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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000214.txt from 1999/04

From: "Steven J Goldman, MD" <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Material vs. Belief?
Date: Sun, 4 Apr 1999 11:11:25 -0400

As I mentioned in regard to material, it most certainly may have an effect
on a players performance via the placebo effect, although I think the effect
would be subtle. The important thing is that the effect is secondary, and
very player specific. In my way of thinking, however, this fact does not
allow one to claim that these vibrations directly affect the sound one gets
from a specific instrument. Your more metaphysical view of the world would
allow this claim. So it all comes down to how we define causality. So, I can
certainly understand your point of view, even if I do not feel comfortable
with it (remember, I have a strong pro science bias and my world view is
heavily influenced by this).

As to the identical instruments sounding different, the key words are
"supposedly identical". The fact is that quality instruments are almost
never identical. Very slight differences in dimensions can have very
noticeable effects. And low end instruments, especially plastic, have even
greater variation (the manufacturers just don't spend the time to work on
them and the manufacturing process is not as reproducible as some would have
you believe). Therefore, I still claim that the difference are due to
physical variation between instruments.

Hope your Cornish Game Hens were uniformly delicious.

Glenview, IL

-----Original Message-----
From: Roger Garrett []
Subject: RE: [kl] Material vs. Belief?


Just a question - in what way do you think the vibration felt (through
touching the instrument while playing) might also affect performance of
that instrumenet in other ways?

More questions in general for everyone:

What causes each instrument to play differently - especially the plastics
- from each other. In other words - if two clarinets made from plastic
are produced and are identical, why do they sound different? Let's extend
that to wood......why are two supposedly identical wood clarinets, perhaps
only one serial number apart, so different in the way they sound? Or, are
they really?

Bill Brannen told me that the instruments are manufactured to specific
tolerances (backed up by Francois' discussion with me on the few
occassions I have visited him) - and then Brannen resets the
non-undercutting type tolerances - inclusive of tone holes, keywork, and
pads - to specific standards. Even after his work, he has stated - you
got a good one vs. you got an ok one. What would make one differ from the
other if they are supposedly identical in design and have been set to
tolerances by the same person? Further, when both are played - the
listener (not the player) cannot hear a difference between them - yet the
player can both feel and hear a difference. Hmmmmmm.........why is that?

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