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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000622.txt from 2004/10

From: "Keith" <>
Subj: [kl] RE: klarinet Digest 22 Oct 2004 08:14:59 -0000 Issue 5597
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2004 09:00:59 -0400


> Date: Thu, 21 Oct 2004 14:48:23 -0700
> To:
> From: (Ormondtoby Montoya)
> Subject: Re: [kl] RE: Some more thoughts on embouchures
> Message-ID: <>
> To Keith Bowen (and to any else who cares),
> Is there anything wrong with the word "valve", or with
> stating that the valve's speed and degree of closing/opening
> have an effect on the "shape over time" of each "puff of air"
> that enters during a single cycle?
> (which is what I meant by "shape of a puff", but I agree that
> the word "shape" by itself misleads also).

I am uneasy about two connotations of the word "valve". One is that it often
has the connotation of an "on/off" device, which is way far from a good
description (and is not what you are implying). But who knows what readers
assume! The other is that it implies that it is the shape of the airflow (in
your sense, which I now understand) that is directly causing the sound. The
shape (time-dependent pressure and flow variation to use jargon) is indeed
causing the reed vibration but it is the latter that is fundamental. If we
had, say, a magnetic reed, stimulated to vibrate by an electromagnet without
ANY airflow at all, it would still sound like a clarinet. IF, of course, it
vibrated in exactly the same way as the regular reed and was coupled to the
same oral cavities etc. Quite impractical, but I am trying to make the point
that airflow is not directly necessary, only necessary to set the reed in

> And if introductory paragraphs are going to discuss the
> mechanics that produce a sound, shouldn't there be some
> emphasis that the reed, the bore, the open holes, the shape
> of the player's oral cavity and lungs, etc encourage a
> "standing wave equilibrium" during the first few moments of a
> note's attack?

Quite so. But I was only commenting on one aspect. Though it is not a
"standing wave equilibrium" at all at this point but a set of rapidly
developing transients. Standing waves (and numerically simple harmonics) are
a steady state phenomenon.

> That is, attributing everything to the reed during an introductory
> paragraph is truly short-changing the reader.... isn't it?

Absolutely. But it isn't my book!

Keith Bowen

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