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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000400.txt from 1995/03

From: Jonathan Cohler <cohler@-----.NET>
Subj: Re: math, physics & music
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 1995 00:18:17 -0500

Dick Williams wrote:

>2) I understand that the clarinet, being essentially cylindrical,
>overblows a true 12-th and that this is flat to an even tempered 12-th.
>I also can understand why playing louder increases the relative amplitude
>of higher harmonics; I can even hear them when I play louder. I can also
>hear that the clarinet plays flatter when I increase the volume.I do not
>understand why more of the flatter, higher harmonics makes the fundamental

Pitch perception is not simply a function of the fundamental. If the
embouchure is kept firm the fundamental does not change. The pitch
perception changes because the flat partials when added to the fundamental
create a lower pitch perception. There are many theoretical models for how
pitch perception works in the brain, but it is not totally understood.

However, several of the models incorporate the concept of an implied
fundamental. The flat partials imply (to the brain) the existence of a
flat fundamental, and the brain then perceives it.

Of course, less experienced players go flat when they play loud simply
because of insufficient firmness in the embouchure, but that is a different
matter altogether.


Jonathan Cohler

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