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 RE: High notes to low notes
Author: Kevin Bowman 
Date:   1999-08-04 19:17


What you are attempting to do is quite difficult on most (if not all) reed instruments. I think you will find with a good embouchure and proper breath support, the problem only becomes more pronounced! The problem of slurring from high notes to lower notes (say, an octave or more away) is due, in part, to the harmonic structure of the instrument. The problem is most pronounced when transitioning from a higher note that is a harmonic of the lower note (say clarion E to chalemeau A). Without going into a lot of physics, let's just say that the reed rather remain vibrating at the higher (harmonic) frequency than "jump" down to the fundamental frequency.

So ... my advice ...
1) simply toungue downward intervalic leaps - very lightly if marked as slurred. Just brush the reed to get it to "kick in" to the lower frequency.
2)practice "voicing". Voicing is accomplished by adjusting the oral cavity. In general, form the vowel "E" for higher notes and "O" for lower notes. This is not entirely accurate because you always want to keep the back of your tongue high to focus the tone - but learning to voice well is a huge step toward getting those awkward intervals (both rising and falling).
3) Try temporarily releasing a bit of pressure on the reed as you transition to the lower note. I don't really recommend you stick with this idea because the tone will suffer momentarily. But it's good for the purposes of experimentation. Often, experimentation will lead the way to a technique that works for you - and that's more important than learning the "right" way. After all, the total knowledge of clarinetistry has "discovered" through ages of experimentation.

Above all, have fun. Continue challenging yourself by going beyond what is required.

Kevin Bowman
Clarinet and Saxophone Instructor,
Rochester Conservatory of Music, Rochester, MI
Saxophones, Clarinet, & Keys,
B-Side Blues Project (

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

 Topics Author  Date
 High notes to low notes  new
Rob Maeda 1999-08-04 01:16 
 RE: High notes to low notes  new
Hiroshi 1999-08-04 01:54 
 RE: High notes to low notes  new
Tim2 1999-08-04 02:29 
 RE: High notes to low notes  new
Kevin Bowman 1999-08-04 19:17 
 RE: High notes to low notes  new
Rick2 1999-08-05 05:11 

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