1967: "Violin Plots"

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1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby cheweytoo » Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:17 am UTC

Image

Title text: "Strictly speaking, 'violin' refers to the internal structure of the data. The external portion visible in the plot is called the 'viola.'"

Oh my. I laughed, loudly. And I don't think I'll be able to say "viola" with a straight face ever again...

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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby Envelope Generator » Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:22 am UTC

A pie chart is not very suggestive of any visualization type but a violin plot is? I can't find the joke in this one...
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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby StClair » Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:30 am UTC

Female anatomy.

Spoiler:
"They look like c**ts."
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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby rhomboidal » Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:30 am UTC

Personally, I don't think any of them really resembles a turnip at all.

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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby Mikeski » Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:30 am UTC

I'm not saying there have been too many grad students on this project, I'm just saying the results look more like a double-bass plot.

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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby TheEngineer » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:50 am UTC

I'm not sure which is more disturbing - the rectangular aperture or the light at the end of the tunnel.

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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby qvxb » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:40 pm UTC

Lights at ends of tunnels were observed by Presidents and generals in Vietnam 50 years ago.

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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:48 pm UTC

rhomboidal wrote:Personally, I don't think any of them really resembles a turnip at all.

Or Baldrick's penis, come to that.

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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby Moose Anus » Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:04 pm UTC

Envelope Generator wrote:A pie chart is not very suggestive of any visualization type but a violin plot is? I can't find the joke in this one...
Yeah, pie charts are very suggestive. https://i.imgur.com/QgFUtAs.jpg
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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby cellocgw » Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:06 pm UTC

For those who missed part of the joke,

Here is a small collection of viola-related data.
https://app.box.com/witthoftresume
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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby cellocgw » Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:07 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:For those who missed part of the joke,

Here is a small collection of viola-related data.


ETA -- So, what's the X-axis? :mrgreen:
https://app.box.com/witthoftresume
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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby speising » Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:24 pm UTC

Hey, today is π day, not violin day!

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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby cellocgw » Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:31 pm UTC

speising wrote:Hey, today is π day, not violin day!


so you're saying we should tune to specified values of 2 π ω and not ν ?
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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby DanAxtell » Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:50 pm UTC

And violinists have to be able to say "f-hole" with a straight face. This XKCD isn't helping. I'm glad I play trombone.

You know, even Hugh Hefner objected when things started looking "too gynecological."
Last edited by DanAxtell on Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:06 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby Jorpho » Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:02 pm UTC

The real question here is, what sort of data can you visualize with a Georgia O'Keeffe painting?

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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:07 pm UTC

DanAxtell wrote:And violinists have to be able to "f-hole" with a straight face. This XKCD isn't helping. I'm glad I play trombone.

You mean the instrument that you can slide in, and out, and in, and out, to produce a lot of noises. And if that's too much effort, just vibrate your mouth differently against the hole, it's surprising and at least as pleasurable. One way or another, you can just show off and swing your bell end/knob around while you're doing it.

I'd say you clearly have fun in the sackbut That's the old English name for it.

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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby DanAxtell » Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:54 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
DanAxtell wrote:.... I'm glad I play trombone.

You mean the instrument that you can slide in, and out, and ....

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And it grows from 3 3/4' long to 6' long using 7 positions. When it's full extended, "B natural."

And, yes, I am compensating for something.

I maintain that it's a lovely sound and way better than those old stringed instruments.

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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby Cougar Allen » Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:55 pm UTC

Image

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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby TheEngineer » Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:02 pm UTC


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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby clockworkbookreader » Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:50 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
DanAxtell wrote:And violinists have to be able to "f-hole" with a straight face. This XKCD isn't helping. I'm glad I play trombone.

You mean the instrument that you can slide in, and out, and in, and out, to produce a lot of noises. And if that's too much effort, just vibrate your mouth differently against the hole, it's surprising and at least as pleasurable. One way or another, you can just show off and swing your bell end/knob around while you're doing it.

I'd say you clearly have fun in the sackbut That's the old English name for it.


you sir, get 2 points.
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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby DanAxtell » Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:33 pm UTC

Probably because of XKCD, lookups for "violin plot" have spiked on Google Trends. Now that no one can unsee the XKCD 1967 image, I predict people will avoid violin plots for the same reason that no one wanted to be seen in an Edsel:
Image
Ford's blunder with its Edsel grille styling could have been worse, I realize after reading the title text. Ford bought Volvo Cars in 1999 and could have waited to use that brand name for the car with the so-called "horse-collar" grille.

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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:23 pm UTC

DanAxtell wrote:Ford bought Volvo Cars in 1999

Imagine if that hadn't been two 'o's… :p

/blows raspberry and goes back to pretending not to play kiss-chase in the playground.

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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby patzer » Tue May 08, 2018 4:38 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
rhomboidal wrote:Personally, I don't think any of them really resembles a turnip at all.

Or Baldrick's penis, come to that.

I literally just watched Blackadder for the first time last night (that episode in particular), and then somehow stumbled across this post.

Probably the most egregious case of Baader-Meinhof that I've ever experienced...!
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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby Sableagle » Sun May 13, 2018 1:03 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
DanAxtell wrote:And violinists have to be able to "f-hole" with a straight face. This XKCD isn't helping. I'm glad I play trombone.

You mean the instrument that you can slide in, and out, and in, and out, to produce a lot of noises. And if that's too much effort, just vibrate your mouth differently against the hole, it's surprising and at least as pleasurable. One way or another, you can just show off and swing your bell end/knob around while you're doing it.

I'd say you clearly have fun in the sackbut That's the old English name for it.

Trombone, you say? I've heard about you.
Oh, Willie McBride, it was all done in vain.

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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby DanAxtell » Tue May 15, 2018 1:09 am UTC

Sableagle wrote:Trombone, you say? I've heard about you.


The Merry Wives of Windsor seem very nice. I am not familiar with their song, The Fellow Who Played the Trombone. I am also unfamiliar with such reverence for trombonists. We are usually portrayed as clownish, or in the case of the movie Brassed Off, literally a clown.

There's a fundamental problem with the song: What the Merry Wives describe as "in" is what we describe as "out" and vice versa. Thus, if a Merry Wife made an impassioned request to "move in," the encounter would be vanishingly brief. (We trombonists are very biddable.)

The "moving in and out" trombone stereotype has another problem. You do indeed have to slide a lot in the lowest range and also for any of the rare glissandos actually written into the music, but most trombone music is in the middle and high range, where the overtones are closer together (think of how a bugler plays only by changing the tightness of the lips to play different overtones). From A3 (a 220Hz A) on up, there are "alternate positions" for every note and we are trained to use those alternate positions to move as little as possible--not exactly what the MWOW were hoping for.

And yes, you have to be able to say "alternate positions" with a straight face if you want to play trombone.

Tommy Dorsey (famous band leader and trombonist born 1905) played high up the harmonics and he rarely moved past 3rd position. (See Opus One, for example.) He famously used "slide vibrato," a wrist wiggle that only he could get away with. It meant he had to tune the trombone sharp and adjust all the positions accordingly just so he could use slide vibrato in first position. And again, none of that is the kind of motion sought by the MWOW, Merry Wives of Windsor.

As an aside, Tommy Dorsey's focus on music made him an unwitting social groundbreaker. He gave young Frank Sinatra his big break when Italians were the equivalents of Muslims in America today. (The terrorist attack in Manhattan about 100 years ago was a horse-and-cart shrapnel bomb that killed 38 and the driver was assumed to be an Italian without clear evidence.) Dorsey had one of the first racially integrated big bands in the 1940s (That trumpet soloist in Opus One is Charlie Shavers.) Dorsey didn't mean to offend his racist Southern fans, so he hired an unknown, young, white Southern singer, Elvis Presley, who offended lots of our ancestors for the non-racial reason of suggestiveness. And Elvis's pelvis reminds us once again of our perseveration here on the in-and-out ritornello in this thread. Is any paragraph safe?

I guess you could say that Tommy Dorsey was clownish in his social cluelessness, but that's a lot of great music that he uncovered.

But I'm really writing here about the cool mathematical reason for slide trombones in brass music. It's a mid-range instrument and addresses the mid-range problem of the age-old conundrum of the "Pythagorean comma." Yes, the followers of Pythagoras wanted everything to be in ratios and, thus, rational. They managed to ignore a right triangle with two sides of one, but music, with is 12th roots of 2 for the frequencies of each of the 12 half steps in an octave, required some creative denial. As we know, eventually all of the heads of the Pythagoreans exploded and trombones arrived to finesse the comma.

An example:
We all agree (since the 1939 London International Conference, although some people, mostly vegans, still argue about this) that A2 is 220 hertz (one octave below the tuning note A-440 and, thus, one half the frequency). If I'm playing in unison or playing the root of an A chord, there's no problem. But trombones are more likely to be asked to play an A as the middle note of an F Major chord. That F, as the root of the Major chord, is 4 half steps lower than the A. That's 4 twelfth roots of 2 less than 220 hertz. 220 * 2^(-4/12) = 220 / (2^(4/12)) =174.614. A pleasing harmonic "major third" above that F is 5/4 the frequency. 1.25 * 174.614 = 218.268, not 220. A trombone in 2nd position is about 110 inches long. 110 * 220/218.268 = 110.873, a difference of 0.873 inches. The slide has 2 tubes, so it doubles distances. The upshot is that I have to extend my slide about a half inch if I'm holding an A and the underlying chord changes from A to F Major (which would be an unusual progression, but not unheard of). This burden of adjusting among wind instruments tends to fall on the trombones.

[Edit: I mistakenly flipped the numerator and denominator in my original post and have now corrected it. My original upshot was correct. The wrong sentence was, "110 * 218.268/220 = 109.134, a difference of 0.866 inches."]

It can get even messier. Trumpets have a little 3rd valve tuning slide controlled by their pinkies. They're supposed to push it out when the additive nature of valves trails the exponential nature of frequencies. If they have all three valves down (equivalent to 7th position on trombone), they need to push out that valve. It doesn't happen often and trumpet players tend to be loud and lazy, so the trombones have to be ready for additional adjustments to make the harmony work when the trumpets are out of tune in the key of E minor.

A not-completely-unrelated observation: Major chords have frequency relationships of 1 : 5/4 : 3:2. Minor chords are 1 : 6/5 : 3/2. The difference between a happy, major chord and a woeful, minor chord is 5/4 - 6/5 = 0.05 which is also the widely accepted limit for statistical significance.

The trombone is a surprisingly easy instrument to play. You can get a plastic, colorful one for less than US$100 and they're not bad. You blow a raspberry into the mouthpiece and you now have an "embouchure." To be clear, I mean that you make a farting sound with your lips, raspberry being the shortened Cockney rhyming slang of "raspberry tart." You'll probably play an F3. You're almost ready to play When the Saints Come Marching In. Mess around with tightening and loosening your lips--excuse me, your "embouchure." Lengthen the tubing by about 6% for each lower half step, (2^(1/12) = 1.05946. You're playing trombone, so you always have to listen to people around you who are quite different and adjust. It's a good habit in general. Seriously, even if you're old, borrow a trombone and try playing it. The local community band will welcome you no matter how much you are suboptimal. The mathematics of the music will delight you.

Slide guide.
There are no physical clues on a trombone for positions--no lines, no clicks. You use your ears on the held notes and you fake it on the short ones.
1st: all the way in, unless you're Tommy Dorsey which you are not.
2nd: a wrist flick from 1st and about an inch of the inner slide shows. (sorry, metric people.)
3rd: about when your fingernail hits the bell, but do not mention this landmark to your teacher. Don't touch the bell. The bell needs to resonate unimpeded by your horny extremity.
4th: the visible inner slide aligns to the bell.
5th: "Oh gawd, I hope this is about right. Is a Gb really necessary here?"
6th: about as far as I can reach and be sure of holding on.
7th: "OK, it's the last phalanx of my middle finger, but I think I can hold on."

Nothing stops the slide from being "thrown." You need to remove the outer slide to grease the trombone every few hours of playing, after all. From ages 8 to 22, I never threw the slide. After college (university), I relaxed a bit and soon threw my slide for my first and only time. The slide is made of brass and is quite resilient. It was a performance, but the slide was undamaged, so no problem. It's a major bummer when the slide gets bent out of alignment, but throwing the slide turns out not to be a likely way of damaging the slide. I'm much more relaxed now and I do wish i had been more relaxed when I was 8.

If you get a trombone player started in an XKCD thread, you have only yourself to blame. I am relaxed and unapologetic and not at all what the Merry Wives of Windsor would hope for, even though they seem very nice.

*** END ***
Last edited by DanAxtell on Wed May 16, 2018 1:07 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby orthogon » Tue May 15, 2018 10:27 am UTC

DanAxtell wrote:
Sableagle wrote:Trombone, you say? I've heard about you.


The Merry Wives of Windsor seem very nice. I am not familiar with their song, The Fellow Who Played the Trombone. I am also unfamiliar with such reverence for trombonists. We are usually portrayed as clownish, or in the case of the movie Brassed Off, literally a clown.
[...]
The "moving in and out" trombone stereotype has another problem.

As a saxophonist, I sympathise. In our case, it's the non-hilarious similarity between the word "sax" and the word "sex", that somebody, somewhere in the world discovers every five seconds [[citation needed]].

To be clear, I mean that you make a farting sound with your lips, raspberry being the shortened Cockney rhyming slang of "raspberry tart."


TIL: "raspberry" is rhyming slang. I never even thought what the origin might be - if pressed I'd probably have said that the "rasp-" part kind of implies a farty sound anyway. In this regard it's a bit like how "aris" is rhyming slang for "arse"; at the end of a convoluted sequence (aris -> Aristotle -> Bottle -> Bottle and glass -> arse) you've almost got back to the original word. Also "Raspberry tart" isn't a phrase that trips off the tongue anyway. This makes me wonder (I'm sure there are papers on it, but as I've said before, if you always googled before posting you'd never post anything) whether the rhyming slang tended to pair plausible but uncommon words, so that the combination stuck out and invited the listener to search for an alternative meaning. As the word became more common and the second part (which actually rhymed) was dropped, it would be less obvious that it was rhyming slang in the first place.

[ other brilliant stuff ]

I enjoyed your post very much - the major third thing is particularly interesting (that trombones often play it, hence the greater need for variable tuning).
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby Soupspoon » Tue May 15, 2018 12:11 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:As a saxophonist, I sympathise. In our case, it's the non-hilarious similarity between the word "sax" and the word "sex", that somebody, somewhere in the world discovers every five seconds [[citation needed]].

Sound like you ought to promote academic outreach in an attempt to inform the world of the seriousness and innuendolessness of the saxophone. We clearly need Sax education.

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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby orthogon » Tue May 15, 2018 12:52 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
orthogon wrote:As a saxophonist, I sympathise. In our case, it's the non-hilarious similarity between the word "sax" and the word "sex", that somebody, somewhere in the world discovers every five seconds [[citation needed]].

Sound like you ought to promote academic outreach in an attempt to inform the world of the seriousness and innuendolessness of the saxophone. We clearly need Sax education.

Just because you did it knowingly and ironically, doesn't make it OK :P

ETA: why is "Razz" the mouseover text for the tongue-out emojus? Presumably it means something different in US English, but I'm a bit afraid to go googling...
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue May 15, 2018 3:16 pm UTC

Razz = raspberry = see discussion above
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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby orthogon » Tue May 15, 2018 4:36 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Razz = raspberry = see discussion above

Wow, thanks, and what a strange bit of synchronicity. I thought it represented sticking your tongue out; I didn't realise it also involved making the noise. Not sure whether I need to reconsider my use of it or not now...
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby Sableagle » Tue May 15, 2018 5:10 pm UTC

Make a farting sound?!? Doesn't embouchure come from some foreign word for "puckering up for a kiss" in one of those romantic languages where they take an hour for lunch, drink wine and nibble on tartes aux cerises by the river?

Any idea whether a dent in one of the joints spoils the note of a silver flute? I have one, but couldn't even play a scale on it when I tried to learn. I could play each note within 20 tries, but never the scale. Too much adjustment of the angles of the flute and of the blow.
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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby orthogon » Tue May 15, 2018 6:26 pm UTC

Sableagle wrote:Make a farting sound?!? Doesn't embouchure come from some foreign word for "puckering up for a kiss" in one of those romantic languages where they take an hour for lunch, drink wine and nibble on tartes aux cerises by the river?

Any idea whether a dent in one of the joints spoils the note of a silver flute? I have one, but couldn't even play a scale on it when I tried to learn. I could play each note within 20 tries, but never the scale. Too much adjustment of the angles of the flute and of the blow.

Well, without any googling (see above), the only really significant element is "bouche"; the "en-" and "-ure" are just affixes, making the whole thing something like "in-mouth-ness". Nonetheless, this gives me an opportunity to repeat my old chestnut that, for the French, the difference between love and death is a slight pout of the lips.

In my experience, woodwinds are sensitive to the slightest dent, leak or misadjustment. It's a bit of a miracle that they work at all, and I'm not convinced anyone understand the physics. As an engineer, I feel like I ought to be able to figure out what's wrong with my sax (now, you've been told!) and fix it, but I very rarely can. One of those long bright strip lights that the technicians poke down it would probably help. But I suspect it's one of those jobs like fixing a diesel engine, where it's all about experience and intuition.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby Cougar Allen » Wed May 16, 2018 1:29 am UTC

Sableagle wrote:Any idea whether a dent in one of the joints spoils the note of a silver flute? I have one, but couldn't even play a scale on it when I tried to learn. I could play each note within 20 tries, but never the scale. Too much adjustment of the angles of the flute and of the blow.

Flutes are very sensitive to air leaks. Have a professional repairman look at your flute. It's likely your flute is so leaky the best player in the world couldn't play a scale on it.

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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby DanAxtell » Wed May 16, 2018 11:40 am UTC

My favorite book on science and music is the timeless 1937 book, Science and Music by Sir James H. Jeans. It’s available at the Internet Archive. It still gets great reviews for being so readable and informative. XKCD people are apt to enjoy it. It’s where I first learned about the “comma of Pythagoras.” I think it’s time to reread it for me. It’ll be fun and I may have misremembered the part about the Pythagoreans’ heads exploding.
- - -
Cougar Allen wrote:
Sableagle wrote:Any idea whether a dent in one of the joints spoils the note of a silver flute? ....
Flutes are very sensitive to air leaks. Have a professional repairman look at your flute. ....
I agree. A dent in a brass instrument isn’t likely to be a problem, but the woodwinds are much more sensitive to damage. And a leak in any wind instrument will drive you nuts. It’ll be cost effective to have a silver flute professionally overhauled. As with any instrument, you can get an idea the value by finding the serial number and looking it up online for the brand. It’ll be well worth a few hundred dollars (maybe more) to have it restored to performance condition, even if you just want to sell it. I also recommend that you keep trying to play it, as long as there’s no one in earshot. The more you play a flute, the easier it gets. I taught myself the fife with a fair amount of time spent in the basement, but I was eventually allowed to play upstairs.

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Keyman
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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby Keyman » Wed May 16, 2018 9:42 pm UTC

DanAxtell wrote:5th: "Oh gawd, I hope this is about right. Is a Gb really necessary here?"
I'll be damned. You really are a trombone player aren't you?

For me it's the Db...'cuz then you've got 2nd to forget an 8va up.

We could use another player in my Community band this summer. Strict audition policy - if you have a horn, and a breath...you're in.
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Sandry
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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby Sandry » Tue May 22, 2018 10:03 pm UTC

Sableagle wrote:Any idea whether a dent in one of the joints spoils the note of a silver flute? I have one, but couldn't even play a scale on it when I tried to learn. I could play each note within 20 tries, but never the scale. Too much adjustment of the angles of the flute and of the blow.

I'd very much suspect that'd depend on where the dent is. One of my flutes my sister literally sat on so it was bent in half, and after being unbent in the middle it was still playable (but didn't sound great, unsurprisingly).

That said, the bit about each note being independently playable makes me think that unless the scale is failing in the same place every time and the issue is one of a key not transitioning correctly on note change, this is unlikely to be about the flute's condition, and more about the fact that flute embouchure is just not a thing people are good at when they start playing flute, and even an octave requires reasonable control.

But long and short of it - I'd guess if the dent is in the head joint or the foot joint, probably it's not the issue. If it's in the middle section, I could see that causing trouble in the middle of a scale with some sort of key transition not working well.
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Re: 1967: "Violin Plots"

Postby Soupspoon » Wed May 23, 2018 1:20 am UTC

That's the thing about flutes. If you've got it, flaut it!


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