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Woodwind Principals of the Philadelphia Orchestra @1927
William Kincade, Daniel Bonade, Walter Guetter, Joseph Wolf, Marcel Tabuteau
All technique is a matter of knowledge and balance. The internal dimensions and rails of the mouthpiece must be balanced, the reed must be balanced and there must be a balance between the Embouchure and the wind. The abdominal muscles working the diaphragm to create the wind pressure necessary to set the reed vibrating must be balanced to enable the embouchure to work with freedom and suppleness. The wind player must find an internal balance. For instance, if the posture of the wind player is bent over and the spine not straight, the diaphragm will be constricted and not respond as easily as it should, demanding more work from the abdominals. The aim of all of this "balance" is to allow the vibration of the reed to be free and uninhibited. If the balance is found between all the parts the sound will flow with ease.
Knowledge is the result of careful, attentive practice, being aware of the sensation of the body and the resulting sound quality and ease of playing that is the goal.
Balance is a fluid and ever-changing effort:
No two pieces of cane are ever the same. There is always variation in density and composition of the material. Thus, one cannot just balance a reed "by the numbers" and have both sides be the same thickness. Some reeds need one side to be thicker for the reed to play freely.
Mouthpiece material is similar. No two mouthpieces will play the same even if they are made by the same maker or company with the same measurements. Some mouthpiece makers like the rails to be uneven with a concavity in the table while others insist on perfectly even rails and a flat table.
With the balance between the embouchure and the wind, one can sense different strength coming from the abdominals than from the embouchure. The embouchure (Obicularus Oris) is a smaller structure than all the abdominal muscles so it's role in the balancing process will be proportionate. Marcel Tabuteau taught that one cannot create a sound from "ZERO" (resistance). To send air through the instrument without a formed embouchure, one gets no sound (or an unpleasant sound). It takes both embouchure and wind constantly striving toward "balance" of resistance to create a musical tone and, of course, resistance needs to change from octave to octave.
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