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 longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: DTH 
Date:   2004-09-26 22:25

I was wondering if making a longer barrel to convert a Bb clarinet into an A clarinet has been tried before. I tried to research this topic but came up with nothing.

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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: GBK 
Date:   2004-09-26 22:34

Other factors come into play besides the length of the barrel:

http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=109803&t=109797 ...GBK

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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2004-09-26 22:52

Lots of other things  :)



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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: RAMman 
Date:   2004-09-26 22:59

It would be great....

For a piece that only had open Gs in it!!



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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: Vytas 
Date:   2004-09-26 23:01

Stop dreaming! It will not work!

But… there is one trick described by Alvin Swiney:

"This technique was used quite a bit during the Great Depression. It was refereed to as the poor man's A clarinet. Some players would take the "A" string of a cello or String Bass and hook the end loop over the register tube of the Bb clarinet. The string would hang out of the bell too. The decreased bore size would cause the Clarinet pitch to drop 1/2 step in order to play the A clarinet music. Try it you will be amazed. Alvin Swiney"

Vytas Krass
Professional clarinet technician
Custom clarinet mouthpiece maker
Former professional clarinet player




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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2004-09-26 23:02

I've tried it. Pulling out my current barrel about as far as I can before it falls apart brings the pitch to the general realm of A-ish. It's great fun for playing duets with a person on Bb who has a normally-located barrel, but could never be mistaken for a real A clarinet.

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: Burt 
Date:   2004-09-26 23:50

Although I have an A clarinet, I'm going to try Vytas' method.

What I did before I got an "A" was to pull out at all the joints to make some attempt at getting the notes in tune. At the time, I had a Music Minus One record of the Mozart concerto, and there was no way I could play it transposed. Later, I got a tape deck with variable speed, and played it back 6% faster.

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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: JMcAulay 
Date:   2004-09-27 18:08


Personally, it's hard to believe a Cello's A string is large enough. But it is definitely within reason to use the correct diameter wire (or an appropriate cross-section of something) in the bore to lower the pitch.

I've not played around with this for many years, but I corresponded a couple of years ago with a player who brought down a high-pitch Clarinet to A=440. He said it worked and sounded quite well.

Note that the "wire in the bore" changes the bore from top to bottom, thus lowering tones uniformly. Pulling out the barrel will only work to properly set the pitch of one tone. Everything else is up to the player's ability to bend 'em.

Regards,
John

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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: Brian Peterson 
Date:   2004-09-27 18:24

If I swallow a cello string will I be able to sing baritone?

BP

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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: Brenda Siewert 
Date:   2004-09-27 18:39

no.

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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: Henry 
Date:   2004-09-27 18:55

No, Brian, but if you aspire to becoming a soprano instead, that can be easily accomplished. (Your medical insurance is unlikely to cover the procedure, though.)

Henry

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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: Douglas 
Date:   2004-09-27 20:23

I had to belch the other day while playing the clarinet. It made the clarinet drop a half step, right down to A clarinet land for a moment or two. What a gas...so to speak.

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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: cigleris 
Date:   2004-09-27 20:31

The string idea works, Jack Mcaw did it before he joined the Philharmonia during the War. Other than that there is no way because all the dimensions would be wrong.

Peter Cigleris

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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2004-09-27 23:19

How about if we inhale some helium - what would the pitch do then?


:)



That's WILD that it worked for Mcaw. Makes me tempted to go out and buy a Cello string just for fun.

Think how funny that would look performing on it!



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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: John Morton 
Date:   2004-09-27 23:43

I think you'd need something heavier than air (argon or krypton?) to lower the pitch.

I was at a birthday party where everyone was given a helium balloon to inhale from. We than sang "Happy Birthday", and it definitely sounded higher.

John

disclaimer here: I have no idea what happens if you inhale argon or krypton. But the idea of an inert-gas choir is intriguing - a different gas for each section.

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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: clarinetcurious 
Date:   2004-09-28 00:42

You do need something heavier but don't try it.
Depending on how much you take you can suffocate since the lungs would not expell heavier-than-air gasses easily.
A friend once did it (chemistry students, after all) but he knew he had to breathe in and out standing on his head to allow for it to go out. I still think (as I did then) that it's not the smartest idea.



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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2004-09-28 01:06

Well yes - it would affect the vocal chords but would it do the same to the reed? (doubting it but not 100%)



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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2004-09-28 01:15

DavidBlumberg wrote:

> Well yes - it would affect the vocal chords but would it do the
> same to the reed? (doubting it but not 100%)

Helium doesn't affect the vocal chords but affects the local speed of sound - thereby affecting the pitch of "wind instruments" (the voice being but one).

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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2004-09-28 01:51

But would it affect the pitch of the Clarinet?

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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2004-09-28 01:53

DavidBlumberg wrote:

> But would it affect the pitch of the Clarinet?

Yes. The pitch depends on the local speed of sound ...

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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2004-09-28 02:03

What about the speed of the reed's vibration? It would slow that down too? (would have to)



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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2004-09-28 02:43

DavidBlumberg wrote:

> What about the speed of the reed's vibration? It would slow
> that down too? (would have to)

You mean the frequency? Of course; the reed opens and closes in relation to the natural frequenc(y/ies) of the tube. It's the pressure wave coming back that closes the reed off; and that varies with the local speed of sounce, effective length of the tube, and effective diameter.

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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: Kalakos 
Date:   2004-09-28 06:51

Hi:
Mr. Krass is correct. Years ago, before I finally found a good A clarinet, had wanted one badly for a long time. A friend of mine in my band found something in an old music store. It was made by the Howard company, I think, and it was an adaptor to make a Bb clarinet into and A. It was a piece of lanyard cord with a small, metal two-sided hook. You placed it between the barrel and the upper course. It hung down inside the clarinet. It actually worked by making the bore narrower and thus lowering the tone. Unfortunately, it also made the tone inferior, so I really never used it seriously, but it was a lot of fun. I still have it in its original box as a souvenir!

Kalakos
Kalakos Music
http://www.TAdelphia.com



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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: DTH 
Date:   2004-09-28 07:13

I assume from all the comments that a longer barrel would not work but has anyone actually made or tried a long barrel (80-90mm) just to say "I tried it and it does not work?" Just wondering and dreaming of an inexpensive A clarinet solution. Thanks eveyone!

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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: Terry Stibal 
Date:   2004-09-28 13:58

DTH wrote:

> I assume from all the comments that a longer barrel would not
> work but has anyone actually made or tried a long barrel
> (80-90mm) just to say "I tried it and it does not work?" Just
> wondering and dreaming of an inexpensive A clarinet solution.
> Thanks eveyone!

As mentioned once above, the barrel only affects the throat tones when pulled out so far, and the holes on the rest of the horn (being spaced too close together to give accurate tuning for an A horn) are still going to return poor pitch.

There are a number of devices patented here in the US that dangle a string down the bore of the horn to "flatten things out". I've only tried the field expedient of a piece of twine caught in the socket, and noted that (while it did play in tune - more or less - as an A horn), the "stuffiness" of all was enough to put me off quick fixes in this area.

For the record, a piece of 1/8" Nylon line accomplished the same thing in my bass clarinet. Also very stuffy when being blown.

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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: David Peacham 
Date:   2004-09-28 19:11

Re Helium, pitch, etc.

The pitch we hear is determined by frequency. The way we produce different notes on woodwind and brass instruments is not to control the frequency directly. What we do is alter the effective length of the tube, and hence the wavelength. But the speed of sound is equal to frequency times wavelength. So long as the speed of sound remains constant, shorter wavelength means higher frequency/pitch, longer wavelength means lower frequency/pitch.

If you change the composition or temperature of the air inside the instrument, the speed of sound changes. So if you play in helium, the speed of sound is much faster, and the same wavelength gives a higher pitch. Conversely, a dense gas such as krypton would lower the pitch. Similarly, a rise in temperature causes the speed of sound to increase, which is why pitch rises as the instrument gets warm.

Antony Pay claims that you should not breathe in immediately before an solo entry, but several seconds before. His argument, if I remember correctly, is that if you play with fresh air then the carbon dioxide content of your breath will be lower than with stale air. Carbon dioxide is relatively heavy, so your solo entry will start sharp.

This is true of any woodwind or brass instrument, and of the organ. It is not true of string instruments, nor of free-reed instruments like the harmonica and harmonium, since these instruments do not rely on a column of air.

Also, oddly enough, it is not true of the voice. If you inhale helium, the pitch of your voice does not change. Yes, I know your voice will sound squeaky. But what has changed is not the pitch, but the timbre.

You don't believe me:

http://www.newscientist.com/lastword/article.jsp?id=lw802

-----------

If there are so many people on this board unwilling or unable to have a civil and balanced discussion about important issues, then I shan't bother to post here any more.

To the great relief of many of you, no doubt.


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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2004-09-28 19:28

David Peacham wrote:

> Antony Pay claims that you should not breathe in immediately
> before an solo entry, but several seconds before. His argument,
> if I remember correctly, is that if you play with fresh air
> then the carbon dioxide content of your breath will be lower
> than with stale air. Carbon dioxide is relatively heavy, so
> your solo entry will start sharp.

http://www.woodwind.org/clarinet/Misc/breatpit.pdf

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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2004-09-28 19:36

David Peacham wrote:


> Also, oddly enough, it is not true of the voice. If you inhale
> helium, the pitch of your voice does not change. Yes, I know
> your voice will sound squeaky. But what has changed is not the
> pitch, but the timbre.

There are numerous articles that dispute this, saying that the pitch rises, not just that the timbre changed. I've read it both ways.

But, looking at http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/PHYSICS_!/SPEECH_HELIUM/speech.html, it seems the pitch doesn't change ...


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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: David Peacham 
Date:   2004-09-28 20:06

The crucial point, Mark, is that the voice is not a wind instrument in the same sense that the clarinet, trumpet and organ are. In "true" wind instruments, pitch is determined by the length of an air column.

In the voice, the air column acts only to modify the timbre. The size of the air column does not determine the pitch.

This is actually quite easy to see. If the voice were a "true" wind instrument, we'd each only be able to sing one note, or at best a harmonic series like a natural trumpet. All tall people would have deeper voices than all short people. Children's voices would drop month by month as they grew taller.

And if you sang a note through a telescopic tube, the pitch would rise and fall as you slid the tube in and out......A good party trick. Don't bother trying, it doesn't work.

-----------

If there are so many people on this board unwilling or unable to have a civil and balanced discussion about important issues, then I shan't bother to post here any more.

To the great relief of many of you, no doubt.


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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: Ken Shaw 2017
Date:   2004-09-28 21:35

See also:

http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=16804&t=16778
http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=13462&t=13230
http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=15748&t=15741

Best regards.

Ken Shaw

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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2004-09-28 21:47

David Peacham wrote:

> In the voice, the air column acts only to modify the timbre.
> The size of the air column does not determine the pitch.
>
> This is actually quite easy to see. If the voice were a "true"
> wind instrument, we'd each only be able to sing one note, or at
> best a harmonic series like a natural trumpet.

Not quite true, as we do change the volume of our throats & oral cavities to emphasize the formants; there'd be a different fundamental formed as we changed the shape. It's only recently that people have actually proven that the pitch doesn't change (do a Google search and you'll find literally hundreds of articles with the misinformation, some from reputable sources).

The difference is we can control our vocal chords to allow them to vibrate at a particular frequency. We can't do near as well with a reed.

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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: Reese Oller 
Date:   2021-09-12 20:16

I have tried the barrel method, it only works for open G. I was slightly disappointed that a viola string doesn't change the pitch enough to be A 440. Not thick enough, I guess...

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 Re: longer barrel to convert a Bb into an A clarinet
Author: Burt 
Date:   2021-09-13 03:22

Before I had an "A" clarinet, I would pull out at the barrel, between the joints, and at the bell. This gave me a method to play along with the accompaniment of the Mozart concerto.

Throat "A" and third-line "B" were in tune as were some of the other notes. The limitations were obvious but, at the time, it was fun.



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