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 Are there any thesis (Masters or Doctorate) on a clarinet company?
Author: Carcamalisio 
Date:   2022-06-09 04:26

Either a clarinet manufacturer (buffet, selmer, yamaha, etc) or accessories company (vandoren, bg, d'addario,)

Or on any other instrument company?

I would be interested in reading some thesis about some of these brands. Any ideas? Thanks

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 Re: Are there any thesis (Masters or Doctorate) on a clarinet company?
Author: Nelson 
Date:   2022-06-09 09:09

In the UK....Jenny Brand and Jocelyn Howell both did research into Boosey and Hawkes

Jennifer Brand 'From Design to Decline - Boosey and Hawkes and Clarinet
Manufacturing in Britain' 1879 - 1986

Jocelyn Howell 'Boosey and Hawkes - the Rise and Fall of a Wind Instrument
Manufacturing Empire''

Cheers , Nelson

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 Re: Are there any thesis (Masters or Doctorate) on a clarinet company?
Author: Bennett 2017
Date:   2022-06-09 21:09

A good place to start are the entries, notes and bibliographies in The Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments here: https://bit.ly/3xBoSFm
and Eric Hoeprich's The Clarinet here: https://bit.ly/3zshjlH

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 Re: Are there any thesis (Masters or Doctorate) on a clarinet company?
Author: Bennett 2017
Date:   2022-06-10 02:16

Here's a link to a history of Buffet-Crampon; not exactly by a disinterested 3rd party.

Post Edited (2022-06-10 02:22)

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 Re: Are there any thesis (Masters or Doctorate) on a clarinet company?
Author: MichaelW 
Date:   2022-06-10 21:52

Paul (bassoonist) and Janet Lein some years ago published an extensive account of the Kohlert history. Interesting not at least because it highlights the typical story of traditional German- Bohemian instrument maker families in the course of twentieth century history: Founded in Graslitz, Bohemia under Emperor Franz- Josef in the Austro- Hungarian empire, then citizens of Czechoslovakia, then of the Third „Reich“, then expelled and reestablished in West Germany.

David Spiegelthal in 2009 (here in this forum) found the Lein publication in a page of the International Double Reed Society (IDRS): http://www.idrs.org/publications/DR/DR13.1/DR13.1.Lein.Kohlert.html
But sorrily today I couldn't find that paper under this or the idrs address https://www.idrs.org/ .So I try to append the text here. For a discussion on this topic see also here:

Post Edited (2022-06-10 22:25)

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 Re: Are there any thesis (Masters or Doctorate) on a clarinet company?
Author: MichaelW 
Date:   2022-06-10 22:00

I try to attach as rtf

Post Edited (2022-06-10 22:08)

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 Re: Are there any thesis (Masters or Doctorate) on a clarinet company?
Author: MichaelW 
Date:   2022-06-10 22:08

Couldn't get a text file attached. So I copy it here (sorry, a bit long).The Kohlert story isn't just about Bassoons; they were also known for their clarinets

Whatever Happened to the Kohlerts?

by Paul and Janet Lein

As a bassoonist and teacher who restores old bassoons, I have come across a wide variety of bassoons bought by school systems in the last 50 years. Most student brands were hardly deserving of repair, let alone restoration-the biggest exception being the brand "Kohlert" It was a wellmade, moderately-priced instrument but disappeared in the sixties.

The great names in bassoon manufacturing are well known and their history common knowledge. I felt the Kohlert bassoons had made the instrument accessible to thousands of students for several decades, yet little had been written about the history and eventual demise of the brand. During our sabbaticals and ensuing trip to West Germany and Czechoslovakia, my wife, a professor of German, and I were able to find and interview people intimately connected with the Kohlert story: workers, apprentices, owners of the Kohlert factories and others associated with the music industry.

Until the early part of the nineteenth century, there were numerous workshops producing bassoons without much standardization of design (number of keys, etc.). In 1831 Johann Adam Heckel, who learned the craft of instrument making in the Vogtland, collaborated with Carl Almenrader in Mainz, Germany to produce what is now the German- (or Heckel-) system bassoon.[1] Eventually most workshops concentrated on this type of bassoon,[2] as did Kohlert.[3] Vincent Kohlert (1817-1900) established his first woodwind instrument workshop in Graslitz, Czechoslovakia (then Bohemia) in 1840.[4]

Skilled musical instrument makers and highquality musical instruments, particularly wind instruments, have long come from an area in southeastern Saxony (today in the German Democratic Republic) and northwestern Bohemia (today Czechoslovakia), including the Vogtland.[5] Towns like Markneukirchen, Adorf, Klingenthal, Schoneck and Graslitz housed many instrument workshops. Graslitz in particular was the site of a music academy. The students not only learned the craft of wind instrument making, but also playing instruments and music theory.[6] After completing a lengthy apprenticeship in an existing workshop, many established their own, furthering the reputation of this area as a center of instrument making.[7] Many names we recognize came from this heartland of instrument production-to name a few: Riedl, Püchner, Adler, Monnig, Huller, Schreiber and, of course, Heckel.[8]

The second generation of Kohlerts were: Rudolf, Daniel and Franz.[9] "V. Kohlert's Sohne" produced instruments throughout the woodwind family and achieved world-wide recognition, as well as awards for excellence in numerous exhibitions.[10] As his three sons grew into the business, the business grew as well. Prior to WW 11 six hundred craftsmen were working in the Graslitz factory, making a full line of woodwind instruments, from piccolos to contrabassoons. The bassoon models then available to the American market were: a student model for about $95 and a professional model for about $135.[11] In addition to producing instruments at a reasonable cost, they were the only ones to massproduce instruments while still maintaining high quality.[12] Any worthwhile development made by one manufacturer was really copied by others. The famous Kohlert "flat-top" design was an inexpensive version of the 3,000 series Heckels. A later design with a more modern long joint and a less narrow bore was produced and built simultaneously with the flat-top for several years. Many musicians considered these Graslitz instruments to be some of the best available.[13] Kohlert reports having sold 1233 bassoons and contrabassoons between 1928 and 1930.[14] The serial numbers from this factory included all instruments produced, not just bassoons.[15]

After WW II the firm was nationalized, the Kohlerts became workmen in their own factory, were no longer allowed to put their stamp on the bassoons and the quality deteriorated immediately since many of the skilled craftsmen were no longer there.[16]Strangely enough the oldest bassoon design (the flat-top) was the only one produced in the immediate post-war shop, thus combining an obsolete design with poor workmanship.[17] Needless to say, this was no longer an environment tolerable to the craftsmen and musicians who valued the Kohlert instruments.

Germans living in this part of Czechoslovakia, called the "Sudetenland," were evacuated in large groups to West Germany. They would generally be notified that they had twenty-four hours to appear at a certain train station with a maximum of twenty kilograms of personal belongings, but nothing of value. Entire trainloads were then resettled in towns that had previously agreed to take them.[18] This appears to have been the case with the fourth generation of Kohlerts, thus explaining why so many former residents of Graslitz now live in and around Winnenden, where the Kohlerts established their new factory.[19] The German federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Bayern and Hessen were the new locations for many of these bassoon makers; for example, Püchner and Schreiber (formerly in Graslitz) are now both located in Nauhneim bei Groß Gerau in Hessen. Once established, these firms often tried to get more of their former employees to join them.[20]

The fourth generation of Kohlerts[21] consisted of three brothers. Max, the oldest, died in 1949 at about age 50 and was an instrument maker by training. Kurt, the middle brother, died in 1973 and was a businessman by training. Ernst died in 1986 or '87 and was a musician. None of the three brothers ever married. After arriving in the West, Ernst
worked for a short while with instrument makers near Fürth, and then in 1948 the city of Winnenden provided the brothers with a former barracks, actually a wooden house, in which to establish a new workshop. They wrote to their former employees and many of them came to Winnenden to work in the new shop. Because the Kohlert factory had made such a wide variety of instruments, the tooling and demands upon various crafts made it especially difficult for the Kohlerts to resume full production at first.[22]

Between 1948 and 1950, there were about forty people employed in the Winnenden factory. At first, they only repaired instruments, mainly for the American army. Truckloads of drums, Sousaphones, etc., would arrive in Winnenden from all over Germany. There was no one there who had ever worked on a drum-these wind instrument makers, but they all realized there was money to be made, and it didn't take them long to figure out how to make repairs, improvised tools and all.[23]

Instrument production began in the fall of 1949 with saxophones, Boehm-system clarinets and Boehm-system bass clarinets and soon thereafter, bassoons.[24] The serial numbers began with zero, rather than continuing the numbers from the Graslitz factory.[25] The first apprentice at the new location was Albert Moosmann, a young Swabian who started working there when the serial numbers stood at about 400. Production soon expanded to encompass nearly all the woodwinds: recorders, saxophones, contrabassoons, oboes and clarinets. The Winnenden bassoon was a further development of the best Graslitz design, incorporating improvements in the boot joint, long joint and later additional keys and rollers.

In the golden years, 1953-54, about one hundred people were employed there, with about seventy working in the "barracks" and another thirty working at home. These "home workers" had small shops in their homes and would receive the materials, complete their part of the assembly process and return them. Several craftsmen only made saxophone bodies, and even the bells and necks were made in Winnenden. The Kohlerts also employed four tool-makers whose job it was to make the tools and apparatus used in the factory according to the designs and needs of the instrument makers. Thus everything was done "in house" with specially crafted tools.[26] In the postwar boom of American school and professional music, there was tremendous demand for new instruments. In fact, about ninety percent of the Kohlert instruments made during this time were exported.[27]

Then came the big mistake; the two remaining brothers, Kurt and Ernst, entered into contracts with American wholesalers which guaranteed that the Kohlerts would supply instruments at the same price for ten years. What the brothers didn't foresee was the onset of the "deutsche Wirtschaftswunder," or economic miracle, when the materials costs and wages rose so dramatically. At this point they couldn't get out of these long-term commitments-the penalty for breach of contract was severe. Instead of specializing, they continued to make the whole range of instruments and the profit margin kept shrinking. Realizing they couldn't continue in this manner, they tried to cut labor costs by minimizing handwork. It appears that this move was rather poorly thought out and accomplished little. They hired engineers to figure out how to make certain parts more efficiently, i.e., at lower cost per unit. Suddenly cases and cases of a single key, or some other part, would arrive. The lower cost had been achieved by manufacturing quantities greater than they could have used "if they had worked another hundred years on them" Suits were brought against these consultants, but the Kohlerts lost and were left with a financial situation which required declaring bankruptcy in 1965.[28]

Ironically, the demand in Europe for bassoons and tenor saxophones was very high, butt the Kohlerts couldn't take advantage of this because they had to comply with existing agreements. Interviewed craftsmen from those years feel that there wouldn't have been such a financial disaster if the oldest brother, Max, had still been alive. Many considered him the cleverest of the three and felt that he would never have agreed to such restrictive contracts. Many relatives, some quite distant, were employed more because of family ties than instrument-making skills, further complicating the financial and production problems.[29]

During 1966 about twenty employees continued producing instruments to meet bankruptcy obligations; there were plenty of parts and materials available. The serial numbers stood at about 85,000 at the time of the bankruptcy. Then one day, Fritz Pfannenschwarz, an industrialist from Nordheim who was interested in music as a hobby, came to buy a bass clarinet and was told that nothing could be sold without consulting the administrator of the
bankrupt estate. He asked the price of the bankrupt firm, was told 40,000 DM and bought it in 1967. Although plans had already been drawn for a new factory, nothing had come of them and work continued in the "barracks" Later Pfannenschwarz moved final assembly operations and sales to Nordheim, concentrating on flutes, saxophones and clarinets.[30]

Albert Moosmann, then self-employed, continued to build Oehler (German) system clarinets, and in 1981 Pfannenschwarz approached him about buying the company, as it was taking too much time from his other concerns. In 1982 Albert Moosmann, once an apprentice in the firm, his son Bernd (and another partner no longer associated with the firm) purchased the remains of Kohlert in Winnenden. Today the name "Bernd Moosmann" appears on the bassoons, the firm having specialized on one instrument. Bernd Moosmann has improved the lining, intonation, key strength and bocals, utilizing the input of professional bassoonists in the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, and has thus continued the evolution of the Kohlert designs.[31]
Of the once great Kohlert musical instrument empire, the only remaining descendent is the modern Moosmann bassoon. The hand craftsmanship and continued development that made the original Graslitz instruments world-famous is still being carried on in a small, scenic, Swabian shop in Germany. Vincenz Kohlert would be pleased.

1. Langwill, Lyndesay G. The Bassoon and Contrabassoon. London: Ernest Berm, 1965, p. 53.

2. The French-system bassoon, developed simultaneously, but independently, was used in France, Spain and much of South America. (Jansen, pp. 17-19).

3. Joppig, Gunther. The Oboe and the Bassoon. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd. 1988, pp. 92-93.

4. Jansen, Will. The Bassoon. Buren, the Netherlands: Frits Knuf, 1978, p. 417.

5. Jansen, p. 23.

6. It was generally agreed that good instrument craftsmen should also be players. The Kohlert factory in Graslitz has always sponsored musical groups, even having an orchestra of twenty-four saxophones. The tradition continued in Winnenden and now Waiblingen where many of the instrumentmakers play in local bandsiorchestras. (Interview with Albert Moosmann, Waiblingen).

7. From the transcription of an interview with Albert Moosmann, Waiblingen. April 1989.

8. Jansen, pp 316-318. We include Püchner in this listing of Graslitz bassoon makers even though Jansen doesn't. Walter Püchner was kind enough to show us a catalog from the family firm in Graslitz in which two models of bassoons were listed, April 1989.

9. William Waterhouse was kind enough to send us the prepublication information about the Kohlerts as it will appear in the New Lang-will Index.

10. Sigrid Krugel, "Erzgebirgler-Trompete fur den Jazzer aus New Orleans." Winnender Zeitung, Mittwoch, den 17. Dez. 1986.

11. Conversation with Dick Rusch, bassoonist and repairman in Lake Forest, IL.

12. Jansen, p. 323.

13. Even Louis Armstrong played a trumpet from Graslitz. (Winnender Zeitung)

14. Langwill, Lyndesay G. The Bassoon and Double Bassoon. London: Lowe and Brydone, 1948, pp 27-28.

15. From the transcription of an interview with Frantisek Faimann, a foreman at the present Amati Wind instrument factory in Graslitz (Kraslice), Czechoslovakia, April 1989.

16. Jansen, p. 331.

17. Jansen, pp. 331, 333,346. Amati, Ligna, Lignatone, Barbier and New Jewel were names stamped on inferior bassoons during the post-war period.

18. Conversation with Irmgard Dittmar, wife of the manager of the Schreiber woodwind instrument factory in Nauheim bei GroB Gerau. She was a "Sudetendeutsche" and recalls the experience from her childhood. Jansen, however, reports that each person was allowed to take 75 kilos of personal belongings.

19. Winnender Zeitung

20. Conversation with Erich Berger, former Graslitz resident, later employee in the Kohlert factory in Winnenden and now proprietor of "Musikhaus Berger" in Winnenden.

21. Jansen, pp. 299-300.
22. Albert Moosmann

23. Albert Moosmann

24. Langwill, Lyndesay. An Index of Wind-Instrument Makers, 6th Ed. Edinburgh: Lindsay and Co., Ltd.: 1980, p. 95.

25. Albert Moosmann
26. Albert Moosmann
27. Article from an unknown newspaper in the Winnenden area from 1967, about the time the factory was bought by Pfannenschwarz. Copy obtained from Bernd Moosmann.

28. Albert Moosmann
29. Albert Moosmann
30. Newspaper article from 1967, about the time the factory was bought by Pfannenschwarz.

31. Bernd Moosmann, Waiblingen


Paul Lein has been a bassoonist since 1966. He has played with several symphonies in Michigan, including The Grand Rapids Symphony, and is currently a member of the Midland Symphony Orchestra. He has been a junior high school band director for 22 years and is currently self-employed as a restorer of bassoons.

Janet Lein has been a professor of German for 22 years and an amateur musician for a lot longer than that. She helped husband, Paul, restore bassoons when the practice was still in the hobby stage.

Post Edited (2022-06-10 22:42)

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