Advertising and Web Hosting on Woodwind.Org!

Woodwind.OrgKeepersThe C4 standard

 
 
 New Topic  |  Go to Top  |  Go to Topic  |  Search  |  Help/Rules  |  Smileys/Notes  |  Log In   Newer Topic  |  Older Topic 
 Why a revelation?
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2006-01-17 04:39

Tom Puwalski wrote:

>> OK, I've been waiting, what did Campione write [about embouchure] that was a revelation [to you]???>>

It was the symmetry argument I described already in the other thread.

I found it striking that just one general principle: namely, that the bottom lip tends to follow the top lip, plus an anatomical fact: namely, that the upper lip has a more restricted coverage of the top teeth than the bottom lip has of the lower teeth -- demystifies the supposed superiority of the double-lip embouchure.

Briefly recapitulated, the argument is:

(1) maximum 'top wrap' being small, and the tendency for top wrap to equal bottom wrap, together give rise to about the right bottom wrap;

(2) the necessarily stretched position of the upper lip that small top wrap entails gives rise to a similarly stretched lower lip;

(3) the combination of (1) and (2) above gives a lower-lip/reed contact that is small in area and modulable by small flexions of the lower lip muscles, which is what is needed as a starting point for a control of reed vibration learnable by experience.

(4) None of this alters the fact that you can achieve exactly that lower lip configuration without covering your top teeth with your top lip.

I've explained that in my own words in the other thread; but you can read Campione's own description of how he came to see the combination of (1) and (2) as 'the' important reason why students of his beginning with double-lip embouchure tended to find the optimal configuration of their lower lip more easily and quickly. It's at the end of the article available on the web at:

http://clarinet-saxophone.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/The-Clarinet-Embouchure.pdf

...as GBK pointed out.

The important point for me is that Campione was simply describing a statistical fact that for him, took 25 years to understand fully. He in no way insists that his students learn double-lip if it doesn't suit them, because as a single-lip player, he has always recognised that there is no inherent superiority in the method (see (4) above) -- and now, he has a plausible reason why the statistics are the way they are.

I find all this heartening, because I have a particularly short upper lip, and would have found double-lip almost impossible myself. And while the rational part of me understands quite clearly that it is nonsense to take the stance that single-lip embouchures are inferior, it irritates me that people have done so, particularly when they may discourage young players who have a similar physical makeup to my own.

A bonus is that there is probably a way to use Campione's analysis to construct a beginner's single-lip embouchure simply, as I described in the other thread.

So now, when someone asks what all the fuss is about double-lip, I can just say, "Oh, it's a consequence of shorter upper lip and symmetry. Shall I explain?-)"

(For the mathematically inclined -- but not if you're not -- this simple and, in retrospect, obvious realisation reminds me of the time a friend revisiting her school mathematics as a mature student asked me, why is it that the area of a triangle is a half length of base times height, whereas the volume of a tetrahedron is a third area of base times height? After thinking a moment, I was happy to be able to answer, "because the integral of x is 1/2 x squared, and the integral of x squared is 1/3 x cubed.")

By the way, I'd like to thank Carrie for being indirectly responsible for bringing Campione's argument to my attention, and to wish her the very best of luck with her English paper.

Tony



Post Edited (2006-01-17 05:46)

 
 Re: Why a revelation?
Author: Liquorice 
Date:   2006-01-17 06:03

I'm not quite sure I agree with (3) of the argument. What if you have a particularly long/short upper lip, or short/long upper teeth? In my case I have a very short upper lip and fairly long upper teeth. I can hardly get my upper lip over the teeth. The symmetrical position for the lower lip would not have enough lip covering my lower teeth. It just seems like quite a big generalization to assume that playing double lip would find the "correct" lower lip placement for most clarinetists. Or am I missing something?

 
 Re: Why a revelation?
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2006-01-17 09:04

Liquorice wrote:

>> I'm not quite sure I agree with (3) of the argument. What if you have a particularly long/short upper lip, or short/long upper teeth?>>

Well, if they're 'particularly' something, then I suppose that's another way of saying you're not typical.

>> In my case I have a very short upper lip and fairly long upper teeth. I can hardly get my upper lip over the teeth. The symmetrical position for the lower lip would not have enough lip covering my lower teeth.>>

Yes, like me. The fact that I couldn't have been comfortable with such a small top wrap would have stopped me from being a double-lip player.

>> It just seems like quite a big generalization to assume that playing double lip would find the "correct" lower lip placement for most clarinetists.>>

I suppose 'most' clarinettists are typical, by definition. And after all, there's some latitude in the use of the word 'correct' here. In (2) I said "about the right bottom wrap." And the symmetry isn't exact, either -- it's more of a tendency to be symmetric, enough to avoid the common fault of an exaggerated bottom wrap.

Part of why all this exercises me is the thought of those people for whom double-lip isn't suitable, like us. Campione was wondering why double-lippers tended to find the optimal configuration of their lower lip more easily and quickly, not saying that double-lip is suitable for everyone.

Why did you say it was (3) that you were uncertain of, rather than (2)?

Tony



Post Edited (2006-01-17 13:40)

 
 Re: Why a revelation?
Author: Liquorice 
Date:   2006-01-17 15:45

I was uncertain about (3) because I questioned whether "the combination of (1) and (2) above gives a lower-lip/reed contact that is small". It wouldn't do this if you had a very long upper lip and short teeth, for example!

But I do understand that the theory should work if you have "typical" lips, and that as you said, it should then produce "about the right bottom wrap." Thanks for clearing that up.

By the way Tony, I'm reading your article "phasing in contention" again, and it's even more of a revelation to me now than it was the first time I read it (about 4 years ago)!!



Post Edited (2006-01-17 15:46)

 
 Re: Why a revelation?
Author: pg@writeability.com 
Date:   2006-01-17 15:55

Your point, Mr. Pay, is well taken that double lip is just not possible for some players because of their physical features (ex.too short an upper lip). For others, like me, it is possible and feels more natural. But it's wrong to assume that what works for one will work for all. I also agree that there's nothing inherently better about double lip. In fact, speaking as one who can play both single- and double-lip with equal facility, I would say that the same princples underlining a successful clarinet embouchure apply to both.

I think Mr. Campione might be on to something, however, in that it seems to be a bit more difficult to misalign the bottom lip in a double lip embouchure. The various elements would seem to snap into place more automatically when one tucks a small amount of the upper lip under the upper teeth. This is not to say that all the elements cannot be put into order perfectly well using a single-lip approach. Good guidance from a competent teacher is all that is needed.

I think that you are the best example to counter anyone's claim that double lip is better than single lip. If anything, listening to you would force one to come to the opposite conclusion.

Sincerely



 
 Re: Why a revelation?
Author: Clarinetgirl06 
Date:   2006-01-17 20:54

Thank you Tony Pay for the kind words! I think I'm going to go on the stance that I mentioned in the other thread that beginners should be taught double lip first because it helps teach proper fundementals in embouchure. After the beginner is secure in double lip or has been properly introduced, they can then be taught single lip but while transferring the principles they were taught in double lip. Thank you for making me think! I'm glad we both learned something!



 
 Re: Why a revelation?
Author: Phurster 
Date:   2006-01-18 01:03

Maybe I should be more thorough when teaching the formation of the embouchure. I have felt for a few years that is aspect of technique is a bit of a side issue. You curl your bottom lip over your teeth, experiment a bit with the placement, and then get on with the business of playing.

I have known of teachers who spend a great deal of time adjusting a new students embouchure. In the past I have not been convinced this time was warranted. A feeling of doubt is starting to approach.

Tony Pay says,
"demystifies the supposed superiority of the double-lip embouchure."

In my neck of the woods (Aus) I don't know anyone who uses a double-lip embourchure. The only people who use it are Oboe players. Some players in the US seem to feel it has superior qualities. The players whose sound I admire are exclusively single lip.

Should I now start teaching a technique that I can't see the advantage of, in order to then change to a method that I feel works as Clarinetgirl is suggesting?
"After the beginner is secure in double lip or has been properly introduced, they can then be taught single lip but while transferring the principles they were taught in double lip."

Some good ideas that I will ponder anyway.

[ Remainder of post deleted - GBK ]

Chris.



 
 Re: Why a revelation?
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2006-01-18 22:32

I wrote:

>> For the mathematically inclined -- but not if you're not -- this simple and, in retrospect, obvious realisation reminds me of the time a friend revisiting her school mathematics as a mature student asked me, why is it that the area of a triangle is a half length of base times height, whereas the volume of a tetrahedron is a third area of base times height? After thinking a moment, I was happy to be able to answer, "because the integral of x is 1/2 x squared, and the integral of x squared is 1/3 x cubed.">>

Someone complained that what I wrote was a little sketchy and therefore possibly confusing. Perhaps it helps to include the information that a further bit of her question was, is it anything to do with that the base of the triangle has two points, and the base of a tetrahedron three?

Now, that's a 'deep connection' type question of a sort that has to be encouraged -- even if in this case it's wrong -- so I was looking for the 'right' deep connection to offer her. And why I was pleased with my answer is that we don't often think of the 1/2 in the formula for the area of a triangle as arising from an integration, because we learn it in elementary geometry.

Yet clearly, if the triangle has height h and base b, we can think of the area A as given by an integration wrt x, from 0 to h, of the length of a horizontal line intersecting the sides of the triangle a vertical distance x from the vertex. By similar triangles, this length is proportional to x, with constant of proportionality k given by b = kh, so the area A is the integral:

- h
|
| (b/h)xdx = (b/h)(1/2)h^2 = (1/2)bh
|
- 0

And this argument goes over exactly to the case of the volume of the tetrahedron:

If the tetrahedron has height h and base area A, we can think of the volume V as given by an integration wrt x, from 0 to h, of the area of a horizontal slice of the tetrahedron a vertical distance x from the vertex. Again by similar triangles, this area is proportional to x^2, with constant of proportionality k given by A = kh^2, so the volume V is the integral:

- h
|
| (A/h^2)x^2dx = A/h^2(1/3)h^3 = (1/3)Ah
|
- 0

An interesting postscript to all this is that my friend, in her forties at the time, and having previously been fixer for the London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, passed her 'school' mathematics exams with flying colours, and then went on to do a degree in mathematics. (She's now researching and teaching at Sussex University, well beyond my level:-)

Tony



Post Edited (2006-01-18 22:36)

 
 Re: Why a revelation?
Author: ned 
Date:   2006-01-18 23:07

I suppose that the author's mathematics is correct, but with respect to clarinet playing, I'm not sure I know anyone with triangular lips.

 
 Re: Why a revelation?
Author: Tom Puwalski 
Date:   2006-01-19 00:45

I just read Campione's article, and it seems to me he's saying a very similar thing: The top lip changes some things that effect to sound, but it's not a direct connection as does the lower lip. Tony I thought double lip wasn't used in the UK so much because of that "Stiff upper lip" thing?
All the fine clarinetists I've ever heard have developed an embouchure that is very flexible and allows for maximum vibration of the reed, with the ability control the dampening of the upper harmonics. Flexible in pressure, location of pressure, and amount touching the reed. When I use double lip, a lot of those things line up without a lot of hustle. I practice with a very good recording set up and I have to admit, when I keep everything else the same, and then put my top teeth on the mouthpiece. It sounds the bloody same! I do find I really have to concentrate on keeping oral cavity the same and stay really sensitive to the pressure, because if I don't that sound change will change and very noticeably. It won't be a bad sound, it might be a color that I could find useful for some piece of music.

I think a bigger problem in the USA is that we tend to listen very few non-American clarinetists. I would wager that most clarinetists in music schools in the USA have heard one recording of K622. the Marcellus one. I have a teacher, mentor and amazing clarinetist friend that spends lots of time every year in Europe, he's always bringing back CDs of clarinet music to listen to. There is an amazing amount of things being recorded "over there" and European clarinetists don't seem to feel they need to sound like "korg" tuners. So why do Americans? Maybe it's the fact that there are audiences for music in Europe, and a lot of American orchestras are play to half full hall, maybe it's the herd mentality, everyone wants to sound the same and not play outside the lines. We need to start playing like it's fun!


Tom Puwalski, former soloist with the US Army Field Band, Clarinetist with Lox&Vodka, and Author of "The Clarinetist's Guide to Klezmer"and most recently by the order of the wizard of Oz, for supreme intelligence, a Masters in Clarinet performance

 
 Re: Why a revelation?
Author: Phurster 
Date:   2006-01-19 01:46

Tom,
You stated
"I do find I really have to concentrate on keeping oral cavity the same and stay really sensitive to the pressure, because if I don't that sound change will change and very noticeably. It won't be a bad sound, it might be a color that I could find useful for some piece of music."

You might be interested in looking at some of the recent research regarding the oral cavity. Specifically "Oral tract fluctuations in clarinet and saxophone performance: an acoustical analysis/by Peter G.Clinch" Monash University libruary www.lib.monash.edu.au

Peter was a former teacher of mine. An inspirational Saxophone player. His research (and other research) led him to notice the large amount of movement with the back of the tongue and within the oral cavity. He felt that each note had an optimum position.

Michael Webster in the Clarinet has listed a number of studies that describe tha pattern of this movement.

In the Clarinet Vollume 30 Number4 He lists a study by Raymond Wheeler he goes on to suumerise some of Wheelers findings.

These included:
"1. During performance...the throat opening near the uvela is quite narrow for the low register tones. The upper rear portion of the tongue is in a high position. as the scale ascends into the clarion and altissimo registers the upper rear portion of the the tongue moves gradually downward and forward....
5. There is only one positon the tongue can assume while sustaining a given tone and that must not be changed, although some teacher-performers profess that tone quality may be improved by adjusting the tongue's vowel or syalble shape for any tone....."

Michel Webster goes on to list as study by Dr,Richard Stasey, "a prominent Houston otolaryngologist" (not sure about the last term but my goodness it sounds impressive).
He finds that
"1. There is more throat activity in clarinetists than in other woodwind players..."

I hope you find this of interest. I found some of the ides in conflict to what I felt I was doing, after reading some books on brain function I have adopt the attitude of the Lion in Madagascar (sorry-two young children here) ie"never trust your instincts"

All the best Chris.



 
 Re: Why a revelation?
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2006-01-19 13:42

Tom Puwalski wrote:

>> I practice with a very good recording set up and I have to admit, when I keep everything else the same, and then put my top teeth on the mouthpiece. It sounds the bloody same! I do find I really have to concentrate on keeping oral cavity the same and stay really sensitive to the pressure, because if I don't that sound will change and very noticeably.>>

The day before yesterday I decided to make an experiment myself. Although it's very difficult for me to double-lip -- both because of my short upper lip and also because I have a slight front teeth horizontal overlap that creates sharp edges -- I felt it was time for me to put my mouth where my mouth was, so to speak.

So, choosing to play my period Bb clarinet because it has a smaller mouthpiece, I removed the rubber patch and played double-lip for an hour or so.

And, there were two results. I found that it was indeed too painful to continue, and still have a sore and slightly lacerated upper lip after a day. But -- there was a distinct improvement in a particular area.

On a period clarinet, there are often certain high notes that are unstable using the standard fingering. They will play at two slightly different pitches, which often infuriatingly straddle the pitch that you actually want. On my Simiot copy, one such note is the high D. (This situation is preferable to the situation on my Grenser copy, where the instability is a tone lower, on C; but not by much:-(

Anyway, I found that it was easier to choose the pitch that I wanted with the double-lip, and also that there was little difficulty in making a good sound over the rest of the instrument. Of course, the passage-work was clumsier -- the instrument has no thumbrest, and the slightly more elastic hold on the mouthpiece would take some getting used to.

The effect of this, on returning to my standard embouchure, was as Tom describes above. Addressing the high D, I was much more careful to flex my lower lip, minimising reed/lip contact, and this proved to be the right direction to go.

And now I think about it, that's not surprising. In order to 'choose' the right harmonic, you need a precise tool. In a metaphor I've used before here, you need a small contact like that between a high pressure racing-bicycle tyre and the ground -- rather than the coarse contact between a flabby, low pressure, live-in-the-shed down-to-the-local-shops-lost-pump bike tyre and the ground:-)

I fancy that I tend towards the former rather than the latter in the normal course of events, but the experience was a wake-up call to 'pump my tyres up' even more in these particular circumstances.

>> ... it might be a color that I could find useful for some piece of music.>>

Yes, and you can do that with double-lip too, no?

Tony

 
 Re: Why a revelation?
Author: hinotehud 2017
Date:   2006-01-20 02:40

In addition to Phurster's comments on oral cavity changes/tongue placement, I remember reading in the stacks at Michigan State University in 1971 of x-ray motion pictures done as a research thesis for Himie Voxman (before the dangers of x-rays were known), that showed these same results.

 Avail. Forums  |  Threaded View   Newer Topic  |  Older Topic 


 This thread is closed 
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.

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

Service
Instrument repairs, restorations, adjustments, and overhauls.

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

Events
Major events especially for clarinetists

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

Reeds
Great reeds available from around the world

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

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

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