Klarinet Archive - Posting 000353.txt from 2002/05
From: w7wright@-----.net (William Wright)
Subj: Re: [kl] Metal clarinets
Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 14:40:05 -0400
We've been through this territory before, but perhaps two points deserve
(1) By logical necessity, a metal clarinet must be at least a bit
different acoustically from a wood clarinet because there is a
relationship between intonation and depth of tone holes. (Thus the
length of a register tube makes a difference). Since a metal clarinet
is thin-walled, it must have either: (a) different tone hole diameters;
or (b) more "hole tubes" in order to have the same intonation over the
entire instrument; or (c) different intonation over the entire
instrument. No matter which way, it must have (perhaps minor?)
differences in sound. The same considerations apply to the amount of
undercutting that can be done on the holes of a thin-walled metal
instrument vs. a thicker-walled wood instrument.
(2) An accurate test of whether mass and material make a difference (vs.
only the geometry of the air column) would be to build a simple clarinet
out of thin metal tubing with no tone holes at all (thus only one
pitch), Then blow through it with a machine of some sort (thereby
eliminating the variability of a human musician), and make a
Then wrap the metal 'clarinet' in a large amount of lead tape or
sheeting (glue to make the bond intimate). This will change the
instrument's mass and wall thickness completely without affecting any
other aspect of the instrument. Play it again and make a spectrograph.
How do the two spectrographs compare?
(as an addendum, I must admit that one of my reasons for being
interested in these clarinets, besides being tuned in G, was that they
are metal. Playing one of them wouldn't have answered the
metal-vs-wood debate, but it would've been interesting. However the
number of dissatisfied customers who have posted warnings about pot
metal keys and other details of low quality and inadequate warranty have
convinced me to save my money for other things.)