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 440Hz mouthpiece on 442Hz tuning
Author: Jimis4klar 
Date:   2020-07-11 15:42

Let assume that we want to play exclusively on a mouthpiece which is tuned at 440Hz(and there isn't 442Hz version of It) but we want to be tuned at 442Hz, what else we should change on clarinet to get at 442Hhz tuning with right sound and all notes in tune? Barrel? Bell? Or both?? and what kind of barrel or bell should we use? Same brand with the whole instrunment? other brand?(to get homogeneous sound?) I'm thinking of an adjustable barrel like Paulus and Schuler Zoom, but give me your thoughts..



Post Edited (2020-07-11 15:44)

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 Re: 440Hz mouthpiece on 442Hz tuning
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2020-07-11 18:00

Jimis4klar wrote:

> Let assume that we want to play exclusively on a mouthpiece
> which is tuned at 440Hz(and there isn't 442Hz version of It)
> but we want to be tuned at 442Hz, what else we should change on
> clarinet to get at 442Hhz tuning with right sound and all notes
> in tune? Barrel? Bell? Or both??

It's hard to believe that you can't find a higher-tuning mouthpiece that you could enjoy playing on. I'd still consider a different mouthpiece as a first try at getting your tuning up to 442.

But if that's really a non-starter:

All the notes aren't in tune on any clarinet even with the original barrel at the pitch the instrument is designed for. It's a question of how many are involved and how out of tune they are. The greatest effect on pitch when you change the barrel length will (should) be in the notes at the top of the bore - the throat notes. You may even have sharp throat notes with a higher-tuned mouthpiece. A little tape in the holes if they go too sharp with a shorter barrel can adjust that.

Bells don't affect pitch much other than the longest notes - E/B and F/C. If you use a shorter barrel and the "bell tones" don't come up enough, then maybe you'll need a different bell. I wouldn't spend the money on a bell until you get your instrument up to the pitch you want and then see if the "bell tones" need extra help.

> and what kind of barrel or
> bell should we use? Same brand with the whole instrument?
> other brand?(to get homogeneous sound?) I'm thinking of an
> adjustable barrel like Paulus and Schuler Zoom, but give me
> your thoughts..
>

I'm not sure what you mean by "to get a homogeneous sound." Who is "we?" Are you trying to change the pitch of a whole clarinet section of a band or orchestra? Or is "we" just a rhetorical expression ("editorial 'we'") to include you and readers here? If you're only talking about one instrument, what sound changes - non-homogeneity - are you trying to avoid? There are a number of non-adjustable after-market barrels on the market by Clark Fobes, Morrie Backun, Guy Chaddash, Walter Grabner and Buffet (Moennig). You really have to try them because they can have different native tone qualities and one may make it easier than another to get the sound you want to produce. I know of at least one custom barrel maker, Allen Segal, who has made barrels for me.

What make/model clarinet are you playing? Barrels' bores should be compatible with (not the same as identical to) your clarinet's bore.

I'm not a fan of adjustable barrels, so I'll leave it to others to differentiate among the ones you mention or any others.

If there are after-market barrels made by your clarinet's manufacturer, I think I'd start with that.

Karl

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 Re: 440Hz mouthpiece on 442Hz tuning
Author: Jimis4klar 
Date:   2020-07-11 18:51

Hello, thank you for the complete answer!!! The "we" is just a rhetorical expression to include me and readers.. To be more specific, I play with a Buffet festival Bb clarinet and I'm interested to try the Backun CG Vocalise which there isn't a 442Hz model of It.. So, from now I'm thinking, what I should do If I like It much, I want to use It exclusively and the overall pitch goes to 440Hz?? I know one of my teacher's students who bought a Backun bell and barrel to use(just for sound upgrade) on his Buffet RC clarinet and he thought that he had better sound by using these, but sometime on a recording, teacher noticed the sound on low notes A-G-F-E wasn't that good(homogeneous).. so, he told him to start using the stock clarinet's barrel and bell, when he did, the sound became much better, that's why I ask what to use for only changing the overall pitch and not the sound... I'm either thinking to get an adjustable barrel or a same stock Buffet 64mm or 63mm barrel..

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 Re: 440Hz mouthpiece on 442Hz tuning
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2020-07-11 22:23

> ...I'm
> interested to try the Backun CG Vocalise which there isn't a
> 442Hz model of It.. So, from now I'm thinking, what I should do
> If I like It much, I want to use It exclusively and the overall
> pitch goes to 440Hz??

Interesting. This isn't the way I'd go about choosing a mouthpiece, but everyone has his own way of doing things. Backun has a number of other models, including the regular (non glass) Vocalise that are offered at 440 and 442. Where are you that the local standard pitch is 442 Hz? Is there something about the way a glass/crystal mouthpiece plays that you specifically like?

> I know one of my teacher's students who
> bought a Backun bell and barrel to use(just for sound upgrade)
> on his Buffet RC clarinet and he thought that he had better
> sound by using these, but sometime on a recording, teacher
> noticed the sound on low notes A-G-F-E wasn't that
> good(homogeneous)..

I wonder if it was just the sound itself that the teacher didn't like, that it was only more obvious on those bottom few notes. Did the student ever try separating the two - just the Backun bell with the original barrel and just the Backun barrel with the stock bell? It would be important to know if it was the combination or just one of the two that caused the problem.

> so, he told him to start using the stock
> clarinet's barrel and bell, when he did, the sound became much
> better,

which shows that *sometimes* the original (stock) equipment works better - it was all designed together.

> that's why I ask what to use for only changing the
> overall pitch and not the sound... I'm either thinking to get
> an adjustable barrel or a same stock Buffet 64mm or 63mm
> barrel..

This is an area where the only real answer will come from experimenting. The barrel least likely to affect the basic tone color is probably the shorter Buffet one. Barrels differ from one to the other, even from the same production line, but staying with the same manufacturer seems like it would as close to the original as you can get. How barrels and bells will react depends on a lot of variables and the total result really isn't very predictable.

Repeating my question from earlier in this post - why do you need to play at A=442 Hz? Are you living and studying in an area of the world where the orchestras and bands tune that way?

Karl

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 Re: 440Hz mouthpiece on 442Hz tuning
Author: Jimis4klar 
Date:   2020-07-11 22:51

Yes, I'm from Greece, I'm european and all orchestras in europe play at 442Hz, so I absolutely need to be tuned at 442hz.. Now, I didn't try the CG Vocalise yet to be sure If I'll be using It(I heard It through some others on youtbe, I liked the sound but of course that tells nothing, everyone is different).. anyway, I just posted this question to know earlier what I should do in this case...
As for the student with the Backun barrel and bell, I will ask my teacher once again and I will update you...



Post Edited (2020-07-11 22:58)

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 Re: 440Hz mouthpiece on 442Hz tuning
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2020-07-11 23:00

If you decide you like the CG, maybe Morrie Backun could help with your pitch question. Even to the point of maybe modifying the mouthpiece for your pitch needs.

Just a thought. I can't speak for Morrie and I don't really know how workable those mouthpieces are. I know people reface them fairly routinely with the right abrasives. I don't know about raising the pitch.

Karl

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 Re: 440Hz mouthpiece on 442Hz tuning
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2020-07-11 23:02

And as a side note what is "in tune" anyway? One you get a second or third instrument playing there are all sorts of compromises to make things "sound right". Piano tuners have to "fix" the pitch of the notes and have a myriad of ways to do it. When you play against a particular piano you will adjust to make the combination sound right. A different piano may be tuned completely different. Since the piano can't adjust, we do. Every chord played with any combination of instruments generally requires some adjustment from what would be a mathematically correct evenly tempered chromatic pitch (equal temperament).

Usually, anyway
.

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 Re: 440Hz mouthpiece on 442Hz tuning
Author: Jimis4klar 
Date:   2020-07-11 23:10

I don't know If this is that easy thing to do for them.. All those mouthpieces are made by CNC machines, is it that easy to make a CG Vocalise with the specific height for 442Hz tuning and keep the same technic-machining qualities they use for a regular 440Hz version??? Hmmm.... But they did for the other Vocalises.... Is It easier to do on hard rubber or they can regardless of the material??

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 Re: 440Hz mouthpiece on 442Hz tuning
Author: cigleris 
Date:   2020-07-11 23:28

A 64 barrel should get you to 442, also groups in the UK play at 440 though I guess we’re not sadly in Europe anymore so it doesn’t matter.

Peter Cigleris

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 Re: 440Hz mouthpiece on 442Hz tuning
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2020-07-11 23:29

Jimis4klar wrote:

> I don't know If this is that easy thing to do for them.. All
> those mouthpieces are made by CNC machines, is it that easy to
> make a CG Vocalise with the specific height for 442Hz tuning
> and keep the same technic-machining qualities they use for a
> regular 440Hz version??? Hmmm.... But they did for the other
> Vocalises.... Is It easier to do on hard rubber or they can
> regardless of the material??

I don't know. Those are all things you'd have to ask Backun (or another mouthpiece person with experience in crystal/glass). But, it never hurts to ask. :)

Karl

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 Re: 440Hz mouthpiece on 442Hz tuning
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-07-12 00:59

Up until recently Ben Redwine of the Gennusa mouthpiece used to make an "A=442" version by shortening from the mouthpiece tenon (and making the shoulder similarly higher).



I don't think of a mouthpiece as tuned to a specific pitch. There are some that are reliably higher pitched and some made to play "darker" or lower in pitch.



The ones I have found to be reliably higher in pitch are the older Hawkins (you can find on Ebay), Portnoy, the wooden Pomaricos (if they still make them.......the 1L was great), and the "standard" Vandorens (need to really be specific when you order to ensure you get these).



Since the 80's there has been a marketing push to make "darker" sounding mouthpieces which play flatter. Hopefully that trend is turning around.




................Paul Aviles



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 Re: 440Hz mouthpiece on 442Hz tuning
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2020-07-12 05:11

Paul Aviles wrote:

> Up until recently Ben Redwine of the Gennusa mouthpiece used to
> make an "A=442" version by shortening from the mouthpiece tenon
> (and making the shoulder similarly higher).

I think that would be a pretty standard way to bring the pitch up post-manufacture of a rubber mouthpiece. I'm not sure if this can done with glass or crystal. Maybe it can with the right machinery.

> I don't think of a mouthpiece as tuned to a specific pitch.
> There are some that are reliably higher pitched and some made
> to play "darker" or lower in pitch.

There are lots of higher-pitched mouthpieces to choose from if that's where you're starting. The OP is starting from a specific mouthpiece that happens not to be available in a higher-pitched version. You're right, of course that they aren't really tuned to A440 or A442 or A-anything else. But it's well enough known that the Series 13 Vandorens, for example, were deliberately made (I think by scooping the baffle more than the traditional series) to play flatter. Then they were advertised as having been designed for "American pitch" (A440) while the original "traditional" mouthpieces were suddenly (at least on the American market) tuned to play at "European pitch" (A442).

I have three or four decent alto sax mouthpieces. Each one needs to be pushed in to a completely different spot on the neck cork to be at 440 (or even close to it). One almost falls off the end of the neck and wobbles unless I thicken the cork with paper or Teflon tape. Another needs to go all the way in until it just won't go any farther. Sax players, I think, just find something that works for them. Clarinetists, it sometimes seems, have to be told what everything does ahead of time. [wink]

>
> Since the 80's there has been a marketing push to make "darker"
> sounding mouthpieces which play flatter. Hopefully that trend
> is turning around.
>
Amen!

Karl

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 Re: 440Hz mouthpiece on 442Hz tuning
Author: Michael E. Shultz 
Date:   2020-07-12 14:28

What is your barrel length? My Festival Greenline came with 65 mm and 66 mm barrels.

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx

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 Re: 440Hz mouthpiece on 442Hz tuning
Author: Patrick 
Date:   2020-07-12 17:43

A barrel would be a great start to playing at 442. I know for a while I had to use the stock 65 barrel to play at 440 on my Tosca Greenline. I was at the time playing a 440 M30 Lyre. I tried out two Behn barrels 65, and 66. The 66 was the one I went with due to the unique taper in that barrel. It also freed up response as well that instrument.

The biggest confusion I found with mouthpieces is the advertisement of saying that a mouthpiece is tuned at 440 or 442. I played pretty flat on some models Vandoren 440 mouthpieces. A good way to playing at either pitch is checking with a tuner. A better way at solidifying is by practicing with a drone by tuning each not at either 440 or 442. This will help identify pitch tendencies and intonation accuracy. When I play music, I am concentrated on the music and do not have time to read music and check a tuner at the same time.

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 Re: 440Hz mouthpiece on 442Hz tuning
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2020-07-12 18:30

Patrick wrote:

> The biggest confusion I found with mouthpieces is the
> advertisement of saying that a mouthpiece is tuned at 440 or
> 442.

Maybe someone has a clearer memory of such advertising before the introduction of Vandoren's Series 13. As a kid and even later as an older student even through my graduate studies with Gigliotti ('72 to '74), I don't remember seeing indications that mouthpieces were made for different pitch levels. Although Gigliotti started marketing 442 versions of his mouthpieces, I'm not sure that was the case until later. I was never aware of a distinction between mouthpieces made for 440 and 442. Maybe I was just oblivious.

I'm sure, like the sax mouthpieces I described earlier, that there *were* tuning differences among the mouthpieces that were available at the time. But I don't remember that the differences were advertised as selling features.

Does anyone remember differently?

Karl

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 Re: 440Hz mouthpiece on 442Hz tuning
Author: Patrick 
Date:   2020-07-12 20:36

Karl,

I don't have any prior knowledge of Vandoren mouthpieces prior to the release of the 13 series mouthpieces. That would be defiantly before my time.

Anthony Gigliotti must have tried to expand his mouthpiece offering. I never got to study with him, but I did have conversations early on in my collegiate study about mouthpieces with him. I took an orchestra excerpts class that he taught and did tell the genesis of the 10G, his mouthpiece, and his take on the V12 reed. He was an inspirational teacher and great person.

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 Re: 440Hz mouthpiece on 442Hz tuning
Author: Jarmo Hyvakko 
Date:   2020-07-13 10:17

There are basically two ways of changing the mouthpiece tuning: the overall length of the mouthpiece and the shape of the tone chamber. The overall length means the length of the tube-like portion of the inside that is below the tone chamber. That is easily fixed: use a shorter barrel. The more complicated thing is the tone chamber. There are numerous things that effect on both sound colour and intonation: the shape of the baffle (the wall opposite the mouthpiece window) and the side walls, are they straight (normal) or slightly round, parallel to each other both sideways and/or up-down or are they "v-shaped". Then in intonationcases: find a different mouthpiece.

Both things have an effect in the scale of the clarinet. Usually more in the short end of the tube. In the good-ole-days at least buffet used to make different instruments to 440 and 442 pitches. Nowadays instrument makers just provide two barrels in different lengths. My buffet a-clarinet (440) has some 1,5mm longer right hand joint than the 442 instrument of that era. It plays fine in 442 with a barrel of slightly more open bore and a tuning hole in the bell.

Jarmo Hyvakko, Principal Clarinet, Tampere Philharmonic, Finland

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 Re: 440Hz mouthpiece on 442Hz tuning
Author: Michael E. Shultz 
Date:   2020-07-13 14:21

I have a Bay-Gale Clarinet Mouthpiece brochure from the 1970s. It states that the Bay Bb clarinet mouthpieces are made in 3 chamber sizes:
Small: higher than 440Hz
Medium: 440Hz
Large: lower than 440Hz

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx

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 Re: 440Hz mouthpiece on 442Hz tuning
Author: Grabnerwg 
Date:   2020-07-23 15:49

It is relatively easy to make a mouthpiece that plays at a higher pitch level. All you have to do is decrease the cubic volume of air space in the chamber of the mouthpiece. You can do this by making it smaller in diameter or a bit shorter, or a combination of both.

In this age of CAD design this is a simple matter.

Any of my current designs could be altered to play at a higher (or lower) pitch level.

I also market three mouthpieces (primarily for the European market) that can easily be played at 442.

Walter Grabner
www.clarinetxpress.com
B4C - New BCL mouthpiece design
www.clarinetxpress.com/B4C.html

Walter Grabner
www.clarinetxpress.com
847-266-8644

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 Re: 440Hz mouthpiece on 442Hz tuning
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2020-07-23 19:08

Grabnerwg wrote:

> It is relatively easy to make a mouthpiece that plays at a
> higher pitch level. All you have to do is decrease the cubic
> volume of air space in the chamber of the mouthpiece. You can
> do this by making it smaller in diameter or a bit shorter, or a
> combination of both.
>
> In this age of CAD design this is a simple matter.
>

But, pitch aside, what effects do those variations on a mouthpiece's basic design have on tone character and response?

Weren't the Zinner "E" blanks designed for "European" (higher) pitch? If I'm right, how was that done? Among the things that were changed about the design of the Series 13 Vandorens, as far as I know, was a slightly deeper scoop in the baffle compared to the traditional Vandorens, which produced lower pitch but also, I've always thought, a duller sound.

So, is changing the pitch of a mouthpiece as simple as changing the internal volume, or once you do that, do you then have to make other changes to avoid consequences in the tone and response?

Karl

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 Re: 440Hz mouthpiece on 442Hz tuning
Author: Max S-D 
Date:   2020-07-23 19:53

I think we overthink this. I have experimented with setting my tuner at 442Hz and at 440Hz for a week at a time and doing my usual long tone and interval warmups with a tuner. The experiment usually falls apart because I forget to take note of what I am doing because I forget I put the tuner there. With a 65mm barrel on my R13, I can play comfortably at 442 or at 440. I usually have to pull out a small amount for either, obviously a bit more for 440. Maybe a hair (less than 1mm) for 442 and in the realm of 2mm for 440. But that's all within the range of day-to-day variation depending on temperature, reed, how tired my embouchure is, etc.

Once I am roughly calibrated with barrel position, it's just not a problem. Listen to the people around you and adjust according to your ears (voicing, embouchure, extra fingers, extra venting). That got a lot easier to do when I stopped biting the hell out of my mouthpiece and reed.

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 Re: 440Hz mouthpiece on 442Hz tuning
Author: Grabnerwg 
Date:   2020-07-25 16:40

Karl -

Yes, of course.

Smaller chamber -Brighter tone. Focused. Higher pitch

Larger chamber - Bigger, less focused, darker tone. Lower pitch.

These can be easily taken to extremes as we have seen in some of the mouthpiece "fads" that swept through the clarinet world in the last 20 years.

There is no free lunch in mouthpiece design. One small change can and will affect multiple parameters.

Karl, as usual, you hit it right on the head.

Walter Grabner
www.clarinetxpress.com
World-class clarinet mouthpieces
New bass and eb clarinet mouthpiece designs.

Walter Grabner
www.clarinetxpress.com
847-266-8644

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