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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000144.txt from 1999/04

From: Roger Garrett <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Wood/plastic, etc...
Date: Sat, 3 Apr 1999 15:40:36 -0500

On Sat, 3 Apr 1999, Dan Leeson: wrote:
> Ed Lacy is quite right to argue against "how things feel" by saying
> that this subject is not religion, it's science. For anyone to say
> that something is true because he or she hears it to be true is
> not someone who can offer reliable testimoney on this subject. It
> is the height of non-objectivity to presume that the way one hears
> something is an insight into technical truth.

What the studies and the experiments and the articles and the information
available to the public does not show is:

1. proof one way or the other if the material affects the
perceived resistance a person experiences when blowing through an

2. proof one way or another if the material affects a perceived
response of the instrument by the person blowing through the instrument.

Both of these issues may impact a perceived sound differences in many
cases. The problem of course is that every person physically reacts
different to what they perceive is happening when they play the instrument
- and that variable is not measureable - regardless of how many double
blind tests are done or what tool measures the vibrations or lack of such
by a given material. Perhaps what we know is that, without a person
playing, materials make no difference. But what we seem to be arguing
about every two years is if a person perceives a difference as
demonstrated by numbers one and two above and they subtly alter their
playing to account for what they feel - which ultimately affects the
sound/timbre. Or perhaps they simply intpret what they feel in terms of
response and resistance as a sound issue rather than a response/resistance
issue. I couldn't say. But, while it may be technically correct to
say the materials make no difference, it is inaccurate to say that they
don't make a difference in the way a person playing the instrument
perceives either the sound or the resistance/response of the instrument.
And my friends, because it is the performer's perceptions of his or her
own playing that actually makes the difference in the performance (and
ultimately the tone itself), I submit then that materials can make a
difference in the performance - including the sound.

I feel better now.
Roger Garrett
Professor of Clarinet
Director - Concert Band, Symphonic Winds & Titan Band
Advisor - Recording Studio
Illinois Wesleyan University

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