Marty Kasprzyk

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About Marty Kasprzyk

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  • Birthday 06/02/1945

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  • Location
    Olcott, NY, USA
  • Interests
    Wine making, gardening, dog training,
  1. Stradivari's secret was a concept?

    My theory is that old violin tops are full of cracks which were caused by repeated shrinking and swelling of the wood by humidity changes over many seasons. These cracks might increase the wood's damping. This could be the reason why Joseph Curtin's observed that tapping the top of an old violin produced a short "thunk" sound rather than a long ringy one that new plates often produce. This increased damping should decrease the time it takes for a bowed string to achieve a steady state vibration. This would enable fast passages to be played clearly which might be one reason why players sometimes prefer old instruments. This suggests that there is an optimum amount of damping. Others have already thunk this.
  2. Stradivari's secret was a concept?

    We still need an explanation why these old makers also made mediocre violins. If they were all great I would concede they possessed some skill or knowledge we don't have today. What did they do--wake up some days having forgotten everything they knew and then the next days remembering it all?
  3. Stradivari's secret was a concept?

    While we're at it, who coined the term "Golden Era" and when?
  4. Stradivari's secret was a concept?

    What differentiates "Golden Era" Strad violins from his other violins? Do they look or sound better?
  5. inlays

    That was a well spent 24 min.!
  6. 12-20K Viola Suggestions

    That's why I'm a such a strong believer in double blind tests. On the other hand, even if Elias was blindfolded he would still notice something was a quite different. The maker's name was Abby Normal.
  7. Self-taught violin makers

    Patience is important--if you have a spouse or significant other they need a lot of patience. It also helps if they have a good job.
  8. 12-20K Viola Suggestions

    The VSA doesn't have a sales effort at the conference. Visiting attendees have to pay an admission fee and after the instrument competition is completed the instruments are available for inspection. Each instrument is given a number and has its label covered so it can't be identified and the instruments are laid out in sequence on long tables. A list is provided after the competition is over which gives the makers' names for those numbers. An attendee can privately contact the makers afterward. There is no formal program for meeting the makers. Often times the makers will also be attending the conference and can be seen wandering around aimlessly and they will be wearing name tags so they don't forget who they are.
  9. World's Oddest Bass Bar?

    You are ignoring the fact that all these patents have made lots and lots of money for many people. If you have a good idea a patent attorney will charge thousands of dollars to write it up. The government patent examiner will reject it and your attorney will rewrite it overcome the objections. This might go around a few times which costs even more money. If the idea really works somebody will copy it and then you have to go to court to defend it which costs more money for your attorneys. If you finally win the case you might get a settlement for patent infringement but then your government officials will take a big chunk of the money for taxes so everybody else makes lots of money. It's much more cost and time effective for a violin innovator to skip all the patent stuff and go directly into obscurity.
  10. New stop length?

    It wasn't a publication. I wrote a research literature review for violin maker friend Alkis Rappas back in 2014-2015 which discussed some violin sound issues that others had thought to be important. What I had posted was section 3.2 of that review which had this organization: Part I, Desired Qualities 1. Evenness of note loudness 2. Loudness, projection 3. tone color or timbre quality 3.1 Darkness, brightness 3.2 Roughness, autodissonance, psychoacustics 3.3 Low end harmonic's effects on note sound quality 3.4 Nasal region 4.0 Ease of playing Since then there have been many more articles published and I should update my review to include them. A good reference for the "singers formant" is "The Science of the Singing Voice" by Johan Sundberg, 1987 Northern Illinois University Press. My significant other is a mezzo-soprano singer and her voice is extremely powerful. She didn't fit in well with choirs and it is interesting to read Sundberg's ideas of what an ideal soloist voice is compared to what an ideal chorus voice is. Others have suggested same kinds of things might apply to violins for soloist vs. orchestras but I'm not sure. The main issue might be just power.
  11. New stop length?

    Thanks for your new theory idea! It could be an over simplification but perhaps if you cut out some high frequencies the sound might sound better, which is what Dunnwald and others have suggested, but the sound would also get weaker. If you add some real high frequencies that are large multiples of the fundamental that are not offensive you might get some of the loudness perception back and even contribute to sound quality like you are suggesting. A pdf is attached which hopes to show of why the harmonic content of notes might sound good or bad. Part_1_section_3.2_on_harshness.pdf
  12. Origin of Fractional Size Designations

    It was done by the same people who did US woman's dress sizes.
  13. Harsh sound?

    You almost got it right. Some of the acoustic energy in sound waves is still wasted for listeners because the sound doesn't get very far away from the violin's surfaces before they cancel out each other due to their different phases. Only the acoustic energy portion (radiation damping) gets far away from the violin is useful. There are other damping energy losses from the violin which I failed to mention earlier. These are energy absorbed by the left hand, chin, shoulder, collar bone used for supporting the violin. Thus a violin might sound different for different people merely because they hold it differently. I watched a good player demonstrate how he could change his violin's sound by just changing his chin pressure. This is why researchers doing impact hammer tests are careful to always clamp the violin in their test rig the same way. If there were no structural damping the violin would indeed be more efficient for producing sound so it would be louder but we wouldn't like it. There is some optimum range of structural damping desired to make the resonance peaks and valleys not too sharp with too little damping or not too rounded with too much damping. This affects whether or not vibrato gives too lively or too dull sounding and how even one note is to the next. It may also affect the amount of "ringyness" a violin has. Personal tastes are important so there is probably a range of acceptable amounts of structural damping. Discussions regarding violin sound quality vs. sound output are often quite loud.
  14. Harsh sound?

    Anything that dissipates energy in a vibrating system like a violin is considered to be "damping". The energy from a violin's vibrating string can be dissipated by several different kinds of damping- some of it is useful in producing sound while the rest of the energy loss or damping isn't. The wood plates bending back and forth dissipates energy by generating heat from internal friction so this energy is lost and isn't producing any sound. This is often called "structural" or "internal damping" and this is determined by the type wood used and its condition (moisture content, finish etc. The plates bending back and forth also pushes air around which causes "acoustic damping" energy loss. Some of this air movement produces sound close to the plate but these sounds cancel each other and this air movement just heats the air (This is why some violin discussions are just "hot air") and this is another another not useful portion of the total damping. If the plate's transverse bending speed is near the speed of sound in air then the plate can produce sound that propagates far away (far field is about a meter outward) and this useful portion of the energy dissipated is called "radiation damping". The plate's bending speed is dependent upon its stiffness / mass ratio so to produce a lot of sound you want some good combination of arching (increases stiffness) thickness, wood elastic modulus, and density. The efficiency of a violin can be defined by the energy or damping that goes into producing sound divided by the total amount of damping. Good violins are apparently more efficient at producing sound: their "radiation damping"/total damping ratio is high. So finally we get back to the original question of what the different things varnish does. It can add various amounts of "internal" or "structural" wood damping and various amounts of stiffening increases and various amounts of increased mass. Different varnishes behave differently and its possible that a particular varnish can stiffen the wood significantly while adding only a little mass to make the violin more efficient at producing sound. What often happens though is that new, thick, sticky varnish produces a lot of internal damping loss while simultaneously adding mass which decreases the violin plates efficiency at producing sound both of which decrease the sound output. If the varnish hardens over time its damping may decrease while its stiffness increases and an improvement in sound output might result. Of course none of this is important if the varnish looks good.