Re: Re: Re: Dark v. bright

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Posted by Paul R. Ogushwitz on December 11, 1998 at 18:23:30:

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

Now that both Sean Chisham and Jay Bertolet have weighed in, I have a little something to say. It seems to me that we can best deal with Brian's question by distinguishing between the qualitative and the quantitative.

On the qualitative side (i.e., the music), I would venture that most experienced players are able to tell "dark" from "bright". And many of us understand that the primary factor controlling "dark" and "bright" is the equipment (instrument plus mouthpiece); the player has limited control over it.

On the quantitative side (i.e., the physics), I would venture that very few of us have the technical training to appreciate the physical meaning of terms like "dark" and "bright". Nor do many of us have access to acoustical apparatus that would permit us to measure, quantify and evaluate our own instruments in terms of these factors. Sean's "explanation" of the spectral content of dark tones is exactly opposite from Jay's ... so what? Regardless of what anyone says here -- right or wrong -- about the acoustics, not many of us know how to use the information.

In "Dark v. bright", Brian has asked a very thoughtful question. Although he begins by attempting a quantitative explanation, the bulk of his question deals with the qualitative aspect. Brian seems to be seeking a qualitative answer. Can we give him one? First, though, we must drop all the red herrings (like tone rings, and whether the terms "dark" and "bright" are visual or aural or gustative, and whether we should first discuss "darkness" or "projection"). So much of what is said on this board (and elsewhere) amounts to "talking past each other". We will always be talking past each other about things like "Dark v. bright" unless and until we come up with working definitions ... the kind of definitions that eventually can be listed as FAQs.

And while we're at it, why don't we work on some of those other pesky terms that crop up constantly on TubeNet and elsewhere in the music world: airy, solid, centered, free-blowing, core, projection, etc. I invite everyone to add terms to the list and to debate their meanings.

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