David Beard

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    : Santa Barbara, California

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  1. Going back to the OP, and not to be flip, but my feeling is you should stick to wood you positively like, not try to figure out how to adjust and accomdate wood that you describe in a negative way, like spongy. That's my actual reposnse to the OP's scenario. So to be flip, use the spongy stuff to build tool case that hold the knives and gouges you use to carve violins from wood you actually like.
  2. ?? When I did study ct scan maps and thickness maps for Cremona maps, I came away with the following: * Backs generally have a extra central mass of thickness, sometimes near circular, sometimes elongated along the center line. * Tops generally are near equal thickness diaphragms with thickness drift around with about .2mm variance in no really consistent patern * Immediately near the edges tend to be thicker for backs and tops. Outside the f holes to the edge tends to be considerably thicker. * The area of the top between the upper soundhole eyes tends to be barely thinner, particularly in Strad.
  3. Are you saying you expected the top to be thickest at center? I only expect that with Cremona backs, not at all with the tops.
  4. Is that a comment the instrument?
  5. The frequency of a resonance depends on material properties and dimensions. If the dimension aspect is less defined, then the system will resonate to a larger range of frquencies and cut away less dramatically. This is part of the stuff first sorted out with resonance cavities, etc. **** Also part of what's good about the standard f hole shape. Are we looking long skin shape? Are we looking at large ovals that are partially covered? Etc. The shape is vague and support resonances that want to see it in different ways.
  6. Another aspect is that rounded means a less defined opening for the air cavity. Less hard edge and sharply defined geometry in resonance tends toward broadening response.
  7. Is that piece of wood good for fittings? No. Will that stop you?
  8. I'm not bold enough to declare if spruce or willow is better for the final results, or that it doesn't matter. What is clear is that Cremona makers actively maintained the willow choice for generations. To me, the out standing exception of Del Gesu has more the sense of 'Ah, I can get away with this. One less material to source.' Rather than 'Ah, spruce linings and blocks will work better.'
  9. If you aren't sure about what your doing, and where the danger points are, then just don't play arpund with cooking varnish. Go buy some.
  10. It's not good to just supress a range of frquencies. Clarity of tone and articulation require the full spectrum to speak well. But it would be good to reduce noise and increase the signal or the portion of signal.
  11. Design by evolution. ******** Build in a way that facilitates fine grain variation and overall essential repetition. Favor repetition of choices from examples you like better. Work together in a cohesive community focused on high quality work. Let years and generations and thousands of iterations inform your work. No need to understand the science. Just cleave to the traditions of your craft and further explore the variations used in examples you liked better.
  12. We don't currently have a goos way to measure how much of the sound volume is 'signal' versus how much is 'noise'. I beleive it happens that a violin that throws a little more energy into higher frequencies sounds that are either not the signal, or are distortions from the signal made somewhat less coherent from being distorted, such instrument will sound loud under the ear, but not carry so well. Instruments that put more energy in high frequency, but have a better portion of the energy in coherent musical signal will have good carry and sound loud up close. But instruments with a good portion of energy in coherent signal, but balance more toward lower partials however are likely to carry well, but not be so loud up close. I don't think we have a good way to measure these things, but that is my working hypothesis.
  13. We are so much speculating in the dark with this topic. Energy goes into a violin from the player. Some of it is wasted quietly. Some of it goes into unmusical noise. But what we care about is how much energy goes into musically meaningful sound. Improve that percentage, quality, and balance. Some of that musical signal energy radiates out from the instrument. Improve that percentage, quality, and balance. This radiating signal travels some distance and is disipated and rebalanced in traveling. Better understand how the signal modifies under various traveling circumstances. Finally, some portion of the radiating signal reaches the listener at a distance. Better understand how the signal is perceived and judged musically. We are blind for now. What portion of input energy comes out as musically meangful? What portions of a sound signal are muiscally meangful? What portions of the signal convey what? Further, all sounds near a frequency aren't created equally. Harmonically coherent sound energy gives us a 'pitched' experience. A similar amount of sound energy but harmonically incoherent gives a noise impression. Etc. We need studies that show frequency spectrum against time, in very small time increments, and that aim to make harmonic coherence very evident when present. Perhaps some sort of color coding could do this. With computer tools, this kind of sound analysis might let us begin to grapple with some aspects of what 'good' and 'bad' musical sound mean on physical and informational levels. Then we might not be so blind in a discussion like this. Amps generated in a mic might give some gross physical notion of 'volume', but it means nothing against the perceptions of a musical ear. ******* If instead of looking to science we look to culture, then articulation is something that fiddlers and singers focused on when wanting to reach the back of the auditorium (i.e. see discussion by Galamian). Also, notions of open resonant Bel Canto tone and 'supported power' come into play. In other words, the bulk of energy is sent into very harmonious consonant broad core tone, but dressed very abundantly in the noises and timing of enhanced articulation. ****** I'd love to see much more detailed science about what we hear as good and bad sound.