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Marty Kasprzyk

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About Marty Kasprzyk

  • Birthday 06/02/1945

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    Olcott, NY, USA
  • Interests
    Wine making, gardening, dog training,

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  1. A better question would be ...."when we want to build an instrument with rich overtones? Most orchestra instruments, including the violin, are designed to cut off all the really high note overtones which give harsh sound effect. For a violin you want to have a frequency response curve with steep fall-off starting at about 3 or 4 kHz. To get a rich affect you want to have the first few harmonics quite strong.
  2. I believe this violin might have been made by the well respected Australian violin maker Peter Goodfellow. He shows how he carves his violin plates in the Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2n1W5THyGQ
  3. I very much agree that reinforcing a small viola's 1st over tones on the C string with the A0 resonance is a good strategy. However listener tests on small violas have shown that a low A0 is preferred. The Oberlin Violin Makers' "Obialto 2017 Project" (https://hampel-geigenbau.de/en/plus/obialto) designed a 16inch (406mm) viola and had a bunch of identical molds made by CNC machining. These were given to individuals the group and 26 violas were made with the same outline shape and size but with their own various personal choices of plate arch heights and shapes, thicknesses, f hole shapes, wood etc. These were all tested to find their frequency response curves. About 50 listeners evaluated them when played by a good professional player. The group's average preference rating showed a general trend of preferring a low A0 frequency as shown in the attached graph. There also seems to be a strong preference for having light weight top plates as shown in another attached graph. I had mentioned in my previous posts that the A0 frequency is dependent upon the cavity volume and f hole but I forgot to say that a high cavity wall compliance (flexibility of the plates and ribs) also lowers the A0 frequency. I would like to see similar listening testing done on about 25 different size violas. I would expect larger violas made with relatively thin plates would be preferred. But they are not popular because of player injury problems--hence the Oberlin group chose to work on a small viola design.
  4. I use the small diameter Wittner 1/2 violin size pegs to save some weight. A set weighs about 28g.
  5. Looking back at this conversation, do you think we live in wrong part (western NY) of this country?
  6. Perhaps the horn should made with light weight carbon or kevlar fiber epoxy materials.
  7. "It's hard to make predictions--especially about the future." Some viola players like the sound, especially on the C string, of large violas that were traditionally used in the past. Unfortunately these heavy and long violas are strenuous to hold and player injuries were common (https://www.sciandmed.com/mppa) so most players today often use shorter and lighter violas and accept the type of sound they produce. So my efforts have been to try to duplicate the sound of traditional large violas with a much lighter and shorter ergonomic one to reduce future injuries of players and to help the recovery of players who are already injured. Weight has been reduced through material substitutions and cavity shape redesigns that I've previously shown. I'm trying to get viola's the A0 resonance frequency as low as possible with a high amplitude to get strong fundamentals on the lower notes which helps achieve a rich sound. A low A0 frequency can be achieved by having a small f hole area and a large internal cavity volume but a small f hole area unfortunately also reduces the sound output. It is therefore better to increase the cavity volume. Attempts in the past to make a short violas with large volumes by using high rib heights and wide bout widths but these len to some holding difficulties for the player's left hand and chin placement. A better way of increasing the internal volume is to use a variable rib height where a high rib height doesn't interfere with holding such as at the lower bout right side and upper bout left side and a low rib height is used at the upper right side and lower bout left side. The twisted back plate mimics the curved shape of a shoulder rest to make the viola naturally easy to hold and it also reflects the author's mind set. Attached is a photo of a styrofoam mock up of a viola now being built. I predict Carl won't like it.
  8. Good traditional violins usually have a strong D note on the open D string because the that is where the A0 air resonance usually is at 294 Hz. The B1- body resonance peak is usually around 450Hz so the open string A note is also often strong. One tail of the A0 resonance extends to the left of the peak and one tail extends to the right. Likewise for the B1- resonance. These tails combine together to give a total output. But the A0 and the B1- resonances are out of phase so the combination of the two tails is low below the A0 peak and is high above the A0 peak. This has been known for a long time and is shown in John Schelleng's 1962 graph shown below. The consequence of these two resonance tails being out of phase means the violin's open G string and the next four notes are weak sounding because their fundamental harmonics are low amplitude. This happens even with the best violins and this too has been known for a long time and is shown in Saunders' 1937 graph of the note loudness curves of five different Strad violins and their average is shown below. The first few notes also relatively weak on the E string of Stad violins. So Strad violins are strongly liked even though they have many weak notes. Players learn to adapt to these typically strong and weak notes and anything different requires new additional effort. Hence players often can easily play new instruments that are similar to the ones they are used to. The large 5 string viola on the right in the student's video was played as a second violin for that composition and I would characterize its sound as more of an inverse or upside down version of a Strad violin sound. Its lower notes on the G string show some strength because its A0 frequency is 196Hz. The notes near the open E string are strong whereas its open A string is rather weak due to the locations of other resonance peaks. Its Saunders loudness curve, shown below, is superimposed upon a portion of the average Strad violin curve with the same scale. So you are right this is 5 string viola is sort of an anti-violin.
  9. That's the point. These players liked playing something different from the normal. Other players and listeners don't.
  10. These are undergraduate students using three of my instruments at the Crane School of Music in Postdam NY while playing Ellen Schwindt's 2019 composition "Trio for three friends". Matt Grosso is on the right side playing a violin part on 5 string viola. Ellen Schwindt has made some interesting comparisons with music's progressions of harmonic overtone series and Mandlepbrot's fractals where smaller and smaller pieces retain the same form. Sort of like me making sawdust out of large pieces of wood.
  11. A bowed violin string produces all of the overtones of a note in a saw tooth wave form. But because it is so narrow it can't move much air when it vibrates so it produces very little sound. Therefore the string is connected via a bridge to a much larger surface area violin body which can efficiently radiate sound. The bridge and the violin shell have many resonances which can increase or decrease the relative strengths of the string's harmonics produced thus they act as filters of the harmonics. They don't produce the harmonics. A ttached below is one of Colin Gough's diagrams of this sequence.
  12. The minimum bow force needed to prevent bow hair slipping can be lowered by using a slow bowing speed, playing far from the bridge, using a rosing that has a high static coefficient of friction and a low dynamic coefficient of friction, using light tension strings, and having a low admittance at the bridge (bridge and instrument body is hard to move). The last variable is expensive to play with if you like puns.
  13. Dear Anders, I'm trying to sell my violins at very modest prices so I can afford to purchase these ASA violin research publications which hopefully will teach me something of value so I can raise my violin prices so I can buy more of these publications.
  14. Have you tried different rosins on your bow hair? Maybe you need something stickier.
  15. Use the Wittner geared pegs and cut off the scroll.
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