To the editors of the CRIMSON:
I doubt that inaccuracy in orchestral nomenclature is an editorial policy of the CRIMSON, and I cannot imagine that the reviewer intended to abuse the artistry of percussionists, but I do feel obliged to correct a bit of misinformation presented in the review of the recent HRO concert.
The instrument (which Mr. Avshalomov used in Milhaud's "Percussion Concerto") to which the reviewer referred as "a dilapidated Fourth-of-July noisemaker" is actually a respected piece of percussion paraphernalia known as a ratchet. Ratchets have delighted so many for so long that it is scarcely necessary to recall their grand history.
The real concern is the particular ratchet toward which the slander has been directed. This is no ordinary ratchet, but rather the new, carefully selected, exquisitely sensitive, four-pronged, concert ratchet, lent to Mr. Avshalomov by the Harvard University Band. This honorable and delicate instrument may be cranked at angular velocities up to eight pi radians per second. The timbre may be changed by altering the sense of rotation. The possible effects of the ratchet range from single thwacks to pulsating rolls and evenly sustained buzzing. Such awesome versatility is hardly common to "a dilapidated Fourth-of-July noisemaker."
Needless to say, Mr. Avshalomov's ratcheting did credit to this little-understood and seldom appreciated instrument. Laurence L. Brunton '69 Principal Percussionist Harvard University Band