Klarinet Archive - Posting 000192.txt from 2005/08
From: Roger Shilcock <roger.shilcock@-----.uk>
Subj: Re: [kl] Ah, ligatures....Gold vs. Silver
Date: Fri, 12 Aug 2005 03:58:44 -0400
This "debate" reminds me of the legendary railway engineer who claimed that the
performance of any locomotive could be improved by 25% by painting the chimney
blue. If you have an unusual or spectacular ligature - or a non-mainstream
*anything* - naturally you want to believe, if you can, that there are
advantages to it. I have played clarinets with unplated German silver,
nickel-plated and silver-plated keys, and it seems clear that there are
differences here, mainly attributable to differences in friction. I don't see
how such factors
could be relevant to the performances of ligatures, and I suspect that any such
perceived differences are mainly or entirely psychological.
In message <184.108.40.206.0.20050811192426.0406ce48@-----.com>
> The mistake, in my mind, that is often made in this argument (we
> clarinetists are but a small portion of the many musicians constantly
> having out this argument) is to make it in terms of is there or isn't there
> an effect.
> The answer is clearly, yes, there is an effect. How could there not be?
> When a butterfly flaps its wings, there is an effect. Chaos theory
> notwithstanding, I don't think it will make my clarinet sound "better".
> Now the problem lies in whether this effect is noticeable and significant.
> I do not believe in the case of the plating of ligatures that the
> difference is either noticeable or significant. Furthermore, any
> differences which are noticeable and significant can quite possibly be due
> to some other variable(s) (the variance in mass production is enough to
> ruin any possibility of controlling for plating when trying two otherwise
> "identical" ligatures). Until someone shows me scientifically reproducible
> research which reasonably controls for everything except the plating of the
> ligature, I will remain a skeptic.
> I do not expect that anyone in the near or far future will spend the effort
> to do a truly scientific study. Besides, how would you measure the
> difference? Usually, people say one ligature "sounds better", or even more
> vaguely "feels better" (dare I suggest "adds character to the sound"?). "I
> hear a difference" is not scientific. "I feel a difference" is not
> scientific. They are both by definition subjective and for all intents and
> purposes impossible to consistently reproduce. By all means, play whatever
> works best for (the general) you, but to start making general statements of
> one material being superior to another seems rather silly to me.
> To those who might say "well, you can't say there is no noticeable effect
> if the research has not be done" I would respond that lack of evidence to
> the contrary does not unto itself constitute proof of a theory. Thus, I
> remain merely a skeptic. And, yes, there will always be the problem of "if
> there is an effect and no one can measure it, is there really an effect?",
> but I'll leave that one to the philosophers.
> Who thinks the tree *always* makes a sound.
> At 07:17 PM 8/11/2005, Geoff & Sherryl-Lee Secomb wrote:
> >Dear Dan,
> >Have you tried them objectively, or as objectively as you can?
> >Some time ago, I acquired a trial/comparison box of BG ligatures to try
> >them all out. I normally play either a Harrison or Vandoren Masters
> >(black.) I am as wary of these claims as anyone, but there was a
> >noticeable difference in feel and response between the 'leather' ligatures
> >in gold and silver, and between the 'Tradition' model in gold and silver.
> >My favourite was the Tradition gold, which was a pity, because I didn't
> >really want to spend that much on a ligature!
> >We must also remember that the ligature has a great effect on what it
> >allows the reed to do, especially when considering how much of a damping
> >effect it has on the vibrations. So is it unreasonable to expect that
> >different materials, including different metals and thicknesses of metals,
> >*will* create a very real and discernable difference in the output of the
> >mouthpiece and reed.
> >If we're prepared to admit that changing mouthpiece material does have an
> >impact, then why not the ligature, which is also in direct contact with
> >the vibrating piece of cane?
> >Geoff Secomb.
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---- Erich Kaestner
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