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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000380.txt from 1994/05

From: "Dan Leeson: LEESON@-----.EDU>
Subj: African tree
Date: Sun, 22 May 1994 19:48:06 -0400

A question was placed on the list about the name of the tree from which
clarinet wood came and who the most famous French makers are.

I am sorry that Clark Fobes is away on vacation because he can give
you the genus and species name of the tree that produces the wood
generally used in making clarinets today. I suspect that Cary Karp
can also tell us that, too.

But the informal names by with this tree is known is (1) the African
Blackwood tree, (2) the Grenadilla wood tree, and (3) erroneously,
the ebony wood tree. Ebony wood is, I believe, different from African
blackwood except in color.

African blackwood is so dense that it does not float. A recent TV
show highlighted the problems of the disappearance of this tree.
It was a NATURE show entitled, "The Tree of Music."

The names of famous makers in Paris are Fred, George, Melvin, and Max.
Less famous makers are named Maurice, Alvin, and Pasquale. Totally
unknown makers are named Pierre, Jean-Paul, and Helene.

That's just a joke, folks. The three most famous French makers of
clarinets are Buffet, Selmer, and LeBlanc, the latter, I believe was
originally a Swiss firm. There are other French makers and there
were others in the past who were equally famous but who no longer

I hope that this will be helpful to you and your friend who inquired
of you.

Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California

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