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Sensory Evaluation of Brass Musical Instruments, by R. Dale Olson


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This writing represents the first book length work to explain the psychological elements of brass musical instrument testing and evaluation. This subject demands expertise in both the field of music and experimental psychology, the discipline upon which successful testing is based.

It is intended for brass instrument technicians, designers, marketing personnel, testers, historians, pedagogues, and after-market product developers. Basically, it is of interest to all who hold an interest in the technical aspects of brass instruments and the manner in which they may be objectively tested.

Long recognized by authorities in the field is that testing a brass instrument carries with it significant biases and prejudices. These choices are often dictated by issues such as the brand name, the endorsement by a famous player, price, and unfounded advertising claims.

Sensory Evaluation of Brass Musical Instruments explains the origins of these biases, and offers testing protocols by which a maker or designer may gain truly objective testing results. These testing procedures are not necessary for the individual musician simply seeking to chose a new instrument. Obviously, such a decision is based solely upon personal preference.

However, if a designer is attempting to make a decision regarding which of two leadpipes to affix to a new model, it is advisable to not accept the opinion of one, or even several, professional players who may only offer their personal, and often biased preference. To avoid this, the maker should employ a test that has been professionally created, carefully executed, and statistically analyzed. These requisite skills are typically not within the professional background of brass designers, and this books represents a solution to the testing problem.

R. Dale Olson holds Masters Degrees in both Trumpet Performance (University of North Texas) and Experimental Psychology (California State University, Fullerton).

Sensory Evaluation of Brass Musical Instruments is 338 pages in length, and soft cover bound.



Holding and Master’s Degrees in Trumpet Performance (University of North Texas), and Experimental Psychology (California State University, Fullerton), R. Dale Olson brings a new level of expertise to the fields of brass instrument acoustics, design, construction, history, and performance. In 2007, he was named Distinguished Alumnus of the University of North Texas.

Over a period in excess of sixty years, Olson has been co-researcher in brass instrument acoustics and design with Dr. Robert W. Young (then President of the Acoustical Society of America), acoustician William T. Cardwell, Jr., and instrument maker Zigmant J. Kanstul.

He has delivered lectures at numerous Universities and over ten presentations at International Trumpet Guild Conferences.

Although now retired from performance, Olson performed professionally on trumpet for over 60 years in all genres.

Olson was Director of Research for the firm, F.E. Olds and Son, Inc. for nearly a decade, and later consulted on instrument design and testing for firms such as Besson and Kanstul.

His writings are examples of in-depth, deeply researched, precise works that expand the boundaries of the subjects at hand, and are not simplistic restatements of previous authors. Olson’s works typically carry large numbers of references, indices, and appendices to assist in future scholarly investigations.

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