heather roche

contrabass clarinet mouthpiece and neck

Just a fun little contrabass clarinet-related post for you today, but a few nice sounds here, just using the mouthpiece (with reed) and the neck of the contrabass clarinet. (Again, I play a paperclip, so these techniques are only applicable to this specific instrument!)


First, there are essentially two pitches available, a low E quarter flat and a high A quarter sharp (transposed pitches here – because it would make sense to keep everything in Bb I think, so that your player isn’t transposing when switching between this and normal playing techniques).

Normal extended techniques like slap and flutter tongue work perfectly well here:

Using the hand, there are two nice techniques, one is to gradually cover the opening of the neck with one hand at an angle, producing nice bends of either the bottom or top note (you can also bend the top note using the embouchure, but this doesn’t work very well on the bottom):

You can also play a really beautiful fragile multiphonic, and the pitches of this can be bent. Here I play it with three different positions, open, slightly bent, and about 3/4 closed:

The other hand position is to kind of bounce the hand over the covering while playing. You can combine this with normal pitches or also with the multiphonic:

Finally, you can also do something where you start on the top pitch and then allow the pitch to “fall”, as in the following example:

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