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Published by doug_monroe
clarinet articulation
clarinet articulation

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Published by: doug_monroe on Sep 05, 2011
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1
MethodsofTeachingClarinetArticulation
NeilTafelmeyer,M.M.
NDSUClarinetResearchProjectDr.DouglasMonroe,CoordinatorArticulationishowmusicianspunctuatemusicalsentences.Itisachievedthroughvariousmediums,(fingers,mallets,bows,tongueandair),andtakesagreatamountofpracticeandstudytomaster.Goodarticulationisanessentialtechniquethateverywindplayershouldhaveinhisskillset.Inmusic,articulationenablesmusicianstocreatecompleteideasandtocreatephrasesfromaseriesofpitches.Asaviolinistisabletoachievecountlessstylesofarticulationwithhiswristandbow,sowindplayersmustaccomplishthesamevarietyofarticulationswiththeirairstreamandtongue.Everyclarinetstudentwillencounterthetechniqueofarticulationandtonguing,butthechallengeremains:whatisgoodarticulation,andhowdoesoneachieveit?Unfortunately,manystudentshavebeenthevictimsofhastyandcarelessinstructionintheartoftonguing,causingfrustrationlaterinthestudents’playing.Aproblemwithclarinetarticulation(andanywindinstrument)isthatarticulationisaratherelusiveskilltomaster.Bothteacherandstudentcannotseewhatisactuallyhappeninginsidethemouth.Often,astudentusingbadhabitscanachieveoverallgoodarticulationthatdoesnotbecomeapparenttotheteacheruntilfastarticulatedpassagesareplayed.Theconceptofarticulationisalsoquiteabstract,especiallyinrelationtophrasingandmusicality.Conceptualandtechnicalideasaresometimeshardforyoungstudentstograsp,andteachersmaystruggletofindsimplewordsthatwillelicitthesoundandactiondesired.Despitethesechallenges,therearemanyclarinetperformersandteacherswhohavesuccessfullydevisedmethodsofteachingarticulationandarethemselvesfantasticarticulatorsontheirinstrument.Thefollowingarticulationmethodsareusedbyinfluentialperformersandpedagoguessuch
 
2asDanielBonade,KeithStein,PeteHadcock,RudolfJettel,CharlesWest,PatriciaCarlson,StanleyHasty,andDavidPino.Inmostcases,informationwasacquiredthroughinterviewswiththeplayersthemselvesorfromformerstudents.Forothers,Iusedtheirpublishedmethodbooks.Althoughseveralarticulationmethodswereresearched,Ifoundmanycommonalitiessharedbetweenmethods.Beforeexaminingeachone,IbelieveitisprudentthatIaddressthearticulationmethodsfoundtobeunanimous.Thefirstconcepttobesharedamongstallplayersisthatairisthedeterminingfactorintonguing,notthetongueitself.Second,thetipofthereedistheonlyplaceonthereedthatistocomeintocontactwiththetongue.Ihesitatetosaythetipofthetongueistheonlypartofthetonguetomakecontactwiththereedforreasonsdiscussedlater.Third,theairstreamisalwayssupportedduringtonguingasitiswhenslurring.Fourth,light,smalltonguemovementsareused.Last,legatotonguingispreferred.Whenitcomestoanchortonguing(whenthetipofthetongueis“anchored”onthebottomteeth)thereisstillsomedebate.Inresearchingthesemethodsofclarinetarticulation,Ifoundittobetruethatteacherswhoadvocateanchortonguingdosowhenastudent’stongueisratherlarge,makingitdifficulttousethetipofthetongue.Otherteachers,however,believeanchortonguingistoolimitingandadvocatetip-to-tiparticulation(wherethetipofthetonguemakescontactwiththetipofthereed).OnereasonforsuchunanimityinarticulationmethodsisthatmanyclarinetteachersintheUnitedStatestodaycantracetheirclarinetancestrytothegreatperformerandpedagogueDanielBonade.Bonadewasresponsiblefortrainingagenerationofplayerswhoheldtoppositionsinorchestrasanduniversitiesthroughoutthecountry.Bonade’smethodofstaccatoisperhapsthemostinfluentialmethodofarticulationusedintheUnitedStates,anditisnowonderthatnearlyeverymethodofarticulationresearchedinthisarticleinsomewayderivesfromBonade’smethod.
DanielBonade
 
3Bonade’smethodofarticulationisdescribedinhis
ClarinetistsCompendium
(G.LeBlanc).Asmentionedabove,hismethodiswidelytaughtintheUnitedStates.Inhis
Compendium,
Bonadestatedthathenotonlysuccessfullytaughtthismethodtohisclarinetstudents,butalsofoundsuccesswithflautists,oboists,Frenchhorn,andtrumpetplayers.
1
Thus,theBonademethodofarticulationisbeneficialtoallwindplayersandteachers.D.H.Evans’article,“BetterClarinetArticulation”(
Instrumentalist
Vol.44October1989)alsoprovidesasummaryoftheBonademethodofarticulation.ItisimportanttonotethatBonadestressedtheimportanceofpracticinghismethodslowlyandmethodically,soastocreatemusclememoryinthetongue.Bonadeadvocatedtip-to-tiparticulationwheretheverytipofthetonguetouchesthetipofthereedwhentonguing.AcrucialfactorinBonade’sstaccatomethodisthatthetonguenevermovesawayfromthereedtip,itonlymovesforwardjustenoughtostopthereedfromvibrating,andmovesbackonlytothepointwheresoundisproduced.Thisprocessensuresminimaltonguemovementandencouragestheuseofaslittletongueaspossible.Healsoadvocatedthatthetongueshouldrestnearthetipofthereedforminimalmovementwhentonguingisnextneeded.AnothercriticalelementinBonade’sarticulationmethodisthatoneshouldinterpretstaccatoasaninterruptionoflegatoplaying.
2
Thismeansthatthereshouldbenodifferenceinhowoneblowsthroughtheclarinetwhentonguingandwhenslurring.Therefore,theairstreamissupportedevenwhenthetongueisonthereed,anideaforeigntomostyoungstudents.Instaccatopassages,thetonguemerelytemporarilystopsthereedfromvibratingwhileairisstillbeingsupportedthroughtheclarinet.Inordertolearnthecorrecttonguemotionandproperairsupport,BonadeusesanexercisewherestudentsholdanopenG,thenstopthesoundwiththetipofthetonguewhilestillblowing,andafterarestgentlyreleasethetongue.Thisprocessshouldberepeateduntilthestudenthasmasteredthepropertonguemovement.Afterthemovementfeelsnatural,thestudentshouldtrythesame
1
DanielBonade,
TheClarinetistsCompendium
(Kenosha,WI:G.LeBlanc,1962),8.

2
Ibid.

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