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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000318.txt from 2004/10

From: Bill Hausmann <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Re: Selmer St. Louis
Date: Sun, 10 Oct 2004 10:48:10 -0400

At 02:32 AM 10/10/2004 -0400, Elgenubi wrote:
>Bill, apololgies! I want to comment on a term you used, but still say I
>understand your main point. If you say that you find Selmers and Buffets
>to sound
>different in your hands, of course I believe you. I respect your experience
>in music and the music business and always read your posts
>carefully. But, in
>talking about clarinet sounds you said, "I find that Selmers have more
>fundamental and Buffets more higher partials."
>I've heard many people use these words, when trying to describe something
>they hear in a clarinet sound. I think these terms are even less useful than
>'dark' and 'bright' and 'warm' . Whereas 'dark' and 'bright' have at least
>emotional weight, 'fundamental' and 'partial' have defined scientific
>meanings that
>makes this kind of usage worthless. The 'fundamental' of a tone is a simple
>sine wave, and anyone who's heard a sine wave generator would never describe
>any clarinet as sounding anything like it. Any clarinet sound has many, many
>higher partials, which vary much depending on all the characteristics we know
>about; register, volume, and one million other factors like brand of clarinet
>and personal concept of sound, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
>There might be some value in talking about amounts of even and odd partials
>in a clarinet sound. I won't try here; it's complex and probably not
>useful in
>the context of "what does the St. Louis Clarinet sound like?"
>Dan is pretty rigorous in challenging the use of subjective terms to describe
>clarinet sound. This is usually appropriate. I wish there were words we
>could use to communicate how we perceived a clarinet as sounding; but we
>found them yet on this list. I don't think 'fundamentals and higher
>do the job. (For anyone who has not read this list for very long, the
>discussion of 'dark' goes back to the very beginning.)

Admittedly, that is my way of trying to describe "dark" and "bright" by
defining the terms more carefully. Of course, NEITHER sound is ALL
fundamental or ALL upper overtones but different balances of those
components. To MY ears, "dark" describes the sound that is heavier on
fundamental, which to my ears is the Selmer sound. Buffets, while not
really "bright" might be described by their own term "sweet," again to MY
ears. Others will have an opinion 180 degrees apart from mine, which is
what makes the terms so UN-useful.

Bill Hausmann

If you have to mic a saxophone, the rest of the band is TOO LOUD!

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