Marty Kasprzyk

Strad, DG string lengths

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3 hours ago, David Burgess said:

That's the part I'm struggling with. Is a violin tuned to 440  really louder than one tuned to 415? And if so, why?

Lower tuning would result in slightly more string mass, per unit length.

A couple of guesses:

As experience accumulated with neck projections sagging over time, it became evident that a mortised neck was easier to reset, and required less disassembly of the instrument. Not so easy to remove and reinstall nails.

A longer neck would have moved the stopping point for notes in the direction of the scroll, meaning that one could play more notes before the hand ran into the rib, and making higher notes a little easier to reach (along with the reshaped heel).

 

Hi David,

 

When a string is bowed a transverse force F is produced at the bridge.  The bridge pivots at its feet and this force then applied to the violin top.  The higher the transverse force the louder the violin’s sound output.

 

The string’s transverse force F is dependent upon several things:  the string’s tension T, the strings mass per unit length M, the distance from the bridge where the bow is placed on the strings B, and the velocity of the bowing :

 

F = (V/B) (TM)^0.5            equation 3.22 from Cremer 

 

So if you want a louder sound you should use a faster bow speed V, and play closer to the bridge and use heavier strings M with a higher tension T.  Which is pretty much what we already knew.

 

It was explained earlier that if we keep the violin string length L the same and use the same string and just tune it to a higher pitch the tension T of the string will be higher.  Thus from the above equation the higher pitched note will also be louder.

 

This is an easy experiment to try.  Tune the open A string to a normal 440Hz pitch and bow the open string.  Then drop its tuning to G# (415.2Hz) and carefully play it again with the same bow placement and bow speed and see if it is any weaker.

 

You can use a sound meter (or something like Audacity) to measure the loudnesses and/or do repeated blind listening tests with several listeners to see if there’s any difference.  

 

You can also go in the other direction and tune to a higher pitch but this might cause string breakage problems.  This produces another conspiracy theory:  The 440 Hz standard was as high as was practical with the strings which were used at the time that the standard was adopted.  The newer synthetic fiber core strings might allow a higher frequency A note future standard.

 

 

 

 

Lothar Cremer, “The Physics of the Violin”, The MIT Press,1984, p.46

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Addie   

Yes, I realized how Sacconi must have done it... after I posted my drawings.

My side view photo of MS129 is very poor quality.  I'll look into the Lady Blunt tomorrow (do you have the full measurements?

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21 minutes ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

 

It was explained earlier that if we keep the violin string length L the same and use the same string and just tune it to a higher pitch the tension T of the string will be higher.  Thus from the above equation the higher pitched note will also be louder.

 

This is an easy experiment to try.  Tune the open A string to a normal 440Hz pitch and bow the open string.  Then drop its tuning to G# (415.2Hz) and carefully play it again with the same bow placement and bow speed and see if it is any weaker.

 

 

Marty, I still don't understand why the higher tension string would be louder. The equation doesn't explain that to me. Can you explain it in words?

I have tried such experiments, and didn't get consistent results, or even a noticeable trend. One issue. of course, is that different pitches on a violin are rarely the same loudness anyway.

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Don Noon   

For the same peak string deflection, a string with higher tension would produce more sideforce at the bridge, and should be louder.  The assumption of equal string deflection is suspect, though, as that depends on the player and the bow/string dynamics.

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7 minutes ago, Don Noon said:

For the same peak string deflection, a string with higher tension would produce more sideforce at the bridge, and should be louder.  The assumption of equal string deflection is suspect, though, as that depends on the player and the bow/string dynamics.

Right, but all other things  being equal, a string with higher tension (a stiffer spring) wouldn't deflect as far.

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Don Noon   
2 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Right, but all other things  being equal, a string with higher tension (a stiffer spring) wouldn't deflect as far.

You could go around in circles trying to think about what is equal and what is not... if you think that the stiffer string will have lower deflection, then something else has to be different with the bow/string interaction too.  Either lower bow speed (probably needing higher downforce) or bowing farther from the bridge.  I think there are too many variables that have to change together, making it difficult to think through to a final answer.  The real answer is what you mentioned:  try playing with different tension strings and see how it works.  The one thing that might be logically concluded is the case where buzzing on the fingerboard is limiting how loud you can play... then there might be a good case for a higher tension string allowing louder playing.

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20 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Marty, I still don't understand why the higher tension string would be louder. The equation doesn't explain that to me. Can you explain it in words?

I have tried such experiments, and didn't get consistent results, or even a noticeable trend. One issue. of course, is that different pitches on a violin are rarely the same loudness anyway.

Hi David, again!

You're absolutely correct!  It's difficult to see the change in loudness by decreasing the string tension a little and lowering the pitch a little because the notes are rarely the same loudness anyway.  A better way of illustrating the effect is to back off the string tension completely and then come to pitch gradually.  The trend line will show that the loudness is generally increasing as the pitch gets higher. There will be peaks and dips in the rising curve  (like the daily stock market) as you go through various violin body resonances.

A different way of seeing the effect tension effect on loudness is to tune the open A string to the normal 440Hz A.  Then lower the tuning of the E string to the same A note.

The A note on the open A string will be louder than the A note played on the detuned E string because the E string has a lower tension.

If you do a similar experiment on the open G string and increase the tension to get an A note I predict you will get a very loud sound but you can only do the experiment once. 

 

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Don Noon   
2 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

If you do a similar experiment on the open G string and increase the tension to get an A note I predict you will get a very loud sound but you can only do the experiment once. 

Fiddlers do that all the time when going to open A tuning (AEAE).  Most agree that the lower 2 strings get louder, but haven't made objective measurements to confirm.

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18 hours ago, uncle duke said:

Subtract the nut width Davide.............. then I may understand a little more what's here and what my Petherick's book says about neck lengths from long ago.  Converting Petherick's old vs replacement neck numbers to mm's - 114.22 - 114.30 mm old and 130.175 mm new, you guys are close - a difference of 1mm.  Maybe he wasn't accurate when he measured?  He doesn't mention having a Strad or DG to work on, just an old Italian.

If Petherick knew something when he wrote his book, over 100 years ago, then a safe number for Marty's original question would be 15.795 mm difference between an old neck and a 130 mm neck.   Does one subtract plate overhang or not would be a next question - not mentioned.. 

Why? The nut width has nothing to do with the length of the fingerboard and vibrating string, and is not included in Sacconi's measurements.

Baroque necks  did not have a standard reference,  ranging from very short (as Petherik's 114 mm) to as long as the modern ones.

 

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16 hours ago, Addie said:

Yes, I realized how Sacconi must have done it... after I posted my drawings.

My side view photo of MS129 is very poor quality.  I'll look into the Lady Blunt tomorrow (do you have the full measurements?

Here it is, taken directly from the Beare / Carlson 1987 book.

I think Bruce Carlson has the responsibility for these measures.

Lady Blunt misure rid.jpg

I also found photos of the MS129 original fingerboard, in the  catalog of Oxford "Stradivarius" exhibition.

Here it is.

MS129 Original Fingerboard.jpg

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To avoid confusion I think the length of a baroque type NECK should always be measured nut to ribs as the Lady Blunt fingerboard implies a 126mm neck. I seem to remember that an original reset del Gesu neck reset (Kreisler??) came out at about 127mm for the original (to the inside corner of the filled notch).

On another point, the tension could be much more easily adjusted or controlled during a change of pitch by changing the gauge of the strings than lengthening the neck. The tendency seems to have been to reduce longitudinal string tension after necks were modernised so there are quite a complex set of changes taking place ca, 1770-1830. Reduced string tension, changes in pitch, increased neck angle, raised overstand, resulting in similar downward pressure on the bridge but maybe enabling different left hand technique and probably some change in response. The clients of Italian violin makers ca.1700 could have been supplying instruments to be used at anything between about A=380Hz to A=470Hz. 

 

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1 hour ago, Mark Caudle said:

To avoid confusion I think the length of a baroque type NECK should always be measured nut to ribs as the Lady Blunt fingerboard implies a 126mm neck.

I think that this gives rise to some confusion, I always thought that the neck of the violins should be measured nut to top edge, not nut to ribs.

This is pretty a standard, even for the baroque violins measured today.
Probably in the baroque making the most useful measure would be
nut to ribs, because when you nail the neck to ribs the top plate is not there, but when referring to today's standards would be better to refer always to the standard measure .

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16 hours ago, Davide Sora said:

Here it is, taken directly from the Beare / Carlson 1987 book.

I think Bruce Carlson has the responsibility for these measures.

Hi Davide,

Here are the measurements in English.

Bruce

Lady Blunt.jpg

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2 hours ago, Bruce Carlson said:

Hi Davide,

Here are the measurements in English.

Bruce

Lady Blunt.jpg

Thanks Bruce.

Regarding the indicated neck length measurement, I suppose that has been taken from the nut to the end of the gluing surface up to the notch, on the side of the fingerboard and not on the centerline.

Am I right?

Is the total lenght taken instead on the centerline?

Little differences, but good to know....

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Yes, I would have measured it on the treble side of the neck but I'm not completely sure. I'll have to look at my original notes as I probably sketched a diagram of where the measurement was taken. For neck length, it could be the length of the gluing surface of the underside of the fingerboard.

I have no way of knowing how the small end of the board was aligned with the end of the pegbox. Obviously the other end of the fingerboard gluing surface ends where the edge starts, I would need to know how thick the upper nut was and calculate backwards from the end of the pegbox. The end wall of the pegbox, where it meets the upper nut, is likely intact as it still has the letters PG inscribed on the wall.

Bruce

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Addie   

Re: MS129, the glued surface IS 117.5mm, using two different photos.  What is different in the "Oxford" photo is the height or thickness.  I cannot resolve Sacconi's 95mm question.  However, that's not a new problem with Sacconi. 

Oxford Photo.jpg

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sospiri   
On ‎04‎/‎01‎/‎2017 at 11:55 PM, David Burgess said:

Marty, I still don't understand why the higher tension string would be louder. The equation doesn't explain that to me. Can you explain it in words?

I have tried such experiments, and didn't get consistent results, or even a noticeable trend. One issue. of course, is that different pitches on a violin are rarely the same loudness anyway.

David, a simple explanation; a higher string tension can store more energy and release more energy. For this to happen you have to bow with more force and the higher tension allows you to do this.

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