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Secret Knowledge and violins


Craig Tucker
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That's kind of a crude thing to say about an Amati.

Danged impressive playing though.

:D Magnus posted this clip of the erhu elswhere on the web earlier today. I must say that I was hoping it would get posted as a sound file here with a question as to whether is was a Strad or a del Gesu.

Coincidentally I was privilaged to hear a performance of traditional Japanese music on an erhu just a few days ago. In Japanese culture it is a classical instrument with a whole culture around mastery of its making in a similar way to the violin.

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For you dB vs Freq guys, a nasal-sounding violin typically shows an appreciable 'dip' between 1000-1800Hz [or so]. Personally, I think violin nasal sound is caused more by how well the instrument compresses & rarefies air rather than by absolute dB level differences.

Jim

Show us your graphs, Jim. :lol:

Wait a second, are you now implying a listening test is insufficient to hear a nasal sound? :lol::lol:

Jim

Jim, you are the one who most recently defined nasality in terms of frequency response. Now you're back-peddling, and trying to hang it on Anders?

Please, shoot that stuff on the bathroom ceiling, or catch it in a towel, and don't try to aim it at us. Ick.

"No matter how much you jiggle and dance, the last drop always goes down your pants."

Have you checked your shoes for an abundance of yellow liquid? :lol:

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"Nasal" is very subjective. We probably "hear" or "listen" differently. Do any of you remember the "Wood-effect" described in "high" fidelity audio mags of the 80s? The rage was over whether listeners could hear a difference, when the wires were switched in to terminals to audio speakers. Needless to say, in a monthly publication, it was interesting to read so many letters arguing if it could be or couldn't be heard. Most just could not describe a sound they couldn't hear. When the particular offending quality was pointed out, many - but not all - would say, " oh, that." And because it was "audio system" dependent, I could have missed what other's were hearing.

The difficulty with the "nasal"-label, is that it describes so many things. The two most frequent sound-types that are described as "nasal" is that of a (1) narrow band-passed quality or bump in frequency(biased towards the highs) , where both the high and low frequencies are rolled off at a very high rate, or (2) a wider sonic frequency of sounds, but with some middle frequencies "notch" out so as to be visually reduced, or missing in a plot.

My anecdotal experience is that many instruments described as "nasal," might not sound nasal in another's hands. It's possible to make some wonderfully full and sweet sounding instruments when one pushes the output too. Imagine that an instrument with a full pallet of sonics at mezzoforte, gradually starts to change in sonic character as it is played louder and louder. Of course, some rooms are more forgiving than others, but that tonal character is changing.

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I recently had someone testing violins in my shop who made everything sound nasal. After a bit I realized that he was bowing just above the midpoint between the board and the bridge almost all of the time. It certainly wasn't that all the violins in the shop decided they'd sound nasal that day, or that they were inherently nasal. Probably it was all Andrea Amati's fault.

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Jim, you are the one who most recently defined nasality in terms of frequency response. Now you're back-peddling, and trying to hang it on Anders?

Hey, let's give some well-earned credit to the fine acoustic research performed over the last ~100 years. It's well documented how our hearing is most sensitive to midrange frequencies.

The 1000-1800Hz frequency range was long ago associated with the nasal range by Sound Engineers, Loudspeaker designers, Speech Therapists, violin researchers, etc.

Does anyone really think it's just 'by chance' Schleske defines the violin nasal range as 1000-1800Hz [about 6 paragraphs down]? I don't.

This 1000-1800Hz nasal range is common knowledge among those involved with acoustic research and/or design work. Perhaps it's all this obsession with violin dB levels - instead of phase relationships - which has convoluted the acoustic information/research. :)

Jim

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That's kind of a crude thing to say about an Amati.

Danged impressive playing though.

Is that what Amati was building before he was given the master violin plan by the space aliens? I wonder if he specially built these for export to China?;)

What I have found to create a nasal sound is a big bump in response around 2000 to 2500 Hz.

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I realize that. We have a local Chinese musician that plays a very similar instrument on street corners and subway stations busking for money; I can't say it's the same for sure, but It's very similar from what I can see, so I assumed a variation of it was also used in China.

What I found humorous in my mind was the thought of Amati exporting these ethnic instruments to China (or Japan) and four centuries later the Chinese are exporting Italianesque instruments to the Western world.

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I realize that. We have a local Chinese musician that plays a very similar instrument on street corners and subway stations busking for money; I can't say it's the same for sure, but It's very similar from what I can see, so I assumed a variation of it was also used in China.

What I found humorous in my mind was the thought of Amati exporting these ethnic instruments to China (or Japan) and four centuries later the Chinese are exporting Italianesque instruments to the Western world.

:) thanks.

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Bill this is a really special Japanese classical instrument we have here my friend.

The "er hu", 二胡, or 2 stringed fiddle is Chinese, not Japanese.

Er means "two". "Hu" = from ancient times or "barbarian instrument" meaning that it was originally of western origin and imported to China, one theory is possibly along the Silk Road. I am intimately acquainted with the music of this ancient instrument, have lived in China, speak Mandarin, and play er hu music on violin. Cheers! :)

S

See also:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erhu

http://www.omnisterra.com/scgi-bin/view.pl?ChineseViolin

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What I have found to create a nasal sound is a big bump in response around 2000 to 2500 Hz.

Bill,

Is it the "big bump" there, or the preceding 'dip' below ~2000Hz which actually causes the nasal sound? [rhetorical question]

Perhaps it's a question of relativity between certain frequencies and/or phase relationships.

Jim

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The 1000-1800Hz frequency range was long ago associated with the nasal range by Sound Engineers, Loudspeaker designers, Speech Therapists, violin researchers, etc.

Does anyone really think it's just 'by chance' Schleske defines the violin nasal range as 1000-1800Hz [about 6 paragraphs down]? I don't.

Now let us have the other sources of yours: The sound engineers, speech therapists, the loudspeaker designers, and the violin researchers. You gave one reference here, let's have a couple in each category as you refer to them in plural.

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Now let us have the other sources of yours: The sound engineers, speech therapists, the loudspeaker designers, and the violin researchers. You gave one reference here, let's have a couple in each category as you refer to them in plural.

Anders, dude, are you 'aware' of your obsession with requesting "more" references over the past few weeks? Snap out of it, man!! :lol:

Jim

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Anders, dude, are you 'aware' of your obsession with requesting "more" references over the past few weeks? Snap out of it, man!! Jim

Jim, if you do have some references behind what you say, it would ne great to know. You both contribute, we might learn something and you increase the credibility. Only positive! :-)
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Jim, if you do have some references behind what you say, it would ne great to know. You both contribute, we might learn something and you increase the credibility. Only positive! :-)

I can't speak for Andrea Amati or even Antonio Stradivari, however, I'm very humbled by how far advanced their understanding of stringed instrument acoustics may have been ...

I wonder too - being that not all of their violins are great-sounding - whether they should have any credibility problems today. :blink:

Jim

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The "er hu", 二胡, or 2 stringed fiddle is Chinese, not Japanese.

Er means "two". "Hu" = from ancient times or "barbarian instrument" meaning that it was originally of western origin and imported to China, one theory is possibly along the Silk Road. I am intimately acquainted with the music of this ancient instrument, have lived in China, speak Mandarin, and play er hu music on violin. Cheers! :)

S

See also:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erhu

http://www.omnisterr...l?ChineseViolin

I live among those 'barbarians' and we have the Kobyz and Kylkobyz.

I loved the video of the erhu Anders gave a link to. Here are three more links of a stringed relative

I was in the bookstore the other day and nearly bought some kobyz music, (for the modern 4 string) I think i'll go back...

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I liken violinmaking to rocket science only more complicated (thanks Don Noon)

As with launching a rocket to a distant planet, the trajectory of a violin needs to be adjusted after takeoff. Most instruments have inherent weaknesses or, more correctly, imbalances which can be rectified most accurately and easily before the instrument is varnished.

Yada yada yada.

Oded

my daughter who'se a therapist says that something has to be repeated 75,000 times before it is heard..... still a few left to go. :(

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You can speak for yourself, just as we all can, and that is just about what we can talk about. Own experiences, knowledge and possible sources. I am all ears! :-)

Anders,

I do speak for myself. I have 'noticed' others speaking about many things with many comments not even related to the discussion at hand, i.e., Craig's inquiry about violinmaking 'secrets' and a possible Cremonese code. So far, there have been only a couple of points of view offered: (1) they didn't really have any secrets; and (2) maybe they had some sort of design code but even they struggled to make great-sounding fiddles.

Whether one leans more toward (1) or (2) maybe isn't so important as the apparent fact only about 15% of the fiddles made by Amati, Stradivari, and Del Gesu are considered to be great-sounding. Man, if all I needed to do in school was score 85% to get an "A", well [85% was worth a "C"]. :lol: Are the 'secrets' not that good, or something else?

Jim

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