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Author: will 
Date:   1999-08-22 13:49

OK, here's the problem:
I am perpetually flat even without pulling out the barrel. According to what I have been taught, to solve this, I have to tighten my embouchure. But if I do tighten it, my tone would go down the drain, and besides, it's wrong to bite on the mouthpiece and reed, isn't it? So what do I do now?
Thanks for any suggestions.

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 RE: flat
Author: Dee 
Date:   1999-08-22 16:19

You are correct in that you should not bite or pinch. However the embouchure does need to provide firm support. Also breath support needs to be good or you can go flat.

However there are other possibilities. We really need some more information to try to help you.

1. What is the length of your barrel in millimeters? Perhaps it is not the right one.

2. What brand and model of mouthpiece are you using?

3. What type and strength of reed are you using?

4. Are you flat across the board or only in certain ranges?

5. What brand and model of clarinet are you playing? If you are a beginner but playing a pro clarinet, you might be flat until your breath and embouchure develop.

6. How long have you been playing?

7. Do you have a private teacher to help you?

8. Are you flat to a tuner? Or in relation to other players (trumpets and flutes run chronically sharp)?

Reply To Message
 RE: flat
Author: Jim Carabetta 
Date:   1999-08-23 17:28

Dee may have struck it, Will, with her statement on a firm embouchure. Something you said in your question, about not biting on the reed or the mouthpiece struck me: it's OK to place your teeth on the top of the mouthpiece, and even to put some pressure on it with your teeth, but certainly you wouldn't want to put your teeth on the reed; your lower lip should be curled over your lower teeth to cushion the mouthpiece, your right thumb should provide the pressure to keep the horn against your teeth. If you're also curling your top lip over your top teeth, this "double-embouchure" is very hard to control.

If you have access to an electronic tuner, blow just the mouthpiece at it with the embouchure you generally would play with and hold the tone. Watch how consistant that squawk is to see how consistant your embouchure is, and how much effort you make to maintain an even tone.

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