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Don Noon

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(It's not that I don't care to play, I just can't. I suffered nerve damage in my left hand 37 years ago due ( probably ) to meningitis. Fingers 1, 3 and 4 were affected. 1 very little, 2 not at all. But I wasn't good at it, had no talent - no loss there whatsoever. I'm glad I didn't have to inflict my violin playing on innocent people. )

 

My opinion is to follow what Don says and does - I think Don is on his way to some fantastic results. As I said, my bets are on Don.

I agree, can't lose any money that way. 

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So it seems to you that Don could surpass Gough's work, even though you haven't read Gough's paper? Good going.

Well, how far is the man {Gough} going to get running tests on odd shaped and flat pieces of wood?  I'm hinting that I would like to see the different arch heights comparison used in a properly shaped violin body.  I hope it's good reading material.   I feel Don could do it better- I could be wrong. 

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Uncle, it's completely different from what Don is doing.

I like where Gough says he will do a lot of testing before neck and fingerboard attachment- but he's going to have to do some kind of plate tuning to get a start.  Will he actually search for the best m1,m2 and m5's before gluing to ribs or will he tap and feel for a strong ring tone and run a Chladni test?  I'll wait and see.

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The key word to this discussion is in Peter's slide - approximation - in post #124. FEA  is a simplified model. (I have done FEA analysis in optical components, BTW, so I understand the scope of the problem.) The theorist tries to improve the model to where the results (predictions) make sense with observations and experiments. There are some great FEA violin models, but given the complexity of a played violin and above all, the complexities of human perception, it turns out to be an emormous task . Peter's slide, by the way, left out the human aspect which I think is the most important part of the problem. Nevertheless, we are learning a lot from these models.

 

I know what I just said in common knowledge, but I think I had to say it again to remind us about the immense complexity of this problem. Nothing like a reality check.  ;)

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Mike, I know I don't need to tell you this, but "approximation" shouldn't be viewed as a dirty word.  Mathematical modelling of complex physical systems always involves approximations of varying degrees. 

We agree. There is much we have learned from approximations. I think some makers are impatient - understandably so. We all would love to learn from these models where to remove some wood to make an award winning violin.

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As I said, my bets are on Don.

 

Please do not cash in your retirement fund to make the bet. :)

 

Although I am making a small bet on myself, I think it is a decent bet only because of the long odds.  If I look (and I have) at who is consistently at the top of the VSA tone winners, it is those who have spent a long time in the mainstream of good instruments and players... i.e. those who have learned by direct observations what works and what doesn't, in terms of what top players want.

 

attachicon.gif2013_Vibrational_modes_of_the_violin_family.pdf

 

(Don, if you want us to stop contaminate your trash bin, just tell)

 

This thread is so contaminated, it is easier just to fence it in and call it a dump.  Have at it. :)

 

The last line of the referenced paper's abstract caught my attention immediately:  "The model describes the vibrational modes over the whole playing range of the violin and can be used to predict both the admittance at the bridge and the radiated sound."

 

Unfortunately, it only meant that the model "can be used", but it isn't actually used in the paper for anything but the signature mode stuff.  No disrespect for Gough's work, though... it is an impressive piece of work, and illustrated how incredibly complex even the lowest, simplest vibration modes can be.  And I appreciate that there is no claims of how to make anything better; it is presented as an academic exercise with some attempt at describing functional relationships.

 

As with modal analysis, there is no practical map to show clearly where you are and which direction to go to get "better" sound.  That's infinitely more complicated... or simple, depending on which road you take. (for those who don't get the analogy, the complicated way is analysis, the simple way is trial-and-error).  And, as Mike brought up, there's the human in the loop to evaluate what is good, bad, or great.  No amount of analysis can get past that one, except in a statistical sampling way.

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John, Carl, uncle duke,

Do you actually understand FEA and the document I posted?

 

Off to do some real stuff :)

I can't make sense of what your description of FEA-post 124 is Peter.   After reading the 2013 document I can't tell which direction my plates are running.  I also can't tell if they are working together.  Are my plates twisting the ribs or are they compressing them?  I'm sure it will come in handy in the future in case something goes wrong with an over confident uncle duke and good wood.  Now, where's the second report?

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I can't make sense of what your description of FEA-post 124 is Peter.   After reading the 2013 document I can't tell which direction my plates are running.  I also can't tell if they are working together.  Are my plates twisting the ribs or are they compressing them?  I'm sure it will come in handy in the future in case something goes wrong with an over confident uncle duke and good wood.  Now, where's the second report?

 

I ment the Colin Gough's research pdf I posted before my question. Post #124 is analyzing a potato with FEA ;) Michael Molnar understood what I was trying to point out, sorry I think faster than I write and was on my way to the workshop finishing my re varnishing project.

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After reading the 2013 document I can't tell which direction my plates are running.  I also can't tell if they are working together.  Are my plates twisting the ribs or are they compressing them?  I'm sure it will come in handy in the future in case something goes wrong with an over confident uncle duke and good wood. 

 

Apparently you think there is some hidden message in Gough's paper that tells what is the "right" way for things to be.  It is not so, and I do not see any immediate practical application that would be of use to a maker, other than demonstrating that this stuff is way too technically complicated and it's probably better to just build 'em.

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Apparently you think there is some hidden message in Gough's paper that tells what is the "right" way for things to be.  It is not so, and I do not see any immediate practical application that would be of use to a maker, other than demonstrating that this stuff is way too technically complicated and it's probably better to just build 'em.

Thanks for all your help Don, I'll figure the rest on my own.

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Apparently you think there is some hidden message in Gough's paper that tells what is the "right" way for things to be.  It is not so, and I do not see any immediate practical application that would be of use to a maker, other than demonstrating that this stuff is way too technically complicated and it's probably better to just build 'em.

 

That's always in the next paper.  :lol:

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attachicon.gif2013_Vibrational_modes_of_the_violin_family.pdf

 

(Don, if you want us to stop contaminate your trash bin, just tell)

 

Thanks for sharing this. 

 

I didn't realize anyone had carried analysis this far.   His model still only includes some features of a violin, and emulates only a generic instrument, neither good nor bad.   But still, Gough gets a long way in tracing the principle modes and how they couple together.    Also, he doesn't take too limited an approach.   He doesn't take the first thing he can measure and then try to explain all from just that, or try to explain more from one kind of observation than is merited.  For example, he looks at free plate modes as just that.   He doesn't try to paint a full picture from just that part of the puzzle.  Instead, he next adds the constraint of the ribs and examines the couplings of modes.   At each turn,  he looks for and finds what additional pieces might be relevant before proceeding to take his model a next step closer toward a full model of violin function.    Very interesting material!   I trust he will continue further in future.

 

 

 

[...]

 

The last line of the referenced paper's abstract caught my attention immediately:  "The model describes the vibrational modes over the whole playing range of the violin and can be used to predict both the admittance at the bridge and the radiated sound."

 

Unfortunately, it only meant that the model "can be used", but it isn't actually used in the paper for anything but the signature mode stuff.  No disrespect for Gough's work, though... it is an impressive piece of work, and illustrated how incredibly complex even the lowest, simplest vibration modes can be.  And I appreciate that there is no claims of how to make anything better; it is presented as an academic exercise with some attempt at describing functional relationships.

 

As with modal analysis, there is no practical map to show clearly where you are and which direction to go to get "better" sound.  That's infinitely more complicated... or simple, depending on which road you take. (for those who don't get the analogy, the complicated way is analysis, the simple way is trial-and-error).  And, as Mike brought up, there's the human in the loop to evaluate what is good, bad, or great.  No amount of analysis can get past that one, except in a statistical sampling way.

 

 

As Don points out, none of this touches on Good versus Bad violin making.  One of the virtues of Gough's article is that he's refrained from falsely converting scientific insight into artistic prescription.  After all, Gough's model doesn't even have varnish, or edgework, or corners, or linings, etc. 

 

"There's the human in the loop to evaluate what is good, bad, or great.  No amount of analysis can get past that one"  

 

So Analysis can sometimes give us better functional understanding, but it's not the proper tool for every challenge.  As you suggest, 'trial-and-error' can be the more potent weapon in some situations.   And the two can work together.  To make an analogy to playing, precepts and analysis might guide practice, but only practice (trial and error) brings artistry and mastery.

 

I sometimes think art and science are more related than we usually acknowledge.  Neither are purely speculative.  They both combine higher perception with a concrete grounding.   For art, the produced work is that grounding, and a tangible test.  For science, it is physical evidence from experimentation that grounds the high theories and distinguishes science from philosophy.   In both, 'the proof is in the pudding'.

 

So Don, I imagine you meant scientific experimentation when you referred to 'trial-and-error'?  But in a very really way, the artist in practicing a craft also learns by a process of 'try, observe, learn, repeat'.   Perhaps you meant that implication?  Either way, you're comment about 'trial-and-error' sent me straight back to my constant mantra of 'learn from the historical Old Italian making'.

 

After all, those Italians accumulated over two centuries of trial-and-error experience building bowed stringed instruments before the violin appeared, and then another two centuries plus of trial-and-error experience building violin family instruments.  During these 4 centuries, Italian instrument builders worked in the sort of master/apprentice/workshop/guild environment where practices and know-how were mostly passed along and preserved.  Their work shows a general conservation of methods and practices, but with a small degree of experimentation and variation reaching for improvement.  As artisans and craftsman, the goals in their work would be economy of means combined with seeking good/better/great results.  Isn't this the ideal formula for a four centuries run, cumulative, trial-and-error experiment -- all to answer the question 'What is a Good Violin?'  

 

Obviously, the old makers answered that question in terms of the music and setups of their own time.  However, later generations of luthiers and top players have mostly answered their own question 'What is a Good Violin?' with: 'An Old Italian Violin Setup for Current Playing Standards'.  

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So Don, I imagine you meant scientific experimentation when you referred to 'trial-and-error'? 

 

My trials tend to be more on the scientific side, but basically anything can be trial-and-error.  The process is the same, anyway:  try something, and if the result is positive, keep doing that.  Then try another thing.

 

Part of the difficulty is in evaluating what is a "positive result".  Again, I used technical crutches to help try to evaluate the result, as I lack the access to highly discerning and skilled violinists.  There is a potential problem with self-evaluating the result, in that there is a tendency to perceive wonderfulness and improvement in one's own work, whereas an unbiased observer might find otherwise.  That's a difficult tendency to fight, but it needs to be done if true improvement (as measured by others) is the goal.

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 There is a potential problem with self-evaluating the result, in that there is a tendency to perceive wonderfulness and improvement in one's own work, whereas an unbiased observer might find otherwise. 

Yup, an ever-present danger in our business. Self-seduction. And I could use some more appropriately direct and descriptive off-color terms, if I wasn't so polite and refined. :lol:

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