Embouchure and Pitches for Woodwinds For Flute, Oboe, Bassoon, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Saxophone players. You should be able to produce the following concert pitches with your mouthpiece/reed/headjoint only. Use a tuner to check your embouchure pitches. If you can do so, your embouchure is correct. These pitches are for standard (classical) mouthpieces and reeds. Flute - A on stopped or open headjoint only Oboe - Reed crow should sound B or C Bassoon - Reed crow should sound G or A Bb Clarinet - C on mouthpiece and reed only Bass Clarinet - F# on mouthpiece and reed only Soprano Sax - C or C# on mouthpiece and reed only Alto Sax - A on mouthpiece only; G# on mouthpiece and neck Tenor Sax - G on mouthpiece only; E on mouthpiece and neck Baritone Sax - D or D# on mouthpiece and reed only These pitches are from "Developing the Complete Band Program", by Shelley Jagow. If you are not getting the correct pitch, check the following: All Wind Instruments Air Speed - Always use fast air .
Flute Embouchure - The aperture (hole between your lips through which you blow air) should be very small. Check in mirror - you should barely see the aperture. The lips should be together in a "pout" position, as if you are saying the word "pooh."
Flute Headjoint Placement against chin, up to middle of lower lip
Clarinet/Sax Reed Strength/Quality - Reeds should be at least a #2 1/2 to #3 strength. By second half of first year, students should be playing on #3 reeds. Depending on mouthpiece/reed combination, harder reeds might be used as students progress. For clarinet, Van Doren reeds are recommended. For saxophone, La Voz (medium to medium hard) or Van Doren are recommended. Reeds that are too soft and/or poor quality may produce sounds that are flat (or under pitch).
Clarinet/Sax Ligature - Not snug enough? Ligature screws should be snug enough to hold the reed in place without the reed wiggling, but not so tight that the screws or ligature could break. Clarinet Lip Pressure - Clarinet embouchure should be very firm, with top teeth on top of mouthpiece. Push mouthpiece UP to create firm pressure against top teeth. Mouthpiece should not be able to wiggle in mouth. Saxophone embouchure is similar to clarinet, but more relaxed. You do not need to push up against the teeth for saxophone, but the top teeth should always rest on the top of the mouthpiece when playing. Many sax players stick a teeth protector (bought at music store) or several small pieces of electrical tape on the top of the mouthpiece, so that the teeth are more comfortable. Clarinet/Sax - How Much Mouthpiece or Reed in Mouth - For saxophone and clarinet, look at the mouthpiece (with the reed on it) sideways. Note where the reed meets the mouthpiece. That is how far you should take the mouthpiece into your mouth. Oboe Embouchure - Place the tip of the reed on your lower lip, right on the line where the inside of your lip meets the outside of your lip. Roll your lower lip slightly over your bottom teeth, and bring the upper lip down to meet the reed. Shape your lips as if you are saying "oh," and bring corners of lips in. Oboe embouchure is very firm. The lips should feel like an "oh" shape, as if they (the lips) are holding the reed open. Think of an old man trying to put his lips together to whistle. Bassoon Embouchure - Bring upper lip to the wire of the reed and keep lower lip relaxed over bottom teeth. Except for a possible slight overbite, lips should feel relaxed and natural.
Tuning Instructions The LONGER the pipe, the LOWER the pitch. If your pitch is sharp (high), you need to make it flatter (lower). The SHORTER the pipe, the HIGHER the pitch. If your pitch is flat (low), you need to make it sharper (higher).
Mallet instruments such as bells, xylophones, and vibraphones are often pitched to A 442. However, for our purposes, we will tune to A 440. Make sure that your tuners are calibrated to 440.
Initial tuning notes are listed below for each instrument. Play your tuning note into the tuner. If the needle stays towards the right, your note is sharp. If it stays towards the left, your note is flat.
The GOAL is to get the tuner to stay in the middle. Play "freeze the needle" - hold the note steady and in tune.
Initial Tuning Notes for each Instrument (these are written pitches, not concert pitches)- Keep in mind that even though you will first use these notes to tune, other notes on your instrument may not be in tune. It is the nature of instruments. The longer you play your instrument, and the better tone you have, the more you will be able to play all notes in tune on your instrument.
Flute - A above staff (play F G A Bb slurred, then go to A and tune) Oboe - A in staff Bassoon - Bb in staff Clarinet - open G (adjust barrel); 3rd space C (adjust bell) Bass Clarinet - Open G Saxophone - top line F# (play low G, C above that, high G, all slurred, then go to F# and tune) Trumpet - 3rd space C, 2nd line G French horn - middle C (if trigger, 3rd space C) Trombone/Baritone/Euphonium/Tuba - Bb above concert F (play F first for reference)
For each instrument (except oboe and bassoon), you will move something on the instrument to make it longer or shorter, depending on what the tuner says.
Flute - move the headjoint in or out to make the flute longer or shorter Clarinet - for open G, move the barrel of the clarinet up or down, then for fourth line D, adjust the middle joint of the body of the instrument Bass Clarinet - loosen the neck screw, and move the neck of the instrument up or down to make the instrument longer or shorter, tighten neck screw when the neck is in the right position Saxophone - move the mouthpiece up or down on the cork to make the instrument longer or shorter Brass - move the tuning slide(s) in or out to make the tubing of the instrument longer or shorter