Clarinet barrel: the interface between the mouthpiece and the body
The interface between the mouthpiece and the body: clarinet barrel
The clarinet is made up of various parts. The clarinet barrel, sometimes known as the socket, is the section that joins the mouthpiece to the upper joint. While most players will continue to play with the barrel their clarinet originally came with, some dedicated clarinet players will search out the perfect barrel to make sure they have the best sound possible.
As with all clarinet pieces, there are reasons why better quality pieces are preferred. With barrels, there is the consideration of how they are bored. Many players believe that a superior barrel that has been correctly bored will result in a richer and fuller sound than a regular barrel.
A good quality barrel will have a smaller opening at the bottom than the opening of the upper joint it fits into. The advantage with this type of barrel is that when the sound wave reaches this point, the column of the sound wave reflects back on itself more than other types of barrel, with a much richer clarinet sound.
As with all parts of the clarinet, proper cleaning is required to keep the barrel in good condition, especially to remove moisture build-up. Some musicians will take their barrel to a repairer to be re-reamed if they feel that the moisture has made the grain swell (this will only happen with wood barrels, not plastic). One way of avoiding warping within the barrel is to use a barrel with a bronze insert.
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