Choosing a clarinet mouthpiece
The choice of clarinet mouthpiece can have a huge impact on both the quality of playing, and the type of sound a clarinetist can produce. The mouthpiece is where the sound starts, and it is important for clarinet players of any level of expertise to find the right mouthpiece for them to avoid problems.
The mouthpiece serves various purposes. It gives the clarinet player a way of getting air vibrating through the instrument to produce a sound. It also serves the purpose of holding the reed in place. Many things go into deciding what type of mouthpiece to use: the material the mouthpiece is made from, interior and exterior design and the facing.
The facing on a mouthpiece for a clarinet is sometimes also known as the lay. This is where the reed sits in the mouthpiece. While the size and length of the facing can make a difference to the timbre of the clarinet sound, this is not something that should concern a beginner or even intermediate clarinetist.
Mouthpieces for clarinets come in a variety of materials. While most mouthpieces are made of plastic it is possible to get mouthpieces made of wood or even glass. Again, the choice of material can have an effect on the tone produced, but many beginners can not tell the difference, and must weigh up the cost of buying a mouthpiece made of a specialty material with the importance of sound at that stage in learning the clarinet.
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