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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000284.txt from 1999/01

From: (Tony Pay)
Subj: Re: [kl] Inharmonic partials, was RE: [kl] re:Intonation training
Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 18:25:45 -0500

On Sat, 09 Jan 1999 09:14:25 +1100, said:

> please excuse my stupidity but what is "ARMONICITY"???? and how does
> one get it to be perfect?
> Vivace

It was a typo (or a creative pronunciation, perhaps:-) -- the word is
'harmonicity'. Harmonicity occurs when all the components of a sound
have frequencies that are whole number multiples of the frequency of the
lowest component. The components are then harmonic, and the upper ones
are called 'harmonics' of the lowest.

If you listen to any real instrument playing just one note, you usually
hear it as that note plus a timbre. However, if you listen more
carefully, you can distinguish other components.

Doing this is actually a good way of practising low notes on the
clarinet. Playing low F, you will find that you can hear the C a
twelfth above, and also the A a sixth above that. And all these
components, up to a certain frequency, are necessarily in tune; at any
rate according to one very common and useful definition of the term 'in
tune'. So on the clarinet perfect harmonicity of the lower components
is *almost always* achieved.

Having the harmonics 'ring' nicely, in a balanced way, though, is
another matter. Trying to achieve this balance by listening and
changing your address to the instrument (embouchure, tongue position) is
one way to progress towards a rich and resonant sound. If you have too
much of one particular (usually high) harmonic, the sound can seem to
have a harsh quality. And there are some very high pitched sounds that
aren't harmonic -- you probably get more of those if you have a bad
reed, though you can minimise that too by changing your address. (No,
*not* by moving house!)

The common musical sound that is most inharmonic is the sound of a bell.
You may find that it's quite difficult to hear some bells as one sound
at all -- the effect is more of a chord. And this makes it difficult to
play 'in tune' with it, in another sense of the term 'in tune' -- namely
that the sound of the note you play and the sound of the note it plays
'seem to be the same'.

This has been gone into in previous posts, by myself and several others
-- if you search on 'harmonicity' on the web page, you'll get some more.

_________ Tony Pay
|ony:-) 79 Southmoor Rd
| |ay Oxford OX2 6RE GMN family artist:
tel/fax 01865 553339

"Believing Truth is staring at the sun
Which but destroys the power that could perceive."

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