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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000310.txt from 1999/01

From: (Tony Pay)
Subj: Re: [kl] vocal tract effects
Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 09:14:02 -0500

On Tue, 05 Jan 1999 19:59:09 -0800, said:

> Some interesting items in the latest issue of The Clarinet (if no one
> objects to discussing the clarinet again :-)): one is an ad on p. 58
> for an L.A. Ripamonti Bb clarinet with an extra tone hole, described
> as an E/B free hole, on the lower joint below the E/B tone hole. This
> is an open hole, no key or pad, and it seems very unusual. I imagine
> it is to enhance the pitch and sound of the long notes.

Yes. All the other notes (other than E/B) have open holes below them.
E/B is thus brought into line by the modification.

> The bell is also without a ring, which I've heard enhances the sound,
> but I'm skeptical. Any comments on this make/model? Anyone familiar
> with them? Can I drill a hole in my horn (just kidding), or does the
> whole thing have to be lengthened?

Don't know about this model, but a hole in the *bell* appears on some
German clarinets. I have a C clarinet with a defective E/B twelfth made
by Kohlert, but because the instrument sounds good, I didn't want to try
to correct the intonation by altering the cone at the bottom of the
instrument. (This adjustment also has an effect on the tone quality and

So, you may have been kidding, but I had a small hole drilled through
the bell and the tenon. If you need a non-flat low E (I did, on that
occasion), you rotate the bell so that the two holes coincide, if you
have time. (If you don't have time, you don't do it!) For playing
normally, the bell position is such that the two holes don't line up, so
the instrument behaves as it did originally.

Some German clarinets have a key to open and close such a hole.

> Another interesting item in the same issue: in Clarinet Citations in
> Recent Medical and Scientific Literature (where "recent" goes back as
> far as 1966), one citation (p. 78) from the July, 1985 Journal of
> Acoustical Society of America is titled "The effects of the player's
> vocal tract on woodwind instrument tone." The authors conclude that
> "It appears that the player's vocal tract has a negligible influence
> on the intrument tone," something of a surprise for me. Comments?

Well, as I said elsewhere, it's a controversial issue. But my view is
that, although we can learn much from acousticians, some of them don't
understand our concerns. Some of the research on the effects of
changing various parameters like mouth shape, or instrument body
material, on the sound of the instrument says, for example: "this
difference of tone quality is negligible, because it is smaller than the
difference in tone quality between adjacent notes on the same

As we players know, such a difference can be *huge*.

FWIW *I* think that vocal tract has an influence on tone.

_________ Tony Pay
|ony:-) 79 Southmoor Rd
| |ay Oxford OX2 6RE GMN family artist:
tel/fax 01865 553339

"Believing Truth is staring at the sun
Which but destroys the power that could perceive."

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