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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000028.txt from 1994/01

From: Cary Karp <nrm-karp@-----.SE>
Subj: Re: Pitch vs. Barrel Length
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 1994 10:22:08 -0500

European model clarinets are tuned to 442 and American models to 440
despite both regions adhering to the same nominal pitch standard. The
complete Buffet catalog lists different numbers for the 440 and 442
versions of each instrument, indicating shorter barrels for the latter. I'd
like to think that the instruments are specifically tuned and voiced for
one of these target pitches but would expect that I'm wrong. Selmer also
uses different model numbers for the U.S.A. and European markets, with
the same diff. I've bought Leblanc instruments in the States and compared
them with their European opposite numbers. The diff is the barrel length.

I bought a pair of Elites last year and was offered my choice of two
barrels for each of them. Although they were carefully sorted in boxes
labeled A and Bb, I couldn't measure any differences between them nor
could I perceive any while playing. So I took one each of the 63, 64, 65
and 66mm barrels. Also, since I play very flat, I had them cut another 63
down to 61.5 and use this barrel with my wide open jazz mouthpiece on the
Bb, or as the "classical" barrel on the A when using the 64 on the Bb.

The speed of sound in air is temperature dependent and instrument tuners
usually set their tuning machines accordingly. An instrument is supposed
to play at its nominal pitch at normal room temperature. If it's hotter in
the tuning booth the instrument will be tuned to something above nominal
pitch. (If it's cold in the tuning booth they usually turn on a heater to
avoid the risk of cracking.) Ambient temperature will also make a
difference to the performer, so expect to use a longer barrel when it's
hot and a shorter one when it's cold.

I suspect that the reason for my playing flat also relates to this.
(Unless it's because I was trained in America and therefore play flatter
than Europeans :-) My normal body temperature is quite low and, although
I don't know what the norm is, I assume that the temperature of my breath is
also low. (I also have a real easy time gaining weight even when counting
calories very carefully and assume that it has at least something to do
with the efficiency of my metabolic furnace.)

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