Posted by Jay Bertolet on April 05, 2001 at 23:03:32:
In Reply to: Re: Re: Re: Re: E - flat tubas posted by Frederick J. Young on April 05, 2001 at 18:58:40:
Okay, you asked and I'll answer.
1) My problems with compensating instruments is that I can't find satisfactory fingerings for many notes in the low range that make those notes in tune. Exactly the opposite of what you suggest. Specifically, on an Eb tuba the E just above the fundamental is impossible to play easily and in tune, sometimes just plain impossible. Very problematic notes, again using the Eb tuba as an example, are the low Ab, low F, and on many instruments the low Gb. Further, I don't particularly like the feel of the notes in that general range and, thus, the sound achieved. I don't have any of these problems with my current 5 valve, non-compensating instruments and I enjoy the additional benefit of all those extra fingering options to favor notes one way or another for ensemble intonation. I should mention that I consistently work to completely avoid "lipping" pitches in tune because the resulting embouchure change also changes the sound quality and, at the very least, makes my sound inconsistent with itself. If I have to lip pitches in tune, the horn is a failure, at least in my way of thinking.
2) Again, I can appreciate your engineering expertise and I don't disagree with your math. I'm sure you're a very accomplished engineer in your chosen field and I'm confident you wouldn't be saying the things you're saying without having some rationale to back up your statements. That being said, what you've proposed about the mathematical models for intonation doesn't always manifest itself in real world instruments. Further, I disagree with your assertion that mathematical models are neccessary for successful design. I understand that Rudolph Meinl comes up with all their designs by empirical means (so I'm told) and doesn't follow any mathematical or physical designs. Apparently, Rudy just follows his instincts and makes a design, then tinkers with it until the product is what he wants. This leads me to believe that there is more to the problem than what the current groups of equations "prove". Still, I think you should try to build your own instruments. If you really feel it is so simple (a 1.5 on a scale of 1 to 10) then your line of tubas should be a huge success. And I promise you that if you make a great tuba, I'll try it and if it works for me, I'll buy one.
My opinion for what it's worth...