Advertising and Web Hosting on Woodwind.Org!

Woodwind.OrgThe Clarinet BBoardThe C4 standard

 
  BBoard Equipment Study Resources Music General    
 
 New Topic  |  Go to Top  |  Go to Topic  |  Search  |  Help/Rules  |  Smileys/Notes  |  Log In   Newer Topic  |  Older Topic 
 Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2021-09-21 01:25

First off, apologies for many posts on this subject.

I call my progress "Chapter 2" because I have, in a few weeks, been able to reach a point where I can play for relatively long periods with double lip embouchure, provided my top teeth are covered (thank you floral tape) and the clarinet rests on my knee or between my legs while I play.

Ok, sure, it's not, even with these conditions, at the level of my single lip play. With double lip embouchure, high notes can be flat, as sure as I try to snug mouthpiece with the my right thumb, and beyond Super High G [G6], and depending on the reed, length of play, etc., I might not have the chops.

My goal is to be able to play with the clarinet supported by at most a neckstrap--not a knee. Without this, solo work will forever be confined to a chair...not that I'm "Mr. Solo Clarinet" or anything, or Harold Wright who I understand soloed this way.

So....any tips?

I've been playing measures with double lip and the clarinet bell held by nothing until I fatigue. I give it a rest, try again, and try to build up every day, along with switching to single lip embouchure to effect the rest of my practice sessions.

Is there a "better mousetrap" to be built here regarding my transition? Is such a transition one that might take years? I ask the latter question because from what I've seen of Tom Ridenour's video on double lip (or French) embouchure, I think--maybe--he may be implying (I may be wrong) that being content solely with chair based play may be the price to pay for this double lip embouchure's superior sound resonance.

Thanks.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: Ed 
Date:   2021-09-21 02:05

Richard Stoltzman played as a soloist all over the globe and stood, using no supports. Of course back then I don't recall anyone using neck straps.

I recall students who studied with Kal Opperman transitioning to double lip who would practice alternating periods of rest (5 on, 5 off) and gradually increasing the amount of playing time and using less rest.

Be patient and take your time. It takes a while to develop the feel and muscle support.



Post Edited (2021-09-21 02:06)

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2021-09-21 05:00

I studied with Kal Opperman, and if you are playing double lip properly, your single lip should sound the same way. I have asked for good players to tell me which of 2 sounds I play are single or double, and then have always guessed 50/50 wrong.
I have no trouble playing a 4th to a 5th higher without changing the embouchure, just the voicing.

Things to try;
more mouthpiece,
lift the upper teeth off the mouthpiece so the side lip muscles do more of the work,
faster air - blow harder but not louder.

This problem is telling you more of how your single lip is wrong, not about an error in your double lip.

Good luck - it will be worth the effort when it begins to work well.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: brycon 
Date:   2021-09-21 08:28

Quote:

...double lip embouchure's superior sound resonance.


If you find yourself experiencing physical discomfort, including an inability to stand and play, why bother with it? Superior sound resonance? What a load. A well-developed single-lip embouchure does all the stuff a double-lip embouchure does, to the point where switching between them makes no difference in timbre (it's a common exercise in the US, in fact, to practice switching between the two and "matching" them).

Our unique facial structures, what we're taught at a younger age, the way we prefer to interact physically with the mouthpiece and clarinet, etc. are all good reasons for gravitating toward one way of playing over another. Selecting an embouchure because of promised superior sound resonance, as though you're selecting, say, particular mountain bike tires for superior riding comfort, is silly.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: bmcgar 2017
Date:   2021-09-21 17:06


I'm with Brycon and Ken: Why bother? I've played with both in my days, but with no significant difference in sound, either for listeners or in recordings.

The only time I've advocated double lip is for students having difficulty with heavy articulation. Practicing tonguing with a double-lip embouchure seems to have made tonguing at the tip of the reed easier, then they're returned to single-lip playing.

B.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2021-09-21 17:16

Wow @Ken Legace, @brycon, and @bmcgar, especially Ken, who studied with Kal.

I'm beginning to wonder why I am going through the effort I am to switch to double lip embouchure--my motivation being resonance/sound production from the wider oral cavity that double lip necessitates.

By no means is my single lip play in need of remediation--at least from a tonal production standpoint.

I mean sure, double lip has the advantages of preventing a player from biting, and forces light fingers--and the production of sound that the player should strive to reproduce in single lip play, but from your take on things it sounds more like double lip embouchure is a tool to fix single lip problems or something best left for players who want to play double lip.

Interesting...

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: bmcgar 2017
Date:   2021-09-21 17:52

I suspect that what most people "hear" when they try double lip that seems to them to be a significant improvement in sound quality is simply caused by the teeth not being on the top of the mouthpiece so vibrations from the mouthpiece are not conducted by the bones to the inner ear. (An audience can't hear that, of course.)

A thick mouthpiece cushion accomplishes the same thing, pretty much. Try it.

B.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: brycon 
Date:   2021-09-21 18:48

Quote:

I mean sure, double lip has the advantages of preventing a player from biting, and forces light fingers...


An embouchure alone doesn't do either of these things. You can easily close somewhat the hinge of jaw while playing with a double-lip embouchure. Indeed, several online clarinet personalities who swear by double-lip embouchure have, to my ears, incredibly small and tight sounds. And I have no idea how an embouchure would have an appreciable effect on your fingers. It sounds as though some double-lip salesman out there is doing a bang-up job.

The whole thing, though, reminds me of an argument in Aristotle's Ethics in which he's debunking Plato's "Idea of the Good." Aristotle says, in paraphrase, "If what Plato says is the key to it all, why isn't everyone out there following him?" And if double-lip embouchure gives you better technique, more resonance, eliminates biting ("And if you try double lip now, we'll throw in an additional two shamwows!"), why doesn't every professional clarinet player use it? Pretty easy: it doesn't do any of that stuff; you do (or do not do) that stuff with dedicated practice, experimentation, critical listening, getting feedback from colleagues, etc.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2021-09-21 18:58

>>And I have no idea how an embouchure would have an appreciable effect on your fingers.

Heavy fingers bounce the clarinet around. The jaw isn't securing the clarinet and locking it in place.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: prigault 
Date:   2021-09-21 19:50

Ken Lagace wrote:

> >>And I have no idea how an embouchure would have an
> appreciable effect on your fingers.
>
> Heavy fingers bounce the clarinet around. The jaw isn't
> securing the clarinet and locking it in place.

Here, you are rightly saying that fingers can have an effect on the sound (or jaw feeling), especially when the embouchure is not secure. It still does not mean that embouchure has any effect on the fingers (which it does not).

Besides, if one needs to play uncomfortably so that they can feel the effect of heavy fingers, then they probably need a better way to exercise and understand the advantages of light fingers (which have less to do with jaw pain and more with fluidity and speed).

I am with brycon 100% on the touted advantages of double lip that are not. And if we were to convert (an apt verb, as it is a matter of belief more than facts) to double lip "because the great Harold Wright did so", then we should all play guitar left handed "because Jimi Hendrix did so". That looks more like cult following than reasoning to me.

Now, if you try double lip and it so happens that you can _observe_ for yourself something better coming out of it, then by all means pursue experimenting along that track. Otherwise, and especially if you observe things going for the worse, then I really don't see what good you are trying to achieve.



Post Edited (2021-09-21 19:51)

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: Ed 
Date:   2021-09-21 20:06

The simple answer for many people might be- try it. Too often I see debates where it seems people are entrenched in their ideas and what is "right". Many people find benefits to double lip.

Very simply- Do what you like and what works for you.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2021-09-21 20:22

I agree with Ed...BUT............


Here is a GREAT video by Dale Fedele that brings this all together!



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYBzMOm7EJQ





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



Reply To Message
 
 Re: Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2021-09-23 06:34

Ken Lagace wrote:

> I studied with Kal Opperman, and if you are playing double lip
> properly, your single lip should sound the same way.

I hear you Ken. I'm forced to draw the conclusion then that my single lip play must be in need of improvement then--although I tend to get complements on it.

Perhaps I can offer a auditory example.

I think this gentlemen's sound is superb and something I strive for.

https://www.youtube.com/user/clari257/videos

I can only approximate it playing double lip. I am 100% willing to concede that it must be me. Jon Manasse's sound is no less beautiful, even if slightly different, and he plays single lip.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: bmcgar 2017
Date:   2021-09-23 15:50

He might sound entirely different to you were you to be in the room standing next to him, in a hall in the audience, outside, and so forth.

It's usually not a good idea to base your evaluation of a player on a recording, esp. one on the web maybe played through computer speakers.

Even professionally engineered recordings aren't "accurate." Compare Drucker's early recordings of the Brahms sonatas to later recordings. You'd never know they were the same player.

B.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2021-09-23 17:44

His playing is lovely. :-) Is he playing an A clarinet? It seems longer and deeper then mine.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2021-09-23 20:07

He has a fine pianist - missed some rhythms Brahms, but the pianist recovered nicely. 😏

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2021-09-24 16:48

Hi SecondTry,

I just tried an experiment to see if I could find a happy middle ground between double lip and single lip. I wondered if I could tell you about it, in case we can work stuff out better if we put our heads together?

The thing is, I like double lip, because it stops me biting and gives me the nice tone, and helps a huge amount with crossing the break legato. On the other hand, it gets really crazy when I try to play this progression, with Bb in the middle:

[A5] [Bb5] [C6]

That's because when I get to the top C, I have only my left thumb holding the clarinet and the thumb isn't pressing the instrument against my top teeth, so the instrument moves up, the thumb hole fails to close, and the note fails to sound properly.

So I tried putting my top teeth back on the mp, and then I was biting. Then I wondered if I could stop the biting by taking my bottom teeth off the mp. This was me trying the advice that Ken Lagace gave, but lifting the lower teeth rather than the upper ones.

I just used my lip to brace the reed, instead of my teeth, which I think is the whole point of what I'm meant to be doing, at least as all the books say it. That really forced my muscles to engage, but in a totally different way from when I do double lip.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but it feels as though I'm doing what people are suggesting, when they say to use double lip practise to strengthen single lip techniqiue. I wondered if I could ask what you think?

I just came back to playing today after a long post-covid break, so I'm looking at the whole thing through fresh eyes, which I think perhaps is helpful for me.

Thanks!

Jen



Post Edited (2021-09-24 16:50)

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: BethGraham 
Date:   2021-09-24 18:43

Hey, Jen --

You don't mean to say that your lower teeth actually make contact with the reed/mouthpiece when you're playing, do you? If you've been using your lower teeth all along, I'm pretty sure that's an "unorthodox" way of playing.

Sorry for the thread jack; your statement "Then I wondered if I could stop the biting by taking my bottom teeth off the mp..." made me wonder.

So glad you're feeling well enough to resume practice, Jen!

Beth

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2021-09-24 19:44

LOL! No.

Just the usual single lip embouchure + the biting bad habit.

Jen

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2021-09-24 20:40

Hi Jen:


> The thing is, I like double lip, because it stops me biting

another thing that IMHO helps stop biting is involving the mouth muscles responsible for putting inward pressure from the sides. This will help counteract the up and down force that you've had a lifetime to develop vis a vis....a well known process we all engage in known as...eating (lol). It has enormous application for either embouchure type IMHO.

https://www.thewind-o.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4d2gpRysZY


> and gives me the nice tone, and helps a huge amount with crossing
> the break legato. On the other hand, it gets really crazy when
> I try to play this progression, with Bb in the middle:
>

> [A5] [Bb5] [C6]

> That's because when I get to the top C, I have only my left
> thumb holding the clarinet and the thumb isn't pressing the
> instrument against my top teeth, so the instrument moves up,
> the thumb hole fails to close, and the note fails to sound
> properly.

Sure. I recommend this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CZHDKVM/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It's 1" (2.54cm) wide floral tape. I roll out about a 12"/30cm length and cut it with a scissor. I then fold it over on itself enough times until its about square.

I then do one final fold and stick it over my top front two teeth and let it conform.

My last one of these devices lasted me about 3 weeks. Please note that I failed initially, using floral tape that wasn't wide enough to cover both front teeth. This 1"/2.5cm stuff though is IMHO wide enough for most people.

Another solution, albeit for slowly played notes like those you've described, is to counterbalance the upward pressure you describe with the pinkies as described in this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTnEqmd52mg

Perhaps Ken Lagace can confirm this, having studied with Kal Opperman, but I'm to understand that Mr. Opperman desired his students to keep their pinkies on their respective keys, depressed or not, to counterbalance clarinet roll and upward pressure. I find this very hard to do. To point, I seem to remember reading in the book about Mr. Opperman that he desired the fingers to work independently. Well, this old timer can't move his ring fingers without some pinky coming along with it, and the idea of a ring finger "up" but a pinky down---that might take a lot of work for me.  :)

>
> So I tried putting my top teeth back on the mp, and then I was
> biting. Then I wondered if I could stop the biting by taking my
> bottom teeth off the mp. This was me trying the advice that Ken
> Lagace gave, but lifting the lower teeth rather than the upper
> ones.

During a practice session I will find myself transitioning after some time to and from double to single lip embouchure to voice higher notes, especially in key--even mid passage. The floral tape helps with the discomfort but there's also the far less painful muscle fatigue I'm experiencing developing the muscles over time needed for sustained double lip play.

Perhaps I should clarify. Double lip presents two forms of discomfort for me. The far more painful, addressed with cushioning like floral tape is the front teeth digging into the top inner gums--my lacking the callusing that years of single lip play have brought to my inner lower gums. The second discomfort is plain old muscle fatigue from double lip play that is relieved with resting for as little as for 15 seconds, etc., and is improving over time.

>
> I just used my lip to brace the reed, instead of my teeth,
> which I think is the whole point of what I'm meant to be doing,
> at least as all the books say it. That really forced my muscles
> to engage, but in a totally different way from when I do double
> lip.

I think--I might be wrong, that you are responding to acute pain from beginning the trials and tribulations of double lip play that the floral tape, or something similar will help alleviate.

(I think I read somewhere that Richard Stoltzman, perhaps one of Mr. Opperman's best known students, uses the stuff on both his upper and lower front teeth.)

Without this stuff, or some similar cushion I would be lost. I can tell you (which is why I call this thread Chapter 2) that the pain I experience now is mostly just muscle fatigue from adopting the new muscles involved in double lip play--not the pain that has me "see stars" from my top front teeth stabbing into my upper inner gums. Maybe some day I will develop the callusing on my upper gums that years of play has caused to my lower gums, but not for the foreseeable future.  :)

I am at a stage where I don't need to rest the clarinet on my knee but not at a stage where I can play with any degree of duration that I can when using a single lip embouchure.

>
> I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but it feels as though
> I'm doing what people are suggesting, when they say to use
> double lip practise to strengthen single lip techniqiue. I
> wondered if I could ask what you think?

My thoughts on this: If a player doesn't ultimately adopt--or even had zero intention on ever adopting double lip play as they experiment with it, I think it worthy to try. First off, when I get a sound I like with double lip embouchure I try my best to mimic it with single lip shortly thereafter using Mr. Dean's 5C technique. I concentrate on opening the upper palate, and squeezing my mouth from the sides to form the "rubber band" that should be the embouchure, rather than the "vice grip."

http://www.clarinetmike.com/docs/Michael_Dean_Clinic_Handouts.pdf

I am in Mr. Morales camp on double lip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZUOfN-wQEY

Second, double lip forces the player to not bang on the keys--it's too painful on the mouth. And regardless of what embouchure you end up with, not pressing harder on keys than needed is IMHO the surest way of being able to progress to more finger difficult passages over time. The beautiful irony of clarinet is that the passages that would mentally most tense us up, are the ones we are most likely to play correctly when we are "not tense." Please note that I deliberately don't use the description "relaxed" (over "not tense") here because it connotes a state of lack of mental concentration to some readers. We're concentrating here, we're aware, we're just not bogged down with anxiety.


>
> I just came back to playing today after a long post-covid
> break, so I'm looking at the whole thing through fresh eyes,
> which I think perhaps is helpful for me.

I've often felt that time away from the clarinet is a balance between loss of technique and gain of perspective. I hope some of what I've said above, not born of expertise, but the school of hard knocks helps you in your journey too.


>
> Thanks!
>
> Jen
>

>
> Post Edited (2021-09-24 16:50)

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2021-09-24 20:45

Crikey! That's a lot to think about. I'm experimenting a lot so I'll include what you've said in my experiments. Thanks for explaining. Good luck with your investigations too. :-)

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2021-09-24 20:45

There is another point I want to make and see if double lip experienced players agree or disagree with this. I'm going to say it in the form of a proverb that's probably a tad bit exaggerated, but for the purposes of making a point.

"In single lip play, the right thumb anchors the clarinet, full stop. (Yamaha clarinet low "F" correction keys, etc., not withstanding.) In double lip play the right thumb plays a far more involved roll, more like the other 9 fingers, in pushing the clarinet, albeit gently, into the mouth, to achieve adequate pitch, color, and shape of the higher notes of the instrument's range."

Thoughts?

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Double Lip Chapter 2
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2021-09-24 20:48

SunnyDaze wrote:

> Crikey! That's a lot to think about.


Isn't it! (lol)  :)

I think learning clarinet is a lot like learning to drive a vehicle in that there are initially "15 things" to keep aware of that haven't yet been ingrained in memory to the point that the become instinctive.

Reply To Message
 Avail. Forums  |  Threaded View   Newer Topic  |  Older Topic 


 Avail. Forums  |  Need a Login? Register Here 
 User Login
 User Name:
 Password:
 Remember my login:
   
 Forgot Your Password?
Enter your email address or user name below and a new password will be sent to the email address associated with your profile.
Search Woodwind.Org

Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale

The Clarinet Pages
is sponsored by:

For Sale
Put your ads for items you'd like to sell here. Free! Please, no more than two at a time - ads removed after two weeks.

Mouthpieces & Barrels
Fine makers of mouthpieces and barrels, from wood to crystal to hard rubber and plastic

Events
Major events especially for clarinetists

Service
Instrument repairs, restorations, adjustments, and overhauls.

Miscellaneous
Services and products too varied to categorize! Repair, recording, news

Instruments
Retailers and manufacturers of clarinets, both modern and early replica

Reeds
Great reeds available from around the world

Music & Books
CDs, Sheet Music, and some of the greatest reference books ever written!

Accessories
Accessories that every clarinetist needs - reed makers and shapers, ligatures, greases, oils, and preservatives ... and more!

 
     Copyright © Woodwind.Org, Inc. All Rights Reserved    Privacy Policy    Contact charette@woodwind.org