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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:06 pm 
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I was reading a research paper by Soizic Terrien, et al., "Regime change thresholds in fute-like instruments: influence of the mouth pressure dynamics". They observed an experienced recorder player playing notes in the first register at much higher mouth pressures, before jumping to the second register, than a novice player or a artificial blowing machine could manage. They instructed the players to, "stay as long as possible on the first register and on the second register for crescendo and decrescendo respectively."

They got somewhat better range from their artificial mouth by increasing the pressure faster, and suggest that is one of the techniques the experienced player would use. They speculate what other techniques might be used. They don't mention whether they bothered to ask the experienced player how she did it. Would any of the experience players here like to offer their opinions of how they do it?

They also don't comment on a striking feature of their first graph: as her blowing pressure decreased, the experience player dropped back from the second register to the first at a pressure that was still higher than that at which the novice and the artificial mouth jumped to the second register. It appears that the experienced player was playing consistently louder, and sharper, than the novice or the artificial mouth could manage.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:46 am 
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Tunborough wrote:
Would any of the experience players here like to offer their opinions of how they do it?
For me it has to do somewhat with a full, relaxed, open mouth of air and slack-ish jaw as opposed to a closed off and tight mouth. That's just me and it maybe fantasy thinking too. I have no way to test it.

I think that a particular whistle head design is just as important. Some of us talk a lot about resistance at the windway versus free blowing windways. And that is a certain contributor to dynamic range and yet good players adjust their technique regardless of the type of whistle that they play to realize very artistic dynamic levels. In the end I expect it is about the player's familiarity with a specific instrument and its characteristics and tendencies.

Thanks for the link to the paper, Tunborough. I'll have to read it through a few times before I understand (if that is possible) everything that they are presenting.

Feadoggie

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:36 am 
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Interesting stuff, not sure I understand it.

About asking the player, what I've observed over the years is many (or most) good players don't have much self-awareness about many of the things they do.

In the uilleann pipe world, I've attended many workshops where the teacher either was consistently doing things that he wasn't aware of, and in some cases would verbalise things differently from the way he played them. That is, oftentimes musicians have created a mental construct of how they play which happens to be at odds with how they actually play.

In the Irish fiddle world, I attended a workshop given by a quite famous musician who appeared to be completely unaware of his own techniques. This was highlighted when a student asked about one particular technique. The musician said he didn't know what the student was talking about. Then the student demonstrated the technique, in the context of a particular tune. As it was I knew that album back to front and the student was doing a good job at performing the technique in question. It was absolutely clear to me. Yet, the famous musician still didn't recognize it, was baffled in fact. Had the musician not thought about it, and just played that tune, the technique surely would have been present.

If this seems hard to believe, keep in mind that music is a language, and the vast majority of people are completely unaware of the methods they use thousands of times a day when speaking. For example that they're using two quite different sounds for "L", the one in "lee" and the one in "full" (the tongue is positioned quite differently.) Or that they're not releasing their final stops, making the "P" in "pen" and the "P" in "stop" utterly different.

Anyhow I suspect with the recorder it's about support, about having an open windway and large oral cavity and pushing up from the diaphragm. A guy who sings Opera told me that teachers pound into their students the concept of expanding the rib cage for maximum support, and that medical scans done on people singing have demonstrated that this is actually happening.

On the flute I discovered that if I concentrated on supporting from the bottom I could blow low notes much harder without them breaking to the 2nd octave, than I could if I just blew from the top of the lungs (well I don't know what was actually happening in my lungs but that's how I was conceptualizing it).

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:24 pm 
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Feadoggie wrote:
Tunborough wrote:
Would any of the experience players here like to offer their opinions of how they do it?
For me it has to do somewhat with a full, relaxed, open mouth of air and slack-ish jaw as opposed to a closed off and tight mouth. That's just me and it maybe fantasy thinking too. I have no way to test it.

I think that a particular whistle head design is just as important. Some of us talk a lot about resistance at the windway versus free blowing windways.


I agree with both statements. I've been messing around quite a bit lately voicing whistles, and paying especial attention to the ease of the octave break and the ability to control volume in both registers. Along with that I've also been paying attention to how I break the octaves. I agree with Pancelt, in that I never could have said how its done till I started paying close attention during the voicing.

On the flute one tightens the embouchure, closing down the lips to get a more focused air stream at a slightly different blowing angle to play the second octave. The whistle is not dissimilar. If you tighten up the mouth and direct the airstream correctly, you can get into the second octave with considerably less volume. Conversely, if you're a little slackjawed, you can play the lower octave with more volume.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 7:45 am 
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Thanks, guys. I knew a flute would give the player a lot more control over where the register break happened. It's tougher on fipple flutes, but I'm fascinated to learn that it's still possible.

I tried out different mouth shapes and air streams to see if I could influence the register break of a whistle ... and I'm not there yet. Maybe it's just that I'm not in a position to accurately judge loudness or breath pressure.

It looked to me from that first graph that the experienced recorder player was also getting a higher pitch in the first register before jumping to the second register, so I sat in front of a tuner, and tried to manipulate the pitch of the register break. Not a lot of success there, either. Do you think that's possible?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:51 am 
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Tunborough wrote:
It looked to me from that first graph that the experienced recorder player was also getting a higher pitch in the first register before jumping to the second register, so I sat in front of a tuner, and tried to manipulate the pitch of the register break. Not a lot of success there, either. Do you think that's possible?
That is also what I get from that graph. And it is possible. It is more possible with some whistles (and those other flute-like instruments) than others. I have more success with free blowing whistles in that regard.

You can observe the phenomenon if you listen closely to Joanie Madden. You can hear her control both pitch and volume without "effecting regime change". Of course volume dynamics can be controlled by working the mic in a recording or on stage. But if you ever get a chance to attend a workshop with Ms. Madden you will hear that she can control both quite well on her O'Riordans and Burkes, edge to the O'Riordans. I can hear other good players doing much the same at times.

I have read the study a couple of times now and re-read a few sections multiple times over. There is no method described for the experienced player's unusual pitch observations other than a general reference to the vocal tract and mouth shape. I do not consider myself an experienced "flute-like instrument" player. I am sure the experienced player mentioned in the study, Marine Sablonniere, is an experienced player. I do happen to own two of the Zen-On Bressan alto flute-like instruments used in the study. So I will have a go on those soon to see what I can observe personally. I will say that I would probably not have chosen that instrument for a study of register changes.

I do have basic questions on the methods used in the study. While the study avoids the highest notes of the first octave, which are the most persnickety on that instrument, the experimental method does puzzle me a bit. It seems that they test the register change from the first register F (F4) up to the second using only the pressure differential. I do not think anyone plays the second register F (F5) that way. So I ask you, how do you play a second octave F on an alto flute-like instrument? And there is no mention of pinch hole use for any of the notes tested, AFAICR. But I could be missing something on the translation. I could be missing a lot beyond that too.

Anyway ..... does this mean that the study shows that the pressure based octave change is the better way to go and that whistles due to their pinchholeless design could/should replace those other flute-like instruments going forward? :)

Interesting read nonetheless.

Feadoggie

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