Re: Re: Re: Dark v. bright

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Posted by Jay Bertolet on December 11, 1998 at 17:21:32:

In Reply to: Re: Re: Dark v. bright posted by Paul R. Ogushwitz on December 11, 1998 at 06:12:15:

It is a good point you make but we may be playing semantics. The reason I say that is that we are really talking about 2 different topics: relative darkness of sound & amount of projection. Your comments gave me cause to go back and carefully reread the posts you site. In retrospect, I think I may have used the wrong word. In describing Arnold Jacob's sound, I used "Big and Dark" where I probably should have put "Big and Enveloping". Even better may have been to describe the 2 sounds as "enveloping" vs. "cutting". It is acoustical fact (or so I am told) that the fundamental frequency of a pitch has more energy in the sound wave and thus carries more than an overtone. That is why putting more fundamental in your sound will make you project more. I think the real confusion starts when you talk about these projection capabilities in conjunction with the concepts of bright and dark sounds. The last sentence you site from my earlier post is the problem. I hear Jacob's sound as being darker than Deck's. But, I would describe Deck's sound as anything but bright, in fact very dark. This seeming contradiction got me thinking and made me wonder about how we describe sounds. It seems to me that you have to choose your words very carefully, it is very easy to blur the lines between the 2 distinctions. I think that both players have lots of fundamental in their sounds but that the overtone dispersals are very different. Also, I think they project their sounds very differently, more focused vs. more enveloping. I think that overtone dispersal affects the sound quality (bright vs. dark) while fundamental frequency content helps determine projection. But I also think that what type of projection you go for can affect the listener's perception of the relative darkness of your sound. But are overtone dispersal and fundamental content related? I think that Roger Bobo played with a relatively bright sound. But I'm pretty sure he was among the loudest tuba players I ever heard. So I think the distinction is possible, but complex and relative.

Sean's comment that you site at the beginning of your post is right on the money. If you cluster the harmonics of your sound in the lower frequencies, I'm pretty sure most people would describe that as a "darker" sound. It also has nothing to do with projection. My comments, from the post you sighted, are dealing primarily with projection and not sound qualities. It is a subtle difference, I admit, but they are different. Your conclusion that I imply that the more penetrating sound is less dark is simply an outgrowth of the 2 examples compared and my poor choice of words, not the point I was trying to get across. In my mind, as I have stated above, projection is not contingent upon a sound's darkness or brightness. The 2 aspects of a sound are independent of each other.

So, in reality, Sean and I are not saying opposite things. We are, in fact, talking about 2 different topics. Thanks for the well thought out and well presented question!

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