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 Double Lip Embouchure
Author: 브라이연 
Date:   2005-11-27 04:26

I've been reading over post regaurding the double lip embouchure, and I was curious if it really was more beneficial. Would it be advisable to switch and attempt to learn how to accomplish this properly by yourself? If anyone has any hints on how to form the embouchure probably, they would be much appreciated. Thanks.

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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: Ron 
Date:   2005-11-27 14:33

Hello,
First, how long have you been playing single lip and are you satisfied with your tone, intonation and ease of articulation?

I started to play double lip at age 10 when I started taking lessons with James Collis. I used Charpen reeds, strength 1.5. Throughout my school days, there were band directors including one who was a clarinetist who all told me that I needed to play on stiffer reeds. This comment was based on my thinner tone particularly in the upper register. I continued to study with Gino Cioffi who himself played double lip. During my years with Mr. Cioffi, I played on Van Doren Blue Box strength 3.0 on a Van Doren 5RV mouthpiece. My tone was much better at this time because I was older and played on stiffer reeds. When I was 30 years old, I switched to single lip and experimented with harder reeds. I still play single lip today using medium strength reeds.

Now to answer your question: Playing double lip is quite difficult, not that single lip isn't. Playing double lip can be very irritating to the gums under your upper lip. Of course, you can cover the upper teeth to reduce this irriation. Double lip playing requires an incredible amount of muscle strength to support smooth, even playing in all registers. It take great perserverence to play with a consistently round and centered tone and to have the chops to support the upper register. The great thing about playing double lip is that (for me), it seems easier to tongue, and gets your embouchure in to the proper position. Also, when playing double lip and everything is working, the tone is absolutely unmatched (which is MY opinion). I occasionally play double lip to get my embouchure correct when I am not sure it's set correctly. So I play double lip for a few minutes and then gently move the upper lip to get contact with the teeth while essentially keeping the same position/embouchure. That is the best way I can describe this. Remember that most people do not play double lip and there are standards that people believe in deeply one way or the other. Single lip seems to be the standard in the U.S. I would say in summary, that it can benefit all clarinetists to at least experiment playing double lip to get the "feel" for it which is different than playing single lip. I can't hurt but may very well benefit. I wish you all the best in experimenting to find your way.
Ron Penn

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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: Ted 
Date:   2005-11-27 15:55

I switched over to double lip when I was 16 or 17 (many, many years ago). It took about a month or two of practice ( 3 -4 hours a day) to feel secure and right. All the aspects of forming a good embouchure apply to double lip. I like the sound possibilities with double lip though it depends on the player to execute in the correct fashion. I also play saxophone and use single lip with no problems switching back and forth. Oddly enough , single lip on the clarinet feels uncomfortable when I try it and I can't produce a good sound with it anymore. I also use double lip on bass clarinet. I suggest that you work with a teacher to help you along. Good luck. - T



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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: Tyler 
Date:   2005-11-27 16:47

I, like Ron, have been using double lip primarily in a therapeutic way, or to help my single lip "remember" how it should be, which is as close as possible to the very naturally formed double lip. Seems to help a great deal.

-Tyler

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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: BelgianClarinet 
Date:   2005-11-27 17:17

In Belgium : double lip = not done !!!!

Ok, let's start the fight ;-)

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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2005-11-27 22:19

I just tried a double lip embouchure expecting it to be buzzy and flat - but it wasn't at all - the sound was almost the same (if not slightly sweeter) and just as in tune as if I was using my normal clarinet embouchure.

Probably as I'm used to playing oboe and cor I didn't find it difficult, and it's not easy to see if someone is using a double lip embouchure or not (I checked in a mirror) as only a tiny bit of top lip covers the teeth - in a similar manner to oboe/cor embouchure.

But to me the clarinet didn't feel all that well supported as I use my top teeth to push against - I felt I needed to support more from my bottom jaw.

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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2005-11-27 22:37

Chris P wrote:

> I just tried a double lip embouchure expecting it to be buzzy
> and flat - but it wasn't at all - the sound was almost the same
> (if not slightly sweeter) and just as in tune as if I was using
> my normal clarinet embouchure.
>
> Probably as I'm used to playing oboe and cor I didn't find it
> difficult, and it's not easy to see if someone is using a
> double lip embouchure or not (I checked in a mirror) as only a
> tiny bit of top lip covers the teeth - in a similar manner to
> oboe/cor embouchure.
>
> But to me the clarinet didn't feel all that well supported as I
> use my top teeth to push against - I felt I needed to support
> more from my bottom jaw.

I find about the same results when I try double lip. And I also dislike the lack of support and that the mouthpiece can have more of a tendency to roll slightly in/out of the mouth making it that much more/less reed in my mouth.

I ordered a neckstrap and perhaps with the neckstrap it'll offer enough support to give the double lip embouchure a little more stability. But I certainly have quite a few things to work with in the upcoming weeks (checking out new reeds, getting a crystal mouthpiece refaced, ordered another one out of curiousity, neckstrap, etc. etc.) And I try to change ONE thing at a time in order to have a good "control" on my experiments.

Alexi

Small Group Leader
US Army School of Music NCO Academy


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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: Phurster 
Date:   2005-11-28 10:09

Does it really make any difference? Is it worth the pain? Seems to me that only players in the USA strugle with it. I am not saying you can't get a great sound with it but if you can get the same tone with an easier and less painful method... why bother?



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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2005-11-28 11:02

Double lip is fairly common place in Italy to my understanding. There are a number of top players in the US who do use double lip or have wished they used double lip. In my experience with it, it helps to achieve a more subtle style. Since my playing can use more subtlety, perhaps I should try this again.


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

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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2005-11-28 14:04

Are there any players that play with the reed uppermost (and make a ggod sound)?

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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: Brenda Siewert 
Date:   2005-11-28 14:13

My clarinet teacher instructed me to start using the double lip embouchure about 10 years ago and I've never gone back. I find it gives me a much better tone and certainly is easier on my teeth--not to mention the mouthpiece.



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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: FrankM 
Date:   2005-11-28 18:16

Ted ...why do you use double lip on clarinet but not on sax ? I would think it would be even easier on a sax.

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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: Liquorice 
Date:   2005-11-28 20:17

Paul Aviles wrote: "Double lip is fairly common place in Italy to my understanding"

Double lip used to be very popular in Italy. My teacher was Italian (born 1920) and used it, together with his crystal mouthpiece. He also transposed everything onto his full-Boehm Bflat clarinet. But this is really "old school". None of the top Italian players play double lip anymore.

I don't believe that double lip produces a better sound. It may be a good diangostic tool against bad habits, like biting too much etc. But I think the perceived improvement is sound is only evident to the player, who doesn't have the mouthpiece vibrating against his/her teeth, and therefore hears their own sound differently. Just my opinion...

In any case, I can't think of a single clarinet player whose sound I really like who plays double lip.

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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2005-11-28 22:49

Quote:

Does it really make any difference? Is it worth the pain? Seems to me that only players in the USA strugle with it.
That's just the thing. If you play with a good embouchure, there shouldn't BE pain when you try double lip. If there is a lot of pain in your upper lip, it's a sign you could be biting too hard on the reed, and that maybe you should try a lighter reed and less "biting". I play a light enough reed on my mouthpieces that I barely have my bottom lip touching the reed at all. Virtually no pressure from my jaw transferring to the reed.

Alexi

Small Group Leader
US Army School of Music NCO Academy


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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2005-11-28 23:18

Pretty much as Alexi said, but I'll say it again - I didn't find a double lip embouchure painful at all - if anything it will stop you biting hard for the top notes (if you do that) and everything was perfectly in tune, all the pressure needed to keep the pitch under control was controlled by the lip muscles rather from the jaw, but the one thing I didn't like was the lack of anything solid to push against - top front teeth. Similar to how it feels playing oboe when you're knackered, the reed seems to roll around unsupported, and the right thumb is under what seems to be more weight.

There's no harm in experimenting with different embouchures, it won't muck up your normal one, and no loss if you don't think it's right for you - you can at least say you've tried it.

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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: Bassie 
Date:   2005-11-29 08:18

I play on the borderline of double-lip anyway - the teeth are just there for positional accuracy, not for supporting any great load. Or so I was taught...

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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: Tom Puwalski 
Date:   2005-12-03 14:52

I play double lip like my teacher, (Iggy Gennusa) and his teachers, (Ralph McClean, and Daniel Bonade). I think it has to most potential to be the most non-obtrusive style of embouchure going. By non-obtrusive, I mean, it interferes with the reeds vibration the least.

Most clarinetists don’t sound as good as they could, not because they don’t posses a $550 mouthpiece made from reproduction chedeville rubber, or because they don’t have a bell or barrel cut from a 200 year old cocobolo tree. Clarinetist sound bad, because they inhibit the reed from vibrating. Most have bought into the mis-conception of embouchure. You cannot get a clarinet reed to vibrate with your embouchure. Only in the presence of pressurize air with the reed move. You can however stop the reed from vibrating with embouchure, by using too much pressure and doing it in the wrong spot.

Follow me on this:

A. Turn the mouthpiece sideways and look at the opening of the reed and mouthpiece curve.
B. Take your thumb and press the reed closed at the tip. Notice the ease at which you can accomplish this
C. Start moving your thumb down the reed applying the same pressure. Notice when you get close to the point where the reed leaves the mouthpiece table, it’s really hard to close the reed off at the tip.
D. If your bottom lip is on the tip side of the fulcrum point, where the reed leaves the mouthpiece, you are stifling the reed’s vibration. Most likely you are using a mouthpiece that’s more open than it needs to be or you are using a reed that’s too hard also.

The vicious circle starts: closing the reed off, playing sharp, getting a harder reed, one that’s not really well balanced, and using even more pressure to get it to work.

So in my opinion the first thing you need to do is start putting enough mouthpiece in your mouth. The more mouthpiece you take in, the less negative effect the embouchure can have. Take a look in Larry Guy’s book; in that photo Robert Marcellus has a lot of Kaspar shoved down his pie hole! Iggy put a lot of mouthpiece in his mouth, he had a very thin lower lip and it didn’t look like a lot, but if saw his reed it was.

So why double lip? It doesn’t really touch the reed. First off the list of absolutely great players who used it is the list of emulated players from the last century: Wright, Bonade, Gennusa, McClean. With the exception of Marcellus, who told my in a lesson in 1979 that if he could use it he would, and since that’s how I play that I should keep on using it. He also said that he rolled his top lip under, infront of his top teeth to get the benefit of opening up the oral cavity. That hits on what I feel is the main advantage of double lip. It drastically alters the oral cavity; it opens it up a lot. I can hear the difference when I record stuff using single and double. Secondly, both lips wrapped around the mouthpice is symmetrical, you get a really nice feel for the amount of pressure being used in the creation of your sound. But even Iggy’s beautifully formed double embouchure couldn’t vibrate the reed without air!

So here are a few double lip double lip fallacies.
1. You can’t play standing up with it. False, I play all day with double lip, on klezmer gigs and concerts I stand and play sometime over an hour continually.
2. You don’t have the stamina with double lip. My guess is, if you’re biting and not putting enough mouthpiece your mouth you don’t have a lot of stamina anyway. But you will be more aware of the fatigue with double lip. I will say this anything that you can do with single lip to screw up a sound; you can also learn to do with double lip.
3. Switching to double lip will screw up my technique. Well if you switch to double you become very aware of how much finger pressure you use and tension that is generated through your hands. And yes, if you’re using lots of this you will have to hit Baerman 3 and rethink your technique.

I use double lip with any student that comes to me for their first lessons. I get them put a good deal of mouthpiece in. I have them wrap both lips over their teeth and just blow. The results are fast, the kids sound good and it doesn’t take months. They get a good sound by page 5 of Rubank. That is until some stupid band director tells them that it’s wrong and fixes it until they sound bad.

If anyone give double lip a try for one month, I seriously doubt they will ever switch back. That being said, I don’t use it on bass Clarinet or Saxophone. I go with the Marcellus idea of rolling the top lip under in front of the teeth. The amount of mouthpiece that I use playing bass clarinet makes using it a little un-wieldy. But on basset horn and soprano sax I use double. It doesn’t matter what single reed mouthpiece goes in your mouth, you got to let the reed vibrate on it.

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

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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: Tom Puwalski 
Date:   2005-12-03 15:02

I guess what I was really trying to say is: There are two things that should never be touched by teeth. A clarinet mouthpiece is one of them!

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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: BobD 
Date:   2005-12-03 22:26

I've never seen any statistics to support the claim that most players use single lip. Also, I don't support the theory that double lip is harder on your upper gums. Which way to play is another case of fads and using the method your teacher insists on. My opinion is that most players who knock double lip do it out of prejudice rather than experience. My non-dentist opinion is that single lip is harder on your teeth and their nerves. Why sax players tend to use single lip is a mystery to me.

Bob Draznik

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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2005-12-03 22:55

BobD wrote:

> I've never seen any statistics to support the claim that most
> players use single lip.

I've been to quite a few ClarinetFests with players from around the world. Very few double-lippers, amateur, student, teacher, and professional, attend the conference, if you want to interpret that in any statistical way ...

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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: BobD 
Date:   2005-12-04 22:40

Good joke, Mark.

Bob Draznik

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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: Liquorice 
Date:   2005-12-05 08:29

Here's a list of a few players whose playing I particularly admire:
Sabine Meyer, Michael Collins, Alain Damiens, Thomas Friedli, Allesandro Carbonare, Kari Kriiku, Riccardo Morales, Larry Combs, Antony Pay.

How many of these people play double lip? None. Gee, imagine how much better they could sound if they changed!!

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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: Tom Puwalski 
Date:   2005-12-05 12:43



> Here's a list of a few players whose playing I particularly
> admire:
> Sabine Meyer, Michael Collins, Alain Damiens, Thomas Friedli,
> Allesandro Carbonare, Kari Kriiku, Riccardo Morales, Larry
> Combs, Antony Pay.
>
> How many of these people play double lip? None. Gee, imagine
> how much better they could sound if they changed!!


Ok to my limited knowledge, The only American player on your list is Larry Combs. I love Riccardo's playing, but he's operating on something other than orthodox American clarinet pedagogy. As does everyone else on your list.

That's ok, I've found over the years I listen to Americans way less than I used. It starts, slowly, you get a CD of Leister's "Solo" album and you start loving that lush resonant sound. Next you end up with a boot-legged copy of Kovacs playing his Hommages, and you hear some amazing musicianship, sound and phrasing. Then you're working on a performance practice paper on the Mozart concerto, and you listen to Tony Pay's and Colin Lawson's performances and you start to wonder why the only CD you own is Marcellus's with Cleveland. If you haven't heard these two performances you've really missed something amazing. Makes me wonder how many other British players I've missed hearing, 'cause I'm American, and we wrote the book on clarinet playing. Then you start hearing some Cahuzac re-issues, and you wonder how any who has devoted even an hour of his life to learning the clarinet could "dis" french players and the sound they get. Hey, I have to admit this is a recent occurrence with me, I had my ears up my artistic butt, admitting it, and listening a lot is the first step in recovery. Here's just one final thought to my rant:
Maybe clarinet playing shouldn't be the "mono-theistic" religion that Americans have made it. How about we have multiple gods like in ancient Greek days.

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

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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: Sylvain 
Date:   2005-12-05 14:09

Here is my 2 cents:
teach what you know don't preach it.

If somebody comes in with a single lip embouchure and sounds great why change it?

--
Sylvain Bouix <sbouix@gmail.com>

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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: BobD 
Date:   2005-12-05 14:13

Discussions of how many lips to use always arouse fanatacism which is always associated with one's beliefs. I hold that most of us stick with what we were taught early on from our teachers who were not united in their beliefs. I do and have also theorized that keeping one's teeth directly on the mouthpiece(not even a patch) is bad for one's teeth. Disagree all you want but we are also learning that exposure to loud noise is bad for one's hearing. By the time you discover you have damaged your teeth it could be too late to undo the damage. Please understand that this is strictly a personal belief of a 76 year old clarinetist who makes no claims about which method is better for sound production. There still remain things we humans don't understand. dominus vobiscum.

Bob Draznik

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 Re: Double Lip Embouchure
Author: Tom Puwalski 
Date:   2005-12-05 16:22

Here is my 2 cents:
teach what you know don't preach it.

If somebody comes in with a single lip embouchure and sounds great why change it?

--
Sylvain Bouix <sbouix@gmail.com>



Why does one go to a teacher? I would presume it's to get that teacher's take on clarinet problem. I for one if I walked into a lesson with Iggy Gennusa and he said, "Tom, I sound good becuase I rub my reed with peanunt butter," I would as a student get the biggest jar of Skippy I could find. Rub my reeds with it, and see and listen and record and figure out if made a differance. If after a few days I didn't detect any differance I'd go to my next lesson and get clarification. I'd take my jar of skippy into Iggy and have him watch me rub peanut butter on my reed. If he than said something like " Tom, I didn't mean chunky peanut butter", I would go get a jar of creamy and try it again.
I would not, as alot of students do today, is tell him that peanut butter doesn't work. Today, that seems to be par for the course, people discredit methoeds ideas without giving them a try.
Double lip is exactly like that. Are there players that sound good playing single lip. Hell yea there are! They are letting the reed vibrate and doing exactly what I described in my first post, where I said that the top lip isn't the reason double lip works. Well it's time to get back to Jettle studies and trying to make them work on the bass clarinet.

I have heard that Tony Pay does use a very expensive variety of peanuts which he hand grinds into exactly right consistancy for his reeds. I would like the recipie and wonder if it's the same for all the types of clarinets that he sounds great on!

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

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