Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Significance of a Clarinet/Saxophone Mouthpiece

A mouthpiece is usually referred to as an object which comes near or in contact with one's mouth during use, such as a musical instrument. The mouthpiece of a woodwind instrument is the part of the instrument which is placed partly in the player's mouth.

For the single- reed instruments which are the clarinet and the saxophone, the mouthpiece plays quite an important role, in which it provides an opening for air to enter into the instrument. Mouthpieces for saxophone and clarinets are basically wedge-shaped, with the reed placed against the surface closest to the player's bottom lip. The player's breath causes the reed to vibrate, which in turn causes the instrument to vibrate.

Clarinet Mouthpieces
The clarinet mouthpiece is narrow inside and typically has a square or rectangular cross section. The bottom of the mouthpiece is formed with a tenon that is ringed with cork. Clarinet mouthpieces are available in hundreds of styles from dozens of manufacturers around the world. Differently sized Clarinets require a different sized mouthpiece. However, with some soprano clarinets, they are usually so close in size that players typically use the same mouthpiece on both.

Saxophone Mouthpieces
The saxophone mouthpiece is similar to a clarinet, however it has no tenon. Instead, the saxophone's neck has a ring of cork glued to it, and the mouthpiece fits firmly onto the neck cork. Saxophone mouthpieces are also available in hundreds of styles from dozens of manufacturers around the world. Saxophone mouthpieces are available in hundreds of styles from dozens of manufacturers.

Clarinet and Saxophone mouthpieces have made out of hard (vulcanized) rubber, brass or other metal, crystal, glass, plastic, and wood. Today, the most common material for professional clarinet and (classical) saxophone mouthpieces is hard rubber. Jazz saxophone mouthpieces are made out of hard rubber or metal.

There is some debate over whether the material affects the tone, or whether tone is shaped only by the internal shape and dimensions of the mouthpiece. With mouthpieces of any material, the tip, table, or facing can be ruined if it is scratched or worn down.

Gemma Lee,
from Teachers in piano, saxophone, violin, singing, drums, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, flute and clarinet lessons

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1 comment:

  1. Small bits of content which are explained in details, helps me understand the topic, thank you!

    Jay Weinstein Seattle