There are a plethora of clarinet mouthpieces, reeds, and ligatures being made nowadays, and as many musicians who swear by their particular "setup."
Some sponsored professionals give props to their setup (instrument, custom barrels or bells, mouthpiece, reeds, ligature) at the end of their biographies in concert programs. By no means should one ever, after enjoying a great performance by a clarinetist, run out and buy whatever they were playing on.
You won't magically sound like them. It's not how it works. In fact, many clarinetists change their setup several times over the course of their careers, and often alter the reed/ligature combination depending on the venue they are playing.
Confusion over the best "setup" to play on increases with the ability to afford various mouthpieces other custom clarinet parts. When you can afford to have (or afford to buy for your child) the best, the search for "the best" can become, frankly, stressful.
I am not going to make any specific endorsements here for particular brands or models or makers.
What I do recommend is that you keep in mind the Objective from the Subjective.
Objectively, there are 4 necessities for a mouthpiece/reed/ligature setup:
2. Core of tone color
3. Ease of articulation/response
4. Ability to maintain the above three at various dynamic levels
Subjectively, there are a number of considerations. To name just one, some players prefer mouthpieces that have great flexibility in tone color, while others would perceive the same properties as too unstable.
The most important thing to keep in mind when considering changing your playing setup is to change only one thing at a time, and to not change anything very close to a concert or audition.
It is also imperative that one always have other people with good ears hear the setup and help you make a good decision. A common error in picking equipment out on one's own is choosing a mouthpiece that seems brilliant and full, but upon longer trial, the mouthpiece plays horribly out of tune or has some other fatal flaw.
Finally, especially at the student/amateur level, there is no magical setup that will make you first chair.
Whatever your budget, wherever you are, you are the one who must make it work.
Hey Millenials! You clarinetists who were born in the 1990's or later! You are growing up as musicians in the age of the Emancipated Dissonance!
That's what your ears seem to say when you hear some music. For example, Donald Martino's A Set for Clarinet.
Where's the melody? That's a melody?
Why does this sound so crazy? It sounds like horror movie music. . . or something.
This is a blog post introducing the concept of dissonance as not dissonant, not ugly, and in fact, learning to hear beyond the Major and minor tonality of what we call the Common Practice Period, (which extended itself through to rock and roll- which has very simple harmonic structure most of the time),
In the early twentieth century, Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) started to work not with scales as you know and practice them (Major and minor) but using a "row" or "set" of twelve tones.
In an article that he wrote entitled "My Evolution" he wrote:
"Let us not forget that I came to [harmonic organization of a twelve tone row] gradually, as a result of a convincing development which enabled me to establish the law of the emancipation of the dissonance, according to which the comprehensibility of the dissonance is considered as important as the comprehensibility of the consonance. Thus dissonances need not be a spicy addition to dull sounds. They are natural and logical outgrowths of an organism. And this organism lives as vitally in its phrases, rhythms, motifs and melodies as ever before."
To him, this new manner of composition was as natural an unfolding of advancement in musical thought as the revolutionary Third Symphony of Beethoven, of which a critic wrote, "If Beethoven continues on his present path, his music will reach the point where no one will find any pleasure in it." Of Beethoven's so-called revolutionary Third Symphony Schoenberg wrote, ". . .this music was distinctly a product of evolution, and no more revolutionary than any other development in the history of music."
He saw the Classical and Romantic periods (and later composers who remained in those practices) as a standstill to the progress made by Johann Sebastian Bach and other composers that took tonality to new extremes; to Schoenberg, it was a two-hundred year filibuster of ineffective composition!
Schoenberg shifted away from the organization of classical tonality to a tonality where the dissonance is not simply something to be resolved, but instead serves equal importance in the expression of musical ideas as the consonance. Schoenberg asserted that it is this equal treatment of the dissonance with the consonance that allows for a greater flexibility of expression in composition.
The presence of dissonant tones within a 'tonal' context existing only to be resolved instead of serving as an absolutely integral part of the melodic and harmonic structure, insofar as that if the dissonances are removed from a tonal composition, although the music loses much of its substance, there still exists the skeleton of a musical idea whereas it is impossible to subtract dissonances from a twelve-tone work without completely destroying it: as wordy as it is, this may actually serve as a kind of thorough definition of Twelve-Tone, or Post-Tonal music.
Writing a Program Biography: A Few Tips
by Alice Gallagher
Auditions Committee, Musical Merit Foundation of Greater San Diego
The purpose of this little article is to help someone write their first artistic biography.
The best writing is always engaging regardless of its purpose. An artistic biography should reflect you as a person and not be just a list of teachers you have had or rewards you have won. The artistic biography is part of the program, and ultimately, the program is part of the concert. Usually, audiences read through the program as they wait for the concert to begin, and it should be an “appetizer,” an amuse-bouche, for the concert. With that said, there are certain conventions that should be followed unless you are planning a comedy act. So your biography should be not too long, highlight the very best of your hereunto career, and perhaps end with future plans and intentions, especially as a student.
Start writing your biography by assembling your raw material. On a separate piece of paper (or word processing document), list all of your musical accomplishments and experiences. You might not use all of them in the biography, but it is good to keep a Curriculum Vitae, or CV, throughout your carer.
Include your high school band experience if you are in high school, and if you are in college, include your school ensembles. Make sure to keep this document updated on a monthly basis. Include non-competitive experiences as well, and even non-music accomplishments such as scholarships.
1.Education and private teachers
3. Awards, music-related/High-status experiences, music related (festivals, camps, honor bands)
4. Information about yourself (where you are from, an interesting hobby, future dreams)
Once you have that information, it’s time to make that list into a one or two paragraph biography.
-Biographies are written in the third person. Don’t write “I. . .” Write your biography as if someone else is talking about you. Alternate using your full name with using just your last name with “Miss” or “Mr.” if you are eighteen or under; if you are a female, once you turn age 18, you may use “Ms.” if you prefer. Don’t begin every section the same way. Examples can be seen in the sample biography.
- For college age musicians: Don’t include every single educational experience, masterclass, or long lists of teachers- who you have studied with is not what you have accomplished; at the same time, it is very nice to include, as a tribute your most important teachers; as a rule, include anyone you studied with for at least four months, but try to keep the list to five teachers. If you took one lesson with a famous teacher, good for you, but they really are not part of your biography.
-Include second- or third-place awards of high-profile competitions if you don’t have a lot of experience.
-The more you do, the more you are able to put in your biography. Include your teacher’s studio recitals as experience even though they were not competitive.
-Don’t include adjectives such as “prestigious” and never call yourself accomplished, even if you clearly are. Let your accomplishments simply speak for themselves without adding pretense or unneeded words.
-Do include adjectives (only one or two) that describe who you really are. You can describe yourself as ambitious rather than accomplished- it is a more humble way of saying “I’m a serious young musician” without pretension.
- Never “pad” your biography. If your high school band played at Carnegie Hall, it doesn’t mean you earned anything special, and you shouldn’t include it in your biography. However, if you played a big solo, such as a concerto movement in that concert at Carnegie Hall, you may include that.
Submit your biography to your English teacher as well as an experienced musician for editing. Use all available resources to make your biography readable and best reflect who you are and your accomplishments. A well-written biography can add professionalism to how you present yourself and help you establish a positive and realistic self-perception as you develop as a musician.