Technique Assistance - Clarinet

delb0ydelb0y ✭✭
edited November 2011 in Woodwinds Posts: 54
Just working my way back through a very basic primer that I first used in about 1970... afraid to say I haven't put in too many hours on the clarinet since :oops: One of the exercises is around slurring from lower register to high, and back again. The first bit is fine. I can play, say, a low G, hit the register key and slur into a clarion D. All very nice, and I can maintain reasonable tone. But when I release the register key I don't slur back down... I stay on the D. If I break the airflow or tongue the reed there's no problem, but I can't do it slurring.

It's not a show-stopper but as the exercise comes about middway through a very beginners book I feel I ought to be able to do it.

Any hints?

Kind regards,


  • Not a clarinet player for 50 years but try subtle changes in your tongue position as it's probably similar to soprano sax.

    Imagine singing the note from low to high to low (or even better sing the note) and observe what happens with the arch of your tongue. Then try the same thing playing the clarinet.

    If that doesn't work let us know hopefully one of the clarinet players will chime in.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Ken BloomKen Bloom Pilot Mountain, North CarolinaNew
    Posts: 164
    There is a difference in embouchere between the two registers. It's much easier to go from low to high then the other way round. Try loosening your throat when drop. What I do is to think "eee" for the upper register and and "aww" for the lower one. I think what actually happens is the back of my tonque drops. Give it a try and see if it doesn't help. Perseverance furthers!

    Ken Bloom
    Ken Bloom
  • WHile he is perhaps better know in the sax world Joe Allard teachings on embouchure are well respected in the clarinet world as well. Ken's post is reflective of Allard's thoughts on embouchure.

    Well worth reading the interviews and all about his pedagogy :D
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • AndyWAndyW Glasgow Scotland UK✭✭✭ Clarinets & Saxes- Selmer, Conn, Buescher, Leblanc // Guitars: Gerome, Caponnetto, Napoli, Musicalia, Bucolo, Sanchez et. al.
    Posts: 603
    a great exercise is to play a note on a low-register fingering, then ,using only a slight change in embouchure, but NO change in fingering (i.e. DON'T hit the register key), sound the note an octave and a fifth above, then drop back down to the lower note. You may have to tongue each new note slightly. repeat with different starting notes from lowest E to the F just over an octave above. You may have to *slightly* increase the pressure/ support from your lower lip on the base of the reed to get the higher note, then release the support a little to come back down.
    But only seal, never bite.
  • Great advice for learning control Andy

    I often do low register notes with sax and then play the octave with same fingering and then on to the harmonics fifth above octave and then octave above octave.

    My big challenge is to get the harmonics to play with correct intonation on sop :twisted:
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
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