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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000825.txt from 2000/07

From: (William Wright)
Subj: Re: [kl] Carbonare's Selmer
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2000 00:33:40 -0400

If the fundamental note is in tune, the higher harmonics cannot be.
(Same as a piano, which must compromise on a tempered scale.)

<><> Mark wrote:
That is not true of the clarinet. The harmonics are in tune. Added mass
(wound strings) on a piano cause inharmonicity.

Ah well, it would require several hundred pages to say everything
with absolute precision.
I was trying to say that, in addition to the purely mathematical
problem that pitch ratios change as you divide a larger interval into
smaller ones and then 'add' the smaller intervals back together in order
to obtain the larger interval again -- hence the need for even tempering
-- each family of instruments has its own unique practical problems as
In the case of a piano, the lower-pitched strings would have to be
ridiculously long and thick if they weren't wound, and when you do wind
them, new difficulties arise. In the case of a clarinet, using a single
register vent (register key) to change from one vibration mode
(register) to the next causes its own difficulties -- with the final
result being that the ideal hole locations when the vent is closed are
not identical to the ideal hoe locations when the vent is open. The
discrepancies must be accommodated in some fashion other than simple

But what I was really trying to say -- and there's nothing new
about this, it's just that this particular thread seemed (to me) to be
heading away from a well-accepted fact -- is that every clarinet
involves compromises and the player must fill the gap with his or her
own skills -- embouchure, choosing the best fingering for each
situation, breath support, and so forth.
It's not true that one brand of clarinet is 'out of tune' and all
the others are 'right on'. They all involve compromises. You pay your
nickel and you take your choice. That's all I was trying to say.


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