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Author Topic: Do jazz players favour double lip?  (Read 1359 times)

Offline LarryS

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Do jazz players favour double lip?
« on: May 30, 2022, 02:38:56 PM »
I notice that classical players hold the instrument almost vertical, because of the way a reed instrument works. But jazz players tend to be portrayed holding it more horizontal. But when I do this the sound is weaker because the reed is being blown at a different angle due to the classic clarinet embouchure.
I know many players favour the double lip embouchure and this allows the player to hold the instrument higher. So is that where it comes from, the new orleans jazz era?
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Offline kehammel

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Re: Do jazz players favour double lip?
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2022, 07:12:09 AM »
Double lip embouchure is the way the clarinet was played when it was invented in the 1700s. It was also common to play with the mouthpiece rotated so the reed was on top, for which a single lip embouchure is impossible. Playing with the reed on top was mostly abandoned in the 1800s, although some Italian players continued doing it until the early 1900s. Also in the 1800s, the German player Klose advocated using a single lip embouchure instead of double lip, and most players worldwide gradually switched to it. A summary of the history can be found here:

https://clarinetcorner.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/mouthpiece-puzzle/

Some classical players still use double lip, and you can find videos online advocating it- for example, the maker Tom Ridenour likes it and refers to it as French embouchure.

I don't know what proportion of jazz players use double lip. I do use it myself and find single lip awkward.


Offline delb0y

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Re: Do jazz players favour double lip?
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2022, 09:41:50 AM »
I'm sure Benny Goodman changed to double lip embouchure at some point. I use single, and I'm too old to change, but I do find that if I experiment with my clarinet angle as I play, my best tone is at an angle of around 45 degrees, rather than more vertical. Not necessarily the most comfortable angle for my hands and arms, but my lips don't mind.

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Offline super20dan

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Re: Do jazz players favour double lip?
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2022, 06:13:22 PM »
info says benny changed to double lip in the early 50,s  tho i dont see why.

Offline windydankoff

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Re: Do jazz players favour double lip?
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2022, 10:17:28 AM »
I believe that embouchure and angle variations must all be tuned to the individual, as each of us has distinctly different anatomy and muscle behavior. It's helpful to be aware of all these variations as a map of the territory to explore. Then, let your ear (and endurance) be your guide.
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Offline LarryS

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Re: Do jazz players favour double lip?
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2022, 06:30:52 AM »
Quote from: kehammel

Some classical players still use double lip, and you can find videos online advocating it- for example, the maker Tom Ridenour likes it and refers to it as French embouchure.

I don't know what proportion of jazz players use double lip. I do use it myself and find single lip awkward.
I've watched that video before, I didn't realise he was playing with the reed on top! I thought double lip was still with the reed in the normal position, on the bottom.
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Offline kehammel

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Re: Do jazz players favour double lip?
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2022, 11:32:00 AM »
He's playing with the reed on the bottom. I only mentioned playing with it on top because it shows that double lip must have come before single lip. Possibly some current players of baroque clarinet or chalumeau might try having the reed on top, but I haven't heard of any examples so far.

Offline LarryS

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Re: Do jazz players favour double lip?
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2022, 11:34:27 AM »
. Possibly some current players of baroque clarinet or chalumeau might try having the reed on top, but I haven't heard of any examples so far.
Ah yes HIP players probably would do that.
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Offline brigaltman

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Re: Do jazz players favour double lip?
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2022, 07:39:15 PM »
My experience is as a classical style player of about 65 years. I'm unaware of any classical players who use a double embouchure. I'm 99% sure that Pete Fountain used the "traditional" embouchure.
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Offline TMHeimer

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Re: Do jazz players favour double lip?
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2022, 06:43:47 PM »
As a lifelong classical player, I have at times dabbled in jazz. Have played the Shaw Concerto a dozen times and done some dixieland and a bit of improv at times. I admit I never gave double lip a decent try-- like circular breathing. But I can't see how it would be comfortable. I don't know if angle of the clarinet has much to do with it. I basically have "normal" angles-- you know, some variations when soloing, etc. I think the high angle may just be for show?
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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Do jazz players favour double lip?
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2022, 11:51:00 AM »
From looking at videos of traditional jazz saxophonists, they almost always have the double lip. Clarinet seems to be half and half.

When I was a young tyke in middle school, the band director considered double lipping a crime, so I've always had that mentality.
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Offline lydian

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Re: Do jazz players favour double lip?
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2022, 05:47:29 PM »
From looking at videos of traditional jazz saxophonists, they almost always have the double lip. Clarinet seems to be half and half.

When I was a young tyke in middle school, the band director considered double lipping a crime, so I've always had that mentality.
This is 100% wrong. Double lip is extremely rare in jazz saxophone. Of the hundreds of famous players I'm familiar with, I can count on one hand the ones who played double lip at some point, usually due to physical problems that left them no other choice. Regardless of what you think you're seeing, most have their teeth firmly planted on top of the mouthpiece because that's what works best.

I would expect the proportion of double lip in the jazz clarinet to be higher than in sax simply because it's a little more mainstream, but still fairly rare.

I would recommend double lip only to the few players who may experience serious discomfort in spite of using patches.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2022, 04:09:29 PM by lydian »

Offline Airflyte

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Re: Do jazz players favour double lip?
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2022, 02:38:16 PM »
From looking at videos of traditional jazz saxophonists, they almost always have the double lip. Clarinet seems to be half and half.

When I was a young tyke in middle school, the band director considered double lipping a crime, so I've always had that mentality.
This is 100% wrong. Double lip is extremely rare in jazz saxophone. Of the hundreds of famous players I'm familiar with, I can count on one hand the ones who played double lip at some point, usually due to physical problems that left them no other choice. Regardless of what you think you're seeing, most have their teeth firmly planted on top of the mouthpiece because that's what works best.

I would expect the proportion of double lip in the jazz clarinet to be higher than in sax simply because it's a little more mainstream, but still fairly rare.

I would recommend double lip only to the few players who may experience serious discomfort in spite of using patches.

Hi lydian. Welcome to the forum.  :)

You hit the ground running with your first post!

Dave may have been traumatized by his middle school band director, but he's not "100%" wrong. Single lip vs. Double lip embouchure is simply a choice.  It is not for me to say which one is better than the other. I prefer double lip as it feels more relaxed and open.


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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Do jazz players favour double lip?
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2022, 04:16:32 PM »
From looking at videos of traditional jazz saxophonists, they almost always have the double lip. Clarinet seems to be half and half.

When I was a young tyke in middle school, the band director considered double lipping a crime, so I've always had that mentality.
This is 100% wrong. Double lip is extremely rare in jazz saxophone. Of the hundreds of famous players I'm familiar with, I can count on one hand the ones who played double lip at some point, usually due to physical problems that left them no other choice. Regardless of what you think you're seeing, most have their teeth firmly planted on top of the mouthpiece because that's what works best.

I would expect the proportion of double lip in the jazz clarinet to be higher than in sax simply because it's a little more mainstream, but still fairly rare.

I would recommend double lip only to the few players who may experience serious discomfort in spite of using patches.

Hi lydian. Welcome to the forum.  :)

You hit the ground running with your first post!

Dave may have been traumatized by his middle school band director, but he's not "100%" wrong. Single lip vs. Double lip embouchure is simply a choice.  It is not for me to say which one is better than the other. I prefer double lip as it feels more relaxed and open.

I will need to recover from this injury :( LOL
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Offline windydankoff

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Re: Do jazz players favour double lip?
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2022, 06:37:38 AM »
Jazz (or any) players with front teeth that are chipped or poorly aligned or unhealthy may favour double lip. Tooth and jaw and other health issues may influence embouchure in various ways. Playing off to one side is fairly common, and easily observed.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2022, 05:23:20 PM by windydankoff »
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