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 Buffet in b
Author: donald crawford 
Date:   2017-10-24 00:48

I have a buffet clarinet from the 1890's. It looks like it was probably a C clarinet, but when I play it it comes out sounding like it's in B natural. It's an Albert. It plays. I'm thinking of selling it but I don't know if there would be any use for an Albert clarinet in B. What do you think? Thanks.

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 Re: Buffet in b
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2017-10-24 01:19

Is the entire range of the instrument in "B"?

If not, which fingerings did you use to check the pitch? (The reason that I'm asking is: the C5/B5 notes are frequently a quarter tone off in that era's Albert systems. At least the ones I own.)

For that reason, I usually check the key of the instrument using the standard C4 fingering.

MichaelW submitted a chart in this older post showing a consistency of flatness among three Albert system clarinet when the full length of the clarinet is played: http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=446058&t=446056

I don't know if any of this applies to your current question, but thought I'd throw it out there - just in case.


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 Re: Buffet in b
Author: jdbassplayer 
Date:   2017-10-24 03:17

The instrument is almost certainly a high pitched Bb clarinet. High Pitch instruments can be anywhere from a quarter tone to a semitone sharp compared to instruments tuned to A=440Hz. The instrument unfortunately doesn't have much practical use but if you plan to play solo or with other high pitched instruments it could still be played.


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 Re: Buffet in b
Author: donald crawford 
Date:   2017-10-24 07:16

If anything, the entire range is in b but a little flat. I assumed it was a C clarinet because standing up next to a Bb clarinet it was clearly shorter. I had a 1913 ( I think) Buffet that said "high pitch' on it. But it wasn't an Albert. It was pretty close to a Bb just to look at it. I don't know whatever happened to that instrument. But thanks for getting back to me.

Don C

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 Re: Buffet in b
Author: John Peacock 
Date:   2017-10-24 20:23

> the entire range is in b but a little flat

I had a similar experience with a 1920s simple system clarinet, which I thought was in Bb. But it was consistently terribly flat even when fully warmed up, so I eventually concluded it was more likely to be a high-pitch A clarinet. The most common military band standard was A=452, which is half a semitone above A=440. If instruments are built for marching outside in cold weather, they are probably designed to play a bit sharp when warm, so you could understand how a HP A clarinet could nearly masquerade as a standard Bb.

In Jack Brymer's autobiography, he tells of taking such an HP A and sticking it in a lathe to shorten it so that it was overall exactly an A=440 Bb. Can you imagine what that must have done to the relative tuning?

For the above reasons, I was long skeptical of reports of clarinets in B. But I have been assured by Alex Allen of Clarinets Direct that such instruments really were made on occasion.

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 Re: Buffet in b
Author: donald crawford 
Date:   2017-11-03 01:28

Sorry for the delay. My computer was down. Now it's up ( Thanks Apple). And thanks for your response. I still don't know what to do with this instrument. Maybe just hang on to it.

Don C

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