Klarinet Archive - Posting 000864.txt from 1999/01
From: TOM RIDENOUR <klarinet@-----.net>
Subj: Re: [kl] Subjective and Objective
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 11:14:13 -0500
>Yes, I do take your point. And you know, even though I want to add some
>things to the above, I want you to know that I am absolutely supportive
>of your commitment to improving instruments.
>You say, we as players should determine the character. But it does seem
>difficult to do that without a physical challenge actually present,
>either in the music or in the instrument.
I really don't agree with this at all. It is , to me, the difference
between the means (our efforts) and the effect (the results of our
efforts). So players struggle, for whatever reasons, to play, and guage
their success at how much effort they have exerted, as it is a calorie
burning work out.
Butthe audience should never be aware of your effort, only the effects of
Let me offer an analogy.
You are dancing with a partner. She has no idea what she is doing. You
turn this way, she lags behind, you go this way, you can feel she goes only
hesitatingly and so on. What do the people in the audience think? They do
not think about how terrifically your are doing, despite the fact that you
have an idiot for a partner. They are not the least interested inthat;
only the effect of expression, whatever that might be.
Now come out trying to dance with someone who follows your every move
instantly, almost anticipates them as see what sort of audience reaction
So perhaps, the clarinet as a dancing partner in a ballroom is a more apt
description than marriage, at least when it comes to the performance itself.
Does that make any sense?
Or, rather, it does seem true
>that characterful results usually arise from an instrumentalist
>overcoming difficulties inherent in a given situation.
Character of a phrase, color or shape, in my opinion, should always be
determined and purposed freely by the artist, not forced, de facto, by
instrument defects. This, to me, is the ideal.
>Now, I suspect that the irritating thing for you, or anyone involved in
>designing and improving instruments, would be the complacent assertion
>by another instrument maker that defects in their instrument that they
>could actually remove with a bit of effort were 'a part of its
>character'. And you should certainly fight against that.
That doesn't bother me personally, because I can correct most
stuff.........but such an assertion is arrogant, contrary to reason, and,
ultimately, bad business.
>But it's perfectly possible *as a player* to come at the situation from
>the other way around. Some players may indeed have "so much of their
>personal lives "invested" in learning [a particular instrument] that
>they [are] unwilling to consider anything else"; but others of us
>deliberately choose certain limitations -- like 5 key clarinets --
>because we find, after considerable effort, that we wind up with
>something different, interesting and expressively generative. And
>sometimes our audiences agree, too.
I agree, Tony. But I would be that it is interesting because of the
insight it gives us about the past and past sensibilities (all of which are
extra musical issues). But if the audience was asked they would probably
say they would not care for a steady diet of it.
Subjective differences aside, clarinets have really been improved at making
music, and if Mozart were here he would write for the modern clarinet.
>You can see that something rather like that might also occur when
>someone deliberately chose a modern instrument with a particular defect,
>because of its other qualities. Perhaps you would say that in this
>case, the choice had been made for the 'right' reasons, and not because
>of complacency or herd instinct.
Exactly. We don't buy the lable, we buy according to the features we need,
and we have learned to test to determine clearly whether a clarinet
possesses those features and in what degree. This, in short, is all I've
been saying and recommending here.
Sorry, gotta go.
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