SYOS

Beginner Articulation and attack of the note

Chris98

Senior Member
Messages
1,093
When I’m trying to get a clean, sharp attack to the note it still comes off sounding like ‘fu’ rather than a ‘t’. The note eases out without a clear beginning, sometimes this is fine (even appropriate with some pieces of music) but increasingly I’m becoming frustrated by the lack of definition to my playing.

Listening to other players I’ve come to realise that the attack of the note is crucial in establishing a good tone, sense of timing accuracy and is most important to help the listener to identify one instrument from another.

I know and can hear the problem but I’m struggling to find a solution and also an understanding of where the issue is arising from, okay I know that one, it’s me, but as to the specifics! With increasing desperation I’m hitting the reed harder and generally getting louder and louder without any noticeable improvement to the attack on the note!

I suspect it’s a bad habit I’ve adopted and become comfortable with and now I’m struggling to change my habits or even know what it is I’m doing wrong. I wonder if I’m releasing the reed and then increasing or maybe even starting the airflow? I don’t know, but I want to get a grip of this problem now.

Anyone have any thoughts, been through a similar experience and know the path out of here?

Best wishes,

Chris
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
14,249
Anyone have any thoughts, been through a similar experience and know the path out of here?

Just practise everything with tonguing. Every single note whether you think it needs it or not. Scales, exercises, tunes whatever.

Also check you are on or close to tip of reed on tip of tongue. It may help to take the mouthpiece further out of your mouth, freeing up more space inside your mouth for your tongue.

While going about you daily business, keep saying "dadadadadadadadaa"
 

JasonC

Member
Messages
217
I've got the same problem and my teacher has been picking me up on it quite hard for the last couple of lessons so I'm also trying to stop the habit!

This may not be your problem but when I first start a note I ever so slightly move my jaw which changes my embouchure, thus giving me a 'fu' rather than a 't'. It's only very slight but very annoying! however, I have been practising very consciously to not move my jaw and it solves the problem straight away, although this is very hard to do in normal playing so it's going to take some work :(

Now I didn't even realise I was moving my jaw slightly as I started a note until my teacher had a good look at me close up while playing! This may or may not be your problem but its worth trying my above method.
 

Chris98

Senior Member
Messages
1,093
Hi Pete,

Thanks for the advice. I'd not thought to take the mouthpiece further out of my mouth, but did as you suggested, and as you had anticipated it helped free up some room, it feels quite strange and yet I've probably only moved it out a tiny bit. I think there is a fair bit of retraining to do.

I've got the same problem and my teacher has been picking me up on it quite hard for the last couple of lessons so I'm also trying to stop the habit!

Hi Jason,

Only the last couple of lessons! My teacher has been pointing it out for months, I stupidly put it down to working on new, and for me hard tunes that I was struggling to play and so not confident in my articulation etc. It was only when the other week I did a quick recording that I realised what she was getting at and now I'm wondering how I'd not picked up on it.

Thanks for your suggestion to look for any slight jaw movements, it's quite possible if not quite probable I'm doing that.

Best wishes,

Chris
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,908
Another thing to watch for with articulation is breath support. I had to have this virtually beaten into me when I played the clarinet. It's all too easy to get into the habit of giving a lttle "kick" with the abdominal muscles as you start the note. Trouble is you will gever get it perfectly coordinated with the tongue release. The air pressure should be there ready before you release the reed (even if the note is accented -- the accent comes from backing off the volume after the note has started). And in a rapidly-tongued passage, your breathing muscles should be doing the same thing as in a smooth legato.
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,302
I'm working really hard on this too and it's proving a struggle! Breath support and timing of the release are definitely big issues and you're so right about that tendency to push the air when starting a note rather than before. D2 and E2 as the first note are rge biggest challenges for me. I do think I am improving though albeit slowly.

Top Tones has some good exercises that are helping.
 

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