The way we should continue to approach making.


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I was browsing the interwebs on my self-inflicted break, and tripped into this. It reminded me of the glorious traditions we have in approaching instrument making, particularly Cremonese 'copies'. If those of us who keep this simple philosophy in mind when analyzing and making instruments, and those of us who scoff at this approach started taking it more seriously, seems to me the violin making community would advance at a tremendous rate, and probably even surpass the magical, elusive Cremonese instruments. Of course, we can continue to be stubborn and continue to scientifically analyze these instruments, and make new ones in a controlled, consistent manner.post-78557-0-72943600-1441688919_thumb.jpg

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If you are looking for a potato, you can find it everywhere, if you look hard enough.

 

Unfortunately, if it's really the carrot that's important, you'll miss it looking for the potato.

 

My point is that the use of science (the real stuff) should be to determine cause and effect relations in making, or in connecting acoustic factors to human perception of them.  All too often "science" (the pseudo sort) is used as a tool to find precise formulas or shapes that have no solid basis in fact, but somehow please the maker by thinking it is more perfect.

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1. My point is that the use of science (the real stuff) should be to determine cause and effect relations ................. in connecting acoustic factors to human perception of them.

 

 2. All too often "science" (the pseudo sort) is used as a tool to find precise formulas or shapes that have no solid basis in fact, but somehow please the maker by thinking it is more perfect.

 

In my rather vast experience there is very little chance for 1) to ever materialize. Huge money and real brain power and competency has been poured into it and almost nothing to show.

 

I have better expectations from 2) . Of course, one needs to define the measure of "precise" and coming up with the right metric is not trivial. :) 

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(#2) All too often "science" (the pseudo sort) is used as a tool to find precise formulas or shapes that have no solid basis in fact, but somehow please the maker by thinking it is more perfect.

 

I have better expectations from 2) . Of course, one needs to define the measure of "precise" and coming up with the right metric is not trivial. :)

 

I make a clear distinction between fake science and trial-and-error.  You can develop any formula or mathematical construct you want, and find that it works fabulously (ignore the issue of who's doing the judging, for the moment).  That's perfectly sensible trial-and-error.  But if you start promoting the formula or construction as something superior BECAUSE it's a mathematical formula or construction, you're into peudoscience unless you have some real way to prove it... which, given the nature of the beast, is not likely.

 

I may give the impression of being something of an anarchist, or at least anti-cycloid, when it comes to arching.  I'm not really... I'm sure mathematical methods can be used to make fine instruments.  However, given the observation that fine sounding instruments can have distorted archings and/or ones that are observably different, I have to come to the conclusion that there is no ultimate solution.

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I used to know people who were tinkering with audio equipment. Did a bit of that myself, too.

That's interesting. There are of course several successful domestic audio companies that design their products entirely by listening, without any measurements. Some of them can sound beguilingly good in presenting an illusion of live music, despite measuring quite badly. Almost the reverse of current trends in violin making.

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I make a clear distinction between fake science and trial-and-error.  You can develop any formula or mathematical construct you want, and find that it works fabulously (ignore the issue of who's doing the judging, for the moment).  That's perfectly sensible trial-and-error.  But if you start promoting the formula or construction as something superior BECAUSE it's a mathematical formula or construction, you're into peudoscience unless you have some real way to prove it... which, given the nature of the beast, is not likely.

 

I may give the impression of being something of an anarchist, or at least anti-cycloid, when it comes to arching.  I'm not really... I'm sure mathematical methods can be used to make fine instruments.  However, given the observation that fine sounding instruments can have distorted archings and/or ones that are observably different, I have to come to the conclusion that there is no ultimate solution.

 

I was NOT criticizing - I hope I didn't come across like that ! As I said before, I have a great deal of respect and confidence in your thinking and approach.

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That's interesting. There are of course several successful domestic audio companies that design their products entirely by listening, without any measurements. Some of them can sound beguilingly good in presenting an illusion of live music, despite measuring quite badly. Almost the reverse of current trends in violin making.

 

Indeed, it is.

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In a recent post about rib height Michael Richwine shared an observation about 5 string violins made with 2 different rib height options. Same makers and specs except for rib height and a production run 4 years running. To me that is a great way to really hear the effect over a large sample size. I have been curious to try some experiments in similar fashion, but I am not set up for mass production. Lots of studies are making big assumptions on small sample sizes, but I think the most reliable way to address the variation between instruments is to increase sample size while controlling as many factors as possible except for the one component that is being evaluated.

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That's interesting. There are of course several successful domestic audio companies that design their products entirely by listening, without any measurements. Some of them can sound beguilingly good in presenting an illusion of live music, despite measuring quite badly. Almost the reverse of current trends in violin making.

I don't really know of any professional audio manufacturers that design equipment without test gear.  Perhaps an audio-phool building esoteric stuff in his basement.

 

Measurements are important in audio design as well as violin building, because it creates a benchmark reference for evaluation and repeatability.  Without measurement one can only blindly shoot into the darkness.

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Measurements are important in audio design as well as violin building, because it creates a benchmark reference for evaluation and repeatability.  Without measurement one can only blindly shoot into the darkness.

 

 

Well, if you're a bat that would be fantastic!  Echolocation does amazing things!

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I don't really know of any professional audio manufacturers that design equipment without test gear.  Perhaps an audio-phool building esoteric stuff in his basement.

 

 

 

They have test gear. They do not rely on it for design decisions, it's used to ensure consistency from one unit to another. John Cockburn's observation that "some of them can sound beguilingly good" is spot on and held through the ages. Toscanini thought the Edison thick disk is practically indistinguishable from reality - an utter nonsense to us. But one will have a jaw dropping surprise on listening to a new "thick disk" on proper equipment. Acoustic recordings preserve a sense of realism in music our best technology has lost long ago. I know of no great Conductor who thought that Stereo does not damage music and who didn't think of it as a necessary evil. A lot of people are stupid, conceited and chasing the latest fad. Not all

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If you are looking for a potato, you can find it everywhere, if you look hard enough.

 

Unfortunately, if it's really the carrot that's important, you'll miss it looking for the potato.

 

My point is that the use of science (the real stuff) should be to determine cause and effect relations in making, or in connecting acoustic factors to human perception of them.  All too often "science" (the pseudo sort) is used as a tool to find precise formulas or shapes that have no solid basis in fact, but somehow please the maker by thinking it is more perfect.

But something totally unproven and quite possibly wrong can stimulate creative thinking.

post-76389-0-76391500-1441801278_thumb.jpg

note: data is conceptual and does not represent the real population.

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