Each shofar has its own distinctive sound. According to professional musician and shofar blowing instructor David Lloyd Perkins, the longer the shofar, the easier it is to play and produce harmonics.
“On a short ram’s horn I can get three harmonic tones,” says Perkins, “but on a long kudu shofar I can produce between 9 and 12 harmonics.”
Perkins has blown his shofar in such diverse locations as the roof of the Vatican in Rome, and in Seoul, Korea, on Israel Independence Day 1995, when he was an official representative of the Israeli government.
According to Perkins, playing the shofar is not difficult at all. “Even the three- and four-year olds in my classes play the shofar wonderfully,” he says. Sometimes, though, he says, “the mouthpiece cut into the shofar is too small, which is very often the case with the factory-produced shofars.”
What should the correct mouthpiece size be? “Big enough to be comfortable for human lips,” says Perkins, who heats the ends of his shofars in order to enlarge the mouthpiece.