Title:
CLARINET MOUTHPIECE WITH IMPROVED LIGATURE
United States Patent 3791253


Abstract:
A clarinet or the like ligature is provided with a slidably adjustable pressure bar. The outer end of the pressure bar is turned under and exerts pressure against the reed along the longitudinal center line. The pressure point is adjustable from beneath the rim of the ligature to some distance down the reed, thereby affording individual control of the vibrational qualities of the reed, and hence of the tone characteristics.



Inventors:
Pascucci, Vito (Kenosha, WI)
Stubbins, William H. (Ann Arbor, MI)
Application Number:
05/266384
Publication Date:
02/12/1974
Filing Date:
06/26/1972
Assignee:
LEBLANC G CORP,US
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
984/141
International Classes:
G10D9/02; (IPC1-7): G10D9/02
Field of Search:
84/380,383,386
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:



Primary Examiner:
Tomsky, Stephen J.
Assistant Examiner:
Gonzales, John F.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Olson, Roy H.
Claims:
The invention is claimed as follows

1. An improved ligature for reed type wind instruments comprising a band for clamping a reed on a mouthpiece and having bar holding means thereon, comprising stamped out strap means, and pressure means adjustably mounted on said band in position for bearing against a reed, said pressure means comprising an elongated bar held by said bar holding means and adjustable longitudinally of a reed from a pressure position directly beneath said band to a pressure position spaced away from said band, said bar having a folded under, reentrant end portion thereon forming a pressure pad adapted to fit under the band of said ligature to bear against a reed, and adjustable outwardly away from said band.

2. An improved ligature as set forth in claim 1 wherein the opposite end of the bar is deflected outwardly to form finger engaging means.

3. A ligature as set forth in claim 1 wherein said pressure means is substantially rigid.

4. A ligature as set forth in claim 1 wherein said ligature includes two clamp bands and two separate means for respectively applying tension to said clamp bands.

5. In a musical woodwind instrument, the combination comprising a mouthpiece having a table, a reed, and a ligature holding said reed on said table on said mouthpiece, said ligature comprising a band encircling said mouthpiece and said reed and clamping said reed in playing position against said table on said mouthpiece and having bar holding means thereon comprising stamped out strap means, and pressure means adjustably mounted on said ligature and bearing against said reed, said pressure means comprising an elongated bar held by said bar holding means and adjustable longitudinally of said reed from a pressure position directly beneath said band to a pressure position spaced away from said band, said bar having a folded under, reentrant end portion thereon forming a pressure pad said end portion in one position of adjustment of said bar fitting under the rim of said ligature.

6. The combination as set forth in claim 5 wherein said pressure means is substantially rigid.

7. The combination as set forth in claim 11 wherein said ligature includes two bands and two separate means for respectively applying tension to said bands.

Description:
Single reed musical instruments, of which the clarinet is a good example have a single reed of cane or the like held over an opening on the mouthpiece by means of a ligature, commonly a metal band. The ligature bears against the bark of the reed and holds it in over the table of the mouthpiece, which in some mouthpieces is slightly concave. The balance of the reed cantilevers out therefrom over the opening, and vibrates back and forth as the player's breath is blown over the reed and through the mouthpiece. Individual reeds may vary considerably in characteristics, and players commonly scrape or hone the reed to alter the vibrational characteristics in accordance with the player's requirements. Such scraping is not always satisfactory, and frequently results in damage to reeds making the reeds unusable.

We have discovered that application of direct pressure to the reed, either in the cantilevered section or beneath the ligature and over the table has a marked effect on the vibrational quality, and hence the produced tone of the reed. In particular, in accordance with the present invention, we provide a tone bar slidably held by the ligature for longitudinal adjustment, having an end portion bearing against the longitudinal center line of the reed. Adjustment of the tone bar controls the vibrational qualities of the reed and avoids the necessity of scraping the reed to vary the vibrational qualities thereof. Warping is overcome, and reed life is extended. There is a noticeable improvement in tone quality and tone response, and playing pressure requirements are decreased, thereby enabling a performer to play for a longer period of time. The pitch level is easier to maintain, and this in particular is helpful for beginners with weak embouchures. Although it is within the contemplation of the invention that the pressure bar could be of spring metal, in a preferred example the pressure bar is of nickel silver and has the outer end thereof turned under in a hook-like configuration providing a flat surface bearing against the reed.

A specific example of the present invention will best be understood with reference to the following specification when taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a clarinet which is entirely conventional except for the improved ligature thereon;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary side view showing the mouthpiece and improved ligature;

FIG. 3 is a view corresponding to FIG. 2 and taken from the bottom; and

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary, exploded perspective view.

Referring now to the figures of the drawings in greater detail, there is shown a B♭ clarinet 10 having upper and lower body joints 12 and 14 with the usual holes, hole closure members, keys and levers thereon. The clarinet is provided with a bell 16 at the lower end, and with a barrel 18 at the upper end in which the mouthpiece 20 is mounted, all in known fashion.

A ligature 22 in many respects similar to conventional ligatures is clamped on the mouthpiece 20 in the usual fashion. The ligature comprises a pair of metallic bands 24 joined together at confronting edges 26 and interconnected by flat-headed screw-threaded adjusting members 28 spanning a longitudinal slot 30 between the interconnections 26. As will be appreciated, the screw-threaded members 28 are backed off to allow removal or loosening of the ligature for installation of a reed, and then are tightened to clamp the reed in place.

The reed 32 is of conventional construction, normally cane, comprising a base or bark portion 34 and an extending cantilevered tongue 36 overlying the hole 38 in the mouthpiece. A solid interconnecting portion 40 integrally joining the bands 24 of the ligature clamps against the base or bark 34 of the reed to hold the same against the table 42 of the mouthpiece. This table may be flat, or in many instances is somewhat concave.

The distinguishing and critical inventive feature in the present invention comprises a reed pressure bar 44 mounted on the ligature and overlying (actually, underlying in the operative position of the clarinet) the reed along the longitudinal center line thereof. The pressure bar is mounted on the ligature as by means of stamped out straps 46 in the central interconnection portion 40 frictionally engaging the pressure bar 44. The pressure bar 44 is a straight strip of material, preferably nickel silver. The pressure bar is mounted in the straps 46 sufficiently tightly to form a frictional engagement which is not readily disturbed accidentally. The base or lower end of the pressure bar 44 is rolled over as indicated at 48 for finger engagement for longitudinal sliding adjustment of the pressure bar. At the opposite end the pressure bar 44 is folded under in hook-like configuration to provide a flat pressure pad or plateau 50 bearing against the free outer surface of the reed. Depending on the vibrational characteristics of the reed desired by the clarinetist, the plateau 50 may engage the reed anywhere from the bark portion thereof, actually extending beneath the rim of the ligature, to a position extending well out along the cantilevered reed tongue. The pressure point is always along the center line of the reed.

The bark of the reed immediately under the rim of the ligature is always the weakest pressure point at which the reed is held, and conventional ligatures often do not exert enough pressure against the reed at this position. Such pressure can be exerted by retracting the pressure bar to the maximum extent so that the tip or plateau 50 thereof engages the reed beneath the rim of the ligature. On the other hand, in order to compensate for individual differences in reeds and in different requirements of different clarinets, the plateau 50 is shiftable out along the cantilevered portion of the reed tongue. This outward extension is particularly useful in connection with larger sized instruments, such as alto and bass clarinets, saxophones, etc. The nickel silver of which it is preferred to make the pressure bar does not tend to vibrate itself. It is rigid enough to control the vibrational characteristics of the reed in the desired fashion, yet it is soft enough that it will not damage the reed. However, other expedients can be used, such as the use of spring metal for the pressure bar with a flat pressure button secured beneath the end of the spring member.

As will be appreciated, the specific example of the invention as shown and described herein is for illustrative purposes. Various changes in the structure will no doubt occur to those skilled in the art and will be understood as forming a part of the present invention insofar as they fall within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.