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 "A" barrel
Author: Heather F. 
Date:   2000-02-01 16:55

At rehearsal someone told that there is a barrel that you can put on a Bflat clarinet and it will change the pitch like that of an A clarinet. I was told that the intonation isn't that great. I've never heard of it, does anyone know anything about them? Thanks

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 RE: "A" barrel
Author: Ken Shaw 
Date:   2000-02-01 17:42

Heather F. wrote:
-------------------------------
At rehearsal someone told that there is a barrel that you can put on a Bflat clarinet and it will change the pitch like that of an A clarinet. I was told that the intonation isn't that great. I've never heard of it, does anyone know anything about them? Thanks


Heather -

Your friend is misinformed. There is no barrel that will turn a Bb into an A.

What your friend may be remembering is that the Bb and A instruments almost always require separate barrels. Strangely, the one for the A clarinet is usually one or two millimeters shorter than the one for the Bb, and there are more subtle differences in the shape of the bore.

There's been an "urban legend" around for years that you can lower the pitch of a Bb clarinet to A by hanging a string down inside the bore. Mark Charette claims to have done this, but I've never been able to. Even if it works, it would be dreadfully stuffy and out of tune. If it created a usable A clarinet, you can bet there would be dozens of different versions commercially available.

However, if you're feeling silly, you can interchange the joints on a Bb and an A instrument, producing two clarinets sort of in B-half-flat, each one out of tune in its own horrible way. Playing duets on them is sure to bring the bandmaster running with his fingers stuffed in his ears and set dogs howling for miles around.

Good luck.

Ken Shaw

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 RE: "A" barrel
Author: Willie 
Date:   2000-02-01 18:30

This works also when you get an old clarinet made up of miss matched Bb sections from different brand clarinets. Playing solo the begginer probably won't notice, but when in the section the director will get that sour pickle look immediately.

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 RE: "A" barrel
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   2000-02-01 18:39

Great and accurate comments, Ken. It reminded me of Rendall's comments re: "pie'ces de rechange" in his "The Clarinet" [both editions,I believe], and the abandonment of the "omnitone clar" concept, back in the dark ages, see pgs 93 and 116, have copies but not the book! An interesting sidelight, having the occasion to look at an early 2 ring [on LJ] Albert-Mueller with "inlaid tone hole inserts!" made by Pourecelle [sp?],it says B on 3 pieces and A!!! on the barrel, has a ship design!. I will try to make it playable and report success [or its lack!] . Don

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 RE: "A" barrel
Author: Mark Charette 
Date:   2000-02-01 19:37

Ken Shaw wrote:
-------------------------------
Mark Charette claims to have done this, but I've never been able to. Even if it works, it would be dreadfully stuffy and out of tune.
=========
Ken, going to OK? I'll demonstrate. Out of tune, yes, stuffy, yes, but it _does_ work :^)

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 RE: "A" barrel
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   2000-02-01 20:18

Mark - that does give me another reason to attend ICA, in July?, Norman, OK. If you should look up the "exchange pieces [Bb to A]" in Langwill, check for Pourcelle, was in that time period I think, #25 in my list of things to research! See above. Don

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 RE: "A" barrel
Author: Heather F. 
Date:   2000-02-01 22:36

Actually it was the director of a college wind ensemble that said it. He seemed very confident in this remark, and was going to purchase 2 of these barrels. I found it hard to believe, when he said it, the other clarinet player and I just looked at eachother. I knew if there was such thing I would've heard of it and everyone would be using them instead of an A.

Ken Shaw wrote:

Your friend is misinformed. There is no barrel that will turn a Bb into an A.

Heather F. wrote:
-------------------------------
At rehearsal someone told that there is a barrel that you can put on a Bflat clarinet and it will change the pitch like that of an A clarinet. I was told that the intonation isn't that great. I've never heard of it, does anyone know anything about them? Thanks


Heather -

Your friend is misinformed. There is no barrel that will turn a Bb into an A.

What your friend may be remembering is that the Bb and A instruments almost always require separate barrels. Strangely, the one for the A clarinet is usually one or two millimeters shorter than the one for the Bb, and there are more subtle differences in the shape of the bore.

There's been an "urban legend" around for years that you can lower the pitch of a Bb clarinet to A by hanging a string down inside the bore. Mark Charette claims to have done this, but I've never been able to. Even if it works, it would be dreadfully stuffy and out of tune. If it created a usable A clarinet, you can bet there would be dozens of different versions commercially available.

However, if you're feeling silly, you can interchange the joints on a Bb and an A instrument, producing two clarinets sort of in B-half-flat, each one out of tune in its own horrible way. Playing duets on them is sure to bring the bandmaster running with his fingers stuffed in his ears and set dogs howling for miles around.

Good luck.

Ken Shaw

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 RE: "A" barrel
Author: Lelia 
Date:   2000-02-02 18:00

After some people on the "klarinet" mailing list described the string-down-the-barrel trick, I tried it out on my best B-flat clarinet a 1937 Buffet, to see if I could lower the pitch to A. Maybe I did something wrong, but the results were unsatisfactory. I could lower the overall pitch that far, with the chalumeau register in tune. However, the throat tones got very out of whack. They were all over the place, some flat and some sharp (I've forgotten now which were which). In the clarion register, the notes in the upper joint weren't bad, but from mid-staff C on up to F# at the top of the staff, the notes had a muffled tone quality and played significantly sharp. Overall, this was not a usable option. The result sounded similar to, but worse than, the intonation problems I had on a 1958 Conn Director.

I'm going to try again with a different instrument. I have an Albert system B-flat clarinet that I know is high-pitched, because it's shorter than my other B-flat clarinets but not short enough to be C-pitched. If I don't have to pull the pitch as far down as I tried to on the modern-pitched B-flat (to bring it down to A), maybe the results will be better. Right now, that clarinet needs an overall, though. The pads and corks are totally shot, so I can't try anything with it yet.

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 RE: "A" barrel
Author: Mark Charette 
Date:   2000-02-02 18:12

Lelia wrote:
<br>-------------------------------
<br>After some people on the "klarinet" mailing list described the string-down-the-barrel trick, I tried it out on my best B-flat clarinet a 1937 Buffet, to see if I could lower the pitch to A. Maybe I did something wrong, but the results were unsatisfactory.
<br>-------
<br>I don't think you did anything wrong. I've never had what I would ever consider "satisfactory" results, only that "works" (after a fashion). My guess is that any tradeoffs in the clarinet made to get reasonably good intonation in the correct key are amplified (in various ways & fashions, and always in the wrong direction). The "string trick" is more of an academic exercise to show that bore diameter affects pitch.

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 RE: "A" barrel
Author: SeAn 
Date:   2000-02-04 20:17

Mark,
what kind of string do you use?
and how do you hang the string in the barrel? shld the string extend all the way to the bell??

Sean

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 RE: "A" barrel
Author: Mark Charette 
Date:   2000-02-04 20:30

SeAn,
I used a piece of twine about the diameter of a shoelace, with a thread tied at the top so I could put the thread between the barrel & upper joint to hold the twine. I let the piece of twine dangle out the bell. Nothing special. The tuning dropped to about A. The intonation leaves much to be desired, as does the tone ...

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