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Title: From design to decline : Boosey & Hawkes and clarinet manufacturing in Britain, 1879-1986
Author: Brand, Jennifer May
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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Current literature agrees that British clarinet playing between c. 1930 and c. 1980 was linked to a particular clarinet manufacturer: Boosey & Hawkes. The unusually wide-bored 1010 clarinet is represented as particularly iconic of this period but scholars have not provided details of why this is so nor explored the impact of other B&H clarinets. This thesis presents an empirical overview of all clarinet manufacturing which took place at B&H (and Boosey & Co). Every clarinet model manufactured by B&H is discussed and the first and last serial numbers and total outputs of all individually-crafted clarinets are given. Developments in organology are also highlighted, emphasising changing preferences among British – and other – clarinettists, as reflected by manufacturing trends at B&H. Connections are made between the socio-economic climate in Britain and the design, advertising and popularity of clarinet models. The empirical evidence is taken from Boosey & Hawkes’ archival records, most notably the Workshop Order Books which present a nearly-complete record of every B&H woodwind instrument. This thesis provides the date upon which the first 1010 was manufactured and demonstrates that the initial popularity of the model was a result of developments in British orchestral playing in the 1920s and early 1930s. World War II is shown to have been a catalyst for mass production, enabling B&H’s influence to reach a greater proportion of British society. The thesis argues that post-war consumerism facilitated the continued popularity of B&H clarinets, but the drive to provide ever-cheaper student clarinets created dramatic reductions in profit margins and rendered clarinet manufacturing financially unviable. Ultimately this thesis presents B&H as having become inextricably linked to British clarinet playing by constantly responding to the changing demands of British musicians with new designs and brandings which captured the zeitgeist of musical Britain throughout the century.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral