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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000453.txt from 2001/05

From: "Dee D. Hays" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Clarinet History
Date: Sat, 19 May 2001 09:33:54 -0400

Actually I was trying to keep it simple, my main point being that neither
the clarinet nor oboe were descendents of the recorder.

You speak of exciting the overtones. We don't know for a fact that folk
musicians weren't exciting the overtones on a chalumeau before Denner added
the register key. Folk musicians may have been doing so for a long time.
Afterall, it turns out to be rather simple to play the overtones on a modern
clarinet without the key once one has practiced doing so. The key makes it
easier and the tuning is better with the key but still it can be done
without it.

Dee Hays

----- Original Message -----
From: "Neil Leupold" <>
Subject: Re: [kl] Clarinet History

> --- "Dee D. Hays" <> wrote:
> > Also keep in mind that it is not the single reed alone that
> > makes a clarinet a clarinet. It is the combination of single
> > reed with a cylindrical bore.
> You left out something a little more basic and significant: the simple
> ability to excite the next set of overtones. Before Denner (or some-
> body -- it's not really known) accidentally offset the single reed on
> his chalumeau, got a squeak, and discovered an entire new register above,
> the clarinet did not exist, no matter what the shape of the bore. I i-
> magine most books that discuss the genesis of the clarinet as a distinct
> instrument in the woodwind family point to this phenomenon as the defin-
> ing moment when the clarinet came into existence (ca. 1700). Then crafts-
> men (of which Denner was among the first) began doing it "on purpose",
> i.e., developing ways, via a vent mechanism on the body of the instrument,
> to excite that next set of overtones on command. Until this process got
> underway, the chalumeau was still just a single-register single-reed
> instrument, cylindrical bore notwithstanding. It hadn't yet become a
> clarinet.
> ~ Neil
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