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 Resistance across the clarinet family
Author: Mike Hancock 
Date:   2007-09-13 19:39

In Community Band, I have been doubling on 3rd Bb and Eb Alto depending on desires of our conductor for each different arrangement. Last night, he offered me the opportunity to play Bass Clarinet instead and stated his opinion that the Bass Clarinet would be less resistant than the Alto. Does this make any reasonable sense?

For Bb, I play a Buffet R13 with VD M15 mouthpiece and VD V12 3.5 reeds. For Alto, I have a Selmer CL 370 with a Bundy mouthpiece refaced by Dave S. and VD 2.5 Alto Clarinet reeds. On both instruments, I favor Rovner ligatures. I observe, in comparison, that the Alto Clarinet seems to "take more air" to play than does the R13; one indication being that I can hold notes longer or play longer phrases on the Bb. Is this an effect of more "resistance"?

Comments? Discussion?

Mike Hancock



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 Re: Resistance across the clarinet family
Author: davyd 
Date:   2007-09-13 21:19

Why should it matter to a conductor how "resistant" any instrument is? The main thing should be how it sounds. Maybe what he's really trying to tell you is that he doesn't like how the alto clarinet sounds. Or it could be that he wants the sound of the bass clarinet instead.

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 Re: Resistance across the clarinet family
Author: Tobin 
Date:   2007-09-14 03:03

Yes it makes reasonable sense. Within just one clarinet voice (let's say bass clarinet) the difference between my student's horns and mine is huge, especially in the upper register.

Yes resistance matters (based on personal preference). One example: mouthpieces. I have Pyne mouthpieces that are designed for 3.5 reeds and Grabner/Smiths designed for the same. The resistances of the two different (types of) products is substantial.

Resistance can also be heard. GENERALLY SPEAKING (and attempting to not offend Alto players as I did before labor day!) the alto is a stuffy instrument that does not project well. The bass (used idiomatically in band literature) has much greater prescence with half the effort.

Why should it matter to the conductor? Because they are in charge.

James

Gnothi Seauton

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 Re: Resistance across the clarinet family
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   2007-09-14 20:24

I've been "lurking" here, in hopes of some definitions of resistance and other [related?] "playing characteristics" of the various sized/pitched cls. I usually play bass in our comm band, if another B Cl'ist is available, I play alto, and play sops for fun/repair-tuning. IMHO, each size cl has a "resistance spectrum" with various mps and reeds [? also cl makes, bore-related?]. I generally prefer wider tips and softer reeds capable of good clarion-chalameau playing, but not the infrequent altissimo, and med-to-low "resistance" to be able to legato-attack at pp levels, important for bass IMHO. So, for me, it all depends on my feelings re: my sounds. HELP ! Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: Resistance across the clarinet family
Author: Tobin 
Date:   2007-09-14 22:50

Hello Don!

Without having given it much thought I can think of at least two (and a half?) resistances that come into play: The blowing and embouchural resistances inherent in the reed-mouthpiece combination, and resistance of the vibrating column of air complemented/compounded by how well/poorly the air vents at tone holes throughtout the instrument. And yes, the resistance of the instrument has to be bore related.

I prefer mostly low resistance setups in all the clarinets I play. Having realized this I'm thinking of tinkering in the future with medium resistance setups in an experimental fashion.

Generally though, I like ease of blowing (and flexible equipment) despite the fact that this can occasionally lead one to setups in which you have to constantly maintain the sound because IF YOU DON'T...things don't behave the way you'd like.

There is an article that deals with this (although it starts out on another related topic) by Tom Ridenour. It is "the importance of stability in professional clarinets" and it is available (along with others) at his website.

James

Gnothi Seauton

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 Re: Resistance across the clarinet family
Author: Ray 
Date:   2007-09-15 00:36

Tobin,

I respectfully disagree with your comments about alto clarinets.

I currently play soprano in one band, bass in a second band and both soprano and alto in a choir. I have two altos, a Pedler and a Buffet. They both play with ease and with no sign of stuffiness anywhere. The Pedler has an automatic double register key and the Buffet doesn't. They both perform very well and have nice sounds. I prefer the intonation quirks of the Buffet over the Pedler.

I have two bass clarinets, a Malerne and a Yamaha YCL-621II. They both have almost no resistance, as do the altos.

I believe the band director is a brass player.

(I brought a silver clarinet to a rehearsal before Memorial Day. I thought it would be nice to play an American-made clarinet for that outdoor concert. My band director (Guess what he plays?) said, "I don't want you playing that thing indoors. Its too bright." And this was as I was assembling it. The other players in the section agreed that its sound was indistingushable from wood or rubber or plastic.)

Some people don't know squat about clarinets.

To answer the poster, no, I don't think it makes any sense. Resistance in a soprano clarinet or in the setup is very valuable, as Tom Ridenour describes. But I have played three brands of alto and four brands of bass and I can't notice any resistance at all in those instruments. My impression is that the tubes and holes are just too big.

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 Re: Resistance across the clarinet family
Author: InTheBassment 
Date:   2007-09-15 03:23

As far as resistance on the alto, there is a lot less resistance on the bass clarinet, but that simply means that I have to put more air into it to get a good sound. This, in turn, means I play louder. This is also true for the bass clarinet versus the contrabass clarinet. A bigger sound is probably what your director wants. Your band, like so many others, is probably plagued by the lack of low register instruments. Of course, in settings like clarinet choirs, I've noticed that the only resistance issue I've noticed for the alto clarinet is the clarinet player's resistance to playing the thing. For me, playing the alto is like an akward transition between my bass and my Bb.

Hope this is helpful and not just me rambling!

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 Re: Resistance across the clarinet family
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2007-09-15 05:42

> Resistance across the clarinet family

There is resistance across the clarinet family. Mainly resistance of some people towards some clarinets (some don't like alto clarinet and maybe others, at least some people on this forum wrote that).

I tried a few different alto clarinets and a lot of bass clarinets, and I don't think one is more resistance than the other (not including crappy instruments) except the clarion register is a little less resistant on alto clarinet (at least on mine with a double register hole and on a new Selmer alto). This is assuming the mouthpiece doesn't create resistance.

I think the reason there isn't much music for alto clarinet is because of the range. Bass clarinet can play very high and soprano clarinet can play lower than other soprano instruments (and sound great in this lower range). I didn't study the history, this just sounds logical to me.

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 Re: Resistance across the clarinet family
Author: Mike Hancock 
Date:   2007-09-15 17:01

Interesting observations, so far . . .

My Selmer Alto has a double register key mechanism and does not exhibit any "stuffiness" . . . at least by my observation . . . so I presume that it was well set up and regulated while being re-built prior to my purchase. I have played Bass, Contra-Alto, and Contra-Bass in the past, but so many years ago that any memory of relative resistance is "lost in antiquity," so to speak.

Like someone else mentioned, our Community Band Director is a brass player . . . so why should he know anything about resistance unless it's just an attempt to "sell" (or persuade) me on playing Bass!

Mike Hancock



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 Re: Resistance across the clarinet family
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   2007-09-15 21:05

Well said, Mike H, the alto cls need NOT be "stuffy" if well adjusted and Vented. My Selmer-Paris is a B series and plays as easily as my bass, perhaps even easier in it's clarion. Does yours have 2 register vents plus the Bb-sounding tonehole, if so, I'm jealous! Hello, J T ! Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: Resistance across the clarinet family
Author: Mike Hancock 
Date:   2007-09-16 21:29

Hi Don . . .

I always appreciate your posts . . .

To answer your question, my Selmer CL370, as you probably expected has two linked pads. The lower of the two opens when the register key is pressed to play middle line Bb. When the register key and the LH thumb key are pressed at the same time, the linkage causes the upper pad to open. I suppose this must be just a single register vent for notes from middle line B upward.

Mike Hancock



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 Re: Resistance across the clarinet family
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   2007-09-16 22:11

TKS, Mike, yes, that was what I thot was Selmers "system", both Paris and USA, which still gives a V G clarion tonality and response, so a 2nd reg.vent wasn't needed. I've had 2 altos, each with the 2 vents plus a Bb tonehole, an old Pedler [given to my comm band] actuated, like a good bass cl, by the 3rd finger rt hand, D to E, and a Gerard [FR?] actuated like a sax, 3rd finger left hand [G to A]. As I recall, these mechs did improve their playabilities. IMHO, the lack of ?good? register venting can produce a "resistant" feeling with the larger cls, perhaps even with our sops?? Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: Resistance across the clarinet family
Author: Firebird 
Date:   2007-09-17 15:19

Excuse me if it sounds wrong or impolite.

But is 'resistance' the correct term to coin in this case as you compare across the family?

Chan

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