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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001140.txt from 1999/01

From: Virginia Benade <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Benade's NX clarinet
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 22:52:49 -0500


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Dear List Members--

I have information in reply to Doug Sears's posting <Benade's NX
clarinet> on 14 Jan 1999 (1999/01/00647.txt), which was forwarded
to me by Doug Keefe (, a former student of
Benade's now doing research in Omaha, NE. As you may guess, I am
Art Benade's widow, and I live in suburban Cleveland, OH.

I can report on what happened at the Chicago Clarinetfest '94--in
fact I was on stage playing the piano for the demonstration of
the NX. The main speaker was George Jameson, who worked with
Benade from 1967 to Benade's death in 1987. Jameson by '94 had
made two more NX prototypes (in B-flat and A), changing the key
mechanisms slightly while trying (mostly successfully) to leave
the acoustical design of the instrument unchanged. The other
speaker was Steve Umans, a researcher at MIT who explained some
of the more theoretical aspects of the design and also played the
original NX in a demonstration that took up close to half of the
half-hour allotted time. (Played were the Allegro appassionato
from the 2nd Brahms sonata, the first of the Schumann Fantasy
Pieces, and an arrangement of the Schubert Romanze originally for
soprano with clarinet obbligato).

The very early morning scheduling meant the audience was not very
big, but close to 100 people came. The presentation was followed
by another half-hour 'research' presentation, an excellent
presentation by Pamela Poulin. When this was finished, quite a
few people in the audience who had heard the presentation on the
NX came forward to examined and play the three instruments
(Benade's B-flat NX and Jameson's B-flat and A prototypes) and to
speak with Jameson and Umans.

Jameson unfortunately has since died of cancer. I have the
original Benade NX, plus Jameson's two slightly different
prototype instruments. I welcome people to visit me and try them
out, but do not generally allow them to leave my house. Details
on how to reach me are at the end of this letter.

You ask what happened after Clarinetfest '94. Interest in the NX
has continued during that time. Also, a Benade Archive has been
established at CCRMA at Stanford:

Only the Biography and Writings sections are completed, but the
Writings section is extensive and contains much that was never
published. Most of the noncopyrighted material can be made
available for download via .pdf files, with a few things already
in this state. The sections on data files and correspondence
contain only file headings at this point. However, these will be
expanded on as I find time to create descriptions and set them up
in HTML.

As to possibility availability of instruments of the NX design
for actual use, there is exciting news! A maker of handmade
clarinets got in touch with me late last summer. He has visited
here to see the instruments, and he now has all the existing
writings and data files on the NX. He has already made a
prototype. In my estimation he has the experience, background,
and willingness to do the rigorous work that should lead to a
viable NX instrument. I will reserve my final judgment of the
instrument until I hear the NX that he produces, but things are
looking very encouraging. As I understand it, these will be
available only on special order. The maker is:

Stephen Fox
Clarino Music Services
242 Ashlar Rd.
Richmond Hill, Ont. (near Toronto)
Canada L4C 2W6
Tel/Fax: (905) 737-7263

I include these particulars so that anyone who is seriously
interested may get in touch with him with a view to being
notified when the prototype is ready for reproduction. I
understand that there is an extensive waiting list for Stephen's
instruments of more traditional design, and if the NX is offered,
there will no doubt also be a wait.

There is even the possibility of other reproductions being
available eventually. Last summer at a musical acoustics
conference I met a performer and maker of mouthpieces who lives
in England. He has formed an informal group (including well-
known English performer advisors and a German maker) who are also
seriously interested in reproducing a working version of the NX

Moreover, a serious-minded English amateur clarinetist visited
Cleveland a little over a year ago to study the NX and take
careful measurements. He is working (he says it is going slowly)
with a friend on an epoxy-resin reproduction.

I want to send my greetings to Klarinet List members. I was a
member at one time and enjoyed the discussions, but didn't have
time to continue as a subscriber. One item might be of interest
to those who are acquainted with me--or with Art Benade: after
eleven years of widowhood, I am recently engaged to a delightful
clarinetest (what else!) whom I met at a woodwind music camp.
Life does indeed have delightful surprises!

Best regards, Virginia

Virginia Benade

>Mailing-List:contact; run by ezmlm
>Delivered-To: mailing list
>From: "Doug Sears" <>
>To: "klarinet" <>
>Date: Thu, 14 Jan 1999 15:47:15 -0800
>Subject: [kl] Benade's NX clarinet
>I've been reading the articles in The Clarinet and in The Galpin Society
>Journal about Arthur Benade's NX clarinet design, and I find the idea very
>exciting. It represents a fairly radical change in design that addresses
>(just as one example) many of the criticisms of the R13 that Tom Ridenour
>just mentioned.
>A working prototype was supposedly going to be demonstrated at
>Clarinetfest '94 in Chicago. Does anyone who was there know anything about
>that? what has happened since then? Have any more prototypes been made? Is
>anyone working on commercial production? I'd love to try one out or at
>least hear from someone who has.
>Here are the references:
>Arthur H. Benade, Benade's NX clarinet: its genesis,
>The Clarinet, Feb./Mar. 1994, pp. 46-48
>George Jameson, Benade's NX clarinet: mechanical and other considerations,
>The Clarinet, May/June 1994, pp. 32-33.
>Arthur H. Benade & Douglas H. Keefe, The physics of a new clarinet design,
>The Galpin Society Journal, vol. 49 (Mar. '96) pp. 113-142
>Doug Sears
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