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Thread: Feeling the tone hole vibrations

  1. #1
    Distinguished SOTW Member Mark Fleming's Avatar
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    Apr 2007

    Default Feeling the tone hole vibrations

    Not sure the value of this. It's just kind of a kitchen physics experiment that I found interesting. During an alto rebuild I got held up by not getting the right size pads for a couple lower stack keys. I started the repad anyway and then couldn't help myself in floating and play testing what I had done so far (it's a "rare" Holton 666 and I"m curious as to how much time and money I might be wasting).

    With the pads I had, I could only play it down to G# in both registers. Everything was fine, but G# was very sharp, of course, as there was no pad or even key cups down lower on the horn. So, I put my hand over the G# tone hole to mimic a pad. I was surprised by what seemed like a gush of air blowing out G#. It wasn't air of course, only vibrations.

    The vibrations seemed way out of proportion to the amount of air I was putting into the mouthpiece. Tone holes lower than G# had the same feel to a lesser degree, all the way down to barely anything at D. Covering D had little effect on tone, but covering both D and E/F# made some difference even with several higher tone holes being wide open.

    What use is this? I don't know. I've felt the "air blowing on my hand" feel that comes from some tone holes when I'm playing. But this made it obvious that the effect is entirely vibration and impressed on me the power of the vibrations coming out of the "main" tone hole and the next four or five in line. It also made it clear why key height and resonators have such an effect.

    I wouldn't recommend that any one remove all the lower stack keys to try this, but if you get a chance during a rebuild, it's interesting.


  2. #2
    Distinguished SOTW Member
    Forum Contributor 2011
    Rennie's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Default Re: Feeling the tone hole vibrations

    I've started playing clarinet since a month now. One of the first thing that surprised me was having the same sensation as you describe on the open right hand tone holes. The reason that the vibration you feel seems out of proportion would be the wonderful effect of resonance creating a standing wave.

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