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Date of Graduation
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
School of Music
Clarinet is a versatile and expressive instrument that can be used in a variety of musical genres. This document is intended to investigate its versatility, how to develop it, and whether there are benefits from the adoption of an old approach, which today is generally considered obsolete.
Chapter 1 explores major issues involved in clarinet playing and tone production. I will discuss the physics of clarinet tone, as well as secondary approaches to tone production, such as double-lip embouchure. I will also devote a section of this chapter to clarinet equipment, especially the mouthpiece and the reed, and their mutual effect on the development of clarinet performance and pedagogy practices.
Chapter 2 discusses a historical and geographical development of a specific approach to clarinet playing: the reed-above embouchure. A significant section of the chapter focuses on the Italian school of clarinet, renowned for its large number of virtuosi who adopted this approach. I address the following questions: Who were the practitioners of this approach? When was it most prevalent? What were the advantages and disadvantages associated with it? Which tradition boasted the highest number of clarinetists employing the reed-above embouchure? Did this tradition possess unique characteristics that justified its use? Additionally, the chapter delves into the most successful proponents of this technique and investigates the reasons behind its eventual abandonment.
Chapter 3 explores the potential of the reed-above embouchure as a valuable pedagogical tool for teachers and students, offering a practical solution to the challenges discussed in the previous chapters. I will examine specific cases that highlight the transformative effects of exploring this embouchure on selected students.
Chapter 4 includes a selection from Ferdinando Sebastiani’s Metodo per clarinetto. It has been provided both in Italian and in English as it represents my first-hand source on advocating for the reed-above embouchure.
Paone, Gregorio Maria, "The reed-above embouchure: History, geography and new avenues for clarinet pedagogy" (2023). Dissertations, 2020-current. 126.