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One of the earliest instruments we know of is the JCDenner chalumeau which is in the Bavarian National Museum in Munich It has a recorder-like bell with two diametrically opposed keys but no speaker pipe as far as we know and very little flaring at the lower end The bore is very large at 15mm and the tone holes are small being on average only 5mm in diameter It is possible that this was an early experimental instrument by the Denner family as it does not play at all well the tone being very muffled and restricted I think that this is due to the bore being far too large and the tone holes too small as well as the non-existent bell and as it stands it cannot have been a very successful instrument although probably quite a novelty It is possible of course that it has been bored out at some stage this is occasionally found on clarinets as the pitch was raised they were bored out to sharpen them Incidentally it will play in the clarinet register with the back key open and if this was intentional it leads us to speculate whether this is a chalumeau or a clarinet What is the definition of a chalumeau It is possible that the higher-up speaker key with its tube into the bore was merely an improvement to stop water coming through the bore There are two other things worthy of note on the JCDenner chalumeau - first the keys and second the length The keys are mounted on the mouthpiece joint and this joint is almost as long as the body joint You can see from the photograph that the keys are very long and you have to be careful when assembling the joints as the keys protrude from the end The length of the whole instrument seems quite strange at first
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