Klarinet Archive - Posting 000267.txt from 1995/01
From: Timothy Tikker <tjt@-----.ORG>
Subj: Re: Mahler and bells up sound
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 1995 14:42:58 -0500
"Bells in the air" is called for by many composers, but especially for
brass instruments: Varese, Stravinsky... The idea is simply to get a
louder, brighter tone. Obviously, it works better for brasses than
woodwinds, but that doesn't keep composers from asking for it from
I remember vividly when the E-flat clarinet did it in the local
performance of Rite of Spring last year.
Interesting factoid: an organ's reed pipe (of "Trumpet" tone) when
measured for harmonic content when the pipe is in the usual vertical
position, produces 18 harmonics. But the same pipe recorded in a
horizontal position (i.e. facing the microphone) produces 53 harmonics!
(Or something like that - I'll have to check that book at the library
again). This explains why some organs have horizontal trumpet pipes:
the tone is much more present and brilliant. Also, the Sardana bands
(coblas) of Catalonia, consisting largely of shawms and brasses, always
hold their instruments dead horizontal (the bass brasses are
bugle-shaped to facilitate this). And sure enough, organs in Spain and
Portugal have featured horizontal reed pipes since the 1700s.