3 woods from Menorca for the Arixa Clarinets barrels (III)

In the second part of the article on woods from Menorca, I told you about my personal impressions playing with the first barrels made out of wild olive tree (a traditional wood from Menorca) at our artisanal workshop Arixa Clarinets. For these tests I played on my RC Buffet clarinet.  


In the third part you are now reading, I will explain the two parameters I will take in account when doing the comparison tests between the different woods from Menorca in the next and last part of the article:

1.The sound colour: the sound colour is defined by the type of harmonics we find in a certain sound.

2.The sound shape: the sound shape is defined by the amount of harmonics we find in a certain sound.

For this occasion I have also prepared a video were I play Piazzola’s Oblivion, to compare the wild olive tree wood (with a warm sound) with the African Blackwood (cooler coloured sound).

To understand it graphically, I would like to give you examples from the painting and photography world.



Warm colours

Generally speaking, warm colours include all those comprised between red and yellow, including oranges, browns and gold colours. They usually say that the more amount of red there is in a colour’s composition, the warmer it is. In graphic design, warm colours are used to show enthusiasm, passion and happiness.

Warm colours are those of:

fire, passion, dusk, autumn leaves.

Apart from the thermal sensation, these tones show:

closeness, intimacy, energy,warmth.


Cold colours

On the opposite side, we have cold colours that comprise blues, greens and purples.

The more amount of blue a color contains, the cooler it will be. Cold colours are those shown in:

winter, night, oceans, lakes

In graphic design, cold colours are used to give the feeling of:

tranquility, calm, seriousness, professionalism


Kandinsky and the concept of colour.

Kandinsky used to say that one could listen to the colours so he identified each color with a musical instrument. For example:


Yellow is the warmest colour there is. Kandinsky says, if you touch it, you can even burn yourself. Its smell and taste are spicy, it sounds high and it inspires spontaneous behaviours. On the opposite side we have blue, which offers a cold touch and produces a calm and meditation state.


By combining this range of colours and their special features one can transmit all type of emotions and Kandinsky’s marvellous pictures are a clear example of it.

During there years of investigation at our artisanal workshop, I have developed three models of clarinet barrels (Soloist, Orchestra and Ensemble), offering different sound characteristics (resonance, projection, blending…) depending on the type of musical performance they are going to be used in.

The barrels are made using two types of wood (African Blackwood and cocobolo) which offer very different sound colours: cocobolo has a more velvety and warm sound and African Blackwood has a brighter and, therefore, colder coloured sound.


COCOBOLO (warm)         


African Blackwood (cold)

I have also developed a Handcrafted model, offering the possibility to totally personalize the interior and exterior shape of the barrel to be able to adapt to the clarinetist’s personal needs. We use very special and carefully chosen woods, such as Kingwood, bocote or ebony. We could also assign a different colour to each of these woods.



The terms we usually use to define the shape of sound are words like: centred, focused, condensed, well-defined or full-bodied.

A good example to understand the concept would be the comparison between these two photographs:


The first one would be the example of a centred and full-bodied sound and the second one would be the opposite.


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