From: JJTHAD~ife.uams.edu
Date: Sat, 04 Nov 1995 01:04:27 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: C-spot

Winslow writes
>; If you move to the point that will produce the bent pitch *before*
>; engaging the bend, you can simply turn the bend on and off by
>; opening and closing the constriction point (by the way, I call this
>; the C-Spot. C for constriction, C for Control. . . .)

>; . . . I can't say whether it's more or less effective than opening
>; the nose (which simply opens up the resonant chamber with the C-spot
>; engaged).

Now that's a nice little didacticism I'll have to remember next time
a student has bending problems! Those of you who've been following
the Nose-breathing thread know that I suggested that opening and
closing airway through the nose can get you cleanly into and out of
a bend. I happened across it because I wasn't getting the results
I wanted doing it the way Winslow describes here. For me, the
binary, all-or-nothing result of short-circuiting the air pressure
(or for draw reeds, vacuum) by causing an air leak through the nose
was a speedier transition than I could accomplish by adjusting the
constriction at the mouth chamber, the C-spot.

But what I find interesting here is that, actually, I do both. The
air leak through the nose is VERY brief, both when terminating a
bent note with an unbent one or when initiating a bend from the
straight note. The little micro-caesura this affords me still
leaves the notes sounding legato, but gives me time to move the
muscles controlling the C-spot, and removes any vestige of a
pitch-slide or swoop between the notes.

Winslow also related the C-spot to saying the sound of the letter
K. If indeed a K is being said between the straight note and the
bent, then this is another way besides an air leak through the nose
(or between the lips and the mouthpiece) to create the little
caesura that helps articulate the two notes. It is fast and
clean, no doubt, and I like it because I can use it when I
tongue-block. But a long night of playing too much that way can
leave me with a slightly sore throat, the sound of that K can
be a little too hard under some amplification conditions, and
the overall line seems less legato to me than with the nose-
leak. The lip leak is also a bit less legato than letting
a brief puff of air through the nose, at least for me, I think
because in my case, the reed still sounds when my nose is open.

Anyway, I don't want to make too big a thing of this nose-
breathing thing. When I play the chromatic scale up or down
through the available draw notes on diatonic holes two and
three in a legato fashion, most of the semitone changes are
done using none of these three tricks. No "K", no epiglottal
release to the nose, and certainly no embouchure release.
Rather, the change is made only with a rapid adjustment of the
depth of the bend, adjustment of the size of that constriction
between the throat and mouth that I think is the same as
Winslow's "C-spot" (but without the "K"). I said 'most' of
the semitone changes. I will sneak in little leak through
the nose between the straight note and the first semitone
below it, especially when ascending, and sometimes briefly
between draw and blow notes. I guess I trust the rhythm
and timing I can get with that move.

--John Thaden


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