Vienna Talk 2015 on Music Acoustics
“Bridging the Gaps”     16–19 September 2015


Comparison between the measured and played intonation on four e-flat clarinets in the altissimo register

Gangl, Manuel and Hofmann, Alex 

Proceedings of the Third Vienna Talk on Music Acoustics (2015), pp. 45–51


In this paper, two experiments were conducted to compare the intonation in the altissimo register (C#6--C7) on four german Eb-clarinets. In order to perform the experiments a fingering chart was created including twelve main fingerings with up to eight alternative fingerings (68 fingerings in total). As a first method, a professional clarinetist recorded the 68 fingerings in an anechoic chamber under controlled performance conditions. As a second method, input impedance measurements (BIAS) were done to gain objective data of the instrument's build quality, independent of a player. From the results of the first experiment, the tones of the altissimo register were subdivided into three groups of tones: In the first group (C#6-F#6) the main fingerings resulted in a correct intonation. In the second group (G6-G#6), alternative fingerings were proposed which helped to correct the intonation. In the third group (A6-C7), it was impossible for the professional performer to play the targeted pitches. A comparison of the intonation curves from the audio recordings and from the input impedance measurements indicated contrary trends. It remains an open question, which factors are actually limiting the playing range of the instruments. It is hypothesized that both, the low input impedance peaks for the altissimo notes and the reed's natural frequency may limit the ambitus of the instrument.


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  • Clarinet
  • Woodwind instruments
  • Player actions
  • Input impedance measurement
  • Intonation
  • Audio recordings
  • Pitch

  • Status
    not reviewed

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