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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000325.txt from 1999/04

From: David Renaud <>
Subj: Re: [kl] re: Density of Wood
Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 22:54:09 -0400

>>>I would point folks to the following Scientific American article, mentioned on

> ths very mailing list in February, 1998, which states among other things that
> as long as wooden walls are thicker than 2 mm, they will not vibrate.
> Tim Roberts,<<<<<

Thank you for posting this interesting link.

Thoughts on quotes from the article:

>>>> The sound itself comes from the vibrating air column inside the instrument.
This sound is produced through the end or through open tone
holes, not by vibrations of the instrument's body,
as is true of string instruments.<<<<<

To clarify, I have not asserted that the vibration of the instrument
is producing a sound. I have been exploring the thought that
the vibration of the instrument may influence the vibration of the
air column, thus influencing the tone.

>>>Dozens of published reports, some
dating back 100 years, converge toward the same general conclusion:
so long as the walls are thick enough to remain
rigid--about 0.4 millimeter (0.016 inch) for metals, two millimeters )
for woods--and the inside walls are smooth, the
kind of material used for a wind instrument is, for the most part, immaterial.<<<

I do not see as you assert he say's "the wood does not
vibrate", he may very well know the wood vibrates, but is
of the educated opinion that "for the most part"(interesting
choice of words) it is immaterial.

"While those vibrations may not affect the sound significantly, they certainly
affect how
the instrumentalist interacts with the instrument," Holmes explains."

See, he does recognize that the wood vibrates, but is of the
educated opinion that it is not "significant"(Interesting choice of word)
I think this opinion about interation agrees with what Mr Garrett has been

As for the expression "for the most part"
I know a couple engineers with masters and PHD's that could
not tell the difference between even oboe or clarinet timbre by ear.
The little difference that one person says makes no difference
for the most part may make all the difference to the artist.
If we depend on machines to discern the difference, I am
skeptical of any machines ability to analyze timbre accurately.
I would never dream of using a $2000 machine even tune a piano,
let alone voice the tone.Timbre is subtle enough that some
artists still prefer analogue to digital recording, even at the
best possible resolution, because theses artists claim the machine
can't even record the timbre accurately enough for their satisfaction,
let alone analyze it.

> >If the vibration of the material makes no difference, then why does
> >grabing hold of the barrel while playing, restricting vibration, alter
> >the timbre slightly?

> >>>My first answer would be "because you want it to." Given a mechanical air
> source and mechanical pressure on the barrel, I'd wager good money that an
> unbiased observer would not be able to tell when pressure was applied to and
> released from the barrel.<<<<

This could be tested by devising a devise to attach to the barrel with
pressure,designed to restrict vibration, and have people play on there
own equipment blinded to if the device is presently on or off.

And thank you again Mr. Roberts for the link.
I am and will continue researching this.
Any other links are welcome,
and non ridiculing arguments appreciated.

Anyone have gasoline for my bon-fire.

Dave Renaud

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