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 length and pitch
Author: Bubalooy 
Date:   2018-02-02 04:14

My daughter cannot get up to the pitch that other people in her school are playing. Her orchestra director has informed me that they tune at a=444, which I guess is not uncommon here in Germany. I may have to get her a shorter barrel. Is there a formula as to how much taking off a mm from the barrel lifts the pitch of the instrument. When I play her clarinet my pitch is higher than when she plays, but I can't think of any other way to bring her pitch up.

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 Re: length and pitch
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-02-02 13:55

Wow that is pretty high. I'd ask the director just to be sure this A-444 is indeed correct. Information is missing, such as the type/brand of the horn. What is she tuning to now?

When you go test barrels bring a tuning meter or download one to your cell phone. This will allow you to test not only A-444 but other notes as well. Find the barrel that seems to be on pitch with most of the notes, not just "A". Then also play on the barrels for maybe 10 minutes and see if the pitch changes much, the pitch will change a bit.

To confuse the situation the taper of the barrels can also matter. I like reverse tapers, meaning that on my horns and mouthpiece the top of the barrel is larger compared to the bottom part. On some horns this can make the tuning much worse. The reverse taper I use is about 0.15".

Find a store that sells barrels or a person that makes barrels near you. I am thinking something around 62 to 63mm's. But I don't know what pitch she is at right now.

You can help the situation by buying a Vandoren BD5 mouthpiece that tunes to A-442. But be careful here, they make 2 types. A BD5-440 and a BD5-442. Then you might be able to get a 64mm barrel and be all set or you may already be on pitch with that BD5 mouthpiece.

The key here is to keep the whole horn as well in tune as possible. Not just the A-444. In fact if the horn plays in tune but the A is out of tune you can buy or have the bell of the horn adjusted too. So this is complicated. Bringing a TUNER with you is a MUST.

Keep us posted. This is very interesting.

STEUER REEDS Importer played by Sabine Meyer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




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 Re: length and pitch
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-02-02 15:18

Last time I performed in Germany (2002, ok a LONG Tim ago!) every piano in the building was at A=445, so 444 doesn't surprise me at all.

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 Re: length and pitch
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2018-02-02 19:07

Bubalooy, is your daughter playing on a French or a German clarinet? The barrel lengths suggested by Bob are good, but they are for the French system.

What "A" is your daughter tuned to currently? You need to check all the notes on the clarinet with a tuner when you test the barrels. Shortening the barrel will affect the throats and left hand notes the most, and affect low E/F and mid-staff B and C the least. So first find a barrel that gets most of the notes to A=444.

-- Ray Zhang

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 Re: length and pitch
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-02-02 22:49

Bubalooy wrote:

> My daughter cannot get up to the pitch that other people in her
> school are playing. Her orchestra director has informed me that
> they tune at a=444, which I guess is not uncommon here in
> Germany.

Interesting problem. I'm going to assume you are recent German residents or the local tuning wouldn't be so much of a surprise and the locally available instruments would be made to accommodate it. I'm also assuming that your daughter is playing a French-designed instrument that you bought, possibly, in the US. The difference between American and German tuning is often discussed, and if you're going to remain in Germany (or I've mis-guessed and you really have always lived there) and the instrument is a French instrument, you may need to replace the instrument with one designed to play at A444 or thereabout. If you just put a very short barrel on a clarinet designed to tune to A440-442, you'll probably throw the whole scale off enough that you'll have traded one problem for another.

Assuming (I'm doing a lot of that - if you describe the situation in more detail more helpful suggestions might be possible) the clarinet now tunes somewhere close to A440, I doubt if a commercially made barrel would bring it up to 444. French clarinets are just not designed to do that. I'd say, talk to the orchestra director and get his advice.

Karl

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 Re: length and pitch
Author: Bubalooy 
Date:   2018-02-03 13:35

Okay, I thought I posted this information yesterday, but probably I forgot to click on post or something. Here is the information some of you have requested, and I really appreciate the interest and the help I'm getting.

My daughter is playing on a very nice Leblanc LL, French system of course. It's a very nice instrument. I'm sometimes tempted to trade with her and give her my Buffet S1, but I'm happy with that too. I can't be sure, though if the barrel is original. There is no visible marking. It is 66 mm long, about 1,5 mm longer than the barrel I'm using on the S1. I also play flat on her horn, but not as low as she does.

The instrument came without a mouthpiece, and I didn't know if she would continue to play, so I bought a Yamaha 4C. I'm willing to change that too, if it seems strongly advisable.

Oh, this is very important. 444 seemed very high to me, so I asked her to double check. It seems she only has to get up to 441. She's about 10 or 11 sents low of that, according to my strobe. The good news is the pitch is consistent with different notes in different registers.

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 Re: length and pitch
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2018-02-03 14:20

What reeds, brand and strength, is she using?

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 Re: length and pitch
Author: wkleung 
Date:   2018-02-03 17:50

I believe it will be impossible to play the Leblanc LL at A-444 without severely affecting its internal intonation.

I am having a hard enough time getting my Noblet up to A-440.

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 Re: length and pitch
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-02-03 19:07

Bubalooy wrote:

> My daughter is playing on a very nice Leblanc LL, French system
> of course. I can't be sure, though if the barrel is original.
> It is 66 mm long, about 1,5 mm
> longer than the barrel I'm using on the S1. I also play flat
> on her horn, but not as low as she does.
>
I bought a Yamaha 4C.
>
> It seems she only has to get up to
> 441. She's about 10 or 11 sents low of that, according to my
> strobe. The good news is the pitch is consistent with
> different notes in different registers.

So, this all makes a difference. The first thing that strikes me is that you and she don't get the same pitch from the equipment she's playing. Are you playing her Leblanc with her mouthpiece and reed and getting a higher pitch? If so, it suggests there's an issue with her embouchure that contributes to her flatter pitch. If you're using your mouthpiece and reed on her instrument, that may explain the difference by itself.

In any case, IMO the 4C can't be helping. Although there are a lot of possible choices, especially if you go online to mouthpiece sources in the U.S., I'd look as locally as possible (to keep shipping charges down) for a Vandoren **non-Series-13** mouthpiece. My own choice for a young player would be an M15 or maybe a 5RV, but you'll immediately after I post this get lots of opinion about other facings that other players prefer. What's important is that it not be a Series 13 VD (which lets out the M13-Lyre, my favorite of the VD line) because the 13s are deliberately designed to play lower than the "traditional" Vandoren mouthpieces.

If you and your daughter use different reed strengths, try the reeds she's using to be sure they vibrate freely. Even if it feels soft to you, if it has enough resistance to keep vibrating without your contorting your mouth to keep from closing it, it should be OK. I have young - even sometimes not-so-young - students come to lessons often with reeds on their mouthpieces that can't possibly produce a consistent tone or good pitch in the upper clarion. As soon as I have them change out to a new reed of the same nominal strength, their response and pitch problems evaporate.

Obviously, if you use the same reeds, you can even more easily monitor the reeds she's using. A reed that's genuinely too soft for a given mouthpiece can prevent the player from applying even the minimal amount of embouchure pressure that's needed for control. Flatness is often among the results.

Getting at the problem with a shorter barrel, if all else seems good, shouldn't be as problematic if you're only trying to get the LL up to A441 (or 442 to provide a little wiggle room). A mouthpiece (which, again IMO, should be replaced anyway) might do the trick by itself. If not, a 65 mm barrel to replace the 66 mm one may be enough. But as (I think) Bob pointed out, the pitch is determined by the overall volume of the system, so the bore width and shape of the barrel have their effect along with the length. Manufacturers never quote the bore volume in their ads, so it's important to be able to play test a barrel, if possible in person or else through a good online return policy, to make sure you're getting the pitch correction your daughter needs.

Karl

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 Re: length and pitch
Author: dubrosa22 
Date:   2018-02-05 01:20

My Leblanc LL has an original barrel length of 66mm if that helps in any way, so reducing by 1 or 2mm may be enough to reach 444

V

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