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.