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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000111.txt from 1994/05

From: "Jay Heiser, Product Manager, Govt Systems" <jayh@-----.COM>
Subj: Requirements for clarinet material
Date: Thu, 5 May 1994 10:29:58 -0400

Lots of people are excited about the potential of a radical new
clarinet design using non-traditional materials. I've been
thinking about the requirements of a clarinet (really, any musical
instrument), and my thought process is that there are really
3 major requirements. Think of these as the legs of a stool.
They can't really be priortized -- all 3 are equally important.

a) it has to sound nice
mainly an aesthetic thing, it includes reasonable intonation,
dynamic variety, and esp beauty in tone

b) it has to feel nice
players have an intimate relationship with their instruments,
esp wind instruments that involve the mouth and one or both
hands. There are significant ergonomic issues and also
aesthetic considerations. It has to be both comfortable to
play and desirable to play.

c) it has to be mechanically sound
clarinets are subject to tremendous stress. Normal
playing causes wide variations in temperature and
humidity. It has to be sturdy enough to withstand
playing and mechanical shock (I dropped mine my last
gig, bent my thumb key, still in the shop). It must
be adjustable.

Can every consideration be covered within the above three areas?
I'm open to suggestions on this. If I've correctly identified
the issues, then lets take a look at wood.

a) wood has a desirable sound. Its unknown if some other material
might not have a better sound. Its not certain (to me at least)
how responsible wood is for the tone of a clarinet

b) for many people, wood is a comfortable & desirable material,
its satisfying to hold. I doubt if most people would prefer
a heavier clarinet, but some might like something lighter.
Too light would feel cheap, and might be difficult to hold.

c) wood is probably one of the worst materials for mechanical
considerations. Out of the thousands of available woods,
only one seems to adequitely provide machinability, durability,
relatively constant dimensions, etc. This is a problem.
It cracks, it changes size, it wears, etc.

Why are metal clarinets unpopular? Just because of b)?
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