Posted by Jay Bertolet on April 19, 1999 at 13:25:10:
In Reply to: How is a 5th valve used? posted by Brent on April 19, 1999 at 09:53:37:
If you search the archives of this BBS, I'm sure you'll find one of the many previous and in depth discussions on this topic. Briefly, the 5th valve is used primarily to solve intonation problems mostly involving, but not restricted to, the low range. It is not a compensating device per se, as it doesn't recycle air back through the valves when engaged, it is simply an extra valve with a different intonation than any of the other 4 valves on your instrument. The 5th valve can be configured in just about any length, the most common ones being equivalent to a flat whole step, sharp whole step, or sharp 2 whole steps. For me, I prefer the 5 valve system over the compensating system because my experience has been that the 5 valve setup allows more flexibility in choosing just the right fingering for just the right intonation for a given situation. Also, my experience has been that the 5 valve setup produces less air resistance than the compensating system. Of course, 5 valve fingering patterns are more complex than 4 valve so it may take a while for you to adjust to the new patterns. Fingering charts are available but be sure you use the one based on the 5th valve configuration you choose. Good luck!