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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000116.txt from 1993/12

From: Jay Heiser <jayh@-----.COM>
Subj: Re: Why the choice of Bb (piccs avail in C and Db)
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 1993 12:41:02 -0500

Its my understanding that piccolo players in turn-of-the-century
military bands used to play Db piccolos for the same reason (some
players still use them). Compare the concert band version of
"Stars & Stripes Forever" to the orchestral version which changed
keys to accomodate the C piccolo players that didn't have Db piccs.
(C piccolo players in bands just have to deal with the more
awkward fingering)

It makes perfect sense to have access to instruments 1/2 step
apart, but I still am not convinced of the benefits of putting
trumpets, clarinets & saxes in Bb instead of C. My guess is
that the trumpets were there first, and that the military band
conventions eventually supplanted the orchestral conventions
because of the higher number of players in bands.

-->From sco.sco.com!vtbit.cc.vt.edu!vccscent.bitnet!klarinet Wed Dec 8 12:29:10
1993

-->The clarinets in use at the time the Bb/A pair became standard were not
-->as flexible chromatically as are the present-day instruments. (Remember,
-->also, that compared to the winds that overblow at the 8ve, a clarinet is
-->pitched in "two" keys -- written F for the chalumeau register and written
-->C for the clarinet register.) Whatever other concepts may have been
-->operative, it does appear that clarinetists may have wanted one
-->instrument for playing in sharp keys and one for playing in flat keys. If
-->this indeed were the case, the choice of Bb and A seems pretty
-->reasonable. Is there any other flat/sharp combination that would be as
-->closely paired tonally?
-->
-->It may also be worth noting that there are numerous surviving Bb/A "pairs"
-->which consist of one mouthpiece, one barrel, one bell, one lower joint
-->with telescoping keys for the left hand little finger, and two upper
-->joints of slightly differing lengths stamped A and Bb respectively. This
-->would support the contention that tonal differences between the
-->instrument were specifically regarded as undesirable; especially since
-->this solution noticeably compromises intonation.
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