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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000199.txt from 2010/11

From: Jennifer Jones <helen.jennifer@-----.com>
Subj: Re: [kl] Jennifer's question
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2010 19:16:48 -0500

On Sun, Nov 14, 2010 at 11:30 AM, Keith Bowen <keith.bowen@-----.com> wrote:
> I think it was Tony Pay who was right ... but whatever,

Well, I meant that you were right that it is silly to call a whole
band out of tune relative to a single player. That was not clear from
the message. It got stuck in there completely out of context.

> there was no
> intention to hurt you, Jennifer.

It is mostly that I am feeling sad now. I suppose there is a bit of
projection of my current mood on things I am reading.

Thank you.

Jennifer

> Keith
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jennifer Jones [mailto:helen.jennifer@-----.com]
> Sent: 14 November 2010 18:51
> To: The Klarinet Mailing List
> Subject: Re: [kl] Jennifer's question
>
> 'Spozed' hurts.
>
>
> I don't like that I wrote this:
>
>>> It is mind blowing to me (and well outside my narrow experience) that
> clarinets could be designed for specific centering pitches within 3Hz of =
one
> another. =A0With all the variations in temperature and humidity between
> performance venues, seasons and the huge number of variables in simply
> designing and machining the instrument, that sort of precision seems
> difficult.
>
> and this:
>
>> And therefore, the whole conversation is silly (instruments designed
>> to play 3 Hz off of one another?) =A0A fun thought to entertain for a
>> while. =A0:-)
>
> Especially this:
>
>> A fun thought to entertain for a while.
>
> It hurts to read them afterwards and the response hurts.
>
>> And what we wind up with is an instrument that the community in general
> accepts as being a reasonable tool for producing what we agree a clarinet=
is
> 'spozed' to sound like at the agreed pitch.
>
> Keith Bowen is right.
>
> -Jennifer
>
>
>
> On Sun, Nov 14, 2010 at 9:41 AM, Tony Pay <tony.p@-----.org> wrote:
>> (I've changed the subject of this thread so that it isn't mixed up with
> stuff about "what equal temperament 'means'":-(
>>
>> On 13 Nov 2010, at 11:34, Jennifer Jones wrote:
>>
>>> It is mind blowing to me (and well outside my narrow experience) that
> clarinets could be designed for specific centering pitches within 3Hz of =
one
> another. =A0With all the variations in temperature and humidity between
> performance venues, seasons and the huge number of variables in simply
> designing and machining the instrument, that sort of precision seems
> difficult.
>>
>> I think it's instructive to consider why this might seem a puzzle. =A0The
> answer is bound up with how we understand the world of clarinet playing --
> indeed, how we understand the whole world of music making, and much else
> about human culture.
>>
>> The thing to see is that we are hardly ever at the real beginning of a
> substantial piece of of culture. =A0Everything is a development of, or a
> reaction to, what has gone before. =A0(Think of language.) =A0So, nobody =
that we
> know ever designed a clarinet from scratch, in isolation. =A0They proceed=
ed by
> modifying what was already available.
>>
>> What's more, they acted under the stimulus of players; even if their idea
> was new, it got modified by feedback from existing players pretty quickly.
>>
>> So, when we say a particular model of clarinet 'is designed to play at a
> particular pitch', we are making a statement about a large collection of
> objects that has come to be (or hopes to be) embedded in a constantly
> renewed population of players, makers and audiences. =A0(The players sort=
of
> evaporate off at one end, and get initiated at the other:-)
>
>
> This feels nice. =A0Especially "(The players sort of evaporate off at
> one end, and get initiated at the other:-)"
>
>
>> We are saying that any of these objects can be played, more or less at
> that pitch, by a group of people who have learned how to make them work
> according to an accepted canon of musical performance. =A0And we mean also
> that these people have learned how to make them work at that pitch in
> varying circumstances -- different reeds, different mouthpieces, different
> temperatures (the pitch of a clarinet is strongly affected by ambient
> temperature) -- and so on.
>>
>> So how the 'design' of a clarinet develops has a lot in common with
> evolution. =A0And what we wind up with is an instrument that the communit=
y in
> general accepts as being a reasonable tool for producing what we agree a
> clarinet is 'spozed' to sound like at the agreed pitch.
>>
>> Of course, a player develops in this way too, beginning with their
> decision to embark on the road of becoming a clarinet player, with the st=
udy
> and practice that that entails.
>>
>> Because people's mouths come in different shapes and sizes, sometimes
> different players end up with slightly different versions of a particular
> piece of kit. =A0But they all have to start SOMEWHERE in their journey to=
wards
> the canon -- and the pitch of the canon, A=3D440, A=3D442 or whatever -- =
so
> that's why we give them something that's spozed to play OK for them to wo=
rk
> on.
>>
>> Now, one thing that acoustics teaches us is how we can CHANGE the pitch =
of
> something that is spozed to play at a given pitch. =A0So if the standard =
of
> pitch changes, we know what to do to alter a clarinet 'at' A=3D440 so tha=
t it
> becomes a clarinet 'at' A=3D442 -- roughly, shrink it by a quite accurate=
ly
> determinable amount. =A0So that sort of calculation is what I imagine
> instrument makers perform.
>>
>>> I thought it interesting that the high clarinets website from the
> university of Edinburgh mentioned an Eb sopranino clarinet that has a
> particularly flat lower register.
>>>
>>> http://www.music.ed.ac.uk/euchmi/ugw/ugwf1e.html
>>> (1041) Clarinet in Eb, M=FCller type (possibly continental Europe, c 18=
50)
>>
>> As Lesley explains in her video, that's a thing that sometimes happens
> when the bore of an instrument warps over time. =A0The clarinet becomes '=
out
> of tune with itself'. =A0That can often be corrected by reaming out the b=
ore,
> which usually contracts. =A0(You can also tell how much it has contracted,
> because wood shrinks in a constant proportion with and against the grain,
> allowing you to reconstruct the dimensions of the circular cross-section
> that has become elliptical.)
>>
>>> With your experience playing period clarinets, (or modern clarinets for
> that matter), do you find that certain clarinets "sit" better at certain
> pitches, e.g., 440Hz or 442? =A0Does this vary with season, e.g., winter =
vs.
> summer?
>>
>> Yes; with experience, and when the instrument is well-in-tune with itsel=
f,
> I guess one can tell roughly what pitch it was spozed to go at, making so=
me
> (I would say) reasonable assumptions about the sort of sound it was spozed
> to make.
>>
>> Tony
>> --
>>
>> Tony Pay
>> 79 Southmoor Rd
>> Oxford OX2 6RE
>> tel/fax +44 1865 553339
>> mobile +44 7790 532980
>> tony.p@-----.org
>
>
>
>
>
> On Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 6:33 AM, Jennifer Jones
> <helen.jennifer@-----.com> wrote:
>> Has anyone?
>>
>> On Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 6:30 AM, Jennifer Jones
>> <helen.jennifer@-----.com> wrote:
>>> I simply ask whether anyone who has played lots of clarinets finds
>>> that some sit better with A centered at certain pitches (e.g. 439, 440
>>> or 442Hz).
>>>
>>> On Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 4:38 AM, Peter Gentry
>>> <peter.gentry@-----.uk> wrote:
>>>> I'm simply impressed that you can all recognise (hear) the difference
>>>> between 440 and 442. I doubt many audiences would.
>>>>
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: Jennifer Jones [mailto:helen.jennifer@-----.com]
>>>> Sent: Saturday, November 13, 2010 11:34 AM
>>>> To: The Klarinet Mailing List
>>>> Subject: Re: [kl] RES: Orchestral Pitch
>>>>
>>>> Tony,
>>>>
>>>> With your experience playing period clarinets, (or modern clarinets
>>>> for that matter), do you find that certain clarinets "sit" better at
>>>> certain pitches, e.g., 440Hz or 442? =A0Does this vary with season,
>>>> e.g., winter vs. summer? =A0I thought it interesting that the high
>>>> clarinets website from the university of Edinburgh mentioned an Eb
>>>> sopranino clarinet that has a particularly flat lower register.
>>> [snip footer and additional portions of message]
>>>
>>
>
> On Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 3:34 AM, Jennifer Jones
> <helen.jennifer@-----.com> wrote:
>> Tony,
>>
>> With your experience playing period clarinets, (or modern clarinets
>> for that matter), do you find that certain clarinets "sit" better at
>> certain pitches, e.g., 440Hz or 442? =A0Does this vary with season,
>> e.g., winter vs. summer? =A0I thought it interesting that the high
>> clarinets website from the university of Edinburgh mentioned an Eb
>> sopranino clarinet that has a particularly flat lower register.
>>
>> http://www.music.ed.ac.uk/euchmi/ugw/ugwf1e.html
>> (1041) Clarinet in Eb, M=FCller type (possibly continental Europe, c 185=
0)
>>
>> It is mind blowing to me (and well outside my narrow experience) that
>> clarinets could be designed for specific centering pitches within 3 Hz
>> of one another. =A0With all the variations in temperature and humidity
>> between performance venues, seasons and the huge number of variables
>> in simply designing and machining the instrument, that sort of
>> precision seems difficult.
>>
>> -Jennifer
>>
>>
>> On Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 5:27 PM, Tony Pay <tony.p@-----.org> wrote:
>>> On 13 Nov 2010, at 00:23, Tom Servinsky wrote:
>
> [snip]
>
>>> Outside the piano world, however, equal temperament has a precise
> scientific meaning that corresponds to the tuning on the electronic devic=
es
> professional musicians use, such as the Korg and other machines and the
> Cleartune iPhone app. =A0It refers to the division of the octave into 12 =
equal
> semitones produced by a frequency ratio between any two consecutive
> semitones of 2^(1/12). =A0This division is made irrespective of what the
> machine is tuned to: A=3D440Hz, A=3D442Hz, or whatever.
>>>
>>> Interestingly, the iPhone app is very sophisticated, offering a variety
> of temperaments other than equal temperament:
>
> [snip]
>>> It's worth adding that professional musicians, if they are wise, use su=
ch
> machines only to a very limited extent. =A0As Keith has indicated, we
> habitually adjust intonation on the fly, tempering intervals according to=
a
> system that might be called, 'locally just'. =A0The references I provided=
in
> my previous post, particularly the second one, engage in quite detailed
> discussion and argument about this.
>>>
>>> Tony
>>> --
>>> Tony Pay
>>> 79 Southmoor Rd
>>> Oxford OX2 6RE
>>> tel/fax +44 1865 553339
>>> mobile +44 7790 532980
>>> tony.p@-----.org
>
>
>
>
>
> On Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 9:44 AM, Keith Bowen <keith.bowen@-----.com> wrote:
>> Martin
>>
>> I would still maintain that it is very stupid! The reasons are as follow=
s.
>>
>> 1. The overall pitch normally does change slightly during a performance,
>> maybe as instruments warm up, maybe as the temperature of the hall or
>> outside changes. Strings go sharp as temperature rises, wind goes flat.
>> Maybe they average, maybe one 'side' wins. But in any event it is
>> imperceptible to the audience as long as all the players try to stay in
> tune
>> with each other. Rather than listen to the oboe, the better technique is
> to
>> listen to the bass instruments as they are the fundamental of the chord.
> If
>> the oboe or anyone is tuning with the needle of the meter and not with
> their
>> ears, THEY will be out of tune.
>>
>> 2. Tuners usually show equal temperament; thus the needle will anyway on=
ly
>> be right at A and its octaves. Orchestras don't play equal temperament.
>>
>> 3. More subtly, a pitch depends on its position in a chord. Here's an
>> example to show, with two players with good ears. First they play a
> perfect
>> fifth, C to G, and tune it so that it sounds good, ie beatless. Then the
>> second player changes from G to B and again makes it beatless (by the
> second
>> player tuning his note) - an in-tune major seventh. Then the first player
>> changes to a G, being careful to play the same pitch as the second player
>> originally did. The second player now retunes his B to sound well in tune
>> (beatless) with the G. He will have to lower the pitch quite audibly.
>>
>> The reason is that the tonality has changed; B is now the third of the
>> dominant chord rather than the seventh of the tonic, and the pitches at
>> which one gets beatless (in tune) chords have changed with the key. This
> is
>> of course another consequence of five octaves not equalling eight fifths.
>>
>> When we play with string or wind instruments we are doing this sort of
> thing
>> all the time. The oboe a'=3D440 might start off as the seventh of a work=
in
> B
>> major. If the work eventually modulates to Bb she is now playing the thi=
rd
>> of the dominant, and it will almost certainly be a different pitch.
>>
>> See Eskelin's book for more details.
>>
>> Keith
>>
>>
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Martin Baxter [mailto:martinbaxter1@-----.com]
>> Sent: 12 November 2010 16:21
>> To: The Klarinet Mailing List
>> Subject: Re: [kl] RES: Orchestral Pitch
>>
>>
>> On 12 Nov 2010, at 12:26, Keith Bowen wrote:
>>
>> Claiming the whole orchestra was flat is as stupid as the first oboe
>> pointing to their tuner and saying that everyone else is out of tune.
>> Keith
>> If the Orchestra's tuning note is taken from the oboe, and the oboist is
> in
>> tune with his tuner I would maintain that there is nothing stupid in the
>> oboist's contention.
>> Martin
> [snip footers]
>
> These hurt too:
>
>> __________ Information from ESET Smart Security, version of virus
> signature
>> database 5615 (20101112) __________
>>
>> The message was checked by ESET Smart Security.
>>
>> http://www.eset.com
>>
>>
>>
>> __________ Information from ESET Smart Security, version of virus
> signature
>> database 5615 (20101112) __________
>>
>> The message was checked by ESET Smart Security.
>>
>> http://www.eset.com
>
>
> On Wed, Nov 10, 2010 at 9:37 PM, Bill Hausmann <bhausmann1@-----.net>
> wrote:
>> But the increased projection is itself a myth. =A0The problem is that the
> ear is relatively insensitive to SHARPNESS, but VERY sensitive to FLATNES=
S.
>
> This is a strange phenomenon. =A0If one player is sharp, then the rest
> of the band is flat. =A0Is the flatness of the band relative to the
> sharp soloist disturbing? =A0Or does it go unnoticed, because of the
> sheer difference in number of players in the two camps. =A0The "flat"
> band is actually in tune because of the large number of players and
> the soloist's sharpness goes unnoticed. =A0Alternatively, the flat alto
> sax in the second row stands out like a sore thumb relative to the "in
> tune" band. =A0Nevermind the sharp soloist.
> - Hide quoted text -
>
>> Have you ever heard the expression, "I'd rather be sharp than out of
> tune?" =A0Some folks deliberately tune sharp, partly to avoid being flat,=
but
> mostly to achieve "more brilliance." =A0The sharpness DOES make the player
> stand out a bit, at least to himself, thus giving rise to the increased
> projection nonsense, without making him APPEAR to be out of tune. =A0All =
the
> other violins in the section, of course, eventually adjust their tuning to
> match, beginning a cycle of spiraling pitch. =A0String players are the mo=
st
> notorious in this regard, since they can crank their strings up to whatev=
er
> silly pitch they want. =A0Clarinet players struggle, bite, buy shorter
> barrels, etc. to try to keep up. =A0Having an international standard -- A=
NY
> international standard -- was a great thing, and we had one, A=3D440 Hz, =
for a
> long time. =A0But SOME people could not leave a good thing alone. =A0We a=
re
> headed back to the day when each TOWN has its own standard pitch.
>>
>> Bill Hausmann
>>
>> If you have to mic a saxophone, the rest of the band is TOO LOUD!
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