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Why new Instrument sounds better after play??


Mudoe

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You expect a mature model to be given to you, so that you will not have to think. What do you want, varnish in a bottle, no urge to experiment?


I haven't asked for anything. You lump me in with your general rage at the thread. Just isn't applicable.

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the proper questions have not been asked and there has been no attempt at an offer to ask them. You all seem to want "the solution" with no thought whatsoever.


Nonsense.

And further, if you feel the wrong questions are being asked, which may be the case, you should pose the qeustions you feel are proper.

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It is not in your nature. You are innured to the violin...... but the problems are broader than the violin.


A somewhat sweeping condemnation.

What problems are broader than the violin? What are you talking about?

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What--are the "science types" dissolving in a whimper of irresolution here? Now you guys know why Real Violinmakes skip the philosophy and head directly for the wine when this topic comes up. :-)


No, we're dissolving in a whimper of inadequate and conflicting data, and inadequate effort. We're also too busy or lazy to go to the library. Feel free to let your eyes glaze over.

You can't make a violin with science. I hope no one argues that you can. But you're more of a scientist than people realize, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. When you investigate varnish and ingredients, that's science. When you wonder if the wood has been treated, that's science. But you're right, the scientific payoff has been pretty miserable, I think largely because of lack of resources.

When we inquire what it takes to play in a violin, that's science, and we don't have to know the details of the mechanism for it to be science. I think it's a question that has an immediate payoff, and one that we really could answer. Of course, when people try to play in a guitar by driving it hard enough to blow out flames, that's bad science. It's a little hard for me to understand why it hasn't been done right.

It's great that we have a little philosophical debate here. Now, does anyone know if these debates go better with new wine or old wine?

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" I bring this up because I have been in a position to observe the results of people who claim to occupy both camps first hand. My observations lead me to believe that those people who utilize science and instrumentation in order to guide their construction principals, do not generally construct violins that are in any way superior to those who use tradition and/or intuition. In fact in the majority of cases I have noticed a trend in the opposite direction. "

I completely agree with this statement. From what I've seen, I would say that the question that doesn't get asked is "SHOULD everything be controlled" not "CAN everything be controlled". Generally I find the instruments of people who claim to control their instruments via acoustic technology to be not actively bad, but simply boring--the kind of art you'd get if you could teach a machine to paint. …..


This is unfortunate, but something I can easily believe. A lot of scientists jump into conclusions without considering the secondary or more subtle effects because the science becomes more difficult. There’s also the fact that the scale from bad to good is subjective. There’s no quantitative, measurable parameter that makes one violin good and another bad. At least nothing definitive that I’m aware of. The sound is described in terms of “rich” or “dark” or “full-bodied” or “sexy” or other adjectives that don’t mean a thing to the scientist.

There are a lot of things to be gained from using science and technology, but it’s a matter of using the tools properly. I don’t know enough about Chladni modes and tuning, but if there’s a database of Chladni patterns for 1000 violins, from the Strads to the factory junk, I contend the information would be very useful for luthiers.

There is control and there is measurement. If you’re controlling anything, you’d better know exactly what it is you’re controlling and that you’re measuring the right thing. The question I’d like answered by those using science for violin making is, “are the important measurements being made?”

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There have been a couple of more interesting surveys of the type you'd like to see. Off the top of my head, I can't pull them up, but one was a non-pretentious examination of hundreds of very different types of violins divided into various categories of tone and analyzed for common harmonic elements. That provides some interesting data well worth chewing on--maybe someone here will remember it.

The problem, for me, is that a lot of the sheer bulk of "research" has concentrated on unfounded pseudoscientific assumptions--generally of the "more is better" type, or the "more control is better" type. (Note the number of tests and articles on measuring wood stiffness and treatments to give MORE stiffness vs the lack of articles relating to discovering the actual stiffness of the wood of good violins). The result is makers chasing after strategies such as "beautiful" glitter patterns or particular notes for tuing that have not actually been connected to better performance by anyone with any qualifications to judge (often the tonal "authority" seems to be some regionally unknown player--the person a former employer of mine cynically refers to as "the local expert"). As someone once said to me, "the idea that the parts of musical instruments should be, themselves, musical is very seductive" and unproven, since most research has been done by people with no access to violins of real quality.

I may have already mentioned here that the final straw for my toleration of the CAS was "research" on the relative acoustical characteristics of the Stradivari and Guarneri outlines. The analysis was done by vibrating flat panels of something like 1/8" plywood paneling cut to outlines of unspecified Stradivari and Guarneri violins. The "research" was conducted by somone who seemed to have no personal access to original instruments--and who knows what they were using for examples, since it wasn't specified in the article. It was an article that should have been killed at birth, but wasn't, so I killed my membership, instead.

Something I'm constantly wary of is my awareness that I've collected a selection of things I do which I'm afraid not to do because at some point an instrument I did one of them on was successful. However, I keep in the front of my mind that that's NOT evidence that the strategy itself is functional. I would expect and hope that generally my instruments get better as I make more--I think that many non-introspective makers attribute their successes to the queer things they did as they naturally (and coincidentally) progressed ("I tuned this instrument's top to 397.2351 hz and it was better than the one before, tuned to 369.4633 hz--AHA!") Unfortunately, this is the kind of trash science that attracts all the attention, because it holds the promise that any idiot can make a good violin if he can tune a top to 397.2351 hz.

The work that's most interested me lately is Martin Schleske's. He's simply trying to exhaustively analyze single instruments, and then duplicate them so that his copies measure, as closely as possible, the same as the originals. I think he's come up with some interesting ideas, if not about making, then about how a violin works. However, as far as I'm aware, even with very sophisticated equipment and the assistance of an interested acoustician, he admits, the last I knew, to being unable to control harmonics over 1000 hz (his observation is that the vibrational modes of higher frequencies are small and complexly interwoven in ways that frustrate manipulation). It doesn't take much reflection to realize that this covers pretty much the entire harmonic component of a violin--the very stuff that tone is made of. However, this recognition of the specific limitations of what he's doing is exactly what makes his stuff worth reading.

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For Michael and others who may identify with his postings:

Here is a change in the appeal I have been trying to make. There are diffences amongst technology, engineereing, and science. The actual relevant science to understand violin break-in (the original subject of the thread) is likely not to be made into a technology for a long time.

The CAS was not scientific, they were trying to develop an engineering technique based on normal modes. At this period in history normal modes are very old hat. Today is much later than the develpment of the (linear) mechanics of Lagrange (1736 - 1816). You can see that he was a rough contemporary of Joe Haydn.

The CAS had a few good ideas based mostly on Arthur Benade's success with winds, but likely not relevant to the most important violin questions I would pose. In particular, there is no room in Lagrangian analysis for mechanisms related to breaking in.

There has not been an "enormous amount" of research related to violins. There has been practially none. I have read a couple of things by Schleske and find him at the front door of a bit of science. He is doing what I have recommended for some time. That is, to statistically categorize a lot of instruments and try to develop a language for describing sound in violins. Later, one can try to correlate this with some kinds of measurements. I wish him and the others all the luck possible.

I erased many of my postings because I could not make the above points no matter what I said. I am now trying to restate a few things. You were right to throw out the CAS ideas based on Chladni patterns as models for anything at all. I threw them out when I was about 18 or 19. (First year or two of college) Traditional Chladni plates are flat. The results of what you saw in the comparison of outlines should be that nothing can be said about tone based on observing Chladni plates of different outlines. The different outlines may place some constraints on the sorts of "nice" archings makers are likely to use, and this may makes some differences in tone types. If one uses arched plates and calls them Chladni plates, then one may learn few things, very few. Prestrssing of the structure would not be considered even by arched plates in the Chladni model, of course.

One thing you non-science people need to look into is the nature of the person doing the research. LaFolia said this and he has shown himself to me to be a scientific person. Chladni may have been only an amateur scientist plus he lived a LONG time ago. I never heard of any other thing he did.

Acousticians: These are not people who look into music. I posted before what modern acoustics was, in part. They also look at all kinds of strange mechanical motions in solids and whatever that may mean for mathematical physics. Materials science too, and that means applied mathematics big time, because these are very difficult things to model. No academic who values his reputation is going to dealve into violins.

As for me, this "science type" has interest in questions which may or may not eventually lead to some understandings. I do not make violins with any "science" except the following:

I find an effective stiffness at the 5-mode, which is the one which is produced if you hold in the approximate center of one half of the upper bout and strike it with a knuckle. From this I compare to the mass of the plate and make a number which seems to guide me in the graduation of a plate. The idea is to compensate for varying stiffness and densities of different billets of wood. That is all. On the other hand, I likely would not have thought of this simple excercise if I did not think like a "science type."

I do no engineering technology which is what you and the others seem be confusing with science.

Hopefully, this will clairify things. As for me, I will not loose my interest in possible scientific aspects which might help to understand nearly anything about the violin or its sound perception by players. No more than I plan to stop playing violins or violas, looking through telescopes, or riding motorcycles.

So I ask only that you stop using the term "science type" because you are not making good distinctions as to what science may be. It is a kind of put-down that is not warranted. I am a "science type." But I do not try to use science-derived engineering or technology in making violins; simply because things are too complicated for a decent investigation with no money or workers. However, some intuitions may have guided my thinking. You are right to be sceptical of science claims, but please ask yourself in the future if a particular model or idea is the result of actual science.

This seems to be a reasonable request.

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The scientific search for the holy grail about violins is based in the assumption that there is only one way to make a good violin. To me it's not the case, the variables (and the relations between them) are so many, as well as the particular taste of musicians.

Michael, you touched in point I would like to have more information, the quality of the wood used, for instance, in the CANON.

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Very well said, and at 3:00 a.m.! I have just a few specific comments:

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...The actual relevant science to understand violin break-in (the original subject of the thread) is likely not to be made into a technology for a long time.


I don't know why not, as long as we simply try to mimic the process instead of getting carried away with trying to understand the details of the process.

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The CAS was not scientific, they were trying to develop an engineering technique based on normal modes.... There has not been an "enormous amount" of research related to violins. There has been practially none.


I'd say it was scientific. Probably not good enough, but a sincere scientific attempt nevertheless. I'd agree that there has been very little serious research. A crucial and difficult requirement is to ask questions that are simple enough to be answerable and important enough to be productive.

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...You were right to throw out the CAS ideas based on Chladni patterns as models for anything at all.


I think they used iron filings to image the nodes. This requires flat plates. Imaging nodes of a 3-dimensional object requires much more sophisticated equipment, but I'm pretty sure it can be done. Not surprisingly, it requires money.

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You get a piece when no one's looking, and we'll run some tests. :-)

The bottom line of what I was saying is that there are far too many unchecked assumptions about what's desirable for a violin, the result of an accumulation of unthinking lore, that drive the directions that people have taken their tests and experiments. Stiffer wood is better; finer grained wood is stiffer (something which has just recently been officially debunked--you'd think it would have taken less than a couple of centuries for someone to figure that out!). No one, to my knowledge, has extensively checked Fetis' (?--or was it someone else..) declaration that Stradivari backs ring F and tops F#--for almost two centuries makers have just unthinkingly taken this as The Word, and gone from there. Further, no one really knows if this is actually significant or not. I'd liken it to painting cars red and expecting them to go fast, because fast cars are red.

We've had this out before--John believes that the only thing that should be called science is the stuff that fits his own standards. Unfortunately, my friends in various fields tell me that the problem of stupid and bogus research (and publishing) doesn't only fall in the realm of violins--it reaches into every scientific field--if we use the name "science" for only the fields where all research is accurate and sensible, I think we may well have to retire the word.

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How is "engineering technology" NOT science?

Seems to me a distinction without a difference.


I generally think of "science" as theoretical - and involves exprerimental and observational collection of data to test a hypothesis or question.

"Engineering" to me is "applied science" and is focused on a working solution to a real world question.

Obviously the distinctions can get blurry in some fields (like Geology which I studied) but those generally work for me. And there is a lot of crap psuedo-science out there. One of the keys to real scientific inquiry, is developing a testable hypothesis. Part of why I keep coming back to this way over my head thread is I am seeing an attempt to find some theories which allow for testing. Impractical to test is not bad science in my opinion. It can make for interesting discussions and sometimes point to a test which could be made.

I see two "Big" questions in this thread.

1. Where in the violin are the "play-in" effects occuring - this is testable to my mind, just set up a reciprocal bow on a new instrument and observe what changes occur to it set up and being excited.

2. What is happening in the materials which make up the instrument to cause these effects?

Ok, there is a PHD thesis all ready to go - but I want to be credited... that's Science.

Answer those questions and let the makers determine how to use those answers to make a better violin - Thats Engineering.

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This isn't specifically a reply to Michael, just a reply in order in the thread.

John:

"The actual relevant science to understand violin break-in (the original subject of the thread) is likely not to be made into a technology for a long time."

La Folia;

"I don't know why not, as long as we simply try to mimic the process instead of getting carried away with trying to understand the details of the process."

This process happens anyway. What attempt to "mimic" it are we talking about, since it is one thing that happens anyway? We have lost the opportunity to observe if this happened with any of the early violins (or, better modern ones) in question whose tone we seek to emulate, but I would assume that the phenomenon is probably universal. Since the changes (that occur during "break in") work in our favor, I would say that understanding exactly why it happens may well be a moot point as well as any attempt to "mimic" it - why not move on to questions such as why, (since virtually all well made violins seem to break in for the better anyway), some violins END UP sounding better, playing easier (etc.) than others?

In my opinion, the final voice of the violin probably has nothing to do with the "breaking in " process - which simply happens, as I have pointed out, in any case.

It IS important to think about what exact questions we ask because it is obvious that a lot of wasted time is spent on superfluous delving into things that improve our lot as makers not one bit.

Understanding the "break in" phenomenon may well be one of those things that, even if we understood it, wouldn't help us make better violins. IT HAPPENS ANYWAY. Of course, who knows, since we really don't understand it, there is no telling where an understanding of the process would lead. It is simply one of those things that don't particularly make me question much, because I am convinced that (right or wrong) no important practical answers lie in understanding that particular process. It seems to be incidental.

For my money this is why most of the "scientific types" (please excuse the need to catagorize) fail to produce any practical methodology for improving the violin - they seek to understand things that are merely coincidental simply because the questions exist.

I understand the drive to understand why things work, and yes I would like to know exactly what was going on there too. But, I'm not convinced that understanding THAT process specifically would provide me with any useful information for building.

Let me reiterate my standing on the matter. I have nothing against understanding why things work the way they do, nor would I think of telling anyone that they are wasting their time attempting to understand things scientifically. On the other hand, when dealing with the violin and violin making today, understanding the science behind why and how the violin works doesn't seem to be a requirement for making a top quality violin. It SEEMS to be simply another tool, and one that works in a very limited fashion. I think that perhaps, as John has already pointed out, not much real science has been done and the right questions haven't been asked or answered.

Then, as an individual who hasn't been trained in science or math much beyond the high school level, what benefit would I derive from adopting any of their methods? I am and have always been involved in the arts, an as a result have always worked with the intuitive process (in the field of Graphic Arts) so, as a tool, intuition, hands on building, and the rest, has been an immediate and useful tool and one that I already understand. Why change a successful action?

I am enjoying this conversation immensely. Please - lets strive to continue to discuss this without bringing the usual "hurt feelings" into it that end up derailing such exchanges. If anyone feels the need to get angry, go count to ten, perhaps drink a frosty ice cold Guinness Extra Stout, and then reply. If we can get over our passion or zeal about such subjects then perhaps one day we will make some real progress and everyone will benefit. After all, these are only personal opinions regarding a subject we all love, right?

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Would it be correct to say that Newton had done no science in his description of mechanics and gravitation merely because we have since discovered that his equations are merely the simplistic descriptions limited to a certain domain (low relative speed of whatever is being described and its surroundings) of what is "really" going on? How then will we look back on Einstein when someone finally proposes a Grand Unified Theory that explains what Einstein described in other terms, as part of something even more fundemental that explains it all? And could we finally then agree to call it Science, not able to know that nobody would discover yet another set of explanations even more fundemental?

Nonsense. I'd argue Archimedes was performing science, as were all kinds of people whose theories have now been shown as inadequate or flawed. I'd say that Science is rational attempts to explain how things are, how things work, why things work, etc.

And "engineering" is simply techniques for developing designs that meet certain performance criteria, and to demonstrate that those criteria are met. The ability to make those designs efficiently and be able to demonstrate how the criteria were followed is related to the techniques used which make engineering engineering and not simply a hand-waving excercise.

I know Michael Darnton plans out his thicknesses on the backs of his violins. He's got schemes he follows generally to establish these thicknesses, schemes he follows to establish his arching, etc. You could argue that what he is doing is engineering. I have no problem with engineering, because it makes things so much easier to design and build than non-engineering, at least if you wish to do it somewhat predictably and repeatably.

Given my definitions, I'd argue those who are using Chladni patterns are following an engineering approach. I don't condemn them for this, because as I said any approach that helps one design and implement a violin somewhat predictably and repeatably, or at least consistently, is a valid and good thing.

However using Chladni patterns isn't really science, because there is no rational attempt to explain why it works, or the mechanisms involved, etc. And my bias against Chladni patterns, if I have such a bias, is related solely to the fact that as an engineering technique it is no more or less valid than other engineering techniques which have proven over time to be just as effective in creating a good violin and which require far less effort and gear. I think some bias can be related to the claims of some that Chladni patterns represent science, when that isn't really true, so it's the pretention of science which offends. Seen as an engineering technique, however, it is hard to criticize.

If Chladni pattern usage were to be shown to result more often in good violins, or in violins whose excellence surpassed that of violins made by other techniques, then I'd be more interested. But if at the end of the day the folks using Chladni patterns aren't making consistently better violins than the folks who are using some other technique, then I don't see any reason to bother with it.

I'm actually a "science type" myself, having started college majoring in Physics and even after changing majors still having gotten a minor in physics and mathematics. I was always interested in how things work, and being able to understand the nature of things. I just understand that there are far, far too many variables in violinmaking for me personally to be able ever to explain the fundemental principles of it all, and so I just accept the tried and true engineering techniques such as mapping out certain thicknesses and following them in hopes of making my next violin turn out well. Oh well.

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This [playing in] process happens anyway. What attempt to "mimic" it are we talking about, since it is one thing that happens anyway?...It IS important to think about what exact questions we ask because it is obvious that a lot of wasted time is spent on superfluous delving into things that improve our lot as makers not one bit.


The problem is that the most educated buyers may be able to guess what a new violin will sound like, but must buyers cannot. I don't know if it matters to you, but you are not showing your new violins at their best. Why else would one of our local makers be experimenting with vibrating his instruments? Of course, if you have time to wait, I have heard some great violins that are only a couple of years old. The problem may also be related to long-term aging of instruments and wood. Would you like your new instruments to sound 200 years old?

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The problem is that the most educated buyers may be able to guess what a new violin will sound like, . . .


Boy, ain't it the truth. People love to have me perform miracles adjusting their own violins to fit them. I wish they'd let me have a chance to do that when I'm trying to sell them one, instead of instantly rejecting violins for the most minor of adjustable reasons without alowing that that I might be able to change everything if they'd just tell me what the problem was.

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I agree with this mostly. On the other hand, it cannot hurt TO know something. You can disregard anything you know. Some things are irrelevant to a given situation. But you now have the freedom to pick and choose your "facts."

Also, what I wrote is not inconsistent with violinmaking's being an art if that is your preference. I admitted that I use only one simple quantitative test to look at the plates.

What further knowledge may do is to provide a way to label wood for sale. Perhaps a maker could buy wood guaranteed to have certain measured properties.

It would also be nice to reduce break-in time, know what to expect and best of all for the buyer to know what to expect.

I don't think that ignorance is bliss. It leads to false beliefs and superstition. The lore of the violin has a few beliefs that may or may not be superstition. The results of the CAS are just more ideas that may or may not have value, I am sure you would recognize that.

Killing off superstition is a virtue in my book. As an example, read the papers and realize the degree to which ancient superstitions cause desperate situations in international relations. (I ain't got religion)

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I meant that one could never be SURE of what was going on without a full-blown model. For example, this de-damping fad seems to work for some and not for others. No one can agree if it hurts or helps a violin. Even if the effects are permanent or not. De-damping seems appealing at first and so does electronic vibration etc.

Are they doing any de-damping over 1000 Hz? The motors are not that fast. But are there implications for the higher frequencies? I don't know of course. The response spectra of violins show a forest of peaks above about 1000 Hz. Does de-damping affect these? Or at least might it cause a roll-off above 6K or so? I don't know. I wrote this paragraph for Michael.

I have made my own "speaker violin" with a small wooden stick connecting a violin bridge to a speaker cone...... Playing for a few weeks seems to make a difference, but without a measurement, how can I tell ? I do not trust my subjective memory.

Many out there have made speaker-violins or some kind of experiment like this. If you have not, try it, it is easy. I will email a couple of photos if anyone is interested in what mine looked like.

Yes, the CAS was sincere. The problem is that one never knows at any stage how relevant given findings are. Better physical models can save a lot of time running down blind alleys. I learned about tap tones from CAS. I use the ring mode as I said, so that was one useful thing for me. I am in favor of any enquirey. Feynman said, "If it disagrees with experiment, it is WRONG." Very good...... but in the violin world, one does not even have a concensus on how to do an experiment or what to look at.

Presumably, people are paying for something when they buy a violin. I may not be all about sound to pay several millions for a valuable Cremona violin. But maybe it is....... How does one speak about it?

Chaladni plates are interesting. I agree with your idea about why they were flat. I think that CAS did a service to point out that you could sprinkle the "sand" on the inside surface. Michael quit the CAS because they were looking at flat violin shaped chladni plates. I don't know if they tried to make conclusions about different models or not. If Michael was looking for too much information in this demonstration, that was his problem. Conclusions and their importance are not the science. That is another thing the anti - "science types" should remember. The "science types" should also try less hard to push their conclusions too. Maybe things would be a little smoother going and even more productive.

This thread has had a lot of controversy. That is fine with me. It shows that feelings run high. I would be happy to trade some of these feelings for a little more information. As you say, experiments are expensive. I once said, partly as a joke, that there is nothing there that could not be discovered given enough interest and money. But Manfio also is right about the art aspect. Let people do art, I like to do it too. (But I won't insist that my product is "art".)

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Michael,

We agree on everything, I am sure. I wrote a new posting which I suppose you will read. Yes, there are a lot of unsupported claims. I tried to stress in the new posting that "science" is not the enemy, it is the kind of conclusion one draws. I hope that I am not so dogmatic as you say.. I may have started all this because I found the term "science types" perjorative. I have not pushed for certain conslusions, at least I did not intend to.

You are right about checking old statements about tap tones also. Problem is getting old instruments to examine. Perhaps restorers should look at these and keep an account of resonances and the masses of plates they can isolate during their work. That would be nice, but maybe not relevant either. At least the data would be there.

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Violin Philosopher is fine too. There is bad science which is found to make untrue conclusions. There is bad interpretation of ideas all around. There is economic pressure to sell things like Thalidamide. There are mistakes and so on.

I certainly am interested in the #2 part of your question. That would be very interesting. I know one thing about old wood in my house, and that is that it seems to get tougher. Pounding a nail into an 85-year-old joist seems to take more skill and effort than doing the same with new lumber. But then again, I do not know how much lighter the new fast-grown wood is....... And so it goes.

As to the playing-in effect, one still needs a way to measure changes and whether they are the ones desired by players. I agree that they likely are, but it is hard to say how to measure them. After that, what will be the concensus of the players? Lots of interpretation. I hope I expressed myself well when I said that the conclusions and interpretations are the real problems. (And knowing when to change your mind on a "theory.")

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Rereading my post I almost edited it to note that I have no idea how to monitor or observe the changes.

Quote:

the conclusions and interpretations are the real problems.


Stephan Jay Gould, the late paleontologist and science writer for Natural History Magazine, wrote alot about the effects of preconcieved ideas of the answer effecting design of exprermental testing and the interpretation of results to the extent of throwing out of data which disproves the "pet" theory.

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'" In my opinion, the final voice of the violin probably has nothing to do with the "breaking in " process - which simply happens, as I have pointed out, in any case.""

"" IT HAPPENS ANYWAY. Of course, who knows, since we really don't understand it, there is no telling where an understanding of the process would lead. It is simply one of those things that don't particularly make me question much, because I am convinced that (right or wrong) no important practical answers lie in understanding that particular process. It seems to be incidental. "

My personal feeling is that if something happens, it might be interesting to know why. Also, it might be economically worthwhile. You can bypass the break-in part and simply make the violin and wait. Likely you will have to do that anyway unless you have a quick short method to "age" the tone for the purposes of sale. But then a red flag goes up for the buyer.

Wouldn't it be nice to have an accepted and well-documented theory about this to give the buyer of a new violin less apprehension about a violin going down hill? (By theory, I mean the definnition used by scientists: "The best model we have and which seems to fit the observations we have. A theory can always be change or replaced, of course.)

Long-term reputations of makers will help lower buyers' fears of course. You are on violin #35 according to your little bio. Do buyers ever hesitate because they are not sure it will play in over 6 months or so? And I have found a few months makes a big difference with some of my own. I just do not have the time to play them 6 months.

And you are right about science not being needed to make a good violin. What science has done for me is to suggest experiments which may or may not proove out. Your statements about hands-on experience and intuition are right on..... and for me, some of that comes from whatever technical model I might be thinking about. (seldom, but sometimes.)

Finally, thanks for the suggestion to keep the conversation cool-headed. I certainly admit to being an offender. However, I hope I have made enough retractions and refinements to my comments to convince most of you that I am sincere in wanting to develop the line of thought without making enemies. I will try to continue this behavior.

Hey, lets face it, this is a very interesting question, and the thread is now quite long. I think that the issue has been very popular.

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