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 Clarion B&C
Author: paul 
Date:   1999-09-01 18:03

IMHO, I don't think your problem is in the reed, especially if you can get altissimo and the rest of the clarion to behave themselves on your horn. I also don't believe that you have a mouthpiece or ligature problem either for this same reason. Areas I'd check include keypads and balance points. There are some other issues, including the possibility of "shading" fingerings that could affect high clarion note playability. Let me explain.

Fetch an inexpensive cigarette paper and check out your pads. If the paper resists pulling away smoothly as you close the keypad, then you probably have a decent keypad and a good acoustic seal on that tone hole. If it gets some additional resistance in any particular direction, then you may have a leaking pad. Check for a leak in the F# pad that's directly under the A key. It's a sneaky little devil that most folks overlook. Ditto for the G# keypad and the A keypad right next to it. Check to make sure that the A key is adjusted properly and that it closes and seals both the G# and A keys totally, yet plays A in tune. Also, take the time to inspect and clean the thumb hole, using a pipe cleaner to make sure there is no crud buildup there. As Hiroshi said, check the register key for proper opening. Check its keypad, too. Check its tube and make sure it's clean. Since the high clarion and altissimo notes depend on the upper side Bb and B trill keypads sealing totally, so check these out, too. If every keypad is working properly and you are still having the problem, then there is another set of issues to study.

The upper clarion B and C give you very little fingering support for the rest of the horn, so consider how you are holding the horn in your right and left hands as you play these notes. Think about resting the horn (if it's a soprano clarinet, as I'm guessing here) on your knee and try playing the notes then. If this gives you some help, then you may have a hint as to how to gain more physical control over the fulcrum points (see-saw pivot areas) of your horn, thus giving less stress on your embouchure to hold the horn in place and play it, too. The main trick in this last hint is to let your hands take on the weight of the horn instead of your lips.

I've discovered that my professional grade horn with its undercut toneholes requires a lot more accuracy in fingerings. For instance, I can't be lazy and have my fingers too close above the tone holes without totally sealing them, because the resulting note comes out really sour. This is known as "shading" the note. The high clarion notes, especially the clarion C and B have a particular sensitivity to shading. Let's face it, how many times have you fingered the right thumb, left first finger and right first finger for clarion Bb? If you are like me, a bunch of times. It also works (one at a time, of course) with the right second finger and the right third finger. It even works with just pressing down on the uppermost keypad (next to the rh first finger tone hole) on the lower joint, too. This makes for a great sounding altissimo Eb on my horn. So, check for accurate fingerings. Then, take a look at the return spring across your upper and lower joints and check for that uppermost keypad on the lower joint for proper opening/sealing as needed with just the clarion B fingering.

These were all of the tricks I could remember from years of lessons with my professional tutor. Keep in mind that he did all of the tricks mentioned above after he helped me with the mp/lig/reed, embouchure, air support and everything else in those areas. I figured if fetching the services from a person with a clarinet performance degree from a nationally ranked music school, Daniel Bonade training, 25 years in a major city symphony, and another 25 or so years of independent gigs couldn't fix my squeaking and squawking, then nothing could. I'm still an adult novice, but I sure have learned a lot over the past few years.

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 Topics Author  Date
 reed adjustments  new
Connie 1999-08-31 16:25 
 RE: reed adjustments  new
Ray Swing 1999-09-01 00:08 
 RE: reed adjustments  new
Hiroshi 1999-09-01 02:19 
 RE: reed adjustments  new
Hiroshi 1999-09-01 02:24 
 Clarion B&C  new
paul 1999-09-01 18:03 
 RE: Clarion B&C  new
Connie 1999-09-01 21:28 
 RE: Clarion B&C  new
paul 1999-09-02 15:05 
 RE: Clarion B&C  new
Dee 1999-09-03 00:39 
 RE: Clarion B&C - back to Paul  new
Connie 1999-09-04 18:17 
 OOPS! Dee got me again!  new
paul 1999-09-07 21:19 

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