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Beginner The return of the squeak - staccato playing

cjR

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I have been working on some pieces containing runs of stac. quavers. I've found this particularly challenging and done a lot of practise to try and get the notes sounding even and controlled. Just as I felt I was making some good progress ive noticed a ghostly squeak accompanying the notes.The main note itself sounds good but there are squeaky overtones.

Has anyone got any insight into what may be causing this? I havent 'squeaked' for some months and this is the only thing that seems to cause it. Ive tried taking in more and less mouthpiece and tightening my embouchere, at the point at which the squeaks go the overall tone is so degraded it seems like it must be wrong - any ideas?
 
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TomMapfumo

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5,219
Re: The return of the squeak - staccatto playing

Common issues to look at would include:

* Wetting the reed. Dry reeds can often squeak - inflexible.
* Checking the reed is on accurately - squeaks = air leaks.
* Is your ligature too tight? This can cause squeaks by constraining the reed.
* Is the ligature not fitting properly?

I does sound like there is a minor air leak, which is intensified by playing staccato. Tightening things may not be helping, so may be useful to have a basic review of the above points.
 

Nick Wyver

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Re: The return of the squeak - staccatto playing

Wot Tom sed.
+
Have you tried changing the reed?
 

jbtsax

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Re: The return of the squeak - staccatto playing

If the squeaks occur only on fast tongued notes and not on longer tones, the cause is sometimes unwanted jaw movement when tonguing. Try this test:

Play the note B tonguing 8th notes (quavers) and feel under the chin and jaw with your hand that is free. You can also look at your jaw sideways in a mirror. If you feel (or see) movement, it generally means you are moving too much of the tongue too far in the mouth when you tongue. If that is the case then you can try these exercises to remedy the problem:

- Without the instrument or mouthpiece say tu tu tu tu tu tu tu tu tu while holding the hand under the chin. Work on moving just the tip of the tongue the shortest distance possible to create the sound.

- When you can do this without feeling the jaw or chin move, do the same exercise while blowing an airstream making short bursts of air.

- When that works for you go back to the instrument and mouthpiece and play the B again using the same motion of the tongue as before.

Bad habits like moving the jaw while tonguing become ingrained by repetition, and replacing those habits takes a lot of time and repetition as well. Practice and patience are the keys to extinguishing unwanted habits and establishing new habits to take their place.
 

cjR

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Re: The return of the squeak - staccatto playing

Thanks for the great responses jbt, nick and tom.

If I figure it out I will report back
 

MandyH

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Re: The return of the squeak - staccatto playing

when playing staccato, I'd suggest saying "dat" not "tu".
If the notes need to be played staccato (with a little dot above / below them when written) you need to stop the reed quickly after starting it, hence the "dat" suggestion. This makes your tongue come back to the reed, thus stopping it from vibrating.
 

AlbionLass

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113
Re: The return of the squeak - staccatto playing

The main causes I've identified when I've had problems with squeaking have been,

1. Reed not soaked well enough.

2. Not keeping a relaxed, stable embouchure eg, anticipating a difficult passage and tensing up.

3. Angle of mouthpiece in my mouth too low (probably due to having started as a clarinettist).

Sorting out these factors has helped me no end.
 

jbtsax

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Re: The return of the squeak - staccatto playing

when playing staccato, I'd suggest saying "dat" not "tu".
If the notes need to be played staccato (with a little dot above / below them when written) you need to stop the reed quickly after starting it, hence the "dat" suggestion. This makes your tongue come back to the reed, thus stopping it from vibrating.
This is exactly what one does when playing a single short note followed by a rest. Articulation often depends upon the tempo of the music. When playing a series of fast short notes that are together, the "T" or whatever syllable you use that begins the new note also ends the previous note. The series would be articulated "tututututututututututu" at a fast tempo. As the tempo slows and the music requires a space between the notes, then "tut tut tut tut" (pronounced "toot") or "dot dot dot dot" would be an appropriate style. In jazz a series of 8th notes before a rest would be articulated "du-dah-du-dah-du-dah-du-dot" (or "DAUGHT" if more of an accent is indicated.)
 
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allansto

Senior Member
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471
Re: The return of the squeak - staccatto playing

Question for Tom
* Wetting the reed. Dry reeds can often squeak - inflexible.
* Checking the reed is on accurately - squeaks = air leaks.
* Is your ligature too tight? This can cause squeaks by constraining the reed.
* Is the ligature not fitting properly?
interesting point about the lig being too tight
How do you gauge the correct tension for the lig on reed?????
Allansto
 

TomMapfumo

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5,219
Re: The return of the squeak - staccatto playing

Hi there!

I would generally tighten until there is a solid grip, then just ease it off slightly. By ear you may notice that the reed feels slightly too hard or play inflexibly, sound wise. If so just make a slight loosening to the ligature. It should be holding the reed clearly, but not be squeezing the reed, and hence limiting the flexibility of the fibres. Have a go at playing with a very tight ligature and gradually loosen it and see if you are able to hear the difference.

Kind regards
Tom
 

cjR

New Member
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Re: The return of the squeak - staccatto playing

Interesting stuff about over tightening the ligature, I think my assumption was, wrongly, the tighter the bettere. i use the rovner dark lig and its easy to over tighten it
 

ArtyLady

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1,030
Re: The return of the squeak - staccatto playing

You may just be pushing the air through too abruptly, spend some time just playing with the softest attack that you can - hope that helps :thumb:
 

aldevis

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Re: The return of the squeak - staccatto playing

I know, I am pedantic.....

Can anyone correct the title of this thread?
 

kevgermany

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Re: The return of the squeak - staccatto playing

I know, I am pedantic.....

Can anyone correct the title of this thread?
I normally leve spelling errors. Last thing people want is a nit picker moderating the forum. But as a special favour....
But it'll take too long to change all the replies. And there are still the issue of grammatical errors in the title. ;}
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
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Re: The return of the squeak - staccatto playing

I normally leve spelling errors. Last thing people want is a nit picker moderating the forum. But as a special favour....
But it'll take too long to change all the replies. And there are still the issue of grammatical errors in the title. ;}
Much appreciated....

now... "paninni" and "pepperoni" are wrong spellings too....
 

kevgermany

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Re: The return of the squeak - staccatto playing

now... "paninni" and "pepperoni" are wrong spellings too....
Yes, Giovanni spelled his surname Pannini.

Pepperoni - sausage or pepper? And that's been around so long.... If US spellings are acceptable, then pepperoni should be.
 
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