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One of life's little coincidences ? Talking to MANUEL JIMÉNEZ
It could be one of life’s little coincidences, but what is for sure is that magic exists in social media. How lucky we are to be able to have this sort of tools that help us to communicate and meet people from all over the world.
And here is the beginning of our story:
A few months ago I was surfing the huge world of Facebook, looking for new friends and pages with whom to interact. I was surprised when I found one of the few pages in Spanish dedicated, amongst other issues, to the clarinet world.
First of all I sent different posts talking about the Arixa Clarinets barrels, but very soon I understood that it wasn’t the right place, because information about products wasn’t the main aim of the page, the main aim was to create a learning space. What a magic concept!
So, the idea of the page is to create a space to share knowledge and help clarinetists with their hesitations about reeds, ligatures, mouthpieces… and also to be able to read posts about different tests, electronics…
The name of the page which I fully recommend is Investigación aplicada al clarinet, audio y Ediciones de partituras.
This Facebook group has more than 1000 members and we are extremely lucky to have Manuel Jiménez Navarro as the administrator.
I always thought that behind this very interesting page there had to be a very interesting person and this is how I contacted Manuel, with the objective to interview him for our blog and YouTube channel. Manuel loved the idea and for me it has been a great pleasure.
When you ask Manuel Jiménez who he is and how he would describe himself, he says he is just “a normal person”. But I would describe him as a highly knowledgeable person, a good friend but, above all, an extremely helpful person.
A few months ago I asked Manuel to help me because I was interested in having special acoustic tests of the Arixa Clarinets barrels, the results of which I will explain further on.
This type of test is based on the Fourier transform (FFT). This software is a spectrum analyzer and a great tool for decisions directly linked with equalization and filter application, helping decisions when filtering, equalizing and ensuring the mixtures to be able to standardize the audio in different sound systems.
This measurement software helps us to see in a graphic what happens with the time frequency, in level terms, with a certain signal. Because it is a frequency analyser, it receives the name of spectrum analyser.
This was the moment when I discovered it would be basic for me to learn to do this type of test so as to have a visual drawing of the behaviour of the Arixa Clarinets barrels from the acoustic point of view.
Having this information gives us a very important extra knowledge to understand and modify certain parameters from a constructive point of view.
So I am really grateful to Manuel for his help and support but, above all, for his friendship.
And now I would like to highlight some of the very interesting posts that Manuel has published in the Facebook group Investigación aplicada al clarinet, audio y Ediciones de partituras:
In the future, maybe one will be able to light up expression.
A clarinet not only plays, but it can also light up and influence the music, all based on movements. This is the result of the exam thesis of Harald Andersson in Computer and Engineering Sciences. It is the bell of the clarinet that Harald Andersoon has modified. He has set up some microcontrollers by WiFi, movement sensors, LED and a battery inside it.
Clarinet mouthpiece resonator.
As you will see in the photograph, you set it at 4-5 mm from the tip of the mouthpiece and it has the shape of a tear:
Water minimizer for clarinet.
In an everyday supermarket I bought a set of feet patches. I also bought a 3/8’’ boring machine, a very similar size of the clarinet bore. These patches fit perfectly in the base of the barrel and in the bottom part of the clarinet. The most surprising thing is that after two or three hours playing, the parts of the clarinet I mentioned before were a bit damp but without water condensation. I would even say that, due to the superior patches, the condensation inside the bell was reduced a 60% or even more. And what is important to say is that it does not affect the sound nor the tuning because when you apply pressure to those parts, the patches fit in better and make the joints more consistent.
It is a ligature I was looking forward to try because of its way of holding the reed:
Complex acoustic studies on clarinet reeds.
I have had to make a reflection on synthetic reeds. It is a personal reflection. I have been playing with European cut Légère reeds for a few months and I really like them. I have never had this feeling before with synthetic reeds.
I decided to write this post because very frequently you hear people talk about different materials to build clarinets, barrels, bells and mouthpieces.
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