your fingers move in perfect sync there's no reason to change anything in you embouchure or air column.

Apparently they were not. But my wife noticed it the first time she paid attention to it...

>> With that said, if there is still a problem you are either changing your embouchure or voicing unconsciously.
>> Just keep a steady air column, relax and coordinate your fingers.
>> I suggest you do it several times back and forth forte in quarter notes so your air flows steady.
>> Once you have confidence play it softer with the same relaxed air flow.
>> You did not have to change anything but you probably are.

Yup. I was getting a perfectly smooth slur (for the first time) with just better finger movement. It was a revelation because I had to "fight" my instinct to (miss)voice that slur.
I quickly switched to softer playing... playing that register loudly for a duration makes my ears ring.

Thank you and the others for taking the time to write these replies.
It is an incredible thing to be able to have access to this knowledge base.


Erez



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