Eddie Ashton
208 Liverpool Road,  Cadishead,   Manchester. M44 5DB.  U.K.  44 (0)161 775 1842

Mobile. 07808161947

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                                                    Clarinets are a special case !!!

Oh really, that's contentious to say the least ! Well it may be a bit strong but they are unquestionably unique in one respect in that they overblow a 12th while the rest of the woodwind family all manage to overblow an 8th (which let's face it, makes a lot more sense)! This comes about because the laws of physics state - A conical tube having a stopped end will overblow an 8th (oboe, bassoon, saxophone), & parallel tube with an open end will overblow an 8th (flute) but a parallel tube with a stopped end is going to overblow a 12th (that'll be the clarinet).

This may seem to have relative unimportance but it does have a great part to play in what happens if that tube is less than perfectly sealed - i.e. becomes leaky.   If you go into a shop to audition a new instrument, at some point, you will try and play down to the bottom note. If it becomes harder or impossible to reach the lower register, you hand it back to the assistant & politely ask if you can try another as 'this one doesn't work properly'. You've tested it & found it faulty. This applies to all the woodwind instruments - except the clarinet!

The clarinet will continue to blow to the bottom even when it leaks appallingly! What does get progressively worse with more leakage is its ability to play over the break & above. For this reason the manufacturer 'gets away with it'. Put another way, if oboes were made to the same standard as clarinets, they wouldn't work & so no one would buy one & it would hit the makers in their pockets - & they would have to do something about it, which they have with oboes. As it is with clarinets, nothing is done because they sell all that they can make. This incidentally applies to all clarinets at whatever the price.