Re: Sustain

Ted van Beek  wrote:
>> Guitarists often use the word "sustain" that sense, but I think
>> strictly speaking it should be "decay" or "release".
>I agree that this is technically correct, esp in
>Physics. However, "sustain" also has a traditional
>definition in Accoustics, as per prev post.

... and in most musical texts, "sustain" would be used in the same
sense as in my original post - to hold a note or chord for a given
time. I guess it depends whether you think of harp-l as being a music
list, a physics list or an acoustics list as to which would be
considered the "correct" terminology. 

>> I was using "sustain" in the very basic sense that on a harmonica you
>> can sustain a chord for a long time by continuing to blow or draw it,
>> as contrasted with the guitar or the piano, where the sound begins to
>> decay almost immediately after you have plucked or hammered the
>> strings.
>Here I disagree. A better term would be "maintain".
>Using "sustain" would be contrary to popular
>conception of the term.

I not sure that is true. I've heard people describe a piece of music
as having "long sustained chords", or whatever. Not of having "long
maintained chords".

>Not only that: I can lock down a key on my keyboard 
>from now until doomsday and "sustain" (by your def)
>that note or chord. You can't blow your harp that

My point was to note the ability of a harmonica to hold a chord for
longer than is possible on a piano or guitar, highlighting the
problems of tempered tunings as a result -  not to enter a contest to
see which instrument can hold a note the longest. 

>On a grand scale it would be equivalent to a
>plucked note. It kinda makes me wary of that
>particular interpretation of "sustain".

Fair enough. I thought from the context of my original post it was
fairly clear what I meant. Perhaps it wasn't.

>> This usage would be consistent with the way synthesiser users talk
>> about a sound envelope in terms of its ADSR - Attack, Decay, Sustain
>> and Release.
>Actually, that's a wrong interpretation. "Attack" and
>"Decay" are envelope formulators. "Sustain" and
>"Release" are modifiers (a corruptive influence).

It is, however, common usage.

But for the most part, I agree with Mike Peloquin. Sustain works for
me - your mileage may vary.

 -- Pat.

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