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Author Topic: Richard Smith, still nutty  (Read 5824 times)
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robcat2075

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« Reply #40 on: Feb 15, 2017, 02:58PM »

If it were really the forward motion of the air that made a trombone so loud, you could be just as loud buzzing on your mouthpiece or just buzzing your lips, since all of those would be moving the same amount of air forward.

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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #41 on: Feb 15, 2017, 03:05PM »

If it were really the forward motion of the air that made a trombone so loud, you could be just as loud buzzing on your mouthpiece or just buzzing your lips, since all of those would be moving the same amount of air forward.



That doesn't compute at all. Don't we all agree the instrument is some sort of amplifier or resonator?  Don't know
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« Reply #42 on: Feb 15, 2017, 03:17PM »

Here's another thought experiment... i can sing just about as loud inhaling as I can exhaling.  If the exhalation of air were the major factor in sound volume then the inhaled notes should be inaudible.



That doesn't compute at all. Don't we all agree the instrument is some sort of amplifier or resonator?  Don't know

Obviously it must be since mouthpiece buzzing and lip buzzing can not produce the same volume, even with moving the same volume of air forward.

It's the waves in the air (shaped and resonated in the horn air column) that are the sound, not the forward motion of it. 
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« Reply #43 on: Feb 15, 2017, 03:24PM »

Here's another thought experiment... i can sing just about as loud inhaling as I can exhaling.  If the exhalation of air were the major factor in sound volume then the inhaled notes should be inaudible.




Again, that doesn't mean much- it's just the air passing over the vocal cords in the other direction. The same amount of air.
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« Reply #44 on: Feb 15, 2017, 05:49PM »

If it were really the forward motion of the air that made a trombone so loud, you could be just as loud buzzing on your mouthpiece or just buzzing your lips, since all of those would be moving the same amount of air forward.



No, but your comment does point out the disconnect we run into.

Air flows slowly into the horn, it is part of the process of introducing a sound wave.

The sound wave is not air flow.  Resistance to air flow is not necessarily resistance to sound wave and vice versa. 

The common metaphors of blowing through the horn, moving warm air, etc. etc., are useful to some people, meaningless to others, counterproductive to others. 

Air and sound wave are two separate entities. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #45 on: Feb 15, 2017, 05:55PM »

Found it ! ; Eminent technology ; rotary woofer 

Trond

Many thanks!

This is quite new, long after my days of applying Thiele-Small equations to programs on a Sinclair ZX-1(I think... it was a while ago).

Going to take some time to digest.  But at first glance, I think this has more in common with the compressed air amplifier than trombone sound formation.  It is DELIGHTFULLY out-of-the box thinking (although it depends on a huge box to work.) 

So far I'm clear on the variable-pitch "propellers" which control amplitude.  I'm not so clear on whether that entire mechanism is on a diaphragm to control pitches.  And only very foggy on general principle of operation. 

But worth studying!

Thanks again!
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« Reply #46 on: Feb 15, 2017, 07:56PM »

Found it ! ; Eminent technology ; rotary woofer 

Trond

Looked at this link very carefully http://www.rotarywoofer.com/howitworks.htm and I think I get it.  The pitch (high-low) of the tone is controlled by a diaphragm, like on a conventional cone woofer.  The amplitude is controlled by the pitch ANGLE (steep/shallow) of the variable-pitch blades.

As noted here (http://www.soundandvision.com/content/eminent-technology-trw-17-rotary-subwoofer), the "fan" turns at a constant speed.  In this youtube video with the inventor (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDkKQdRDNzQ) he shows the blades wiggling (pitching) AND the voice coil moving the blades back and forth AND gives the operating principle in a nutshell: each rotation of the blade during a single cycle of a tone multiplies the area of the blades, so that as the number of cycles goes down in relation to the rotation, the effective area of the "cone" multiplies.

In a nutshell, the driver fan operates on a helix of air.  It is not that passing the air on its own makes this louder; it is that passing the air exposes more area to the mechanical amplification of the driver motor.

So not a case in point for the case you were making, but certainly a VERY interesting and useful technology.  If I got a double rotor BBb double-slide bass, could I play notes low enough to need this for stage amplification?  Evil

Thanks for the entirely new (to me) technology!!!
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« Reply #47 on: Feb 15, 2017, 08:36PM »

Again, that doesn't mean much- it's just the air passing over the vocal cords in the other direction. The same amount of air.

Once again, air blowing out isn't what it's about,
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« Reply #48 on: Feb 15, 2017, 08:54PM »

Is anyone here able to play a trombone while inhaling?
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« Reply #49 on: Feb 15, 2017, 09:32PM »

Is anyone here able to play a trombone while inhaling?

I gave it a try. Almost!

I can buzz while inhaling. I can't quite quite seal the edges of the mouthpiece when my lips are being sucked in against my teeth so it's not a true embouchure being formed. Possibly a much smaller mouthpiece would help.

However, if i hold the horn up to my lips while I'm buzzing the sound is indeed amplified and can be heard to emanate from the bell.

It's not a fine trombone sound but i only tried it for a couple minutes.
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« Reply #50 on: Feb 15, 2017, 11:56PM »

Looked at this link very carefully http://www.rotarywoofer.com/howitworks.htm and I think I get it.  The pitch (high-low) of the tone is controlled by a diaphragm, like on a conventional cone woofer.  The amplitude is controlled by the pitch ANGLE (steep/shallow) of the variable-pitch blades.

As noted here (http://www.soundandvision.com/content/eminent-technology-trw-17-rotary-subwoofer), the "fan" turns at a constant speed.  In this youtube video with the inventor (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDkKQdRDNzQ) he shows the blades wiggling (pitching) AND the voice coil moving the blades back and forth AND gives the operating principle in a nutshell: each rotation of the blade during a single cycle of a tone multiplies the area of the blades, so that as the number of cycles goes down in relation to the rotation, the effective area of the "cone" multiplies.

I
In a nutshell, the driver fan operates on a helix of air.  It is not that passing the air on its own makes this louder; it is that passing the air exposes more area to the mechanical amplification of the driver motor.

So not a case in point for the case you were making, but certainly a VERY interesting and useful technology.  If I got a double rotor BBb double-slide bass, could I play notes low enough to need this for stage amplification?  Evil

Thanks for the entirely new (to me) technology!!!

Ok ! ... So not a case in point for my theory of moving air , should have read the technical brief a little more thorough..  :-0

Trond
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« Reply #51 on: Feb 16, 2017, 05:05AM »

Is anyone here able to play a trombone while inhaling?
Eh, kinda.  Maybe?  After a grand total of trying for about 10 minutes...  Can make a buzz, even a halfway decent free-buzz.  On the Mouthpiece it is more difficult but not impossible.  With the horn against the face- I can barely get it to lock in on a pitch.  That is, I cannot adjust my buzz to a partial so that it locks in solidly.  I think if I spend a lot of time on it, maybe it would work.  But man does it not feel good.  That said, the process isn't that unnatural feeling to me. I am very proficient at whistling while inhaling, often changing breath direction seamlessly.  That doesn't feel too bad, but the lips coming toward the teeth doesn't seem to work as well.  Maybe that smaller mouthpiece would help.

This brings me back to one of my central points...  The soundwave in the horn influences the buzz.  That is, the buzz as an input is NOT an independent variable to the output.  This is one thing I am most curious about Dr. Smith's setup; does the system provide enough feedback to the face to let it play 'normally' or at least proficiently?  Man, I wish he had demonstrated this thing with a good player with a great sound.

Cheers,
Andy
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Andrew Elms
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« Reply #52 on: Feb 16, 2017, 05:42AM »

Ok ! ... So not a case in point for my theory of moving air , should have read the technical brief a little more thorough..  :-0

Trond

Man, I wish he had demonstrated this thing with a good player with a great sound.

... and maybe with a control of normal mouthpiece versus the altered one?  Thinking more about Trond's find, I have to wonder if the passage of the ongoing column of air in the mouthpiece DOES have an analogy in the column of air in the rotary subwoofer.  If it is, then finding a way to dump the air on the subwoofer and deliver the vibrations via a membrane would be THEORETICALLY possible.  But it is easy to visualize that such a membrane would introduce a HUGE efficiency loss for the volume of air needed to excite each cycle in, say, a 2 cycle per second tone.

Extrapolating that to the trombone, having a good player/normal mouthpiece compared to same player/altered mouthpiece could show empirically how much efficiency is lost going through the membrane at different frequencies. 

What if each new instant of air allows an increase in the apparent radiating area for the originating vibration in the lips?  In the subwoofer, the amplification is less as the frequency rises toward the RPM of the "fan" blades.  By analogy, on a brasswind, this kind of amplification would also be less as frequency rises in relation to available flow of air.  Restricted aperture size for high notes would reduce available flow of air BUT would also allow greater amplitude of vibration relative to the aperture size.

In contrast, low playing, especially pedals, have limits in just how far the lips can travel to increase volume, even if lip-roll is adjusted to increase apparent mass of the vibrating area. 

Maybe this isn't exactly a case in point of Trond's assertion, but Thigpen's successful rethinking of how to get a larger subwoofer "cone" makes me rethink the function of air going through the horn, especially in the low register.

Interesting that Dr. Smith carried out his experiment on a trombone.  I wonder if he could find membrane material with enough sensitivity for trumpets, or enough travel for tuba?

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Dave Adams
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« Reply #53 on: Feb 16, 2017, 06:36AM »

I like the idea of playing while inhaling, and I suspect that it would work if you could somehow rearrange your physiology to put your teeth on the outside of your lips, although the existence of a shaped and manipulable cavity behind the teeth seems to alter the quality of the sound.

I'm interested in Brad's artificial lips experiment. I'm also wondering where one buys artificial lips, but I certainly don't want to put that into Google. Seems to me that if Brad's artificial lips work when you put air past them as though exhaling, they would also work if you put a vacuum behind them.
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« Reply #54 on: Feb 16, 2017, 11:47AM »

I will try some experiments when I have time after I get home from my TMEA trip.

I can fairly easily make something similar to his setup.

Stuart Dempster can play while inhaling.
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« Reply #55 on: Feb 16, 2017, 12:11PM »

I took the liberty of copying this link from a topic by boneick.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCQFMr4Wwb0

Seems applicable.
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« Reply #56 on: Feb 27, 2017, 07:58AM »

Dudley bright was kind enough to provide some comments for this thread.  As you may recall, he was the player cited in the original Richard Smith paper from 1999.  I think we can agree that the principal trombonist of the London Symphony would count as "qualified."

Here are Dudley's comments, without any editorial comment from me:

Seems like there's quite a can of worms here.  I guess Richard's initial impetus for the experiment was the oft quoted stuff about 'putting more air through it' (PMAT) and other similar bits of wisdom. Some of my students will tell you I can be quite unkind about this kind of thing and have actually considered putting my views into some kind of research. It must have irked Richard somewhat too, for him to consider putting the time and effort into his experiment that he did. First off, as they say, he did explain to me that he had tried or considered using a trumpet/mouthpiece but the dimensions were too fiddly and settled for the trombone. He used a medium bore student trombone and mouthpiece. The mouthpiece was cut across the cup diameter about 2/3 of the way down. A membrane was inserted across the cut and the two parts brought together with hooks and elastic bands.

He'd explained that the air had to escape from the cup somehow and he had drilled a small hole on the side of the mouthpiece to that effect. He had experimented with different membranes and found condom to be the most effective. He also pointed out that the hole on it's own didn't work and he had deduced that some impedance loading was necessary. So a tube of I guess 3 or 4 mm diameter 7 or 8cm long was attached to the hole and he could then produce a note.

To return to the experiment - quality it it wasn't. Quite apart from the difference between my .547 bore Conn/5G and a blessing(?) student model + 12C the sound was very basic and had to be coaxed in individual notes. Melody wasn't up to much. Nevertheless tone came out of the instrument without the movement of air through the bore - QED!

What interested me was that initially the notes were rather weak - intonation - forget it. After a bit of experimentation I was able to make a stronger more stable sound. What seemed to work was making a closed, tight nasal buzz. What might explain this phenomenon? My thought is that the air pressure in the mouthpiece stretched the condom membrane, making it less responsive to transmitting the vibration into the bore. Adopting a less-air approach slackened the condom membrane and allowed more vibrations through thus exciting the trombone more convincingly. So I wouldn't advocate a less-air technique at all.

I suppose another consideration is that different registers require different quantities of air and the loading pipe can only suit a narrow band. Go lower and the membrane again stretches. I don't remember what happened in different registers but expect it got weaker going down. The experiment can only be a set of compromises. Ideally you would have an infinitely thin membrane and the loading tube would vary in size with volume and pitch.
 
Another aspect which I think one of your forumers touched on was the way in which vibrations from an instrument inter react with the vibrations of the lips. In the experiment I doubt this aspect could work properly, again making the whole process less akin to real playing.

Here we go into another territory and confront buzzing, free or with mouthpiece. There is no doubt that it is unlike coupled note production. Yes mouthpiece practise has its uses, some very productive but it is not the same. Consider how long a breath lasts playing a middle Bb mezzo piano on the mouthpiece v the trombone. 'Using' the same amount of air through the trombone would equivalent to something like five f's!

Now, when a note begins in the normal way, pitch of the nearest harmonic reaches back from the instrument vibrations and shakes the lips at that frequency. As one correspondent mentioned, it happens at the speed of sound so you don't hear the coupling. The less responsive the lips are to this coupling the more likely, poor tone or splits are likely to occur. The more readily and easily the lips resonate with the intended harmonic the greater likelihood of a better sound quality. It might explain the idea of 'more air' where that impression also allows the lips more freedom to find the resonance with the instrument. It does explain why the buzz tends to stop when the lips are uncoupled from the mouthpiece. (Less likely while making a tight nasal sound). This is more likely to happen the further down you go. Less likely in the high register and as Denis Wick used to demonstrate (probably still does) play a top Bb, lift the mouthpiece of the bottom lip, keep buzzing and slur up an octave to super Bb then replace the bottom lip. Pure super Bb- no problem.

Where does that leave us? I'm inclined to say, somewhere in the middle. The Richard Smith demonstration can never be truly representative and proves nothing with regard to tone quality only the raw physical fact that sound does not require air to propagate its vibration through the trombone. So are PMAT'ers anywhere near the truth at all? Does it matter? My view for what it's worth is that if it works and is helpful then use it. Where I run for cover is when there is quasi science touted around and people are misled into trying to do something that isn't really true and haven't got a clue how to do it. Playing a trombone or any musical instrument well is hugely complex and can't be reduced to some simplistic soundbites. The brain is really wonderful and can automatically take care of most of it most of the time if we know how to do that.

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« Reply #57 on: Feb 27, 2017, 10:46AM »

I had som fun with this stuff! Check it out!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj15Bh6_58E
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« Reply #58 on: Feb 27, 2017, 11:31AM »

I had som fun with this stuff! Check it out!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj15Bh6_58E

That WAS fun  Good!
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« Reply #59 on: Feb 27, 2017, 10:39PM »

He is not saying that air does not go through the horn when it is being played. He is saying that it is not "because" of the air going through the horn that the sound goes through the horn. He demonstrates beyond doubt that it is not necessary for air to travel through the horn to make sound.

FWIW..
M

For what it's worth, indeed.

I ask again, Matthew...so what???

The air most certainly has to go through the aperture, right? And as any  serious brass player knows, a fairly good air seal is necessary at the intersection of rim and lips to produce a good sound and good playing characteristics. Drill a hole somewhere in the shank of the mouthpiece and what happens? I'll tell you what happens because I at one time had a m'pce w/a mic hole drilled into it. Take the mic out of the hole and what do you get?

Bupkis is what you get.

So where's the beef?

Where's the meat?

Where is the profit in all of this palaver?

The musical profit.

Really!!!

Just another diversion, seems like to me.

I once had a teacher (Not of music but of ...other things...) who used to say to us, "You either do it or you don't."

If you don't, you fill your life with all sorts of other relatively empty pursuits.

But if you do "do it?"

Then there is nothing else to say.

S.
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