I am trying to do a trill over the break between the Clarion and Chalumeau registers, between A and B.

You are meant to add the upper side key to the A, see e.g. here.

This is what the top two side keys are for. From a throat A, adding the top side key results in a B.

The B does not have a very full sound. Is there a way to add more to it using the embouchure or something? Or does it just sound a bit weaker than trying to trill the usual way?

  • 2
    Trill fingerings are a compromise. They are intended to be fast and easy, but you don't (normally) hold the note long enough to notice.
    – Duston
    Commented Jan 6, 2020 at 15:01

2 Answers 2


You are correct that the side-key trill is not a very good sound. There is really no way to produce a better trill for that one combo of notes. We all live with it.

  • It is Bach, Italian concerto I am playing (2nd movement). The end of the first passage after about 1min playing has an important A/B till, which is slow and relaxed. But if done properly it sounds ok.
    – apg
    Commented Jan 7, 2020 at 13:11

I don't personally find it a less "full" sound - it just has a different quality to B as the lowest note in the upper register - not surprisingly given the very different acoustic properties of the two notes. I sometimes use that side B as a melody note in its own right, as it is better matched to A and Bb below it. It's a bit "darker" than the low end of the clarion.

You do need a different level of support to make sure it isn't a bit flat. And make sure all the toneholes are clean and not filled with gunk.

  • Also, I am noticing that if a press the trill key too hard, it presses the next trill key, adding extra sharpness. It sounds much nice when I trill it lightly.
    – apg
    Commented Jan 7, 2020 at 13:10
  • 2
    @AlexanderKartun-Giles If that happens, you need to adjust the "stop" pad under the trill key. That overlap should not occur. Commented Jan 7, 2020 at 14:47

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