Klarinet Archive - Posting 000170.txt from 1994/05
From: Clark W Fobes <reedman@-----.COM>
Subj: Re: Intuituion
Date: Mon, 9 May 1994 03:39:15 -0400
It is, I believe, useless to defend the concept of intuitive thinking to
anyone who does not find that to be part of their reality. Complete
objectivism does have it's place and I agree that the term intuition may
be at times thrown up as a smoke screen against a lack of knowledge.
I was amused that Mr. Leeson cautiously avoided naming me as a full
fledged member of a nefarious caste of creatures that, in fact, know very
little and work completely by the seats of their collective pants. Still,
I will be the very first to admit that after 10 years of spending hours upon
compulsive hours of empirically trying to solve the mouthpiece puzzle I
continue to find as many questions as answers.
At this point in time it takes me approximately 2 hours to make an artist
level clarinet mouthpiece. The actual facing, boring and shaping of the
window require about 1 hour and the second hour is spent almost entirely
in the fine tuning. This is where I depend most on my highest order of
technical skills to balance the sound and feel based on careful play testing.
At this point a mouthpiece may be too resistant. Where does the resistance
originate? Facing? Baffle? Bore? Side walls? If all of my critical
measurements are within correct parameters then I must make an intuitive
decision on the next step. That step is intuitive, but it is based on
many hours of coming to a similar place with similar decisions to be made.
I firmly believe that genius is the intersection of great knowledge or
skill and the ability to think in new ways. INTUITION.
Mr. Leeson is a highly recognized Mozart scholar. I wonder if he believes
that Mozart was merely a technical wizard or if some intuitive force guided
him. Given all the rules of 18th century music and a huge database of
possible melodic and harmonic permutations, would a computer be able to write
Finally, I find it very interesting that Mr. Leeson finds the theory of
"blow-out" to be a result of many of us wanting to believe an old wives tale
and yet he can so honestly believe that a clarinet can be "homogenized".
Using his logic, perhaps the perceived difference that he felt in his
instrument after being homogenized was simply that he traveled to the guru
of homogenization, expected a result and - voila!
I don't believe or disbelieve that an instrument can be homogenized, but
I doubt that any difference was measurable in any objective sense.
I also noted that when I was working with Dan on his new Selmer "A" bass
clarinet over a few months that he once stated that it was "breaking in"
nicely. A perceivable change in the blowing characteristics? Is it not
possible that changes continue to occur over time and eventually effect
an instrument in a negative way?
Just a thought. A hunch.
BTW, Dan, In the area of instrument repair I have learned very little in
20 years and do rely almost entirely on intuition and magic to make
clarinets play well. Be sure to bring your instruments in for their overhauls
around June 21 as I seem to do my best work during the solstice.
Clark W Fobes