David Beard

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    : Santa Barbara, California

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  1. My answer focused on just one aspect, if you want a standard violin, then you do need a bass bar. Yes. But if you don't care about making a standard violin, then you don't need a bass bar. No. That was at least part of the question posed. To me, the violin is a cultural inheritance, something that evolved as effect and loved in the. So for me, most questions like 'could I make the sides from bakelite?' should stop at 'not if you want to make a violin'. To me, that's the big story. Yes, to actually be a standard or a classical violin, we Do Need a Bar? Why? Primarily, cultural definition and tradition. That is the true first level answer. Do we need to understand what it does and how? No. Not really. That is the beautiful of evolved design. As a community, we need to understand what will work and how to make that happen. We do not need a correct understanding of how or why the feature works, just knowing how to create a result that does work is all that is actually needed. It is in fact more important to keep doing what actually works, and to be able to hear when things are and aren't working. These are really the only things that matter. ****** That said, is it desirable to understand what a features does technically, and the hows and whys of its behavior? Perhaps! Only perhaps! It's not simply good to understand. Most people fail to resist the temptation to then make guided by what they think they know, rather then hewing to the evolved traditional designs. And evolution can put things to use in more complex reasons than you full grasp. In most cases, your bit of 'aha! I think I know how to...' will lead you to maximize some one thing at the cost of unbalancing the whole. Too few take a sufficiently humble approach. 'I think I might know something. I'll try nudging this one thing a little this way. Then I'll see how I like my results.' What does the bar do and how? I can't say I know. Here are a few things I suspect: * Help reduce deformation and carry string load *Help distributed the string load *Help the top respond to large lower frequency out of plane motion in a quicker/stiffened more unified way * Remain pliant enough to not greatly interfere with top breaking into patches of standing waves for higher frequencies * Add some mass for energy capacitance. Why the goofy tappered shape: * Give some degree of center to the mass * promote leaf spring like behavior * make the length ill determined so response is broad * contribute one more element of 'shape stiffness' to the overall plate, somewhat akin to how arching shape does. And I assume these suspicions are imperfect and incomplete compared to what actually happens. But such understanding isn't critical. Knowing how to make a basically standard good bar is critical. And being able to hear and judge results is critical. And testing suspicions of possibly better results by nudging a change in some small and still close to standard way while building a real instrument, and then judging results, this is critical. And persistently favoring almost complete repetition of what works well and best is the most critical thing.
  2. Not really. It is simply part of the defining design. If you want to make a violin, you include a bar. It's part of what defines the sound and behavior. But there's no reason you have to make standard violin. If want to not have a bar, the sky won't fall in, you just won't have a standard violin.
  3. This is why I believe the old system my research found is worth resuming. The system amounts to a mechanism for the community's culture of making to 'evolve', in a literal way. All they had to do is keep making in the tradition they knew, and keep favoring almost entirely repeating the choices from the recent instruments they liked best. That was enough for the designs and instruments to naturally evolve to a great balance of all the factors. Hard to beat the pinnacle of centuries of design by evolution.
  4. Even today, writing for standard groups has an advantage. Established high quality performance groups already exist, and some want new things to play. Odd combos can be good too, but can create the extra challenge of forming a unique group for the one piece.
  5. Yeah. I'm sure there will be lots of hyped out versions of things, and many more sort of crossover artists. But I also expect an unsugared core to remain. I believe we're witnessing a decentralization and broading of music consumption, but not really a retreat.
  6. Yeah. Below a rough size and shape and good fit, not sure it matters much.
  7. I see a lot of folks are saying the peak height should be a bit above the bridge line. This makes sense for me. These are only tentative thoughts, but I think of the bridge as sitting just inside a little square area that extends up to encompass the upper eyes of the soundholes. On many classical violins and violas this little area corresponds roughly to the center 9th of the body. In many ways, this little area seems and feels important. I think of the bar as having a little stretch of maximum height more or less corresponding to that square around the bridge and upper eyes. Of course, I don't mean the bar is flat through there, just flatish. I would tend to put the actual peak spot anywhere from the center of this stretch to 1/4 from the bridge along the stretch. So far, this approach seems good to me.
  8. (Huh. Quote mechanism isn't working? You show what appears as two quotes from me. But only the second one actually is?) I'm only taking about microphone amplification of live human accostic classical playing. Tech and human creative invention will bring many things, but those aren't of primary interest to me. I'm of the belief that the diversification of string playing will expand consumation of basic classical playing, not the reverse. At the same time there are more prancing costumed performers on exotic electeonic strings, I expect there will be nearly as many performances of the Beethoven, Brahms, Bruch, Tchaikovsky, Mendellsohn concertos as every. But I also expect more performances than ever of things like Stravinsky's concerto, Beethoven's triple, Abel sonatas, Paggani on gut strings, Telemann's unaccompanied violin fantasies etc. I suspect music consumption will keep expanding and broadening on all fronts. And for me, a classical accoustic violin performance will remain one of the very most nuanced, connecting, and pure musical vehicles possible. And I don't expect to be alone in continuing to love that core classical violin experience. So, despite all the wonderful innovation also going on, my attention will continue to be completely absorb in the traditonal classical violin. And I expect, just as we see today, the talent pool and skill level in classical playing will keep expanding and advancing rather than retreat.
  9. Yes. Also, amplification quality keeps improving. I believe attitudes against it will diminish. Will this bring changes? Perhaps the 19th century priority to project in a large hall will diminish some in importance. Perhaps small hall virtues will grow in importance; that is clarity and intimacy of nuance.
  10. While there physical parallels in some of the behaviors, they are not physically equivalent. Testing one doesn't assure equal results with the other.
  11. I have seen a tree fall, and I doubt you were there measuring. Also, as a young boy, I jumped off the roof and landed my foot on the stump of a rose bush, puncturing deep into the sole of my foot. All my family witnesses have passed on, you weren't there to record or document. You are not.in a position to prove it happened. Does that prove it didn't?
  12. Ask 100 experienced players. But yes, outside of scientific confirmation. If a tree falls outside the range of your scientific instruments, does that prove it didn't fall?
  13. Why they emotional resistance? I tend also to believe that think both believing old violins became good by aging and believing new violins will become good by aging are cop outs. And I don't find that aging arguments explain why instruments highly teasured now are the same ones treasured then. But I have no resistance to the idea that the wood and instruments change somehow with times. It just seems to me that the evidence shows those aging issues can't be top-of-pile important in what makes instruments good or bad. I think the evidence suggests aging certainly isn't bad, and likely is a minor positive. And again, I agree that simplistic 'magic bullet' discovery that claims that suggest the whole thing boils down to some one dimensional trick are tiresome. But still, warts and all, I've got nothing against people that take efforts to collect some data and share it with the world. I'll also forgive that anyone who wants larger scale awareness and discussion of violin work is inevitably pulled to romanticize and aggrandize. Our foolish world insists on such nonsense.