Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Reed disaster

I have a show tomorrow, playing one short piece my son wrote for a creative music competition. So it kinda matters, it's all solo and it'd be nice to not suck, and I'd been working a pretty good reed for it, G11. The piece goes all over the place, starting with low Bb1, and hitting C4 later, and I need to compete against his rather vigorous piano playing in all registers. So it's not an easy piece for a reed. I'd been trying to get a little more response, a little more brightness, and also clean up a moderately bad top/bottom assymmetry. A touch off the front of the heart, trying to smooth the side profile, seemed to help. And how bout a bit from the back to help those low notes... A bit here, a bit there... And bam. The middle C#, C#2, in the staff, dropped, turning into a C-natural. Eeeyeah. And I lost the ability to hit C4 securely. If a high E or D# won't speak on a reed, I'll forgive it, no serious biggie, but a C is not that high. There's no real help here but to clip back the tip, to bring the reed's internal pitch up again. My first clip went askew, and after I'd gotten it straight, the reed looked awfully short, about 24.5mm collar to tip. It feels very small in my mouth, like it's amputated. And while it does kind of play, it's nevertheless too stiff in the tenor range, doesn't speak all that well low... and if I fix those things, I worry I'll get stuck where I was before.

Not sure what I'll do. I have a couple of other reeds, G5 and G7, which are both playable. Neither are as good as G11 was just before I screwed it up. Guess I'll decide tomorrow what to do.

Added. I played on G5, which was my concert reed in the last couple of weeks, before I was finishing G11. I took a bit of the back, hoping to let the low notes speak a little more freely, but basically tried to leave it alone, having fewer and worse backups left. As it turns out, we got to play the piece twice, since the adjudicator hadn't received the full score and needed more time to get familiar with the music before judging it. Different mistakes each time, an odd squawk here and there, but I got through it. I played standing too, my first time performing that way. I found it not easy, since the instrument is less balanced than when seated, but it's nice to be able to move. And oh yeah -- the piece won.

Added again: Here's audio, with a new cloud audio system.

Moose in Love by TFox17

1 comment:

  1. You did a kick-ass job, reed notwithstanding. And standing.