Andreas Preuss

Stradivari's secret was a concept?

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30 minutes ago, Quadibloc said:

Even if a preference for violins that project better, to the exclusion of other characteristics, isn't as genuinely harmful as a preference for less-healthy food choices, I agree that a comparison is valid; a preference for what immediately is gratifying instead of a thoughtful choice.

Where do people get the notion that a violin which can be played loudly, excludes other characteristics, or that a trade-off must be involved? This needn't be so at all!

But claiming that one needs to be sacrificed for the other can be a handy thing to say, when a violin ain't cuttin' it in a hall. ;)

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22 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Where do people get the notion that a violin which can be played loudly, excludes other characteristics, or that a trade-off must be involved? This needn't be so at all!

That is not my view, neither it is how I read David Beard's comment. On the question of loudness, there is surely more than one kind of loudness (an instrument which is just loud, one which readily permits a lot of bow speed, an instrument which can withstand a lot of bow weight, an instrument which does not sound too harsh when bowed near the bridge, and so on).

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1 hour ago, David Burgess said:

Where do people get the notion that a violin which can be played loudly, excludes other characteristics, or that a trade-off must be involved? This needn't be so at all!

But claiming that one needs to be sacrificed for the other can be a handy thing to say, when a violin ain't cuttin' it in a hall. ;)

I would formulate it that way

1) in this world i.m.o. is existing a really big number of "loud" instruments. Just visit any dealer or maker and you will see/hear a lot of them. I would dare to claim : to make a just loud instrument is one of the easiest things in violin making 

2) in this world is existing only a relatively small percentage of "fine sounding" violins - that´s Problem I. 

The conclusion of 1) and 2) is, that most "loud" violins will not sound fine. That´s Problem II.

3) not all  "fine sounding" violins also have a big sound.   That is Problem III ( however only for soloists  or performing chamber-musicians like quartett-players )

The conclusion of 2) and 3) is, that on this world is existing only a very small group of violins having both, fine sound and power. That´s no Problem because there are not so many musicians, who need such violins. 

One more conclusion : all "loud" violins are loud - naturally.  But not all "fine-sounding" violins are "loud ---> the averaged loudness of "fine - sounding violins must be lower than the averaged loudness of  "loud" violins. Vice versa concerns "fineness" of sound. So in average " loudness" and "fineness" must be opposites and probably are regarded in that way by many musicians.

If it is easier to find one of the both-having violins in the antique-violins-market ( and to pay 100 k++ ) or to find it among contemporary violins ( to pay 10k - 40 K ) or to find it among the many, many not-old-italian violins of all times - I don´t know it. I think, most players will make an early decision, in which market they mainly try to find their instrument and often will not be able to recognize the chances of other markets.

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5 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Baroque-style playing, on baroque-style instruments, is available for those who are looking for "the old ways".

But why stop there? Why not go back to banging on trees with sticks? ;)

Have you been spying on me? :P

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5 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Baroque-style playing, on baroque-style instruments, is available for those who are looking for "the old ways".

But why stop there? Why not go back to banging on trees with sticks? ;)

Yup.  Good exercise.  I do a lot of that.  :lol:

 

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47 minutes ago, Danube Fiddler said:

 ---> the averaged loudness of "fine - sounding violins must be lower than the averaged loudness of  "loud" violins. Vice versa concerns "fineness" of sound. So in average " loudness" and "fineness" must be opposites and probably are regarded in that way by many musicians.

 

How did you come to that conclusion? How many violins have you played (I have played thousands).

Which sort of "many musicians" do you have the most contact with?

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56 minutes ago, David Beard said:

Have you been spying on me? :P

I like banging on trees with sticks, too. ;)

Luv ya, Mr. Beard, even when we don't agree on everything. :)

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5 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Where do people get the notion that a violin which can be played loudly, excludes other characteristics, or that a trade-off must be involved? This needn't be so at all!

But claiming that one needs to be sacrificed for the other can be a handy thing to say, when a violin ain't cuttin' it in a hall. ;)

As a general principle when designing things, optimizing any one parameter will tend to limit the quality of other parameters.

That general principle, however, should not be used as an excuse for achieving whatever levels of simultaneous optimization of desired parameters which is, in fact, achievable.

It's the modern violins that are even louder than a Guarneri, therefore, that can be criticized for putting too much emphasis on loudness, instead of for making excuses.

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17 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

How did you come to that conclusion?

I believe to just have explained it. 

21 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

 How many violins have you played (I have played thousands).?

You really want to know that or you want to imply something ? I estimate to have played about some hundreds, not thousands as you - including the absolute Cremonese top levels and I could also mention some Schleske as examples for contemporaries. 

What is your experience while playing "thousands" about the prevalence of "loud" violins ? 

1 hour ago, David Burgess said:

Which sort of "many musicians" do you have the most contact with?

Mostly orchestra players.

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46 minutes ago, Quadibloc said:

It's the modern violins that are even louder than a Guarneri, therefore, that can be criticized for putting too much emphasis on loudness, instead of for making excuses.

Which moderns, which Guarneris? Both categries are comprised of instruments which can be all over the place.

Yes, I am not too fond of sweeping generalizations. What is my experience while playing thousands, about the prevalance of "loud" violins? I haven't been able to conclude that either the "old" or "new" category predominates. Every fiddle is different and unique. Sure, we all try to lump them into various categories, in an attempt to streamline the processing and communication.

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2 hours ago, David Burgess said:

What is my experience while playing thousands, about the prevalance of "loud" violins? I haven't been able to conclude that either the "old" or "new" category predominates. 

My claim was not, that either old or new violins would be more loud. 

Some of my claims were, that 

1) on this planet exist many, many "loud" violins  ( independently whether old or new)   and 

2) sadly most of them don´t sound fine

3) to make a violin, which is just "loud" should be one of the easiest things ( proved by prevalence) 

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1 hour ago, Danube Fiddler said:

My claim was not, that either old or new violins would be more loud. 

Some of my claims were, that 

1) on this planet exist many, many "loud" violins  ( independently whether old or new)   and 

2) sadly most of them don´t sound fine

3) to make a violin, which is just "loud" should be one of the easiest things ( proved by prevalence) 

Oh. Perhaps we use different terms. Maybe what you call "loud" is what I call "tight" or "bright".

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9 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Where do people get the notion that a violin which can be played loudly, excludes other characteristics, or that a trade-off must be involved? This needn't be so at all!

9 hours ago, John_London said:

On the question of loudness, there is surely more than one kind of loudness 

40 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Oh. Perhaps we use different terms. Maybe what you call "loud" is what I call "tight" or "bright".

The violin response varies all over with frequency, so some ranges can be strong and others not so much, and I think it would be difficult to settle on nomenclature for different varieties of loudness.  The varieties are infinite.

However, I do think that there are some tradeoffs that exist on whether you want to make the lower and middle frequency louder, vs the higher frequency range.  Wood choice, model, and arching come to mind.

Making all ranges louder, without tradeoffs, would the ideal, but even in that ideal case (assuming it can be done), I think there are tradeoffs that have to be balanced to maintain the desired tone and feel.

 

 

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49 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Oh. Perhaps we use different terms. Maybe what you call "loud" is what I call "tight" or "bright".

I use the term according the german word "laut", which not only means powerful  but also a special kind of a slightly uncomfortable power. "Bright" has not to be a part of this meaning, rather something like "sharpness". Even harshness mostly is not meant but sometimes "hardness" or "penetrance". In a spectral view this could mean, the violin is actually powerful in the sense of a lot dB, but this power is spectrically "wrong" distributed and therefore disturbing, while in spite of this the violin could project quite well - as the latest research of Fritz et al seems to show.

A quite typical feature of great old-italian instruments seems to be, that they are not "loud" in this sense ( Szeryng ! ) while some other older violins are. 

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37 minutes ago, Danube Fiddler said:

 In a spectral view this could mean, the violin is actually powerful in the sense of a lot dB, but this power is spectrically "wrong" distributed and therefore disturbing, while in spite of this the violin could project quite well - as the latest research of Fritz et al seems to show.

How so? Weren't some of the violins deemed to be the most powerful, also deemed to have the best tone?

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14 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Every fiddle is different and unique. Sure, we all try to lump them into various categories, in an attempt to streamline the processing and communication.

Now there is a truth we can all agree on.

Some players (perhaps this will interest Quadibloc) emphasise seeking and drawing out what is in a violin, some emphasise making the instrument do what they want it to do. The second kind may still prefer Strads, though it may be no accident that often those with the best sound (IMO) are the ones who do not care very deeply about hardware, beyond finding an instrument and bow with a decent basic quality and setp.

Since no one has defined what we are searching for, no answer will be found, though luthiers may learn tips from these discussions, and perhaps non-makers like me should just butt out, and go practice scales...

In the world of cars and motorcycles, the Japanese seem to have largely engineered out that variations between individual vehicles of the same model, unlike old Italian machinery with 'character'. Perhaps a line of mass-produced violins will one day do the same.

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15 hours ago, David Burgess said:

How so? Weren't some of the violins deemed to be the most powerful, also deemed to have the best tone?

Yes, I believe there are some few.

Also one should separate between what is deemed and what is proved. While the judging of sound-quality will mostly not only, but also be a thing of personal taste, the thing of power could be much more easy to evaluate. 

I could imagine : if we would make a total power - ranking of all existing violins ( scientific-psychologically evaluated), also regarding projection in big hall - Strads or Guarneri-violins possibly couldn´t reach any rank of the first hundred. If we would make a second evaluation of all existing violins about sound-quality ( scientific-psychologically evaluated ) including the valuations of players and nearfield-listeners, old-italian violins would get a lot of the first hundred places.

I don´t know e.g. the detailed results of the last Fritz et al - tests. However I would wonder, whether the violin highest valuated by players and nearfield-listeners in sound-quality, is also the same violin proved to have the highest power equal whether in the nearfield or heard in a big concert-hall.

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So far, I don't think they've run across any instruments which support the notion that a violin can sound quiet under the ear or nearfield, and powerful in a hall.

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33 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

So far, I don't think they've run across any instruments which support the notion that a violin can sound quiet under the ear or nearfield, and powerful in a hall.

A good violinist who knew the instrument well told me this was true of the Kochanski DG. Hearsay of course.

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1 hour ago, David Burgess said:

So far, I don't think they've run across any instruments which support the notion that a violin can sound quiet under the ear or nearfield, and powerful in a hall.

This was not my claim - I think, it´s a little bit more complicated ( as I have quite detailled explained ).

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1 hour ago, John_London said:

A good violinist who knew the instrument well told me this was true of the Kochanski DG. Hearsay of course.

This has been claimed many times about Strads and Guarneris, to the point that some have assumed this is a distinguishing characteristic of Strads and Guarneris in general. Last time I asked the researchers about this, they had not found any evidence of this in the violins they had tested, not that they haven't looked for it. It has been one of the many legends or beliefs that they have been very interested in being able to shed more light on.

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5 hours ago, David Burgess said:

This has been claimed many times about Strads and Guarneris, to the point that some have assumed this is a distinguishing characteristic of Strads and Guarneris in general. Last time I asked the researchers about this, they had not found any evidence of this in the violins they had tested, not that they haven't looked for it. It has been one of the many legends or beliefs that they have been very interested in being able to shed more light on.

I would rather listen to players than researchers on this matter. 

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32 minutes ago, Torbjörn Zethelius said:

I would rather listen to players than researchers on this matter. 

What are the odds that the player has significant hearing loss from playing a loud instrument at maximum power for many years? Just suggesting that claims of a violin being quiet under the ear but powerful to spectators in a hall may be something that can only be accurately measured by a researcher, not a player.

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5 hours ago, David Burgess said:

This has been claimed many times about Strads and Guarneris, to the point that some have assumed this is a distinguishing characteristic of Strads and Guarneris in general. Last time I asked the researchers about this, they had not found any evidence of this in the violins they had tested, not that they haven't looked for it. It has been one of the many legends or beliefs that they have been very interested in being able to shed more light on.

Many musicians know, that old-italian violins in general - not only Strads or Guarneris - have the property to be more quiet under the ears and in the nearfield. In spite of this they often carry in a sufficient but not superior degree - i.m.o. even in a slightly inferior degree.  I think, this is also, what researchers found out.

Is your experience from playing thousands of violins a different one ?

 

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54 minutes ago, Torbjörn Zethelius said:

I would rather listen to players than researchers on this matter. 

This could be a good idea, because anyways the player will decide, which instrument he aquires.

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