Author Topic: Antique low pitch C Clarinet 1800ís. Made by E. Albert.Brussels. on eBay  (Read 192 times)

Offline philpedler

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Dave and I thought that this was an interesting clarinet when Janie contacted us. So if any of you are interested, here's the link:

http://ebay.us/9FUOZq?cmpnId=5338273189

Offline LarryS

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Nice wood!
You don't stop playing when you get old, you get old when you stop playing.
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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Itís reallt really beautiful. I want it but I already have so many...
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Offline TMHeimer

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Anyone know what is meant by "low pitched"-- an octave lower than a soprano C?
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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Low Pitch means that the instrument is tuned to A-440Hz, which is the "American Standard" that we all know and love.

High Pitch means that the instrument is tuned to A-415Hz, or even higher.

Basically sometime between the Baroque period and the 19th century, people decided that for some reason A-440 was a better and more pleasing sound than A-415(or other).

So Low Pitch doesn't mean it's necessarily lower in pitch as compared to a comparable instrument. It just means that the native pitch for the instrument is "lower" than the PREVIOUS standard pitch.

There is a slight size difference in these instruments, with high pitch being shorter/smaller than their low pitch counterparts.

In the beginning, there was just HP. So, there was no "high" and "low." When LP was developed, HP and LP were produced in tandem for different markets.

So you will see that from ~1880 to ~1930, you will see clarinets and other instruments stamped with either an HP or an LP symbol.

HP were generally more common in Europe (which curiously is also where Albert system survives to this day). LP was more common in the West, including America.

Long story short - Low Pitch denotes that an instrument is built around a central A-440Hz tuning, while High Pitch were built to around A-415Hz.

Addendum: HP instruments are almost entirely worthless and useless today. 95% of the world has adopted LP, which is why no clarinets were marked with LP past the 30s.

The only time you will ever have use for an HP instrument is if you happen to be playing in some sort of Baroque or Period musical group that uses antique instruments.

Hope this helps.
Dave
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Offline Airflyte

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Anyone know what is meant by "low pitched"-- an octave lower than a soprano C?

Low pitch is A=440 Hz. Yamahas are usually 442 - ish

Old high pitched are roughly at A= 452 Hz. I don't know if there was a "standard for HP instrumenets.

*  415Hz may be "Baroque tuning". By no means am I an expert on tuning. It was all over the map for so long. Must have driven vocalists mad as the pitches kept going higher.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2020, 06:51:31 PM by Airflyte »
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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Anyone know what is meant by "low pitched"-- an octave lower than a soprano C?

Low pitch is A=440 Hz. Yamahas are usually 442 - ish

Old high pitched are roughly at A= 452 Hz. I don't know if there was a "standard for HP instrumenets.
I don't believe there was a standard in the early days at least.

Which actually makes the whole LP vs HP thing make more sense. In many industries, there is a "format war" where one format tries to beat the other in gaining popular usage.

Remember VHS vs Betamax, or DVD vs BluRay?

I suspect that when the HP and LP designations were created, there were probably an approximate standard that each adhered to.

Eventually, for whatever reason, LP won and the rest as they say is history.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline TMHeimer

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Thanks for the education, I did not know of these pitch differences. And I should have, with a chunk of my masters being clarinet history. So, if you have an old low pitched one, could a shorter barrel help get it in line with those past 1930? Or would it have to be too short as to mess up the throat tones?
I know on my C clarinet that tiny barrel tends to be a problem in that area. Too bad there isn't a C clarinet mouthpiece that's smaller than the standard one for Bb and A clarinets (or is there?).
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(click on the book image then on PDF for samples)

Offline Dibbs

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Thanks for the education, I did not know of these pitch differences. And I should have, with a chunk of my masters being clarinet history. So, if you have an old low pitched one, could a shorter barrel help get it in line with those past 1930? Or would it have to be too short as to mess up the throat tones?
I know on my C clarinet that tiny barrel tends to be a problem in that area. Too bad there isn't a C clarinet mouthpiece that's smaller than the standard one for Bb and A clarinets (or is there?).

Low is the modern pitch.  The old useless ones are high pitch.  Changing the barrel doesn't help.  It's quite a big difference. Internal tuning would get really messed up if you got it anywhere close.

Offline Dibbs

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*  415Hz may be "Baroque tuning". By no means am I an expert on tuning. It was all over the map for so long. Must have driven vocalists mad as the pitches kept going higher.

A=415 is "modern" baroque pitch.  i.e. it's the pitch (near) replicas of early instruments are made to play at.  Classical instruments (e.g. for Mozart) are usually made at A=430.

At the time, as you say, it was all over the map.  It probably drove woodwind players mad as well.  Original baroque flutes often had up to 6 interchangeable body sections (corps de rechange) to suite different pitch standards.

Offline Windsong

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TMHeimer, 
I have two C clarinets from the 19thC which use an EB mouthpiece.
Regards-
The Clarinet Pages forum court jester, and expert bubblegum welder.

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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The only C clarinet I've ever owned used a standard Bb mouthpiece; an Eb would not fit.

This was one I can't entirely remember, but it was an 1880's model, full simple system. High Pitch, but boy did it sound nice. When I sober up I'm sure I'll remember the name. haha
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages