Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Distinguished SOTW Technician.
Joined
·
3,207 Posts
Interesting but I think you need to set a base example of how much variation you can get with the same equipment i.e sample the ligature being refitted to the same lig.

It's not difficult to get variation in your sound so when you look at any deviation we need to see if it's within normal variation or not. With a sample of one it's not really possible to tell.

I think one of the factors that comes into play with ligs is how much they are tightened. Fabric/ leather ligs allow for more variation as compared to metal which don't work too well if too loose.
We tend to tighten ligs until we feel it is firm enough. That feeling may vary with different materials.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
·
7,455 Posts
I always tighten any ligature only until I have confidence the reed will not shift out of position. This always leaves some tightening possible but it seems obvious to me that over-tightening could be suppressive with any type ligature. Ligature material, like plasticized fabric compared to brass, will obviously dampen the reed to various degrees and affect the partials in different ways. Years ago I always laughed at the 'Rovner guys' until I actually tried one, now that's all I use. I don't think its really about your 'sound' as much as resonance, smoothness and even response. At least that's what I immediately noticed with the Rovners.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,325 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I always tighten any ligature only until I have confidence the reed will not shift out of position. This always leaves some tightening possible but it seems obvious to me that over-tightening could be suppressive with any type ligature. Ligature material, like plasticized fabric compared to brass, will obviously dampen the reed to various degrees and affect the partials in different ways. Years ago I always laughed at the 'Rovner guys' until I actually tried one, now that's all I use. I don't think its really about your 'sound' as much as resonance, smoothness and even response. At least that's what I immediately noticed with the Rovners.
I used them and just seemed to have too much of a wobbly feel to me - and probably just a subjective impression - whereas I thought that a metal ligature is less forgiving but has a better sweet spot. Then again, this may be just in my head because I massage the experience to meet the expectations ..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,325 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I'm planning to silverplate my lips & tongue, to achieve purity of tone.
They have some good two-component epoxy's at Home Depot. Much cheaper than silver and if you are lucky it will come off again leaving you with a perfect mould for your own replica ....
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2010
Joined
·
3,310 Posts
2 observations:

Unless you are going to test and compare multiple versions of each type of ligature there can be absolutely no scientifically valid way to know if any observed differences are due to the finish of the lig, or just plane old boring variation that naturally is going to occur between 2 different largely identical manufactured objects, or just due to the way that particular reed and lig got attached in that one instance.... so basically I dont think the study method can show any statistically significant differences unless the trial data is much expanded

2nd observation is that the horn setup includes both Meridian Winds Heavy Mass Neck Screws (Lacquered Brass) and Meridian Winds Center Brace Resonance Weight (Brass Pyramid) which makes me suspect that whoever is conducting this trial is at least a partial believer in what I would broadly term horn voodoo.
 

·
Registered
Alto sax, Tenor sax, Clarinet
Joined
·
1,309 Posts
2 observations:

Unless you are going to test and compare multiple versions of each type of ligature there can be absolutely no scientifically valid way to know if any observed differences are due to the finish of the lig, or just plane old boring variation that naturally is going to occur between 2 different largely identical manufactured objects, or just due to the way that particular reed and lig got attached in that one instance.... so basically I dont think the study method can show any statistically significant differences unless the trial data is much expanded

2nd observation is that the horn setup includes both Meridian Winds Heavy Mass Neck Screws (Lacquered Brass) and Meridian Winds Center Brace Resonance Weight (Brass Pyramid) which makes me suspect that whoever is conducting this trial is at least a partial believer in what I would broadly term horn voodoo.
You beat me to this response. I agree completely on both points.

I also love how the author stated:
"Does the material a ligature is made out of have an affect on the sound it produce? The short answer is yes, it does." But wait, then near the end of his summary statement he writes:
"Granted these are the results of just one experiment with a single player on a very specific setup with a very limited sample pool, so by no means are these findings to be considered conclusive."

He's got himself covered both ways! :twisted:
 

·
SOTW Administrator
Joined
·
26,208 Posts
You guys realize that this 'study' is for a 300 level 'physics of music' class. No peer review, not published, and shaky methodology.

It's a google doc shared publicly.
 

·
Registered
Alto sax, Tenor sax, Clarinet
Joined
·
1,309 Posts

·
Forum Contributor 2015-2017
Joined
·
3,253 Posts
A Physics approach to music is sound. I taught a mini course on that once.

For Music majors andnother non-science folks.
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,026 Posts
2nd observation is that the horn setup includes both Meridian Winds Heavy Mass Neck Screws (Lacquered Brass) and Meridian Winds Center Brace Resonance Weight (Brass Pyramid) which makes me suspect that whoever is conducting this trial is at least a partial believer in what I would broadly term horn voodoo.
I noticed that right off.

Also, I see several problems with this 'scientific' experiment. They don't mention whether or not multiple tests were made to determine the given variability from one playing session to the next, even with the exact same setup. Also how much of that variation shown on the graphs translates to anything that anyone can actually hear? I'm far from convinced.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Technician.
Joined
·
3,207 Posts
I noticed that right off.

Also, I see several problems with this 'scientific' experiment. They don't mention whether or not multiple tests were made to determine the given variability from one playing session to the next, even with the exact same setup. Also how much of that variation shown on the graphs translates to anything that anyone can actually hear? I'm far from convinced.
They only show one sample of each so I assumed it was just the one.
They also used Audacity which I think will give you a different result depending on when you freeze the result. Generally these graphs bounce around like crazy until you halt them, unless you have some specialist device and software that will produce an average or peak to peak result.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,241 Posts
I would like to see someone run tests of this type to determine the baseline variability that occurs with the exact same setup. Do 10 recordings in a row, with a wait of two minutes between each one. Then do 10 more recordings, but this time take the reed off the mouthpiece completely, then put it back on, before each recording (same reed and lig).

After these results have been published, we can start working on tests with different ligatures.

Also, this kind of testing should always use synthetic reeds rather than cane. That will eliminate any differences caused by varying reed moistness levels and reduce any impact of reed softening or degradation during the course of the experiment. The reed must be eliminated as a variable to the greatest extent possible.
 

·
Registered
Alto sax, Tenor sax, Clarinet
Joined
·
1,309 Posts
In addition, it would be important to use a mouthpiece with an extremely flat table such that ligature location becomes less important.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,325 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Arguably, there are flaws in the study but the approach is right, in that they tried to minimize the variables by using "internal reference points" for each of the graphs, that is look at the individual harmonic peaks and compare them to each other. Whether this is peer reviewed or not is nitpicking as anyone who ever worked in science can tell you, especially when it comes to something as "unimportant" as a saxophone ligature... I can already see the letters from the editors, I must have about a hundred of those myself. The same goes for blind folding. Of course, you can pick any data and make them confirm the expectations and maybe there were some - as inferred by the Meridian Winds accessories. I am not convinced that the results are really showing something but at the same time, I don't want to throw out the baby with the bath just because common wisdom says so.

Especially, going through the experience with the cracked solder on the P Mauriat Octave key and then having an OMG experience of how different the sound is now really suggests that there are mechanical effects outside the air stream - on the outside of the neck that can impact the sound.

Ok, I can already hear the argument that there was something broken and then fixed so it won't apply but that's really not true in the context because the key opened and closed correctly.

Again, I find it a bit hard to believe that the material of the ligature really creates a measurably difference but I accept that it may be a possibility. I guess we'll find out as more and better research is done and I don't want to be the one chewing on my foot ;-)

Oh, and I am not going to crack that neck again just to demonstrate something - just in case
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,538 Posts
The physics of how the material a horn is made of (and I would assume a ligature or even MP is made of) is so elusive to me, as is the idea of how a flute should sound different if played without plugs. Wish I would would have studied harder in physics in 10th grade!
 

·
SOTW Administrator
Joined
·
26,208 Posts
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top