Re: Req: pitch-to-physical space mappings, refs (Sean Ferguson )

Subject: Re: Req: pitch-to-physical space mappings, refs
From:    Sean Ferguson  <ferguson(at)>
Date:    Tue, 1 Apr 1997 01:12:02 -0500

On Tue, 1 Apr 1997, David Chervenak wrote: > >that the English horn is higher than the oboe on the same pitch then it > >is a result of the relative range of the instruments. > > Chances are the listeners don't know/care the range of an oboe or > how to play one. My guess is that what they mean is that the horn has > more high frequency content / more higher harmonics than the oboe. > > -Dave > Good point, and that was my first thought too. But both are double-reed instruments so they have similar excitation sources, while the big bulb on body of the Horn tends to make it sound "mellower" (ie. it attenuates the high frequency content) than the oboe. Also, in general with musical instruments the higher in its range that an instrument plays, the less high-frequency content there is in its harmonic spectrum, so again that goes contrary to the response. My point wasn't that the listener knows the range, mechanics, and playing technique of the instruments, but that he/she is able to sense, partly as a result of what I've described in the preceding paragraph, that the Horn is somehow playing in a higher or lower part of its range. Probably this effect would be more noticeable at the extremes of register. On the other hand, if the subjects were saying that the *oboe* was higher, then I'm clearly full of hooey! ;-) Sean Ferguson Doctoral Candidate in Composition McGill University email: ferguson(at) "I believe in an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out." -Arthur Hays Sulzberger Publisher, The New York Times (1935-61)

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