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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000227.txt from 1999/04

From: "Dan Leeson:>
Subj: Re: [kl] The Mazzeo clarinet bell
Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 13:10:03 -0400

> From: MX%"klarinet@-----.13
> Subj: Re: [kl] The Mazzeo clarinet bell

> "Dan Leeson:" wrote:
> > In the 1950s he had designed a Mazzeo system clarinet with
> > many, many mechanisms on it in support of his system . . .
> Dan,
> Was the Mazzeo clarinet ever marketed commercially? If it has distinct advantages
> over the Boehm system, I'm curious as to why it wasn't more widely accepted..
> Stan Elias

The Mazzeo system came in several flavors, some of which were very
heavily marketed commercially, and a few of which were only made
on special order. Eventually Selmer stopped marketing the system
for a variety of reasons about which I have only limited knowledge.
Mazzeo was very testy on the subject and I could never get a great
deal of detail from him.

In my opinion, the main problem with the system was that it required
a player to start with it from day one. A few professionals changed
over from plain Boehm to Mazzeo but most were never willing to do so.
My basset horn was a Mazzeo system instrument but it had a clutch on
it to turn the mechanism off and in the many years I had it, I never
turned it on.

The conception was brilliant but with all of the good things that
came with the Mazzeo, there were a few negative features; i.e., you
lost some very important false fingerings. But mostly the problem
lay in that no one wanted to change clarinet fingerings in mid
career. And all you got out of it was a great throat tone B-flat.

After a while, one could only get the Mazzeo system on special
order and then, subsequently, only from one mechanic somewhere
in the midwest. Then it just died.

In the more advanced models of the system, which I first saw in
1957, there was a tremendous amount of keywork added to provide
for a variety of fingerings. Tom Ferrante from Boston had a pair,
and when Dave Weber saw them he called them a "repairman's nighmare."
To reduce the weight, Mazzeo had the bell changed.

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Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California

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