Acoustics & Sound For Musicians - Online Book

The Theory Of Sound Which Constitutes The Physical Basis Of The Art Of Music.

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IV. § 47.]              THEORY OF QUALITY.                        95
cases. Since many more variations of intensity are practically efficacious, and also since the disposable partial-tones need by no means be limited to the first six, the above calculation will probably suffice to convince the reader that the varieties of quality which the theory we are engaged upon is capable of accounting for are almost indefinitely numerous. This is, in fact, no more than we have a right to demand of the theory, when we reflect on the fine shades of quality which the ear is able to distinguish. No two instruments of the same class are exactly alike in this respect. For instance, grand pianofortes by Broadwood and by Erard exhibit unmistakable differences, which we describe as ' Broadwood tone' and ' Erard tone.' Less marked, but still perfectly recognisable, differences exist between individual in­struments of the same class and maker, and even between consecutive notes of the same instrument. To these we have to add the variations in quality due to the manner in which the performer handles his instrument. Even on the pianoforte the kinds of tone elicited by a dull slamming touch, and by a lively elastic one, are clearly distinguishable. With other instruments such distinctions are much more marked. On the violin we perceive endless grada­tions of quality, from the rasping scrape of the beginner up to the smooth and superb tone of a
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