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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000727.txt from 2001/04

From: Lacy Schroeder <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Cracking clarinets
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2001 13:04:59 -0400

I don't know if this would help the discussion any, but my junior year of
high school, one of the bass clarinetists in the all-state honors band with
me had her horn crack. It was late January in central Illinois, with
sub-freezing temperatures. I don't think it was too dry, being that there
was a foot of snow on the ground. It cracked from the register tone hole to
the tenon, and it was a brand new buffet prestige bass with a low c (I was
soooo jealous of this beautiful horn!!). Are newer instruments more prone to
cracking than older, more conditioned horns, or is age negligible? I was
always under the impression that temperature differences from the inside to
the outside caused cracks, by the warm inside expanding more quickly than
the cold outside.

Lacy Schroeder

-----Original Message-----
From: Lacy, Edwin []
Subject: RE: [kl] Cracking clarinets

> I have a good friend who has been on the road for a while with a well
> Broadway show. Because of the VERY cold air conditioning and the fact that
> he is playing Eb, Bb and bass so he is forced to pick up cold horns, he
> had a number of problems with cracking.

This would be considered anecdotal evidence, and in and of itself, wouldn't
necessarily prove anything. We would have to have many clarinets exposed to
the same conditions, and then a control group in completely different
conditions, and them compare the rates of cracking among the two groups.
Then, assuming that more of the group exposed to the severe changes in
temperature had cracked, we would still have to find out the reason for this
higher incidence of cracking. The fact that the temperature differential
was great would necesarily indicate a causal relationship. We would need to
eliminate other factors, such as the age of the instrument, the care which
it had received, its construction, the flaws that might have been present in
the wood from the beginning, stresses to which it had been subjected during
manufacture and during playing, and many more.

Ed Lacy


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