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Topic: Help needed with wind instruments

  1. #1

    Help needed with wind instruments

    Today I had a long visit at our local library to gather some information about playing woodwinds and brass. No success at all. Only books on piano playing techniques and string techniques.

    From other messages I understood that sometimes (or mostly) string players tend to "crawl" to the note the have to play (special when it is changing playing positions). I won't repeat all the advices, but the messages of Hannes were very useful and of course that tutorial of Jim Walraven (portamento).

    Now I wanted to learn some of the theoretical techniques of woodwinds and brass. I will search the Net for more info, but for now I only want to know if this "what I called crawling to a note" also can happen playing woodwinds [I am a pianist!]. If so then a pitchbend at the start of a jump is appropriate.



  2. #2

    Re: Help needed with wind instruments

    Hi Raymond,

    A pitchbend at the beginning of a woodwind or brass note more often than not will give you a very uncharacteristic result, especially in orchestral and symphonic band music.

    Jazz and pop is a different story, but it's easily overdone. On "real" woodwind instruments, manipulating the embouchure to create a small bit of a scoop on the occasional note is certainly stylistically appropriate. Grace note-like "scoops" are far more common and idiomatic, however (but still easy to overdo), and will give you a more authentic-sounding performance in this style.

    ...hope this helps a little.

  3. #3

    Re: Help needed with wind instruments

    Many thanks for that useful info.


  4. #4

    Re: Help needed with wind instruments

    IMHO A lot of listening in the style that you are playing is probably the best study material. If your library has recordings, that would be a blessing. Listen to things like vibrato and articulations at first. I don't think books would be as useful with that. YMMV. ~Eric

  5. #5

    Re: Help needed with wind instruments

    Stephen, I congratulate and thank you for your reply. Having been a woodwind player for almost 20 years, and a music teacher for more than 10, I've never actually anylized tone that way. I certainly could never have put it into words. I guess the next question is: How do you use that info in programming? ~ Eric

  6. #6

    Re: Help needed with wind instruments

    Quote Originally Posted by DDW View Post
    but it's easily overdone.
    You don't mention the very famous clarinet portamento at the beginning of Rhapsody in Blue. Prior to its premier performance at Aeolian Hall in 1924, nobody thought it was possible. But clarinetist Russ Gorman amazed everyone with his long slow slide up to the top note. Every orchestra that plays it does it that way. I don't know anyone who thinks this is overdone.

  7. #7

    Re: Help needed with wind instruments

    I'm with ofafeather about listening - this is a far better guide than trying to nail down conventions in words. I would suggest not only listening to recordings - but if your town, local school, etc. has a community or school band or orchestra that you request permission to sit in on rehearsals. You will hear and see an entire range of practices more easily grasped through experience rather than theory. Additionally I would suggest, if you hear a particularly interesting combination of sounds, that after rehearsal you request a look at the score. Conversations with the individual musicians about special problems and tone production/fingering etc. will also be a big benefit. This is how I began to learn orchestration informally and now it is part of my profession. Taking notes in that rehearsal hall will gain you quite a bit more than reading about it in a book.
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

  8. #8

    Re: Help needed with wind instruments

    I'd pick up a recorder or penny whistle. You can get one for a couple of Euro these days (not very good ones, I'll admit). I think it's helped my thinking on passages for wind in having that actual experience of the "tu-ku-ku" articulation, using breath pressure for swells, discovering which notes are more difficult to get to in legato fashion....and even a little experimentation in diaphragm vibrato and flutter-tongue.

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