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 Undertone in Clarion register
Author: Nelson 
Date:   2021-10-19 08:01

Hi, I'm getting on in years now and have been playing the clt daily ...(usually 1st in community orchestras) for decades....but I am finding an annoying undertone is now really obvious in articulated passages from around G up to the C (second ledger line up). I have tried to eliminate it following various tutor books such as Stein/Pino/Davies et al. I have tried taking in more MP, taking in less MP , firm embouchure, breath support, keeping the airstream moving....all of the approaches I can think of.... but the dull undertone still is there and most disappointing. I can hold notes almost as well as any around me but something needs sorting out. I have around 20 mouthpieces (tips around 119 to 127....reeds 2.5) but the three or four I favour don't eliminate the unwanted undertone

I'm now 83 and I don't expect top results but I'm not ready to close the case just yet. May I ask if there is a method that has worked for others

Best regards
derek

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 Re: Undertone in Clarion register
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2021-10-19 13:57

Work along these lines might help.

Tony



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 Re: Undertone in Clarion register
Author: BethGraham 
Date:   2021-10-19 17:10

Maybe your clarinet needs a tune-up?

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 Re: Undertone in Clarion register
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2021-10-19 17:19

What do you mean?

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 Re: Undertone in Clarion register
Author: LFabian 
Date:   2021-10-19 20:13

Have you tried another clarinet? If there’s no problem, it could be the clarinet itself? When was your last hearing test?

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 Re: Undertone in Clarion register
Author: BethGraham 
Date:   2021-10-19 21:43

Not sure if you were asking me, Tony, but what I meant was that maybe there is something new happening mechanically that's causing the grunting in the clarion G, A, and B. A quick look-see by a tech could rule out something having gone out of whack in the upper joint.

(Edited on 10/25/21 to add that I discovered that on my new clarinet my clarion A especially can grunt when the pad in the upper joint between the top two tone holes isn't fully closing. [Apologies for not knowing the name of this pad!] The only reason I mentioned considering a tune-up is that I've discovered in my limited experience that when things go out of adjustment, new problems can arise. I would, of course, defer to the more seasoned players on this board.

For Tony specifically, the North American expression "out of whack" in this iteration means "out of proper order or shape"; see Merriam-Webster definition here, at bottom of page: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/out%20of%20whack )

If your question wasn't directed to me, carry on.



Post Edited (2021-10-25 19:39)

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 Re: Undertone in Clarion register
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2021-10-19 22:03

One issue is dust (or grime) build up in the register key tube. The clarinet that I currently use is finicky enough to grunt when I move to the clarion and do not engage the register key (my Yamaha CSG does not do this).






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

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 Re: Undertone in Clarion register
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2021-10-19 22:04

BethGraham wrote:

> ...maybe there is something new happening mechanically that's
> causing the grunting in the clarion G, A, and B. A quick
> look-see by a tech could rule out something having gone out of
> whack in the upper joint.

Experimenting with less register vent opening, as Tony's repost (from the link) suggests, would be easy to do, to rule too much opening in or out as a contributing cause, and it *is* a mechanical issue, not in itself one of player execution. Put a piece of cork or folded up paper of a thickness that will allow the RK only a small opening and see what happens. If it doesn't help, other causes and remedies can be checked.

How is the response above [C6]?

With a collection of mouthpieces having tip openings between 1.19mm and 1.27mm you're in pretty open-tipped territory. Have you tried anything a little closer just to see what the effect is?

Karl



Karl



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 Re: Undertone in Clarion register
Author: gwlively 
Date:   2021-10-19 22:13

You've already tried breath support, and keeping the air stream moving. Chester Rowell suggested that I pull my upper lip down away from my nose, thus making the embouchure more round and the same firmness around the mouthpiece. It reminds me of a "camel" when looking in the mirror, but it works. I think of this on every thing I play, not just the upper clarion register.
Hope this helps.

Gary Lively

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 Re: Undertone in Clarion register
Author: rc.prestige 
Date:   2021-10-22 13:00

I am getting a slight grunt/undertone on my new Yamaha CSG Bb. It is only happening on clarion A. I am a pretty experienced player so I don't think its tongue position, air speed etc.

My first thought was that the pad just above the 2nd tone hole was not closing quickly enough, so I had the right height raised, and then the pad was changed. No difference.

How likely is it to be the register tube? The register key is not opening too far at the moment. Any other thoughts in terms of undercutting or shaving?

I am currently playing on a BD4. I also have a Playnick Puccini Tosca and it is the same story.

Love this clarinet apart from this.

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 Re: Undertone in Clarion register
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2021-10-22 21:06

rc.prestige wrote:

> I am getting a slight grunt/undertone on my new Yamaha CSG Bb.
> It is only happening on clarion A. I am a pretty experienced
> player so I don't think its tongue position, air speed etc.
<snip>
> I am currently playing on a BD4. I also have a Playnick Puccini
> Tosca and it is the same story.

In my experience, [A5] is a specifically unstable note on any Boehm clarinet, having to do with its position on the tube relative to the register vent. Undertones seem to happen when there's not enough embouchure pressure being applied to the reed to control it. Maybe try applying **slightly** more pressure.

Karl



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 Re: Undertone in Clarion register
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2021-10-23 01:39

I don't know about unstable. Of course I've spent decades not knowing what a grunt was or ever experiencing one.......until the last year with my Leblanc Opus and some careless register key technique.


Since you've addressed the pad just above the 2nd left hand finger, I assume the ring height is good for your finger (higher for skinny fingers, flatter for big fat fingers).


I've NEVER had a grunting issue with the CSG and the "A" first ledger above the staff is pretty stable.


Have you ever done the 12th leaps without the register (just a sudden push of air to go up)? That always exercise keeps things rock steady under normal conditions (using the register key that is).


I'd check the register tube for any dust blockage and perhaps move to a cork pad that is beveled for optimum venting. You want to avoid opening up much more than the thickness of a dime since that causes pitch to go up in the clarion the higher on the tube you move.





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



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 Re: Undertone in Clarion register
Author: eac 2017
Date:   2021-10-23 15:58

After years of intermittent grunts, I finally realized that my left thumb would move a very tiny amount between notes resulting in the grunt. Rigorous attention to thumb position has made a huge difference, substantially decreasing frustration and allowing me to enjoy playing again. Obviously this may not apply to your situation but it’s another idea to consider.

Liz Leckey

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 Re: Undertone in Clarion register
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2021-10-23 17:16

You could easily experiment a little with the RK opening, per Tony Pay's post linked above. It's easy to limit (reduce) the amount of opening without making any permanent change just to see if it helps with A5.

Karl

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 Re: Undertone in Clarion register
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2021-10-25 17:23

Karl Krelove wrote: “….it *is* a mechanical issue, not in itself one of player execution.”

To see for yourself to what extent a player can be responsible for subtones, you could perform the following experiment:

Using a toothpick (or a piece of folded card) under the top part of the lever, set the speaker key so that it is permanently open without your having to press the touchpiece.

Now finger and play a throat A (A4). Because the speaker tube is open, you’ll get a Bb. Now finger and play down, and then up, a chromatic scale: A, G#, G, F#, F, E, Eb, D, C#; then D, Eb, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, finishing on the sounding Bb you started with.

Of course, what comes out after the Bb won’t be these written notes, because of the open speaker tube. When you finger open G, for example, you’ll get something like a G#.

(n fact, on a 5-key clarinet, this was the basic fingering for G#, because there wasn’t a dedicated key for that note on the instrument yet. You often added other fingers to help the quality and pitch of the note – oxx/xoxx would be a typical option.)

The rest of the notes will be quite weird, and progressively more resistant as you go down. Allow your embouchure to follow the progressively lowering pitch – the ‘C# fingering’ will produce something like a sharp Eb.

Now notice that the bracketed notes in A, G#, G, F#, [F, E, Eb, D, C#, D, Eb, E, F,] F#, G, G#, A are actually the standard fingerings for C6, B5, Bb5, A5 and G#5, so the chalumeau notes are the ‘grunt’ notes for those fingerings:-)

I should say that I can do all this quite easily on a perfectly-working standard Boehm clarinet. Nothing out of whack on it at all.

Tony



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 Re: Undertone in Clarion register
Author: Nelson 
Date:   2021-11-09 09:59

Thank you all for your advice on getting rid of the 'unwanted grunt' in the upper clarion register just below the 'high C' on my B&H 1010 'A'.

Fitting a thicker cork under the speaker key has fixed the problem.

Nelson

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