by Cathy
(Boise, ID USA)

I have to pull the barrel and the mid-sections apart to get anywhere close to "in tune"...are there reasons why?


Hello Carol,

Every clarinet I've had, I need to pull out at the barrel to be in tune. Sometimes, I do have to pull out at the middle joint or bell.

You might notice that you are flat when you start playing and do not have to pull out at the barrel. The clarinet is cold and therefore flat. Then, as you warm-up, the temperature makes the instrument sharper. To flatten the instrument, and make it tune correctly, you pull out.

The fluctuation in temperature and pitch is interesting to balance. Could you imagine if a clarinet company made a clarinet perfectly in tune when it was cold? By the time it was warmed up, it would be unbearably sharp.

If a clarinet company made a clarinet perfectly in tune when it was warmed up, could you imagine how flat it would be when you started cold?

So, if the gap between joints upset you, clarinet barrels are made at longer lengths. The standard barrel is 66 mm. You can find barrels at 67 or 68 mm. Here is a page of 67 mm clarinet barrels. This is something you can experiment with while you play.

Also, experimenting with clarinet mouthpieces vary the pitch as well.

While I know their are many in the field of clarinetistry that could give you a better technical answer, these are some of my basic thoughts. Good luck playing the clarinet.


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