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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000099.txt from 2010/11

From: "Bill Hausmann" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] RES: Orchestral Pitch
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2010 00:37:56 -0500

But the increased projection is itself a myth. The problem is that the ear is relatively insensitive to SHARPNESS, but VERY sensitive to FLATNESS. Have you ever heard the expression, "I'd rather be sharp than out of tune?" Some folks deliberately tune sharp, partly to avoid being flat, but mostly to achieve "more brilliance." The sharpness DOES make the player stand out a bit, at least to himself, thus giving rise to the increased projection nonsense, without making him APPEAR to be out of tune. All the other violins in the section, of course, eventually adjust their tuning to match, beginning a cycle of spiraling pitch. String players are the most notorious in this regard, since they can crank their strings up to whatever silly pitch they want. Clarinet players struggle, bite, buy shorter barrels, etc. to try to keep up. Having an international standard -- ANY international standard -- was a great thing, and we had one, A=440 Hz, for a long time. But SOME people could not leave a good thing alone. We are headed back to the day when each TOWN has its own standard pitch.

Bill Hausmann

If you have to mic a saxophone, the rest of the band is TOO LOUD!

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Alvin Swiney
> Subject: Re: [kl] RES: Orchestral Pitch
> The pitch was originally increased from A=335 to allow instruments
> used to play chamber music to have more projection. This increased
> projection was necessary for the orchestral environment. The stages
> were larger and so were the performance halls. More tension was place
> on the violin and cello strings by fingerboards were built on an
> angle. The bores of bassoons and oboes were enlarges to increase
> resonance and amplification. The pitch increase did not occur
> overnight. It increased in one or two cents intervals over 100 years.
> Thanks,

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