Buzzing Clarinet

by Cindy


Your site has really helped me and encourages me to continue to play and practice (and change reeds, haha). I am a newbie to music period. I took up the clarinet a year ago (having never played any instrument) and practiced regularly but not much over the summer, I am back to it now and was wondering how come my clarinet sometimes seems to buzz? What would cause this besides spit by the reed?

Also, I find I can teach myself finger positions but am having a hard time teaching myself music theory especially the counting etc... never having any music training at all I find it confusing. I think I over think too much too i.e.: I sometimes see music in the key of G meaning the F's are sharp then through the whole piece the writer has naturalized all the F's and you don't play a single one as a sharp. Why even bother putting the sharp sign at the beginning of the music line if your'e going to naturalize all the F's?

Any advice on teaching oneself music theory etc?

My clarinet is a Buffet E-11 in case you need to know for the buzzing question.

thanks a bunch!!



Hello Cindy,

It is wonderful that you are learning clarinet and interested in music theory.

About the buzz, it could be several things:

1. Spit on or near the reed is very likely to buzz. You can pull the reed off and dry it and the mouthpiece out to fix this.

2. You could have a pad on the clarinet that has some skin on it loose and will make a buzzing sound.

3. You could have a key or the rings at the end of the joints loose that could be buzzing. Both number 2 and 3 need to be looked at by a instrument repair person.

On counting, I do not have any books or websites to send you on this. I would simply ask your band director or music teacher for some additional help. Maybe they have counting charts they can give you to work on at home. You would write in the counts, like downbeats and upbeats in the music, and have the teacher check it. Also, count it out aloud. That will help you.

On scales and key signatures, for beginners in music, it does not seem very logical in the key of G Major with one sharp (F#), that the printers do not print a sharp in front of every written F. However, once you learn the G Major scale well, you will assume that the F is always sharp unless an accidental of a natural or flat sign is put in front of it. So, right now, it seems odd, but eventually you'll catch on especially when you get to key signatures with lots of sharps and flats.

So, I'll leave you with this, if you can find a Private Clarinet Teacher, you will get loads of help and shoot past your peers in no-time. Thanks so much for writing me and I look forward to hearing about your progress on clarinet.


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