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#226 2011-02-03 00:28:26

Toby
Shakuhachi Scientist
From: out somewhere circling the sun
Registered: 2008-03-15
Posts: 405

Re: Do materials used affect sound?

Musgo da Pedra wrote:

Toby wrote:

Musgo da Pedra wrote:

One thing that always make me curious is to play a shakuhachi made under ALL these knowledge... they should sound incredible. Anyway I know one of the top makers in Japan today that do not use some of them, like rounding edges (in jiari) inside the holes and they flutes sound really loud, in tune and easy to play...

Every bore design is a compromise. A strong low end leads to a more difficult and diffuse sounding top end (generally). A smoother bore may be more free-blowing and brighter, but may lack a certain character or sound that is desirable. What all my sensei told me in flutemaking was to strive for balance. There is an enormous amount of empirical knowledge in the bore design of good shakuhachi, put there by many dedicated craftsmen painstakingly trying different things and keeping what worked best. For all the scientific understanding of the acoustic laws, it is next to impossible to design a good bore by numbers because of the enormous complexity of what happens inside the bore, and the fact that everything is interactive. Science can be a good guide for a rough approximation, and can indicate how and where problems can be tackled, but a good flute is the product of the enormous intuitive understanding of a skilled and experienced craftsman.

But since there are so many interactive factors, it is impossible really even for a craftsman to maximize everything. So you may have a flute with sharp edges that still sounds loud because other factors affecting loudness are optimized, just as you may have a flute with rounded toneholes that is stuffy and dull because the rounding cannot make up for poor design in other areas. BTW there is a formula for determining how much the edges need to be rounded before excessive turbulence robs the flute of maximum dynamic development--the radius of the edge should be more than 0.1*sqrt(250/frequency of lowest note of the instrument) millimeters in order to eliminate the worst effects of turbulence....just in case you were wondering...

Hey Toby!

This is one of the most beautiful post I saw from you...here you show that you also use a tool that most of us use in daily life, keeping the cience a bit to the side: intuition. And also nice to hear from you that:

Toby wrote:

For all the scientific understanding of the acoustic laws, it is next to impossible to design a good bore by numbers because of the enormous complexity of what happens inside the bore, and the fact that everything is interactive. Science can be a good guide for a rough approximation, and can indicate how and where problems can be tackled, but a good flute is the product of the enormous intuitive understanding of a skilled and experienced craftsman.

About the formula, thanks for it, but I don't know how to measure it in the holes for example... how you do that?

A big hug man!

As I said, the debate sometimes becomes a bit polarized. As you can see I'm not a robot prototype as Moran suspects, I am an advanced model smile

Let's take a 1.8. Lowest note is D4, ~294 Hz. Plug that in and get 0.1*sqrt(250/294) = 0.1*sqrt(.85) = .092 mm. So the rounding should be about the same as what you would see in a thin cylinder of a diameter (twice the radius) of .184 mm. Normal spaghetti is about 1.5 mm so you can see that you don't need much rounding. Benade says that gets rid of the worst of the turbulence, so double it for good measure and it's still not much.

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#227 2011-02-03 00:42:47

Toby
Shakuhachi Scientist
From: out somewhere circling the sun
Registered: 2008-03-15
Posts: 405

Re: Do materials used affect sound?

Moran from Planet X wrote:

Toby wrote:

Was Coltman then blocking their perceptive mechanisms with some kind of malevolent ESP?

Possibly ...


http://skashliwal.files.wordpress.com/2 … sho011.jpg

When I was at the Rajneesh ashram in India, I got to wondering about the rush of energy that always accompanied any appearance by "The Master". Having a degree in theatre arts, I am well aware of the power of good stage management. But this is a hard proposition to test: how to separate the man's presence from the mass reaction to his presence and how that influences the feelings of individual members of the group? Hitler's appearances during the Third Reich come to mind. Great stagecraft.

Once I was in a silent Satsang in the presence of the Old Man. We were all sitting with our eyes closed in meditation. I was director of music at the time and had to sit high at the opposite end of the hall from the stage, so that I had a sight line to the musicians over the dancers in order to direct them after the meditation was over. As I sat with eyes closed, drifting between thought and no thought, I suddenly felt a bolt of energy pierce my forehead at the sixth chakra, like a golden arrow. It threw my head back and as I opened my eyes I saw Rajneesh staring straight at me.

Hmmmm....

Last edited by Toby (2011-02-03 00:52:55)

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#228 2011-02-03 00:46:39

Toby
Shakuhachi Scientist
From: out somewhere circling the sun
Registered: 2008-03-15
Posts: 405

Re: Do materials used affect sound?

oceanica wrote:

Toby, I am sorry that there are those who resort to name calling and personal attacks -- thought the Rajneesh thing explains a lot LOL....
I do respect your opinion, just happen to disagree.  I think we do agree on the following:
The physical characteristics of WIDELY VARYING MATERIALS do affect sound due to they way they can be processed, their surface porosity, and perhaps the internal structure of said materials ( the air leaking through the pine used by Terry McGee comes to mind ), possibly the thermal conductivity of said material.
We are in disagreement as to whether materials affect sound by vibration or resonance of the body of the instrument can affect the resonating column of air enough to affect the sound.  I think the jury is still out on this.
Short answer, widely varying materials will affect sound by the aforementioned mechanisms.
Case closed.  Thanks for stepping into this conversation,  Mark

I respect that. I agree. I believe that the case for vibration is pretty well closed, at least for effects on the level that most people believe, but the case can never really be closed completely on any point in the phenomenal world.

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#229 2011-02-03 00:53:47

Jim Thompson
Moderator
From: Santa Monica, California
Registered: 2007-11-28
Posts: 421

Re: Do materials used affect sound?

Toby wrote:

I am in total agreement that the material affects the sound.
Debates such as these are unfortunate in that the difficulty of subtle communication tends to create a false or exaggerated polarization.

I agree.   It seems that many debates  to wind up being about semantics as much as anything. Your fingernail clippings have forgotten more science than I will ever know so I appreciate your willingness to persue to the end with someone not on your scientific level. I think we reached our state of harmony in the nick of time. We're getting mooned.


" Who do you trust , me or your own eyes?" - Groucho Marx

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#230 2011-02-03 04:04:30

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
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Re: Do materials used affect sound?

http://www.chemistryland.com/CHM107Lab/Lab7/Slime/SlimeDroolGreen.jpg


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#231 2011-02-03 04:26:30

Toby
Shakuhachi Scientist
From: out somewhere circling the sun
Registered: 2008-03-15
Posts: 405

Re: Do materials used affect sound?

If you make a flute out of that it will definitely sound different from one in bamboo.

Moran, are we two in a state of harmony yet?

Last edited by Toby (2011-02-03 04:27:59)

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#232 2011-02-03 07:56:57

Toby
Shakuhachi Scientist
From: out somewhere circling the sun
Registered: 2008-03-15
Posts: 405

Re: Do materials used affect sound?

Colyn Petersen wrote:

Toby wrote:

Note added: Colyn, when you talk about sealing the bore, are we talking about a thick, smooth and even coat of urushi, like in a jiari, or is it more like a thin coat that leaves the surface characteristics of the wood somewhat exposed? If the latter, it could well explain the consistent differences you experience. I have had wooden flutes in cocuswood, grenadilla and English boxwood, and the latter had a much different inner surface than the hardwoods.

It is a pore filling button shellac which does leave some of the characteristics of the wood behind but smooths them over with a nice gloss. I fill the bores and let them soak for about 5 minutes with a super thin mixture. Then I sand and come in with a brush and add 3 to 5 coats of the thicker stuff smoothing each out in between. I have previously mentioned this texture and questioned the need to remove it. My Suikyio 1.8 jiari has a slightly chunky textured inner bore as does Sensei's main 1.8. I suspect that in part this is why I like them both so much. This is also why I am ok with the secondary attribute theory for the moment. The grain and how each bore mills differently even with the same kind of wood does not explain the consistency though. There was an interesting related entry in the 30 year old notebook that Peter Ross passed down to me along with his tooling. it said "Material does not matter, but density does." He also told me that his maple flutes sounded like maple, the cocobolo like cocobolo and the grenadilla like grenadilla. Observations not just from himself, but also those who had sampled several of each. Perhaps they just wanted there to be a difference, perhaps they didn't. Do people always follow their preconceived biases?

Just one last post before the moon waxes full. Colyn deserves a response.

First, the most amazing flute, simply for "solidity" of sound and ease of response, that I every played was John Neptune's 1.8. That flute sang, and when I looked down the bore, I was amazed to see that it looked like a cobblestone road. John has done I guess hundreds of small touchups to the bore, and he hasn't worried about making it smooth (at least on a grosser level). Of course the urushi is smooth on a microscopic level, and that may be a more important scale for boundary effects. Still, surprising to see something that rough looking produced a sound so smooth. Appearances, as they say, can be deceiving.

What springs to my mind is indeed the microscopic level, in regard to the consistent sonic differences you find in different woods. A second explanation would be the infamous expectation effect. It would be fairly easy to test for this, as Coltman did: mount some flutes in a way that they don't have to be touched, seal different toneholes to sound different notes, play them in the dark and see if you can find the same one again after the order has been mixed up.

Several years ago I was in a long debate with Jim Schmidt, who is an amazing technician (and player) who has totally redesigned the saxophone and flute. This man used to hand-build racing engines and has an absolute command of all aspects of metalworking. His instruments are of the highest craftsmanship. He was claiming positively that the weighting the flute at certain points very noticeably changed the sound. He was absolutely convinced of it. I described double-blind testing to him, and he set up an experiment in which the flutes were suspended so that he couldn't feel the weight, and with the help of an assistant he did some trials. He came back to say that now he could still tell the difference at least some of the time. After I saw a description of the experiment on his website, I pointed out to him that even though the flute was suspended, he still had to pull it to his mouth, and so the weight clues were still there. He said he would clamp the flutes rigidly and try again, and get back to me with the results. He never did, and I can only surmise--given the passion of the debate up to that point--that perhaps things were not so clear anymore.

We are constantly bombarded with false information from people who should be authorities. Here is some copy from the website of Miyazawa flutes, a very respected maker. Most other flute and sax manufacturers are not much better:

****************************************

Available in classic and precious metals, Miyazawa offers you many variations in sound and response.

Nickel Silver
We pair our exquisite nickel silver flute with a sterling silver lip plate and riser (PA-102 model) or a solid sterling silver headjoint (PA-202 model)  to create an instrument with a responsive sound and impressive projection. Acousticians have determined that flutes with a significant copper content, such as a number of the old Louis Lots, possess a very colorful and flexible palette.

PCM-Silver Alloy
Available exclusively from Miyazawa and available on our Atelier III alto flute model. Our blend primarily consists of silver and copper, along with other precious metals, resulting in a remarkable instrument that offers a brilliant sound, quick articulation and outstanding projection.

Sterling Silver
Sterling silver is the classic metal used in flutemaking and offers a colorful, deep timbre and a wide tonal range. Available in two tubing thicknesses: standard tubing (.015") offers a flexible and resonant sound while heavy-wall tubing (.018") provides a darker sound. Our PA-402 and Classic models are made with sterling silver tubing, while our Boston Classic is available in sterling silver as well as other precious metal choices.

958 Silver
958 Silver is a unique silver alloy that consists of 95.8% pure silver. The increased density from sterling silver results in a darker sound with a remarkable array of tonal colors. Miyazawa 958 silver deepens the resonance in the sound without increasing the thickness of the wall. Available in two tubing thicknesses: standard tubing (.015") offers a flexible and resonant sound while heavy-wall tubing (.018") provides an even darker sound. 958 Silver is available on BR-602, Vision and Elite model flutes.

Gold-Silver (GS) Alloy
An innovative composition made of 10 percent gold and 90 percent silver. Highly tarnish resistant, GS alloy combines the brilliance of silver with the textural warmth of gold resulting in a radiant, refined sound. Available on our Boston Classic Series.

9 Karat Gold
9k gold is the ideal combination of the desired tonal qualities of both silver and gold. With abundant harmonics and structure, 9k gold provides a stable sonic foundation and a secure feeling when played. Available on our Boston Classic Series and headjoint options.

14 Karat Gold
14k rose gold has a density greater than all of the metals described above. Rich overtones, a wondrous dynamic range, endless tonal variety peerless qualities that put it in a class by itself. 14k gold is available on our Boston Classic Series as well as in headjoint choices.

18 Karat Gold
18k gold takes the beautiful sonic qualities of 14k gold a step further.  Known for a dark and lush sound, the tonal spectrum of 18k is captivating. Available on our Boston Classic Series as well as in headjoint choices.

24 Karat Gold
Our 24k gold has a trace of titanium for added strength. Velvety richness characterizes its extravagant sound. Nothing else matches the variety of tonal colors and elegance of 24k gold. Available on our Boston Classic Series as well as in headjoint choices.

Platinum
A pure element and extremely dense material, platinum embodies a dark, liquid sound with pristine clarity. With a solid fundamental core, platinum has an intense, penetrating quality and is the ultimate in power and depth. Solid Platinum is available on our Boston Classic Series, as platinum plating on other models and as platinum risers in headjoint.

*********************
We get that kind of input from every side, and then some idiot comes along and says, "Hey! That's all crap! And here is the research to prove it!" In earlier times it would have been clubs and pitchforks, or tar and feathers.

One needs often to ask the question "cui bono"? It is interesting to note that the purchaser of a 14K gold flute pays a premium of about $6K over the same model in silver, after the costs of material and labor.

With woods, of course this doesn't apply, and there are differences in the material. But perceptual biases are a fact of life, whether we like it or not, and to be aware of the fact is, I believe, a positive thing. Here is a list of different types of perceptual biases:

http://blisstree.com/feel/26-reasons-wh … _migration

In terms of Peter Ross, we really don't know if he ever tried any blind tests, or did any measurements, so it is difficult to know what was happening. We do know that cocobolo looks, feels and smells like cocobolo, and grenadilla looks, feels and smells like grenadilla. Just how that mixes in synesthetically with how the sound is experienced is hard to know. It is very tempting to jump to conclusions based on his experience and expertise, but it would only be a guess. Correctly conducted blind tests are the only real way to know if people really can perceive a difference when all other relevant clues are removed except the pure sound.

Last edited by Toby (2011-02-03 22:36:18)

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#233 2011-02-03 10:42:46

Colyn Petersen
Member
From: Omaha, NE
Registered: 2009-11-20
Posts: 46
Website

Re: Do materials used affect sound?

Thanks for your considerate reply Toby. I appreciate the energy you have put into the discussion.


Though images may appear on the surface of a mirror with clarity, they are neither in the mirror, nor sticking to its surface.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

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#234 2011-02-03 12:48:37

radi0gnome
Member
From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
Website

Re: Do materials used affect sound?

Toby wrote:

Excuse me, but that is exactly what Coltman said in the letter. He didn't say it in the study.

No, he didn't say exactly that in the letter. You toned it down and made it sound nicer.

Toby wrote:

Let's look at your objection a bit more closely. Players felt they could identify instruments by sound (at least nearly all could). In a blind situation, players found that they could not identify the instruments by sound. Are we in agreement with those two statements?

Not entirely. It's the "players felt" part that bothers me. I posted some examples of 6 very different instruments in the middle of a tone, and it's obvious to me that even though they have a somewhat different sound it would be difficult to identify at least some of the instruments. I'd think that the test subjects would most likely have come to the same conclusion. I wouldn't be surprised if the test subjects just went along with the experiment and guessed after they realized the difficult task in front of them. But if I'm to believe Dr. Coltman's letter, that he wrote in defense to what you say was a scathing attack, these high level musicians were "baffled" that they could not perform the task.

Toby wrote:

Coltman's subjects would not have expressed bafflement at finding themselves unable to tell the flutes apart if they did not fully expect to be able to do so, right?

Why didn't Dr. Coltman include his objective measurement of bafflement in the scientific paper? I had no idea they were baffled and had such a confidence in their choices from what I read in the scientific paper. 

Toby wrote:

Why do you mention that WW is not a peer-reviewed scientific journal?

Because you keep suggesting that the preconceived notions explanation of the results is scientific and was shown in Coltman's experiment. When Oceanica pulled up some non-scientific publications you suggested, and correctly so, that you have to be a bit skeptical about them because they are not peer reviewed. So, I'm questioning Dr. Coltman's objectivity in the statements he made in this particular non-scientific publication.

Toby wrote:

Again, I must stress that "preconceived notions" was never mentioned in the paper.

I know, that's what I keep stressing too. 

Toby wrote:

You say:

"And, I'm sorry, the plain facts only shows that the test subjects could not pick the flute they chose the first time, the plain facts do not show what the test subjects mental processes were."

How else would you explain why a person who perceived and could describe clear differences between instruments in the light, suddenly could not do so in the dark, and actually scored slightly lower than chance in their judgements?

Where in the scientific paper does he say they could describe clear differences? Oh, that's right... Dr.Coltman saved that tidbit for the letter to Woodwind World.


Toby wrote:

He was not trying to prove prejudice, although it appears that he did show that to be present. In all honesty, I cannot fathom why you find this a problem.

I find it a problem because his scientific paper did not show the reason to be prejudice and preconceived notions. He added that tidbit as an emotionally charged defense in a letter to an author in a non-scientific publication who criticized his work.

I do not trust Dr. Coltman's honesty outside of the scientific paper. There are a few possibilities about what went on. One is that Dr. Coltman is exaggerating, if not lying, about the musicians bafflement in his letter to Woodwind World. Another is that the musicians were not credible and lying about there own perceptions.

Of course there is a chance everything was on the up and up and the musicians did seriously think they could identify the head-joint they initially picked. In my informal experiment, I personally can not hear the enough of a difference in the tone of entirely different instruments enough that I'd be able to confidently say that I could tell which was which. This is one reason why I find it unbelievable that any musician would seriously think that he could find a head-joint again even if he did actually hear some difference. Maybe they'd look at it as a challenge, but then they wouldn't have been "baffled" at the results.
         
Toby, in my experiment, my Taimu sounds almost indistinguishable from the (plastic, but does that matter?) baroque flute. However, in real life, I think they sound totally different. So, am  I one of those who just can't drop my preconceived notions that two different instruments sound different? If I didn't already know about what happens when you take off the beginning and ending of a note, I'd be baffled by it. Even as it is, I am kind of surprised.

In case anyone missed it, here's my experiment again:

radi0gnome wrote:

OK. Here's a little informal experiment of my own inspired by Toby's mention of the experiments where instruments sounded almost the same when you took off the beginning and end of the notes. I had heard this done before, back when you had to cut up tapes to accomplish it, but with different band instruments. It's real easy to do yourself with audacity.

There are 6 instruments playing an "A", each about 2 seconds. The instruments are:

1) a big Taimu (I had to go up into kan)
2) a Turkish ney
3) a quena
4) a baroque flute
5) a hocchiku (about 2.5 or so, I had to go into kan with this one two)
6) a 1.8 Jiari

... but not that order. Figuring out the order I'll leave as an exercise to the reader. If anyone really wants to know the order, I'll just wait a day or so and post it.

http://www.4shared.com/audio/QNI8QTst/d guess.html

Many of the "material matters" proponents here on the forum got their notions based on observation. Considering that the very physically dissimilar instruments in my informal experiment sound very close to the same when you take away the beginning and end of the tone, this difference that they are hearing may be more how an instrument responds to playing rather than the actual tone produced.

Let's see what Colyn's experiment with two flutes made to his specs but with different woods shows. My bets are leaning towards that our testers will be able to demonstrate objectivity and say "little to no difference" if there is none.   

Of course, Toby, you think otherwise because Dr. Coltman proved that "The plain facts are that his judgment is influenced by preconceived notions and mental associations of tone quality with other properties of the material".


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#235 2011-02-03 15:46:51

radi0gnome
Member
From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
Website

Re: Do materials used affect sound?

radi0gnome wrote:

OK. Here's a little informal experiment of my own inspired by Toby's mention of the experiments where instruments sounded almost the same when you took off the beginning and end of the notes. I had heard this done before, back when you had to cut up tapes to accomplish it, but with different band instruments. It's real easy to do yourself with audacity.

There are 6 instruments playing an "A", each about 2 seconds. The instruments are:

1) a big Taimu (I had to go up into kan)
2) a Turkish ney
3) a quena
4) a baroque flute
5) a hocchiku (about 2.5 or so, I had to go into kan with this one two)
6) a 1.8 Jiari

... but not that order. Figuring out the order I'll leave as an exercise to the reader. If anyone really wants to know the order, I'll just wait a day or so and post it.

http://www.4shared.com/audio/QNI8QTst/d … guess.html

Since at least one individual expressed interest, I'm posting what each flute is.

1 - is the 1.8 Jiari
2 - the baroque flute
3 - is the Taimu
4 - is the hocchiku
5 - is the ney
6- is the quena

There was a question about the mic technique. I used my mp3 player (that has a built in recorder) and set it on my music stand.

The individual who responded only guessed at one of them saying that #2 was either the baroque flute or the 1.8 Jiari. Pretty good I think considering he never heard the flutes before.

For some more fun, now that everyone knows what each instrument sounds like, I mixed them up. Same instruments, different order: http://www.4shared.com/audio/kdjDCd6V/d … mixup.html


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#236 2011-02-03 19:03:10

Toby
Shakuhachi Scientist
From: out somewhere circling the sun
Registered: 2008-03-15
Posts: 405

Re: Do materials used affect sound?

Well, I must admit that I am baffled by your position, and I am not ashamed to admit to my bafflement. What on earth could an informal comment in a letter in Woodwind World have to do with the validity of Coltman's experiment? Why can't we leave that diversion aside and stick to the subject?

First, in case we are doubtful about Dr. Coltman's credentials as a scientist, here is a short bio:

"Dr. John W. Coltman, physicist and retired research executive of the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, has devoted much of his spare time to the study of the flute in its musical, historical and acoustical aspects. His research in musical acoustics has contributed significantly to what is known today about the behavior of the flute and organ pipes. In his professional career Dr. Coltman has received many honors for his invention and development of the x-ray image amplifier, now universally used in medical fluoroscopy. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, holds 22 patents and has published some 70 technical papers.

John W. Coltman received his bachelor's degree in physics at Case (now Case Western Reserve University) in 1937 and his Ph.D. in nuclear physics at the University of Illinois in 1941. Immediately afterward he joined the Research Laboratories of the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, engaging in wartime research in microwave magnetrons. Later he invented and developed the x-ray image amplifier. For this work he has received the Longstreth Medal of the Franklin Institute, the Roentgen Medal of the German Roentgen-museum in Remscheid, Germany, and the Gold Medal of the Radiological Society of America.

In 1949 he was named manager of the Electronics and Nuclear Physics Department, supervising work in nuclear physics, underwater sound, optical pickup tubes, semiconductors, and television. In 1960 he became Associate Director of the Research Laboratory, responsible for a group of departments including Electronics, Nuclear Physics, Mechanics, and Computer Science, and in 1974 Director of R&D Planning for the Research and Development Center. In this position he was responsible for the formulation of the entire research program on behalf of the corporation. He retired in 1980.

Coltman took up the study of the flute in early school years, playing in college and graduate school, and has continued as an active participant in amateur musical activities. While a student at Case his acquaintance with Prof. Dayton C. Miller sparked an interest in the acoustical and historical aspects of the instrument, and in the 1950's he began a collection of instruments of the flute family which now numbers about 200. A little later he started inquiries into the mechanisms of sound production of these instruments, establishing a small laboratory in his home to pursue this work as a hobby. Several of his papers on this subject have contributed significantly to what is known today about the acoustics of the flute and organ pipe. In addition to the above mentioned recognition, Coltman received the Order of Merit from Westinghouse, was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He has served on many committees of the U. S. Government and was a member of the Commission on Human Resources of the National Research Council. He is the author of some 70 technical publications and hold 22 patents."

Now, hopefully having established Coltman's scientific bonafides, let us move on to what he was trying to establish in his experiment. It was simple and consisted of two parts. First, could listeners discern the tonal difference between three different flutes when they couldn't see the flutes. The answer was a clear "no". The second part consisted of seeing if musicians could tell the difference between those three flutes if they couldn't see or feel the flutes. The answer again was a very clear "no". That's it. That's the whole experiment. Whatever Dr. Coltman felt about the flutists is immaterial. Save your personal feelings for Dr. Coltman's ethics for another thread. This is the sole point we are discussing here. Unless you want to posit that somehow Coltman biased the results of his experiment with his personal feelings, or that the experiement as described and published was flawed, then leave his later comments out of the discussion.

Just what point do you want to make with you test? It is a well-known and established fact that if you cut off the attack transient, it is almost impossible to tell a violin steady-state tone from that of an oboe, or even a flute. Much of the information we use in identifying an instrument comes in the first half-second or so, when the regime of oscillation is not yet established. This goes for both players and listeners. This has absolutely nothing to do with Coltman's experiment, in which both players and listeners we treated to full tones and even simple musical sequences, and players were free (in the second part of the player experiment) to play as long and how they liked. The simple fact is that players could not tell the flutes apart. End of story. Period.

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#237 2011-02-03 21:09:30

Karmajampa
Member
From: Aotearoa (NZ)
Registered: 2006-02-12
Posts: 574
Website

Re: Do materials used affect sound?

Okay, here is a simple test anyone can do. but you will require an assistant, preferably one who can blow a good note on the shakuhachi.

While one is blowing a note, bite into the flute somewhere, block your ears at the same time, then while the note is still being played, release your bite.
If sound is being transferred through the wood you should notice a difference in the sound you are hearing between 'bite on' and 'bite off'.

This is quite noticeable if you bite into the head of an acoustic guitar while it is played.

Also, if a transducer is attached to the outside of a shakuhachi, does it pick up sound ?

The vibrations I feel from the holes are from the vibrating air, not the bamboo......well, do the bite test.


Kia Kaha !

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#238 2011-02-03 22:42:42

Toby
Shakuhachi Scientist
From: out somewhere circling the sun
Registered: 2008-03-15
Posts: 405

Re: Do materials used affect sound?

There are vibrations in the body, no question. Backus did an experiment in which he took the sound radiated by a clarinet, inverted it and fed it back in a way that totally canceled that radiated sound. He was left with the sound of the clarinet body itself, and there was a sound indeed. That sound was, though, 10000x weaker than the radiated sound, and so would be totally masked by the radiated sound.

When  Beethoven was going deaf, he used to bite the piano in an effort to hear what he had written. I'm not in favor of leaving teeth marks on my shakuhachi, but I'd bet that you might well get some bone conduction to your inner ear with hard teeth tightly coupled to the hard body of the instrument. The significance of that in normal playing conditions is another matter entirely.

Last edited by Toby (2011-02-03 22:45:47)

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#239 2011-02-03 23:13:30

Karmajampa
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Re: Do materials used affect sound?

Operative word - 'significance'.

K.


Kia Kaha !

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#240 2011-02-04 05:08:48

Moran from Planet X
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Re: Do materials used affect sound?

Oh! Jeez, Fellas!

Eddie! Where's Eddie? Is he missing in distraction?

http://www.boston.com/ae/celebrity/more_names/blog/stooges.jpg

I coulda sworn I saw him last around page 5!


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#241 2011-02-04 07:21:43

radi0gnome
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Re: Do materials used affect sound?

Toby wrote:

Just what point do you want to make with you test?

I just thought it gave me a bit more of a handle on how fine of acoustic perception one would need to hear the difference between three identical head joints of different material. If it's moderately difficult with dissimilar instruments, I can imagine it is more difficult with similar instruments. And then to identify one of those tones again would be more difficult too. 

I can now more readily believe musicians actually hearing a difference, but not being able to find the instrument again. That would be an alternative explanation of some of the bafflement, that even if not measured and scientific, for me was the most problematic observation.   

Of course, the test subjects in the Coltman experiment had the advantage of hearing the beginning and end of the tone, but since these flutes were essentially identical head joints and not dissimilar instruments I doubt that advantage was large.       

Toby wrote:

It is a well-known and established fact that if you cut off the attack transient, it is almost impossible to tell a violin steady-state tone from that of an oboe, or even a flute. Much of the information we use in identifying an instrument comes in the first half-second or so, when the regime of oscillation is not yet established. This goes for both players and listeners. This has absolutely nothing to do with Coltman's experiment, ...

But it does put a perspective on the challenge Coltman's test subjects were up against. Particularly if it's the dimensions and not the material that shapes the beginning and end of tones.

Toby wrote:

The simple fact is that players could not tell the flutes apart. End of story. Period.

Leaving out Dr. Coltman's informal conclusion about the preconceived notions, I'm happy.

Last edited by radi0gnome (2011-02-04 07:54:59)


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#242 2011-02-04 12:40:28

Karmajampa
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Re: Do materials used affect sound?

Moran from Planet X wrote:

Oh! Jeez, Fellas!

Eddie! Where's Eddie? Is he missing in distraction?

http://www.boston.com/ae/celebrity/more … tooges.jpg

I coulda sworn I saw him last around page 5!

Ed, he turned off the lights to check out his Shakuhachi's, tripped over his dog and now can't find his way back to the lightswitch, but don't worry, he is resourceful and I'm sure he will show up in time, albeit he may have to reset .


Kia Kaha !

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#243 2011-02-04 13:15:29

Moran from Planet X
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Re: Do materials used affect sound?

Karmajampa wrote:

Moran from Planet X wrote:

Oh! Jeez, Fellas!

Eddie! Where's Eddie? Is he missing in distraction?

http://www.boston.com/ae/celebrity/more … tooges.jpg

I coulda sworn I saw him last around page 5!

Ed, he turned off the lights to check out his Shakuhachi's, tripped over his dog and now can't find his way back to the lightswitch, but don't worry, he is resourceful and I'm sure he will show up in time, albeit he may have to reset .

Tanks, Karma.

Youse a good pal in a break.


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#244 2011-02-04 13:25:36

Karmajampa
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Re: Do materials used affect sound?

Just heard he's back on his feet, but it's so cold in Utah, when he went to type in  his fingers got stuck to his keybboardddddddddddddddddddd


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#245 2011-02-04 17:20:44

Moran from Planet X
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Re: Do materials used affect sound?

Colyn Petersen wrote:

Thanks for your considerate reply Toby. I appreciate the energy you have put into the discussion.

What differences have you found between your shakuhachi with 10mm holes and 11mm holes?


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#246 2011-02-04 17:21:44

Moran from Planet X
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Re: Do materials used affect sound?

Karmajampa wrote:

Just heard he's back on his feet, but it's so cold in Utah, when he went to type in  his fingers got stuck to his keybboardddddddddddddddddddd

No excuse.

He just could have posted "dddddddddddddddddddddddd."

We'd all understand.


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#247 2011-02-04 17:23:53

Moran from Planet X
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Re: Do materials used affect sound?

Toby wrote:

Platinum
A pure element and extremely dense material, platinum embodies a dark, liquid sound with pristine clarity. With a solid fundamental core, platinum has an intense, penetrating quality and is the ultimate in power and depth. Solid Platinum is available on our Boston Classic Series, as platinum plating on other models and as platinum risers in headjoint.

How much are the platinum ones?

I want to send one to Brian so he can swab out his Kindo with it.


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#248 2011-02-04 18:19:18

Colyn Petersen
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Re: Do materials used affect sound?

Moran from Planet X wrote:

Colyn Petersen wrote:

Thanks for your considerate reply Toby. I appreciate the energy you have put into the discussion.

What differences have you found between your shakuhachi with 10mm holes and 11mm holes?

I think the flutes sound similar. Some claim that the larger holes allow for a richer sound as it breathes easier. For myself, I think it is a bit easier with meri notes and half holing. Though I have wide finger pads and could probably go to 13 mm holes without issue. I guess it all depends on your hands and your preference.


Though images may appear on the surface of a mirror with clarity, they are neither in the mirror, nor sticking to its surface.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

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#249 2011-02-04 18:27:54

Tairaku 太楽
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Re: Do materials used affect sound?

Colyn Petersen wrote:

Moran from Planet X wrote:

Colyn Petersen wrote:

Thanks for your considerate reply Toby. I appreciate the energy you have put into the discussion.

What differences have you found between your shakuhachi with 10mm holes and 11mm holes?

I think the flutes sound similar. Some claim that the larger holes allow for a richer sound as it breathes easier. For myself, I think it is a bit easier with meri notes and half holing. Though I have wide finger pads and could probably go to 13 mm holes without issue. I guess it all depends on your hands and your preference.

I have the one with 10mm holes and it's the only thing about the flute which is not good for me. I would go for as large as possible, due to ease of play and comfort. Although sometimes small holes generate a very sweet sound. Other times they're just weak. Depends on other factors.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#250 2011-02-04 18:45:11

Tairaku 太楽
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Re: Do materials used affect sound?

Moran from Planet X wrote:

Oh! Jeez, Fellas!

Eddie! Where's Eddie? Is he missing in distraction?



I coulda sworn I saw him last around page 5!

I think he's on his way to the post office with his jinashi Perry Yung 2.8. He's sending it to me in trade for my Perry Yung PVC 2.8, since material doesn't matter.

Problem is where he lives, to get to the nearest post office he must hitch up his dog to a sled, ride that 59 miles to the base of a mountain, climb to the top of the mountain, hitch himself up to a hang glider, soar 26 miles to a hidden crater lake, hop in a canoe he has stashed there, paddle to the mouth of a stream, navigate through the rapids, ford the canoe over a beaver dam and stick the jinashi in the beak of a trained bald eagle who flies to Salt Lake City and drops it on top of the Tabernacle. The folks there take it to the post office.

So I wouldn't expect to hear from him for a few days.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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