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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000087.txt from 1994/05

From: "P.J.Fawcett" <libmu1@-----.CA>
Subj: Re: comments on sound character
Date: Wed, 4 May 1994 13:38:45 -0400

I've been enjoying this discussion and thought I'd add a couple of items
of data from my own experience, for what it's worth!

I normally use a Selmer with a "steel-ebonite" mouthpiece and have been
happy with my sound for 35 years. Due to weather conditions in Winnipeg
in winter (often -40 with additional wind-chill that causes frostbite
regularly) I began taking out a Vito plastic clarinet for gigs (jazz,
klezmer, cross-cultural with a sitarist, etc) and was told my sound was
"very different" by associates, including my wife. However, those who
were just meeting me were surprised at the sound I was getting out of
the plastic Vito and said things like, "So much for the theory that
you need a good horn to get a good sound!" (How could I argue?)

Incidentally, I consciously vary my tone considerably, depending on the
type of music I'm playing, and find I have to change little besides my

Also, I'd always found that with my Selmer, I had a hard time sounding
in tune with the sitarist. Remembering Artie Shaw had spoken of trouble
with keeping his overtones in tune with the vibes in his last Gramercy
Five and solving the problem by "damping" the sound with an inverted
megaphone (visible in some photos of the group), I was pleased to note
there was NO intonation difficulty with the plastic Vito in blending
with the sitar overtones despite its exotic tuning. I concluded that
the overtones were not as rich on the plastic Vito and therefore didn't
conflict as much. (Just my theory!)

On yet another hand, Eric Dolphy always was carving at his bass
clarinet mouthpieces trying to "improve" his tone that way. So
it goes.

vladimir simosko
music library, university of manitoba
snailmail: Music Library
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba

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