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Beginner Implications of learning clarinet at same time as sop?

Jeanette

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There was a lovely clarinet for sale in the yard that got me wondering should I buy one?

It's gone now so no rush but still wondering about one but I am concerned about the impact on my sop playing. I know some on here have become proficient on clarinet and then switched or added sax but have many started on sax and then added clarinet?

As half my learning at the moment is about reading music it won't impact on that especially if I get a Bb clarinet

But will it have a detrimental impact on my sax sound and how much adjustment will I have to make to my embouchure.

Advantages
A clarinet will be quieter so family and dog will be happier.
I have done something to my arm and find I can only hold the sop so long before I have to stop playing, as it's a straight one a strap doesn't help, I am assuming a clarinet will be much lighter
Orchestra will be happy for me to play a clarinet as they are short of players
Smaller and lighter could take on holiday
Excuse to go shopping>:)

I think my intention would be to alternate days, would this work are there any disadvantages :)

Thank you

Jx
 

Jamesmac

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Warum Nicht.
But depends if you have a teacher capable and willing. But if your focus is on reading at the moment, poss not a good idea. Because of the different fingering.

But will it have a detrimental impact on my sax sound and how much adjustment will I have to make to my embouchure.

Usually the other way round. But it depends a lot on the embouchure you have now.
BTW. It's good practice to play a passage Forte then repeat Piano. For the Sop.
Better for the dog.
The Clarinet players in the guards bands, put a hanky on there knee, sitting of course , and rest the bell on it.( to catch the drips) You could do that if you play a straight Sop. Save your arm.
 

Nick Wyver

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A clarinet will be quieter so family and dog will be happier.

If you can't play a sop quietly I'd be inclined to concentrate on that for a start.

Otherwise, wot James sed. Below middle D and above top B fingerings are not remotely similar.
 

Colin the Bear

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I find my clarinet embouchure suffers from too much saxophone but not the other way round. Playing clarinet may well improve your sax playing. It certainly won't do it any harm. It's a more complicated instrument fingering wise than a saxophone with lots of alternative fingerings and trill keys.The saxophone is a much simpler instrument. That's why it's easier to add saxophone to clarinet compared to the other way round.

The clarinet is pitched in Bb but it sounds the same as alto in the lower register but it's written differently. Middle C is fingered LH123. There's the awkward bit through the break and then the upper register is the same as sop, for an octave, then it gets all cross fingered with no logic, a bit like recorder.

It is a rewarding instrument to play but like any instrument, you should take it up for the love of the thing itself not because you're having problems with the sop.

The simple solution to problems with a straight sop is to get a curly one. You'll get humorous coments but be pain free. And the comments stop when they hear it.
 

jbtsax

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As far as tone production skill development goes, I would recommend against trying to learn the clarinet the same time as the soprano sax. If you were skilled in one or the other and wanted to start to double, I would say go for it, but it sounds as if you are not there yet.

In going from one instrument to the next, there is positive transfer, and negative transfer. There is some positive transfer from soprano sax to clarinet, since the clarinet's fingerings above the "break" are similar to the sax. However, the negative transfer having to do with tone production shown below far outweighs any positives.

The clarinet
  • plays at the top of its mouthpiece pitch with a very firm embouchure
  • has a lot of resistance when you blow
  • has the mouthpiece tilted down about 45 degrees
  • overblows an octave and a fifth (12th)
The saxophone
  • plays near the center of its mouthpiece pitch with a more relaxed embouchure
  • has very little resistance when you blow
  • has the mouthpiece going straight into the mouth
  • overblows an octave
 

kevgermany

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I'd say try it out. But beware of the caveats above. It's a very different sound that some find easier on the ear, a lot depends on how your sop sounds. I've found that playing sop has really improved my control and sound on the other saxes, so you'll probably benefit as the others described above.

What does your teacher say?
 

Jeanette

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Thanks all plenty to think about

JIm & Nick You are right I should practise playing quietly more I do it as part of warming up but perhaps should apply more to pieces I'm playing. Hadn't thought of resting it on my knee, so will try that.

Col Good point re love of instrument and perhaps learning the fingering will just slow things down even more :)

JBT Thank you, you're right certainly not there yet

Kev Not discussed it with my tutor yet, he teaches and play clarinet so it works from that point of view

I'll ponder a while longer but and discuss with my tutor.

Thanks again, really useful points made.

Jx
 

Jamesmac

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Just a thought Jeanette. When you said you warm up playing quietly. Blowing the cobwebs out is a common expression. ie warm up with a good solid sound. It could be an interesting thread. ie. warm up routine. The embouchure is at it's strongest first thing, so I would have thought that warming up softly would tend to tense up the embouchure a bit. A good idea is to flex the embouchure. ie. with a good solid sound, work chromatically up ( starting on bottom E ) and on each note lip up and down on a long note, feel your embouchure tense and release, then find that middle, where you are comfortable.
Many years ago I was with my teacher at the a Buffet factory just outside Paris, and in the next room we could hear this weird noise from a Clarinet. It turned out to be the 1st Clarinet from the Paris Opera warming up.:)
 

Jeanette

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Just a thought Jeanette. When you said you warm up playing quietly. Blowing the cobwebs out is a common expression. ie warm up with a good solid sound. It could be an interesting thread. ie. warm up routine. The embouchure is at it's strongest first thing, so I would have thought that warming up softly would tend to tense up the embouchure a bit. A good idea is to flex the embouchure. ie. with a good solid sound, work chromatically up ( starting on bottom E ) and on each note lip up and down on a long note, feel your embouchure tense and release, then find that middle, where you are comfortable.
Many years ago I was with my teacher at the a Buffet factory just outside Paris, and in the next room we could hear this weird noise from a Clarinet. It turned out to be the 1st Clarinet from the Paris Opera warming up.:)

Thanks, useful point I tend to blow a long note mid range sound wise then again going through the dynamic range. I then have a tonguing exercise my tutor gave me and then work through some scales.

I really don't practise quietly enough :)

Jx
 

Jamesmac

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Thanks, useful point I tend to blow a long note mid range sound wise then again going through the dynamic range. I then have a tonguing exercise my tutor gave me and then work through some scales.

I really don't practise quietly enough :)

Jx

I don't want to interfere with your teacher, but an important point concerning tonguing , is practicing the attack. I've heard it from my teacher to Galway ( the flute player not the place) the important point they all say is that short delay ( with the airstream supported) just before you release your tongue. Give it a try.:)
 

jbtsax

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With my band classes to teach rhythmic precision and starting notes together. I would teach BREATHE---SET---RELEASE where "SET" puts pressurized air behind the tongue. The conducting pattern of the "preparatory strokes" before the downbeat is shown below. It really works to get 80+ young players to make entrances exactly together.

This in no way is a criticism, but I have never liked the word "attack" which is very commonly used. A musician doesn't "attack" the notes in my view. I prefer to use the term "entrance" or "start" of the note.

 

Jeanette

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Must be very satisfying getting 80 youngsters to start at the same time:)

It's funny the terms people do and don't like.

One of the conductors at orchestra hates the term rest and insists you "play" silences.

Mind you if you have two conductors in the same orchestra with different ideas then that is really annoying. One of ours thinks it's fine to have a tuner and will sell us one the other hates them and insists we tune to each other. Hey ho such is life

Jx
 

Jamesmac

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Jeanette. Don't want to hijack your post, just wanted to mention re. the conversation about pricing for eBay ( can't remember the post ) but it's happened again. I listed a MP starting £199 guess what . No Bids. Re-listed starting £225 with a buy it now £315 and have a first bid with 3 days to go. So it goes to show, if you have something people want they will bid if you set a fair price. But you may have to wait, especially in today's financial climate. Thought this would be of interest for you and some other members.:)
 

Jamesmac

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With my band classes to teach rhythmic precision and starting notes together. I would teach BREATHE---SET---RELEASE where "SET" puts pressurized air behind the tongue. The conducting pattern of the "preparatory strokes" before the downbeat is shown below. It really works to get 80+ young players to make entrances exactly together.

This in no way is a criticism, but I have never liked the word "attack" which is very commonly used. A musician doesn't "attack" the notes in my view. I prefer to use the term "entrance" or "start" of the note.


I think the term Attack is probably repeated as that is how most of the a Sax/Clarinet method books describe it. Poss a more concise term could be KINETIC RELEASE. ie. the tongue releases a burst of kinetic energy.;)
 

jbtsax

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Must be very satisfying getting 80 youngsters to start at the same time:)
It is. I would teach my beginning players that there are several aspects of playing that they can do every bit as well as professionals. Making entrances and releases together is one of those

One of the conductors at orchestra hates the term rest and insists you "play" silences.
I used to tell my students that the last thing they want to do in a rest is to rest. They need to be listening and counting.
 

jbtsax

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I think the term Attack is probably repeated as that is how most of the a Sax/Clarinet method books describe it. Poss a more concise term could be KINETIC RELEASE. ie. the tongue releases a burst of kinetic energy.;)

No your honor. I did not attack the victim, I was just releasing the kinetic energy in my arm and fist. :)
 

Jeanette

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Jeanette. Don't want to hijack your post, just wanted to mention re. the conversation about pricing for eBay ( can't remember the post ) but it's happened again. I listed a MP starting £199 guess what . No Bids. Re-listed starting £225 with a buy it now £315 and have a first bid with 3 days to go. So it goes to show, if you have something people want they will bid if you set a fair price. But you may have to wait, especially in today's financial climate. Thought this would be of interest for you and some other members.:)

No worries I'm not bothered by going OT on threads I've started, useful to know and backs up what we said here

Jx
 

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