The player-reed interaction during note transitions in the clarinet

Montserrat Pāmies-Vilā, Alex Hofmann and Vasileios Chatziioannou

Univ. Music and Performing Arts Vienna

Monday, September 16, 2019 from 09:20 to 09:40

in Summer Theater

Abstract :
When playing woodwind instruments, most of the player's control over the instrument takes place inside the player's mouth. Blowing pressure, tonguing strategies, embouchure and vocal tract configuration are modified during playing to perform expressively. Aiming at analysing the player's actions at the note transitions, an experiment with eleven clarinet players was carried out. The mouth pressure, the mouthpiece pressure and the reed oscillation were recorded in order to track blowing and tonguing actions and to identify vocal tract adjustments. The influence of the player's actions on the sound was quantified by considering the note attack and release transients. The results showed in which manner the players adapt tonguing and blowing actions according to the articulation style (legato, portato, staccato), the tempo and the dynamics of the music. The tonguing technique in portato articulation was consistent among players, whereas different techniques were observed for staccato articulation. The influence of the vocal tract on the attack transients was proven to be non-negligible and it was dependent on the clarinet register. Particularly at high pitches, some players showed vocal tract adjustments that supported shorter attack transients.

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