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 attack and decay
Author: rgoldem 
Date:   2021-08-12 01:43

I have been looking for information regarding attack and decay of notes on the clarinet. I can find valuable information about attack, tonguing and initial transients but not so much about decay and ending of notes.

Can anyone suggest a web site or pedagogical material where this matter is more extensively discussed?

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 Re: attack and decay
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2021-08-12 02:00

This might help.


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 Re: attack and decay
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2021-08-12 02:15

…and, I hope, a fuller discussion of the ‘magic diminuendo’.


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 Re: attack and decay
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2021-08-12 23:35

There is a long tone exercise that was handed down by a principal clarinet of the Chicago Symphony that is good for developing dynamic range and the necessary control.

Start to play a low E, but begin the note as a whisper coming from nothing. You do this by blowing with an embouchure looser than what will give you the note and bring the embouchure in slowly until the note sneaks in. NOW, once the note is started start crescendoing slowly, counting SLOWLY (about 54 beats to the minute each count). At "four" you are about half as loud as you can play, continue to count "eight" where you are playing as loud as you possibly can. Then count back down to "one" getting softer and softer until you fade to nothing at count one. In summary you are counting 15 counts in ONE BREATH, moving from silence to the loudest sound you can produce and back down to nothing. You can initially make the exercise easier by making the tempo faster (60bps etc).


you do that again on Low E, twice on low F, twice on low F# and twice on G. After those eight iterations you'll feel like you've run around the block a few times but you'll also feel more in control of your sound and have a better sense of control over dynamics (including the decay thing). Try that for a week and see what ya think.

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

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 Re: attack and decay
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2021-08-13 19:32

It struck me that a little more motivation to investigate my previously posted links might be in order.

All excellent playing requires control of note-shapes – attack and decay – and the best way to do this is via a technique called 'support', to varying degrees.

It's very easy to get kids to latch onto this, but harder for mature players who don't appreciate its simplicity, and may have lots of notions that seem to go against it.

Actually, I'd say all good players are using it, whether they understand or no.


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