Re: [Harp-L] comb material

This discussion of materials is not limited to harmonicas.  Over at
the Yahoo group Flutemakers it rears its head once a year or so and
the dead horse is beaten with the big sticks of personal opinions.  I
read over on that concrete,
metal etc. flutes were tested and THE AUDIENCE could not tell the
difference.  John Coltman, Baltimore flute researcher conducted the
experiments and published the results in Scientific American

I would presume that the material of the harp comb (tiny chamber with
a vibrating reed chopping the airflow) would have virtually no
influence on the sound as compared to a flute that has the tone
setting up a standing wave in the tube of given material along with
reflections and the influence of inside surface finish and material
density and porosity.

If you search discussions of other instruments you will also find that
PLAYERS of different instruments can tell the difference between
plastic, wood, metal, fiberglass, BUT THE AUDIENCE cannot.  The
mouthpiece of the flute chops the airflow different to a reed but I am
addressing the affect of the chamber material.

It is my humble (usual IMHO disclaimer) opinion that, even though the
blindfolded audience cannot tell the difference in sound, the PLAYER
is very influenced by the material of the instrument.  It is not just
the fact that different materials conduct sound in different ways and
those vibrations are transmitted inside your head (via teeth, jawbone,
lips, tongue, skull - right inside your inner ear without even having
to get past the ear drum) - other factors come into play.

Depending on the material the performance of a harp player is
influence by the five senses and emotion.  "Happiness is a warm puppy"
is a relatable quote and for some, happiness is a wooden comb: the
taste, the feel, smell, sight and conducted sound inside their head
warms up or saddens their heart and the inspiration and emotion just
flows from their notes.  Similarly if you have an affinity for cold
(or warm) metal combs then it will again influence your senses and
inspire you to coax the best out of the harp while you play.  In
clinically cold material tests (the playing not being coloured by
sensory and emotional influences) the resultant sound will be the same
to the audience.

Just venting a little about this subject that crops up time and again
on many instrument maker/player/restorer forums.  And just wondering
how long it will be before the other harp myth "A new harmonica must
be broken in" will rear its ancient head.

Jason G.

-----Original Message-----
Too many to quote.

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