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Clarinet Vibrato ~ take two

Gandalfe

Admin and all around good guy.
Staff member
Administrator
#1
I hate my clarinet vibrato sound. I don't spend enough time on the instrument to get a really good sound, but it shouldn't be that hard to get a klezmer sound. I teach sax vibrato, to so many people. Believe it or not, the reason I teach it to so many saxophonists is because of the many, many times we are required to double a flute or oboe in concert band. A slight (very slight) classical vibrato can help with the inherent intonation challenges of that kind of double.

So I need to research this and that will be my January 2018 project. How close to the Eddie Daniels sound can I get. The sad part is that many of the saxophonists that I have taught to use vibrato, especially for soloing in a concert band, now do it better than me!!! Just goes to show you that I'm not practicing enough.
 

Groovekiller

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#2
When I use vibrato on clarinet, I change my embouchure. If I'm playing "legit" clarinet I use a standard 66 mm barrel with a firm lip and blow "at" the reed, keeping the clarinet aimed at the floor.
For vibrato, I use a shorter barrel, up to 3 mm shorter. Then I play clarinet a little bit more like saxophone, looser, which brings the pitch down. Then I have more freedom to manipulate the vibrato and still be in tune.
 

Gandalfe

Admin and all around good guy.
Staff member
Administrator
#3
I've heard that many saxophone players starting to play clarinet start on a short barrel until they figure the thing out. This was my first video to help and it calmed me down as it is the same method that I use to teach sax vibrato:


Of course I had to check in on what Eddie Daniels had to say. He was the first clarinetist I had my wife listen to as she started playing jazz for the first time. There are so many Eddie Daniel vids out there! I started with this one:

 
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pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#4
The Nearness of You

Just so folks know what the gentleman in the first video was talking about ...

==========

Partial thread hijack: I switched from clarinet to sax, rather than the opposite. I was not necessarily a "good" clarinetist before I switched. However, I've only had two teachers comment to me about anything vibrato (and what's with the VEE-brato vs. VYY-brato?):

* A little goes a long way.
* Use vibrato to make your tone more interesting, especially on long notes.

I was looking at a couple of things before I posted this thread. I first came across this Lawrence Welk clip from 1955. There's a tune that starts at 9:16 or so that Welk introduces as "The Swan." The reed section uses almost no vibrato at all when playing clarinets and extremely wide when playing saxophones.

Second, when I think vibrato, I almost always think vocal, first, because singing with vibrato feels very natural, especially when you're either running out of breath or having a bit of a problem nailing the intonation. This dude has a really nice vocal lesson regarding singing straight vs. with vibrato. He also sings Autumn Leaves completely straight, which is very unique.

Anyhow, singing a note without vibrato can sound extremely good, especially when you're talking very early (church) music.

One final thing, not really related to the above. One of the comments in Tallis' "Spem in Alium" mentions there's an interesting "art" installation piece by Janet Cardiff. Please check out the link. Exceptional. (Virtual walk through link.)
 

Gandalfe

Admin and all around good guy.
Staff member
Administrator
#5
Speaking of no vibrato, my MJJO has some Les and Larry Elgart charts. They were a band made up of mostly legit players that were, as some said, the last successful big band. So no vibrato in the reed section, or very little. When we have subs, we have NO VIBRATO written at the top of those charts. Wanna hear how that sounds, I'm glad you asked here are two Elgart charts as we played them for our 2014 recording:

- Paradise
- The Continental

Enjoy.
 
#8
I played for a leader who had been collecting charts since the Korean War (or police action, if you prefer). He had a wide variety, including Elgart, stuff he had come across over the decades. He even came across a book of all-tenor hotel band arrangements. We tried it once and he relegated it to the never again bin.

So no, I don't know of a source.
 
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