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How Good is Our Theory?


Michael_Molnar

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For a number of years at Oberlin acoustics I was prepared to do galvanic skin response testing to see how well they correlated with listening tests. Cheap & simple to do. Never got to it. Might have been fun.

Oded

That's catching, because when I lived in Hollywood while working at the Weisshaar shop, I was involved in a number of movie and TV show tests involving galvanic skin responses, and also an individual viewer controlled "pleasure" dial, which registered moment by moment throughout the scene.

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The null hypothesis doesn't mean the default position is to not perform experiments and gather data. It means you perform the experiments, gather data, and if the results are inconclusive, the null hypothesis must be the default position (i.e. the results did not disprove the null hypothesis).

Unfortunately, performing experiments without clear hypotheses and the statistical plans and tools to determine what the outcomes will mean often leads to mountains of data, but little extra knowledge.

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"...mountains of data, but little extra knowledge."

Sounds familiar. Common experience today, it seems.

I do appreciate those who seem to be able to sort through the mess of data and pick up the few gleanings that may actually change how we think about things.

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"...For a number of years at Oberlin acoustics I was prepared to do galvanic skin response testing to see how well they correlated with listening tests..."

Not the "e meter"???

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/E-Meter/freq_resp.html

......or start a new religion, after all I was born on the way to Jerusalem, my father was a 'carpenter' my mother's name was Mary and I'm a wood worker as well. :D;):rolleyes:

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"Odedism" has a nice ring, though maybe a bit close to "Onanism"

I don't think we need to start a new religion, we already have one - the cult of Stradivari, complete with priests, believers, acolytes, cathedrals and other places of worship, money changers at the temple, a belief system held in place by faith and personal conviction, resistance to scientific enquiry, dogma, internecine squabbles, heretics, deep-seated prejudice, holy texts, papal bulls and on and on .....

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You left out the hundreds of priceless relics we drool over when we´re lucky enough to touch them. I didn´t wash my hand for a month after I touched a Strad. Actually, I lie, I only managed to touch the glass security case. :blink:

complete with priests, believers, acolytes, cathedrals and other places of worship, money changers at the temple, a belief system held in place by faith and personal conviction, resistance to scientific enquiry, dogma, internecine squabbles, heretics, deep-seated prejudice, holy texts, papal bulls and on and on .....

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"Odedism" has a nice ring, though maybe a bit close to "Onanism"

I don't think we need to start a new religion, we already have one - the cult of Stradivari, complete with priests, believers, acolytes, cathedrals and other places of worship, money changers at the temple, a belief system held in place by faith and personal conviction, resistance to scientific enquiry, dogma, internecine squabbles, heretics, deep-seated prejudice, holy texts, papal bulls and on and on .....

I wish I had known that before, I have recorded some players who needed to be exorcised.

Plenty to learn from violin makers.;)

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The null hypothesis doesn't mean the default position is to not perform experiments and gather data. It means you perform the experiments, gather data, and if the results are inconclusive, the null hypothesis must be the default position (i.e. the results did not disprove the null hypothesis).

... who makes fun of someone who forgot to pull their zipper up.

I spent yesterday doing numerous experiments on my fly and recording the results in an Excel spreadsheet. Here are the first few entries:

Distance from base (mm)

5:47pm - 120

5:49pm - 120.2

6:01pm - 10

6:05pm - 10

6:05:31pm - 71

6:05:33pm - 98

6:05:37pm - 119

What should I do with these measurements?

The results appear inconclusive, so the Null must be the default position. Correct?

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I think you brag to much to be taken seriously, Mr Stross. I have a very firm ground under my comments. Arching stiffens the plates and supresses the vibrations because some of the energy goes into in-plane stretching. Such effects are used in the automotive industry to suppress certain frequency regions or modal problems. The theory is very simple. A plate shape that looks like the vibration will supress it.

Look up Claes Fredös article: http://www.afconsult.com/upload/konsulttjanster/LjudoVibrationer/pdf/SAE_2005-01-2342_Fredo_Hedlund.pdf

What you say about arching can't be true. At the Oberlin Acoustics workshop and other settings, we are blessed with a central specialist from the aviation industry sharing state of the art modeling tool results on the violin. Arching is one of the factors, but not the determining one. Experience talks against you too.

Thank you for the article. It says what I said.

You guys should publicize more the fact that arching is not the determining factor. Think how much time other people are wasting on this.

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Unfortunately, performing experiments without clear hypotheses and the statistical plans and tools to determine what the outcomes will mean often leads to mountains of data, but little extra knowledge.

Since you're such an expert on this field and think we have so much data already, please provide me with ONE citation of an fMRI study that has even attempted to study something along the lines of cortical activation vs. (subjective rankings of) instrument quality. If that study has concluded that there's no measurable or statistical significance, I'd happily concede that you might have a point that whatever effects of instrument quality could not be correlated to fMRI.

Go ahead and knock yourself out, Mr. Wikipedia.

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Arching is one of the factors, but not the determining one. Experience talks against you too.

In my tests the shape of the arching has been the most important variable, so far. I've played with a lot of different things and changing the arching has been the only thing that has resulted in huge changes in how the violin produces sound. In comparison, the other things like graduations and wood selection have been relatively small effects.

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In my tests the shape of the arching has been the most important variable, so far. I've played with a lot of different things and changing the arching has been the only thing that has resulted in huge changes in how the violin produces sound. In comparison, the other things like graduations and wood selection have been relatively small effects.

Yeah... I've pretty well decided that after I get done varnishing my current fiddle, I'll be dragging out my long-suffering VSO test fiddle and slap on a few tops with different arching concepts to test a few theories I've been thinking about.

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Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.
laugh.gif

Science and violin making... the proof is in repeatability. Make violins with consistent quality. Perform experiments with consistent results.

The OP was about proof, wasn't it? About proof of improvement in violin making, as a result of modern scientific inquiry. Is there any proof?

Is there an improved methodology? Certainly, there is improvement in restoration, but in making? Or is it all still in the ear, and in the hand, of experience--experience in the art and craft?

Addie, not OT.

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The OP was about proof, wasn't it? About proof of improvement in violin making, as a result of modern scientific inquiry. Is there any proof

Really?

Addie,

You can't tell what the answer is - simply from so many of the concrete, virtually irrefutable, "scientific" answers rendered here so far? (< irony alert...)

Or, even from the calm, even tempered, fair-minded attitude accompanying some of them? (on both sides of this issue, BTW...)

tee hee!

ct

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In my tests the shape of the arching has been the most important variable, so far. I've played with a lot of different things and changing the arching has been the only thing that has resulted in huge changes in how the violin produces sound. In comparison, the other things like graduations and wood selection have been relatively small effects.

I would be happy to see the documentation for this.

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As a beginner, I must admit that I find all this Science a bit hard to grasp.

The tempting part is that as a beginner with no one to help guide me, the tap tuning seems to be able to get me close enough so that I don't botch the job up. Perhaps after a few instruments I will be in a better position to abandon tap tuning for something else.

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As a beginner, I must admit that I find all this Science a bit hard to grasp.

The tempting part is that as a beginner with no one to help guide me, the tap tuning seems to be able to get me close enough so that I don't botch the job up. Perhaps after a few instruments I will be in a better position to abandon tap tuning for something else.

I believe it. The idea sort of sells itself, does it not?

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Yes I think there are many scientifically based systems or methodologies which will get you in the ballpark and may prevent you from making a complete balls-up of a violin, but I don't think any of it helps a bit if your intention is to make a great violin ... I suspect that can only be achieved by someone who can string up a violin (most likely in the white), hear what's wrong with it, and either improve it or chuck it in the bin (my personal favourite for "the secret of Stradivari"). This seems to be what Oded is suggesting, and I agree with him whole-heartedly - in fact the only great modern violins I have played were made in this way (with a bit of tap-tone gimcrackery in the early stages). I don't suppose it's necessary to be a great player (I'm sure it helps), but if the maker doesn't have the skills they would have to have a tame player on call and a phenomenal set of ears ......

That subtle improvement (the difference between a decent violin and a violin for an advanced professional) would be almost impossible to model since it's a question of finding a harmonious balance between dozens of independent factors, all of which are already very difficult to model in themselves. The idea that you could strap a concert soloist into a scanner, find out what they like, and then go back into the violin, identify why they like it and then measure it, is absurd.

Martin Swan Violins

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In my tests the shape of the arching has been the most important variable, so far. I've played with a lot of different things and changing the arching has been the only thing that has resulted in huge changes in how the violin produces sound. In comparison, the other things like graduations and wood selection have been relatively small effects.

Very interesting. I have heard others say similarly.

So what happens to the sound of a master Cremonese instrument when it has been vacuum packaged into a new shape?

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That subtle improvement (the difference between a decent violin and a violin for an advanced professional) would be almost impossible to model since it's a question of finding a harmonious balance between dozens of independent factors, all of which are already very difficult to model in themselves. The idea that you could strap a concert soloist into a scanner, find out what they like, and then go back into the violin, identify why they like it and then measure it, is absurd.

So, what are you saying, Martin?, you think my idea about shining a violin-o-graph lazer image off of a shiny area on the surface of the moon... - won't work either?

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