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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000630.txt from 1997/09

From: elspeth4@-----. Grant)
Subj: Re: Not Really About Greenlines Anymore
Date: Fri, 12 Sep 1997 17:11:39 -0400

Still working on clarification!

On Wed, 10 Sep 1997 01:05:03 -0500 Jonathan Cohler <>
>Alexis Grant wrote:

>>Here, hopefully, is a clarification of the confusion in this exchange.

>>>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.
>>I am not talking about the instrument, particularly. If you're talking
>>about blowing and physics-based sound properties, I guess that's
>>objective. But the issue for most of us is choosing a clarinet we like
>>all-around, and those objective properties don't hold much force
>>personal conviction, whether or not the conviction is justfiable.

>>>Now, if the instruments have precisely the same blowing/sound
>>>characteristics, the same player with the same setup will not be able
>>>distinguish between them (in any statistically useful way). This has
>>>demonstrated in experiment.
>>This makes sense. However, we are not worried about statistical
>>difference when we're trying to pick an instrument that we're going to
>>playing regularly for a long time. Then, personal preference, within
>>reason, is what's really going to matter.
>>>On the other hand, people may certainly convince themselves that
>>>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.).
>>I think there's been somewhat of a misunderstanding here. The primary
>>discussion, as I recall it, related to objective properties of
>>materials, but that was spawned by a question about preferences of
>>materials. I have nothing to say on the subject of construction
>>affecting objective sound, and think that a lot of useful information
>>been provided to the list already. But when I say an instrument "feels
>>different" to a person, I am talking about someone's opinion of how
>>like an instrument, not the properties of the instrument itself. I am
>>concerned with a whole bunch of clarinets that all sound and feel the
>>same (objectively or subjectively) because it seems based on people's
>>expereiences that this doesn't occur very often. I am only discussing a
>>person's perception of an instrument, not aesthetics, not physics, not
>>blind experiments, and _not_ objectivity, and I am discussing that
>>because I choose to believe this is the most important question in
>>picking a new clarinet: Do you like it, and does it suit you?
>>Does that work?

>You're just repeating what I have already said. Note, above where I
>"certainly, people are entitled to have aesthetic preferences".
I wasn't talking about aesthetics. I said that. I am actually stating
that I disagree with you when you say "The way an instrument feels to a fundamentally objective." I don't use "feels to a person" in
an objective sense, which is what I was trying to communicate. That seems
like a small point in the larger discussion, and it is, but that wasn't
the point of what I was saying, either. The truth is we are simply
meaning and thinking different things when we say the same words.

>This, of course, has nothing to do with the discussion at hand which WAS
>about objective differences in instrument playing and sound quality.
Ah ha, now it's your turn to repeat what I said, "The primary discussion,
as I recall it, related to objective properties of different

But I think you missed my point entirely, or if you didn't, you give no
indication. I meant to make the simple point that when one person is
choosing a clarinet which he/she is planning to own and play regularly
for a long time, objectivity is just not the salient point. The point is
whether you like it, for all its qualities. Now, if you want to publish
scienftific studies or make generalizations, that's another question
altogether. Now can we please get off this subject?


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