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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000336.txt from 1997/09

From: Mark Charette <>
Subj: Re: ending the GreenLine plastic/composite thread
Date: Sun, 7 Sep 1997 20:19:22 -0400

Roger Garrett wrote:
> My main concern is that, regardless of how it
> sounds, for me, it is much more satisfying a feel when comparing wood > to plastic.

I totally agree with you in this subjective point. It was
mentioned in a post I wrote previously, mentioning aesthetics.
Wood "feels good". It always has. Very few man-made materials
come close to the feel and charm of wood.

As to the measurements taken, I again quote from the
article I referenced (you *really* need to read the whole thing):

Controlled subjective tests have been carried out. Three
dimensionally identical keyless flutes were designed and
built by Coltman from silver (15 mil wall thickness), copper
(60 mil), and grenadilla (165 mil). The ratio of the masses
of the three instruments were 1:4:2. Blind subjective
experiments involving 27 listeners (20 professional and 7
skilled amateur musicians; 13 of them flautists) and 4
players (all skilled performers) were conducted. Listeners
were asked to vote on whether tones sounded were alike or
different. Players were asked to identify again a previously
played instrument. No statistically significant correlation
was found between the responses and the wall material. One
instrument was labelled by some as initially flat. This was
the copper flute, whose thermal mass requires significant
"warming up". Coltman concludes "This is one example of a
reason to prefer certain materials for flute construction,
and there are many others. Tone quality or ease of response
are not, however, among them."

Flutists are just like clarinetists in the level of mystique in their
beliefs :)

Please note, however, in this double blind test, musicians were used
as the "experimental apparatus". I don't think we've gone through much
more development in our measuring apparatus in the intervening years :)
Mark Charette "How can you be in two places at once when you're not anywhere at all?" - Firesign Theater

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