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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000010.txt from 2010/11

From: "Shaw, Tim" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] 435-- Haynes flutes-- 435?
Date: Mon, 01 Nov 2010 19:47:55 -0400

I'm pretty sure many of us have heard (eg student) clarinet sections whose tuning unintentionally varies over a 9-10 Hz range
My most enduring memory is of an outdoor concert given at by a visiting British House (Welsh?) Guards band - very big deal in Australia in 1966, when I was still at secondary school learning clarinet.
The band sported a huge clarinet contingent, almost half of whom were playing Eb sopranos at one stage.
The Ebs were probably perfectly pre-tuned (indoors) before they emerged to play but by the time the bandsmen picked them up half way through the concert, they produced a spectacular "shimmering" sound when they were supposed to be playing in unison. Maybe they hadn't allowed for Australian afternoon heat - or maybe not - with so many instruments it wasn't unpleasant.
Melbourne Australia
From: Tony Pay []
Sent: 02 November 2010 10:11
To: The Klarinet Mailing List
Subject: Re: [kl] 435-- Haynes flutes-- 435?

On 1 Nov 2010, at 22:36, Doug Sears wrote:

> You can lower the pitch some by putting a wood or plastic rod in the bore.
> This reduces the effective bore diameter. Maybe try an eighth-inch dowel (or
> 3 or 4 mm) as a wild guess for a starting point. People have tried to turn a
> Bb clarinet into an A clarinet this way, with not very good results, but
> maybe it would work well for just 5 Hz. It'll take some experimenting. You
> could, for example, tie or glue some sewing thread to a rod and run the
> thread out between the barrel and mouthpiece to hold it in place. Some
> people have used string instead of a rod, but I think a rigid material is
> better (and also disproves the claims that a string works by slowing the
> speed of sound within the string).

Last year my nephew wrote a piece that called for clarinets tuned at A=436, 432 and 427Hz. Ititially I was sceptical. But in fact, I was able to provide him with a kit to do this. And it really wasn't bad as far as internal tuning consistency was concerned.

Initially, I thought like you that different diameter plastic rods would work. But they didn't, or not enough; and then I discovered that an important variable in the flattening effect is actually the DAMPING of the vibration. So, it's the sound absorbency of the material that you use that makes the difference. I found that out by putting a woven nylon sleeve (the non-cloth bit of a pullthrough, it was, actually) over one of the plastic rods.

However, the most easily available source of damping to dangle down a clarinet is.....a shoelace:-) And I was able to find three different sorts of shoelace that did the job of providing the three pitches.

Essentially you want the top end of the shoelace to project into the mouthpiece, so you anchor the shoelace at the top of the upper joint by tying a piece of plumbers' tape or thread round the shoelace a couple of inches from one end, and running it over the cork. Putting the barrel and mouthpiece back on fixes the shoelace so that it projects up into the mouthpiece and hangs down into the instrument.

It's good not to have the shoelace run down the side of the instrument that has the C#/G# and Eb/Bb holes on; so the anchor is best on the other side, passing over the alternative Eb/Bb hole -- the one you open with your LH3 on rare occasions. I found that that worked well without any further anchor; but obviously you can be completely sure about making the shoelace take that line by anchoring it AGAIN at the bottom end of the top joint with another piece of plumbers' tape. The lace is then held tight against the bore inside the top joint, and can't float over the A or Ab holes, for example, or work its way over the speaker tube. Probably for a performance I would do that.

The sound of the instrument is duller, and more constricted, so you need a setup to compensate for that.

Tony Pay
79 Southmoor Rd
Oxford OX2 6RE
tel/fax +44 1865 553339
mobile +44 7790 532980

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