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    Default "The Acoustics of the Saxophone from a Phenomenological Perspective"

    Has anyone ever read this work by John-Edward Kelly and is it worth taking a look at?
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    Default Re: "The Acoustics of the Saxophone from a Phenomenological Perspective"

    I've read it. Pretty interesting. I wouldn't run to read it though.
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    Default Re: "The Acoustics of the Saxophone from a Phenomenological Perspective"

    It's interesting to read, but like Dannel said, I wouldn't go too far out of my way to do it. Despite the $100 words in the title, the content is not particularly scientific or technical - essentially 50 pages telling you why you should play Buescher gear. It IS worth it for the line about modern saxophones being an abomination on the scale of genetic mutation. In short, some of his points are sound, but if you're looking for an intense source on saxophone acoustics you would be better served by Laurence Wyman's dissertation.

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    Default Re: "The Acoustics of the Saxophone from a Phenomenological Perspective"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dannel View Post
    I've read it. Pretty interesting. I wouldn't run to read it though.
    Quote Originally Posted by DWoz5000 View Post
    It's interesting to read, but like Dannel said, I wouldn't go too far out of my way to do it. Despite the $100 words in the title, the content is not particularly scientific or technical - essentially 50 pages telling you why you should play Buescher gear. It IS worth it for the line about modern saxophones being an abomination on the scale of genetic mutation. In short, some of his points are sound, but if you're looking for an intense source on saxophone acoustics you would be better served by Laurence Wyman's dissertation.
    Interesting, yeah I read enough of John Edward Kelly saying how modern horns are an abomination from The Devil's Horn. Alright, cool, I'll look for Dr. Wyman's though, that sounds a little more informative and useful...
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    Default Re: "The Acoustics of the Saxophone from a Phenomenological Perspective"

    self deleted...
    Sound guy theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- 3dB)
    Sax player theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- .010" at the tip)
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    Default Re: "The Acoustics of the Saxophone from a Phenomenological Perspective"

    The Devil's Horn misrepresents the entire Rascher school and contains a lot of bad information.

    Hakukani, I don't know if you've read this essay we're talking about, but it's nothing like that. He talks about resistance in the horn. This isn't a battle of "oh keep it original" it's a battle of acoustical issues which are quite different from vintage to modern horns. Please don't come in here spouting nonsense like that. It would've been better just not to post if you don't have anything real to add to this conversation.
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    Default Re: "The Acoustics of the Saxophone from a Phenomenological Perspective"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dannel View Post
    The Devil's Horn misrepresents the entire Rascher school and contains a lot of bad information.

    Hakukani, I don't know if you've read this essay we're talking about, but it's nothing like that. He talks about resistance in the horn. This isn't a battle of "oh keep it original" it's a battle of acoustical issues which are quite different from vintage to modern horns. Please don't come in here spouting nonsense like that. It would've been better just not to post if you don't have anything real to add to this conversation.
    Really? Well I never new that, but then again it is way more jazz oriented. I've read many other articles and books so I have an idea of what the Rascher School and it's methods, just not exactly so I guess now I'll just have to look up more info. Good thing I have plenty of time in college for this
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    Default Re: "The Acoustics of the Saxophone from a Phenomenological Perspective"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dannel View Post
    The Devil's Horn misrepresents the entire Rascher school and contains a lot of bad information.

    Hakukani, I don't know if you've read this essay we're talking about, but it's nothing like that. He talks about resistance in the horn. This isn't a battle of "oh keep it original" it's a battle of acoustical issues which are quite different from vintage to modern horns. Please don't come in here spouting nonsense like that. It would've been better just not to post if you don't have anything real to add to this conversation.
    Does anyone have this pamphlet? I would be interested in reading it. I am not, however, interested in buying it.

    In what sense does Kelly mean 'phenomenological perspective'?

    Anyway, I've played on old Bueschers and tried a pre-war Keilworth. They're nice enough horns, but they seem dull. Of course, one person's 'dull' is another person's 'dark'...

    Still, I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'resistance' in the horn.

    There's certainly enough room for all sorts of 'schools' of playing, and I did not mean to bash people that have a different idea of how an instrument should be designed or sound. The 'original' instrument crowd have made some stunning recordings.

    It's when folks say that their way is the only 'true' way that I get upset, and Kelly and the 'Rascherites' have been quite vocal in the past. The aphorisms that are in the powerpoint on his site just make my teeth hurt.
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    Default Re: "The Acoustics of the Saxophone from a Phenomenological Perspective"

    Quote Originally Posted by hakukani View Post

    Still, I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'resistance' in the horn.
    I think it has something to do with being smuggled out of Germany by the French underground...
    "Zoot" would a good name for a kid...

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    Default Re: "The Acoustics of the Saxophone from a Phenomenological Perspective"

    Every wind instrument has some sort of resistance to it. The least resistant instrument I can think of is a didgeridoo. Because of the little to no resistance this instrument has, we're required to circular breath in order to keep a note going longer than a couple seconds. Resistance allows us to move around the horn the way we want and resistance adds or takes away the level of brightness(overtones in the sound). Everyone has different levels of resistance that they want to deal with.

    I am a big believer that everyone is different and the same formula will not work with everyone. John-Edward Kelly is his own kind of deal. He certainly does not define the Rascher school. The members of the current Rascher Quartet are completely open-minded and will not tell someone to play on certain equipment. Even Bruce(tenor player from the beginning in 1969) teaches numerous students that play on selmer-brand equipment. Most of my students I point in the direction of Vandoren Mouthpieces and Yamaha/Selmer equipment. It's just easier to produce a good sound with that equipment. Bueschers-style horns and Rascher-type mouthpieces require a bit more training to form a decent sound on. This isn't always everyone's primary concern.

    The entire "Rascher" school of thought is much more than just the kind of equipment you play on.

    Perhaps you find the old Buescher instruments dull because that is how your oral cavity is. I play on them and think they are capable of having an extremely live sound. JEK recordings do sound a bit hollow and dull, but that is more the recording than anything. I wouldn't judge how he sounds unless you hear him live. In fact, I would never judge completely how someone sounds unless you hear them live.

    As far as the "ites" of the Rascher school. Every style or "school"(and by school I have noticed that even under the "french" or "american" school there are numerous different followings.... and this is only for classical playing...) has their own "ites." There are just as many, if not more, people out there that say the only way to play saxophone is to play on a Mark VI, or a Selmer-type, or some mouthpiece. I listen to as many, if not more, recordings of non-rascher people than I do of "rascher" people. I enjoy them, but for different reasons.

    Everyone has their different opinion. You may listen to the rascher quartet or my quartet live and hate the way we/they sound or the way we/they interpret things. In the long run, that is how we feel we should sound and that is how we feel like interpretting a work. Doesn't mean that's the only way, that is just our way. That is our form of expression. It is, however, not in the best taste to poke fun at an aspect of a group's philosophy or make a mountain of a mole hill.... especially about something that is commonly misinterpreted.

    One man's garbage is another man's treasure. There is certainly no point in the first man telling the second man not to waste his time with that garbage or making fun of how he's using that garbage.

    I've ranted long enough.....
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    Default Re: "The Acoustics of the Saxophone from a Phenomenological Perspective"

    Dannel,
    It's a good/valid rant. I'm just going to quote you out of context here because I found the two lines collectively amusing....

    [QUOTE=Dannel;1241710]
    .....I am a big believer that everyone is different and the same formula will not work with everyone.

    .....Most of my students I point in the direction of Vandoren Mouthpieces and Yamaha/Selmer equipment. ....QUOTE]

    edit: Well... I screwed up the embedding of the quote, but you'll get the gist.
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    Default Re: "The Acoustics of the Saxophone from a Phenomenological Perspective"

    I find it very difficult to believe that you cannot get an accurate reproduction from a recording of Kelly's sound.

    Some of the recordings on his site are advertised as having won awards for best recording.

    "honored in 1999 by the Finnish Recording Society.
    Selected one of 1999’s 10 best recordings by Germany’s Neue Musikzeitung"

    Concerning resistance: Does the impedence (which is actually more accurate a term in this case) presented by a horn and mouthpiece/reed combination have a signficant effect on the sound itself?
    Sound guy theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- 3dB)
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    Default Re: "The Acoustics of the Saxophone from a Phenomenological Perspective"

    Quote Originally Posted by jrvinson45 View Post
    Dannel,
    It's a good/valid rant. I'm just going to quote you out of context here because I found the two lines collectively amusing....

    Quote Originally Posted by Dannel View Post
    .....I am a big believer that everyone is different and the same formula will not work with everyone.

    .....Most of my students I point in the direction of Vandoren Mouthpieces and Yamaha/Selmer equipment. ....
    edit: Well... I screwed up the embedding of the quote, but you'll get the gist.
    What is so amusing about that? Maybe I just need to clarify.... I'll START them in that direction and then venture elsewhere if they aren't happy. If that is still amusing.... then I don't know what to say. All of my students have played on vastly different equipment and I encourage that.

    JEK has only won those because Kanye West didn't have a say in that.....

    Some of his recordings are a better representation of what he sounds like.... most people are just more familiar with his Concertos CD in which something did happen to the levels(as far as I have been led to believe at least) and it does make him sound a bit hollower than other recordings. Perhaps it is bad for me to assume you haven't heard his better recordings, I just doubt it....

    And yes I would say that impedance has significant effect on the way you sound. And no I'm not confusing clarity with brightness. Best example I could give to this is that some people tend to think they sound "darker" when their horn has leaks.....
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    Default Re: "The Acoustics of the Saxophone from a Phenomenological Perspective"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dannel View Post
    Every wind instrument has some sort of resistance to it. The least resistant instrument I can think of is a didgeridoo. Because of the little to no resistance this instrument has, we're required to circular breath in order to keep a note going longer than a couple seconds. Resistance allows us to move around the horn the way we want and resistance adds or takes away the level of brightness(overtones in the sound). Everyone has different levels of resistance that they want to deal with.

    I am a big believer that everyone is different and the same formula will not work with everyone. John-Edward Kelly is his own kind of deal. He certainly does not define the Rascher school. The members of the current Rascher Quartet are completely open-minded and will not tell someone to play on certain equipment. Even Bruce(tenor player from the beginning in 1969) teaches numerous students that play on selmer-brand equipment. Most of my students I point in the direction of Vandoren Mouthpieces and Yamaha/Selmer equipment. It's just easier to produce a good sound with that equipment. Bueschers-style horns and Rascher-type mouthpieces require a bit more training to form a decent sound on. This isn't always everyone's primary concern.

    The entire "Rascher" school of thought is much more than just the kind of equipment you play on.

    Perhaps you find the old Buescher instruments dull because that is how your oral cavity is. I play on them and think they are capable of having an extremely live sound. JEK recordings do sound a bit hollow and dull, but that is more the recording than anything. I wouldn't judge how he sounds unless you hear him live. In fact, I would never judge completely how someone sounds unless you hear them live.

    As far as the "ites" of the Rascher school. Every style or "school"(and by school I have noticed that even under the "french" or "american" school there are numerous different followings.... and this is only for classical playing...) has their own "ites." There are just as many, if not more, people out there that say the only way to play saxophone is to play on a Mark VI, or a Selmer-type, or some mouthpiece. I listen to as many, if not more, recordings of non-rascher people than I do of "rascher" people. I enjoy them, but for different reasons.

    Everyone has their different opinion. You may listen to the rascher quartet or my quartet live and hate the way we/they sound or the way we/they interpret things. In the long run, that is how we feel we should sound and that is how we feel like interpretting a work. Doesn't mean that's the only way, that is just our way. That is our form of expression. It is, however, not in the best taste to poke fun at an aspect of a group's philosophy or make a mountain of a mole hill.... especially about something that is commonly misinterpreted.

    One man's garbage is another man's treasure. There is certainly no point in the first man telling the second man not to waste his time with that garbage or making fun of how he's using that garbage.

    I've ranted long enough.....
    Very incitefull. Thank you for posting this. I guess I never ealized how much resistance plays a part in sound (I knew it had some but wow).

    Quote Originally Posted by Dannel View Post
    You may listen to the rascher quartet or my quartet live and hate the way we/they sound or the way we/they interpret things. In the long run, that is how we feel we should sound and that is how we feel like interpretting a work. Doesn't mean that's the only way, that is just our way. That is our form of expression.
    BTW, I love the music of both the Rascher Quartet and yours, the Mana Quartet. Great stuff
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    Default Re: "The Acoustics of the Saxophone from a Phenomenological Perspective"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dannel
    As far as the "ites" of the Rascher school. Every style or "school"(and by school I have noticed that even under the "french" or "american" school there are numerous different followings.... and this is only for classical playing...) has their own "ites." There are just as many, if not more, people out there that say the only way to play saxophone is to play on a Mark VI, or a Selmer-type, or some mouthpiece. I listen to as many, if not more, recordings of non-rascher people than I do of "rascher" people. I enjoy them, but for different reasons.

    That's why I include the "lunatic fringe" when I talk about "schools" of playing. There are certain teachers who INSIST on certain equipment, and that is the way it is in their studios. Now, there is a difference between a teacher who says "I can't teach you on that horn because I am not familiar with it's characteristics" (for example, some on who brings in a Buescher into a lesson with a French teacher) and one who says "I won't teach you because you are playing on x horn."

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    Default Re: "The Acoustics of the Saxophone from a Phenomenological Perspective"

    I've heard Kelly live, and I can tell you that his real sound is very different than his concertos CD. He says himself that the reissue of that CD (the one we all have) messed up the sound engineering somehow. His other CD's are more accurate to the sound I heard live, but most people who do not appreciate his type of playing do not have those CD's.

    The same holds true for other saxophonists. I heard Timothy McAllister live a few years ago, then bought his current CD. The sounds were completely different, so it is completely plausible in my mind that CD's do not always accurately represent the sound they are attempting to emulate.

    Phenomenological Perspective means his perspective based upon his laymen's observations. In other words, when talking about the parabolic curve of the saxophone, he did not subject his saxophone to scientific measurements. He took the keys off and looked down the body of the horn and saw the curve.

    The resistance he talks about has to do with the constriction of the opening from the mpc to the neck of the saxophone. Open chambered mpc's have a much larger chamber in comparison to the neck of the mpc than non-open chambered mpcs. Thus, there is a resistence as the air/sound waves are forced into the smaller opening for the neck. His conclusions about what affect this has on the saxophone tone is from his own personal observations.

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    Default Re: "The Acoustics of the Saxophone from a Phenomenological Perspective"

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
    I've heard Kelly live, and I can tell you that his real sound is very different than his concertos CD. He says himself that the reissue of that CD (the one we all have) messed up the sound engineering somehow. His other CD's are more accurate to the sound I heard live, but most people who do not appreciate his type of playing do not have those CD's.

    The same holds true for other saxophonists. I heard Timothy McAllister live a few years ago, then bought his current CD. The sounds were completely different, so it is completely plausible in my mind that CD's do not always accurately represent the sound they are attempting to emulate.

    Phenomenological Perspective means his perspective based upon his laymen's observations. In other words, when talking about the parabolic curve of the saxophone, he did not subject his saxophone to scientific measurements. He took the keys off and looked down the body of the horn and saw the curve.

    The resistance he talks about has to do with the constriction of the opening from the mpc to the neck of the saxophone. Open chambered mpc's have a much larger chamber in comparison to the neck of the mpc than non-open chambered mpcs. Thus, there is a resistence as the air/sound waves are forced into the smaller opening for the neck. His conclusions about what affect this has on the saxophone tone is from his own personal observations.
    Sounds like some folks need a real recording engineer. Like maybe Turnaround or myself...
    Sound guy theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- 3dB)
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    Default Re: "The Acoustics of the Saxophone from a Phenomenological Perspective"

    I showed John's booklet to a college professor/acoustician/performer and leading member of the Acoustical Society of America (NOT a saxophonist), who was, in a few weeks, to deliver the keynote address at their Pan American Meeting in Mexico a few years ago (they are meeting there again this year). He said...and I quote, "this is the most lucid description that I have ever read of how resistance in wind instruments functions." He went on to comment on the general validity and intelligence of J-E. K. whom he does not know, but about whom he knows plenty.

    Most of the posts about this booklet unfortunately reveal more about the lack of clarity on saxophone acoustics by most saxophonists than on the content of J-E.K's booklet.

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    Default Re: "The Acoustics of the Saxophone from a Phenomenological Perspective"

    Quote Originally Posted by rjsax View Post
    I showed John's booklet to a college professor/acoustician/performer and leading member of the Acoustical Society of America (NOT a saxophonist), who was, in a few weeks, to deliver the keynote address at their Pan American Meeting in Mexico a few years ago (they are meeting there again this year). He said...and I quote, "this is the most lucid description that I have ever read of how resistance in wind instruments functions." He went on to comment on the general validity and intelligence of J-E. K. whom he does not know, but about whom he knows plenty.

    Most of the posts about this booklet unfortunately reveal more about the lack of clarity on saxophone acoustics by most saxophonists than on the content of J-E.K's booklet.
    I would love to read the booklet, but not enough to purchase it. His aphorisms still make my teeth hurt. He's in good company, though--Susan Sontag's writing has the same effect on me.

    Who was this professor you speak of?

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  20. #20

    Default Re: "The Acoustics of the Saxophone from a Phenomenological Perspective"

    The professor spoke informally to me about this, without expecting that he might be quoted. He is a distinguished professor of music at a very large & very good school of music in the USA.

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