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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000438.txt from 1997/09

From: Jonathan Cohler <>
Subj: Re: ending the GreenLine plastic/composite thread
Date: Tue, 9 Sep 1997 16:06:08 -0400

Alexis Grant wrote:

>On Sun, 7 Sep 1997 21:57:28 -0500 Jonathan Cohler <>
>>The material out of which a clarinet is made will not change how the
>>instruments sounds or feels (in terms of blowing) to a player or
>>It may feel different to the hands, because the material is different.
>Since the way an instrument feels to a player is entirely subjective, I
>don't think this can be stated as a fact.
>Just because there is no actual difference between one plastic clarinet
>and one wood clarinet doesn't mean I won't feel that they're different,
>or that I won't like one of them more.

While a person's feelings are, by definition, subjective, the way an
instrument feels to a person (from a blowing/sound perspective) is
fundamentally objective.

Imagine the following experiment with multiple clarinets made of different
materials and you'll see what I mean:

1. Use the same mouthpiece/reed/ligature, with the same player
for all instruments.

2. Don't allow the player to touch the instrument. Have someone
else finger notes for him.

Now, if the instruments have precisely the same blowing/sound
characteristics, the same player with the same setup will not be able to
distinguish between them (in any statistically useful way). This has been
demonstrated in experiment.

On the other hand, people may certainly convince themselves that things
sound or feel different when they, in fact. do not. But if they cannot do
this with repeatability in blind experiments then it is meaningless.

And certainly, people are entitled to have aesthetic preferences (plast vs.
wood vs metal etc.).

Jonathan Cohler

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