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Thread: Clarinet Articulation

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    Senior Member OboeKnight's Avatar
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    Default Clarinet Articulation

    While oboe is my primary instrument, I have actually been playing clarinet twice as long. I have never had a formal lesson on clarinet and I struggle with rapid, staccato tonguing. I find articulation to be much easier on oboe.

    Could an experienced clarinetist shed some light on the subject? I tend to sound brittle and even squeak when I have to play a fast staccato passage (especially in the upper register)

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    Quote Originally Posted by OboeKnight View Post
    While oboe is my primary instrument, I have actually been playing clarinet twice as long. I have never had a formal lesson on clarinet and I struggle with rapid, staccato tonguing. I find articulation to be much easier on oboe.
    Have you been sitting besides Jaws and annoying him with your staccato?

    I'm probably only about 5 seconds ahead of you on the learning curve. I only mess around with the clarinet, and even remembering how to activate second octave is a brain drain experience for me since it isn't even my 2nd or 3rd or 4th instrument (oh alright - I can play Mary had a Little Lamb and other similar virtuoso pieces).

    For staccato, try the minim exercises first using your tongue to control the rhythm. Use the tongue and adhere with gentle forward pressure onto the reed. This action terminates the airflow suddenly the reed, and is more efficient than using your diaphragm or any of the air column behind the tongue. Logical - since the tongue (or lips) is the last point of the air column control.

    Try reducing the minim rest to a beat rest, and then try double tapping exercises, using your tongue to control the beat against the reed.

    That's as far as I got. I'm no clarinet fanatic or rigorous player, but since there's no fee, my advice is like peanuts...free for monkeying around with until some gracious clarinet buddha comes our way to enlighten us and detach us from being sharp tongued

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    Quote Originally Posted by Head_case View Post
    Have you been sitting besides Jaws and annoying him with your staccato?
    Haha I certainly have.


    Thank you! I will try this. I don't know why it is so hard for me. I know that clarinet has a tendency to sound brittle when played staccato, but it still has a relatively diffused timbre, while oboe is very concentrated. It is actually necessary to elongate staccto notes on oboe because it is soooo easy to clip the notes. Perhaps I just play oboe too much lol.

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    I always thought oboe players had an advantage playing clarinet over flute players due to their familiarity with reed blowing

    No no ...definitely shouldn't sound brittle - should be a series of deep and punchy notes like a cat letting off gas.

    Are you keeping the lip pressure on the reed up whilst you draw the tongue forward to do the staccato? It's very easy to accidentally loosen the lip embouchure when using the tongue.

    If you're finding it too brittle, it's possible the reed pressure is just not high enough and dropping down 1/2 a grade of reed, or tightening up the embouchure would resolve that. The rest is down to tongue control.

    But! I did read in a clarinet primer that there is another way to do staccato without using the tongue, but it did not advise it. For flute players, the options for staccato are huge...glottal stops; throat pulsation; double or triple tonguing, lip embouchure changes, or cutting notes/using fingering methods.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OboeKnight View Post
    Haha I certainly have.


    Thank you! I will try this. I don't know why it is so hard for me. I know that clarinet has a tendency to sound brittle when played staccato, but it still has a relatively diffused timbre, while oboe is very concentrated. It is actually necessary to elongate staccto notes on oboe because it is soooo easy to clip the notes. Perhaps I just play oboe too much lol.
    No he hasn't it wasn't him. Some of the oboists did it as well but not as bad as the clarinet player. If you do this dreadful noisy staccato it makes it impossible to play groups of semiquavers where the first 3 are tied and the last one is staccato so that it sounds musical.

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