Klarinet Archive - Posting 000204.txt from 1994/05
From: "Dan Leeson: LEESON@-----.EDU>
Subj: Re: Roger Shilcock's comments
Date: Wed, 11 May 1994 09:50:57 -0400
Now I understand, Roger. Excuse me, I should have seen the issue on your
What I am about to say will sound impossible but it is the case and you will
shortly be unsurprised.
My A bass clarinet is SHORTER than my B-flat bass and thus, the phenomenon that
you described -- that of the A soprano being more resistant than a B-flat
soprano partly because of length -- is not applicable in my case.
The reason why my bass clarinets appear to violate the laws of physics has
to do with the fact that my B-flat bass descends to low C and my A bass
extends only to E-flat. I tried to get them to make a longer one for me,
but they would not. So I have an A bass that is shorter than the B-flat
bass which eliminates that factor from examination.
But I wish to add that my B-flat bass is not at all more difficult to play than
either shorter B-flat basses or, for that matter, the A. So the notion that
a longer instrument is inherently more resistant than a shorter one might not
As for the bore size difference between the A and B-flat, it is hardly
noticeable, but there is a difference. I used the Bay bocal for a short
while (the one that changes the angle of entry into the mouth) but had
to abandon it because the A instrument went out of tune. But the
measureable difference in bore sizes is very small.
I add also that I have a different mouthpiece for the A bass than for the
B-flat bass but only because, in performance, there is insufficient time
to change mouthpieces on a bass clarinet during, for example, a Mahler
symphony. I first used the A bass on Mahler 4 and there were passages
that had less than a minute for the changeover and I could not manage
it. The b.c. mouthpiece cannot, like my soprano mouthpieces, be pulled
out and inserted into another instrument in a few seconds. Just trying
to manage the two instruments is a big juggling act. I now have two
separate stands to handle that part of the problem.
Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California