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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000029.txt from 1994/05

From: Steven Popper <Steven_Popper@-----.ORG>
Subj: Re: Clarinet Materials
Date: Mon, 2 May 1994 18:47:01 -0400

You have raised an issue that I have been thinking about for
sometime but have neither the experience nor the technical background to
consider effectively -- namely, alternative materials.

The suggestion of graphite as an alternate material is a
fascinating one. In a way, however, it may miss the fullest measure of
benefit which current technologies may confer. If I understand the image
correctly, you envision tubes of graphite being machined by artisans using
the same methods currently employed by manufacturers. What of other
materials that might allow completely different approaches and perhaps
greater consistency (and lower costs?)

I'm thinking of materials, such as new resinous substances or new
metal alloys (e.g., titanium/aluminum, now that access to Russia's Ti has
become possible) which could be cast into near net -- or even final --
shapes. Given your experience with the problems and tolerances
required to produce clarinet joints, is there something inherent in the
nature of the instrument which would prevent exploring these types of

(It strikes me that excepting the experience of people like Clark,
one of the problems may be less technical and more economic -- namely that the
class knowledge in this area is largely owned by the Buffets, Selmers,
LeBlancs, B&Hs, etc of this world who have a great incentive not to use
the experience they possess to explore techniques which would make quality
instruments easier, cheaper, and quicker to produce.)

Steven Popper
RAND Corporation

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