The functions of the two barrels on the Selmer 9

Dear Mr. Friedland,
I’m 67 and have been playing the clarinet on and off all my life as a good amateur, never having a first class instrument. I’ve recently got a Selmer Series 9 with a fine tone (and Ive got rid off some rattles) Can you explain the point of the two barrels. I can see that ambient temperature is involved and other players tuning (unfortunately I’m not playing with brilliant players here), but is the self tuning of the instrument involved. I play a lot by myself eg Bach violin music. My instrument seems to have a sharp Bflat Throat, and a flat B natural semitone above, and I am not happy with intonation in the B scale, and can’t sort it. Also I find that in the very top register where there are alternative fingerings, which intonation sounds best depends on the key ot the music. Is this as it should be – I hope I’ll come across someone with experience locally to listen. Are enharmonic changes involved here? I admire your taking time to help people. Best wishes, Andrew. Dorset England.
fFrst, the point of the two barrels on your Series 9 clarinet is for slightly changing the pitch as they are of different sizes, varying by a couple of millimeters. But this change is very small indeed, and the change occurs closest to the barrel. In the second register the longer barrel will bring down the high c and the high b. The throat Bb is always sharp and thin,the reason being that the hole that is vented serves two purposes: to make the Bb and to change the register. You can temper the sharpness considerably and make sound improve by adding two fingers. the second and third on the left hand. Try the Bb without them and then add them while playing the note and you will hear it well. The middle B is flat because the bell ring on your clarinet keeps it from vibrating, and also because you problably hold the instrument between your knees, which flattens the b somewhat.if you support your clarinet on your knee, it is even flatter. The low e is similarly flat, about which one can do nothing save playing the note very softly .
The newer selmers are tuned better, these problems having been successfully allieviated. Some of the most expensive instruments made have these very same problems.
A combination of your really good ear and knowledge of the clarinet and its acoustics will be able to help.
best wishes,


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