Marty Kasprzyk

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About Marty Kasprzyk

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  • Birthday 06/02/1945

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

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  1. In the architectural acoustics of performance halls for various functions it was found that the reverberation time (how long a time a sound is heard bouncing back and forth before it can't be heard anymore) plays an important role. For clear speech recognition in lecture halls you want a very short reverberation time so the hall walls have highly absorptive surfaces. On the other hand for churches (often hard stone walls with stained glass windows) where you want to hear the gravity of God's echoing words and for halls made for organ music you want a long reverberation time. Orchestra concerts halls and opera halls are somewhere in between but not identical. The acoustic problems of Australia's Sydney Opera House are well documented--its impossible to design something great for everything. I watched acoustical engineer, violin maker and player Anders Buen do a standard balloon burst test for reverberation time in Oberlin College's Warner Concert Hall which was designed for its enclosed organ. The college eventually recognized that this hall, with its hard surfaced parallel walls had a long reverberation time and wasn't ideal for other types of music so they installed remotely controlled hanging absorptive curtains along the walls that could be raised and lowered to adjust the hall's sound absorption and reverberation time. So I suspect that the violin's internal surface has an analogous role. donbarzino mentioned didn't like the long metallic ringing because I suspect it blurred the notes of fast passages like a long reverberation times blurs spoken words and they can't be clearly identified. One viola player told me the opposite. He liked a long ringing because it gave the the lovely harmony effect of rolling church bells in which the long metallic ringing of one note carried on through the next. One personal opinion--if your instrument has low damping you can always add on something to increase it. If your instrument has high damping there's nothing much you can do to lower it. I've been thinking of viola jokes but I'll skip it.
  2. That's why I speculated that there might be an ideal number of reflections. Like many other violin characteristics I suspect different people will like different things.
  3. Of course they didn't do all these calculations. But maybe they were observant enough to notice if things got better or worse when things changed by chance or by making deliberate small changes. On the other hand maybe they didn't have a clue what worked. Only some of their instruments were great--even a dumb squirrel finds a nut sometimes.
  4. Oops, here's the Castle attachment violintonepeculi00castiala.pdf
  5. Frederick Castle's 1906 book "Violin Tone-Pecularities" (attached) also makes the claim that the internal surfaces should have a mirror finish. In the absence of any recent tests I try to keep an open mind regarding the inside surface's properties. Internal microphone measurements show there's all kinds of cavity resonances going on. The sound waves are either absorbed, reflected, or transmitted through the violin walls. I would be surprised if there wasn't some optimum internal surface property for violins. The surface roughness may not be important as Don pointed out because the sound wave lengths are so much larger than the roughness scale. Sound waves therefore won't be scattered. However the surface porosity is important were a high porosity produces high sound absorption--like ceiling tiles. So one question could be the ideal number of times a sound wave bounces around inside before it dies out. The frequencies f of the internal air resonances can be easily calculated from the distance between the opposing surfaces L in meters: f=340/2L where 340 is the speed of sound m/sec of air. For example the internal distance between the inside surfaces of the top and back plates at the bridge location might be about 53mm or 0.053meter so the resonance frequency f: f = 340/(2*0.053) = 3200hz which is in the desirable "Bridge Hill" region of a violin A similar calculation for the lengthwise air resonance (A1) is f= 340/(2*0.35) = 486Hz which sometimes is a sound contributor or couples with other body modes (B1-, B¡+). These above calculations assumed the opposing surfaces were parallel but the actual violin surfaces are curved. This widens a resonance and lowers its amplitude and its expected that the internal arch shapes might have some broadening effect on the violin's sound. The curvature of the internal top and back plate surfaces can also have a focusing effect which Pellusi seems to describe in his diagram. A well known and common use of this effect is in parabolic microphones used for amplifying far away sounds.
  6. The body size of the instrument, its string length and its strings should be designed to achieve the best sound for the intended pitch range. One of the problems with small fractional size violins is that they shouldn't be tuned to the same pitch as full size violins. They should be tuned much higher. For example the small Treble violin of the Hutchins Octet, which is about the size of a 1/4 violin, is tuned a whole octave above a violin. Children's vocal groups don't have anybody singing in a baritone or bass range. But children's orchestras play instruments with the same pitch that adult's use.
  7. The basic problem is that the chin rest was invented hundreds of years after the violin and viola were developed. So it's a tack-on device getting around the tailpiece obstruction in various style ways. If you remove the tailpiece you have much more freedom of shaping and locating and adjusting the chin rest height for your personal comfort. If you remove the tailpiece you can also get rid of the end pin, tail chord and the chin rest clamps that can sometimes irritate your neck.
  8. The question shouldn't be whether or not it sounds good. It should be whether or not the player likes playing it.
  9. If we all follow your "Wash, wash, wash" advice the deaths (a lot) from ordinary flu should decrease too. Perhaps I'm overly optimistic but maybe the combined total number of annual deaths from all types of flues will actually decrease this year. The Covid-19 virus pandemic might actually save lives because, with all of its dire publicity we might be scared enough to finally adopt good heath practices.
  10. Yes, you are correct. I'm searching for a politically correct way of saying many violin makers don't give a shit about the player's health. I put them in the same category as cigarette companies.
  11. Your photo shows the proper way of using the thumb. Players are all taught the wrong way. Any physical or occupational therapist will stress using a correct thumb- finger opposition as seen in the attached photos. Our hands evolved to give us this pinching action where the thumb tip comes in nearly perpendicular contact with the finger tip. It should be helpful to have the neck very thin and for aiding thumb positioning and stability and ideally the underside of the neck was concave rather than convex. The experimental violin maker Doug Martin made a graphite fiber neck/fingerboard with the underside curvature following the curvature of the top surface of the fingerboard )) of only a few mm thick such that the space between the thumb tip and the finger tip was constant regardless of what string was being fingered. Doug's finger board and neck was wide and deep off to the left in order to achieve adequate stiffness and strength but the top curvature of the playing portion of fingerboard was standard as was the string spacing. I thought if felt very easy to hold and play but experienced players thought it felt completely unnatural to them which I thought was ironic because it was such a natural feeling. Of course other makers never adopted Doug's new design and hand therapists still have steady business.
  12. Assuming all the violins are set up correctly, do they differ in the ease of intonation in double stops? If so do you have any ideas why? What are you looking for when you take 10seconds to evaluate an instrument? Thanks
  13. Thanks for pointed out Roman Kings' playing. Besides getting the right pitch here also might be an acoustical advantage of using frets because they give less damping than fingertips. Open string bowed notes always seem louder and to have more ringing after the bow is lifted off of the string. For an example when you play a scale in the first position the open strings GDAE often seem louder than the rest. Plucked open string notes sounds also seem brighter and with longer sustain.
  14. A well known fellow told me he played his Strad violin for seven years before he could overcome all of its problems. I asked him why he stuck with it so long and he said he thought all the effort made him a much better player. I suggested that if his goal was to become a better player he should use one of my violins.
  15. The wolf notes on the lowest strings of any instrument are worse because those strings are the heaviest--the mass per unit length. They shake the instrument more than the upper and lighter strings which disrupts the normal string vibration.