On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 19:38:49 +0100, Thomas Dent <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>Ketil Haugsand has a nice video of inserting and voicing a new
>plectrum (on YouTube) (nearly typed YouTune there) where he mentions
>making the tip rounded or with angled edges, rather than flat straight
Indeed. Normally, cutting off the plectrum's corners brings about a
noticeable improvement in sound: less edginess, less sharpness and more ways
for the player to influence the tone quality. My theory is that with a
straight-across plectrum, the one or the other corner will inevitably detach
latest in the process of the pluck, thus giving a more or less sharp quality
to the sound (I have not verified this in any other manner than empirical
listening, and by closely looking at the wear-pattern on plectra's tips).
But let me tell this: during a maintenance course a few years ago (a
hands-on thing using a one manual Flemish Klop harpsichord with plastic
jacks), I was presenting my way of making plectra. I didn't trust at all
that a simple demonstration using this particular instrument would show what
I meant. Anyway, I played a tone, took out the jack, filed (or whatever) the
edges off the plectrum and re-inserted it.
While I did this, I told the group the little story of how Gustav Leonhardt,
at a summer course, wanted to demonstrate a certain manner of legato on
successive notes of the same pitch, and announced before the demonstration
"every time I want to show this, it doesn't work" (it worked).
So there I was, plectrum prepared, with the growing feeling that by telling
this anecdote, I had worked out any good karma or whatever else I could
evoke to make my little demo come across. Not so. Pling. AAaaaaaH! WHAT a
difference (etc.). Meaning, in many harpsichords, the results do in fact
speak for themselves.
Rounding the front edge is an elaboration of the same theme, but I don't
think that in making plectra, one never should need to overdo one's
administrations. Consistent and neat is good enough, 'elaborate' is usually
just non-essential luxury.
Tilman, waiting for a call to voice Sko. senior's latest opus. Authority
thus established I sign:
Tilman, emphasizing that I don't say "my way's the only way."