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Andreas Preuss

Are claims that Borax treatment on spruce enhance acoustic properties correct?

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2 minutes ago, David Beard said:

As I said, not equal.

"Playing in" doesn't do much and "tonerite" doesn't do much-- so they are equal.

Attached is a study on "playing in".  It has a list of references on this.

IntaViolin.pdf

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54 minutes ago, David Beard said:

Ask 100 experienced players.   But yes, outside of scientific confirmation.

If a tree falls outside the range of your scientific instruments, does that prove it didn't fall? 

How did you determine it fell? Therein lies your answer.

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48 minutes ago, Michael_Molnar said:

How did you determine it fell? Therein lies your answer.

I have seen a tree fall, and I doubt you were there measuring.

Also, as a young boy, I jumped off the roof and landed my foot on the stump of a rose bush, puncturing deep into the sole of my foot.  All my family witnesses have passed on, you weren't there to record or document.  You are not.in a position to prove it happened.  Does that prove it didn't?

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1 hour ago, jezzupe said:

The only thing I would say is that 3 years won't do much

 

1 hour ago, jezzupe said:

The only thing I would say is that 3 years won't do much

Maybe after 300 years the authors will update the results of their study.

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1 hour ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

"Playing in" doesn't do much and "tonerite" doesn't do much-- so they are equal.

Attached is a study on "playing in".  It has a list of references on this.

IntaViolin.pdf 574.39 kB · 2 downloads

While there physical parallels in some of the behaviors, they are not physically equivalent.  Testing one doesn't assure equal results with the other.

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47 minutes ago, Michael_Molnar said:

How did you determine it fell? Therein lies your answer.

Statistical analysis.  The confirmed fall rate observed in my woodlot applied to an idealized, isotropic, homogeneous, infinite planar forest in a constant prevailing wind field.  :ph34r:;):lol:

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2 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

It is delusional to believe that 300 year-old violins sound better now than when they were new.

I don't think it's delusional to believe that, as you can believe lots of stuff where there is no hard evidence and in the end it's all opinion anyway.   But I think there's a mounting pile of evidence that they sound (on average) different from new ones made today... at least when comparing objective measurements.

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2 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

It is delusional to believe that 300 year-old violins sound better now than when they were new. It is self-aggrandizing lunacy to believe that one has discovered the "secret" as to why.

We don't know, but they probably already sounded good when they were considered "modern" instruments, in fact they were already famous among the musicians of the late eighteenth century. Giovanni Battista Viotti e Niccolò Paganini  are two striking examples but certainly others before them.

This is consoling and enlightening, because it testifies that there is no need for an instrument to be necessarily ancient to play well to the point of being good for a famous soloist.

There is no secret to discover, just learn to make good violins.

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Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Only when addressing belief. In science, the ordinary kind suffices.

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1 hour ago, Don Noon said:

I don't think it's delusional to believe that, as you can believe lots of stuff where there is no hard evidence and in the end it's all opinion anyway.   But I think there's a mounting pile of evidence that they sound (on average) different from new ones made today... at least when comparing objective measurements.

I don't think that objective comparisons for sound differences between "new" and "old" violins are even possible when "new" and "old" are the only criteria defining the differences between the sample sets. There are far too many other variables, and one can easily argue that the "old" set cannot be a random set of violins representing all "old" violins.

Furthermore, it is impossible to know or to prove that violins newly-made 300 years ago sound  "(on average) different from new ones made today."

 

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I would suggest to cut out the question if we can replicate the acoustic properties of 300 year old wood. 

Lets rather ask the question if certain treatments can improve the acoustic properties and if can figure the reason for it.

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3 hours ago, Davide Sora said:

We don't know, but they probably already sounded good when they were considered "modern" instruments, in fact they were already famous among the musicians of the late eighteenth century. Giovanni Battista Viotti e Niccolò Paganini  are two striking examples but certainly others before them.

This is consoling and enlightening, because it testifies that there is no need for an instrument to be necessarily ancient to play well to the point of being good for a famous soloist.

There is no secret to discover, just learn to make good violins.

When we see this on an historical background we have to take into consideration that the time between 1750 and 1800 marked a change in the musical taste as well. The predominant Stainer model got 'out of fashion' and the flatter arched Cremonese instruments became 'en vogue'. Promoted by all those Italian .....ini violinists in the world their fame spread quickly in whole Europe and came along with Italian music by Italian composers.

So in short I don't see that Italian instruments were solely judged as superior by their tonal qualities. It was more that their sound characteristics fitted better the new musical style.

BTW I see something similar happening right now. 

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3 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

I don't think that objective comparisons for sound differences between "new" and "old" violins are even possible when "new" and "old" are the only criteria defining the differences between the sample sets. There are far too many other variables, and one can easily argue that the "old" set cannot be a random set of violins representing all "old" violins.

Furthermore, it is impossible to know or to prove that violins newly-made 300 years ago sound  "(on average) different from new ones made today."

 

On your first point: Yes and no. We are not dealing with something which can be measured objectively, but if the subjective judgement of the majority of people thinks that one violin is 'better' (whatever this means in a given context)  than another it should be taken as it is. 

For your second point: I agree that it is useless to think about how those instruments sounded when they were new, because their original baroque setup with different bridge and strings certainly didn't aim at the same sound characteristics we are seeking today. 

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3 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

I would suggest to cut out the question if we can replicate the acoustic properties of 300 year old wood. .

For the 300 year old wood samples I measured, there was nothing significantly different from decent wood you can get today.  The real question is: what are the acoustical properties of wood in a 300 year-old violin?  The density is pretty well known (nothing to see here), and from the tap tones and body  modes, the overall modulus isn't anything phenomenal.  A big unknown is damping, although there could also be funny things going on with the stiffness ratios, and with maple (as most of the info is on tops and spruce).

 

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7 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

I would suggest to cut out the question if we can replicate the acoustic properties of 300 year old wood. 

Lets rather ask the question if certain treatments can improve the acoustic properties and if can figure the reason for it.

We certainly wouldn't want to replicate the acoustic properties of the majority of 300 year old wood, since the majority of 300 year old violins sound very poor.

Rather we want to emulate the acoustic properties of the wood on those few 300 year old violins that do sound good.

And since this is obviously neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for making a great violin, why bother?

Deep down, most modern makers don't want to make a violin that sounds as good as a Stradivari, they want to make a violin which is as desirable as a Stradivari.

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14 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

It is delusional to believe that 300 year-old violins sound better now than when they were new. It is self-aggrandizing lunacy to believe that one has discovered the "secret" as to why.

It's journalistic hyperbole. And it sells.

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1 hour ago, Don Noon said:

For the 300 year old wood samples I measured, there was nothing significantly different from decent wood you can get today.  The real question is: what are the acoustical properties of wood in a 300 year-old violin?  The density is pretty well known (nothing to see here), and from the tap tones and body  modes, the overall modulus isn't anything phenomenal.  A big unknown is damping, although there could also be funny things going on with the stiffness ratios, and with maple (as most of the info is on tops and spruce).

 

Maybe then we have to look on a top plate like a composite material. I was often wondering how the top plate behaves if the wood is sandwiched in between a ground (varnish) layer on both sides.

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Not unrelated to that would be Sacconi's observation that the inside of Stradivari's instruments had the odor of propolis.

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8 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

It was more that their sound characteristics fitted better the new musical style.

BTW I see something similar happening right now. 

Do you refer to any particular trend?

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1 hour ago, martin swan said:

We certainly wouldn't want to replicate the acoustic properties of the majority of 300 year old wood, since the majority of 300 year old violins sound very poor.

Rather we want to emulate the acoustic properties of the wood on those few 300 year old violins that do sound good.

And since this is obviously neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for making a great violin, why bother?

Deep down, most modern makers don't want to make a violin that sounds as good as a Stradivari, they want to make a violin which is as desirable as a Stradivari.

1. Then we can safely say that old violins sound better than new ones  is a prejudice.

2. So there must be a reason why some 300 year old instruments sound actually amazing.

3. If someone wants to create a violin which he wants to last for 300 years it is a necessary condition.

4. I don't know what most violin makers want 'deep down'. 

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24 minutes ago, A432 said:

Not unrelated to that would be Sacconi's observation that the inside of Stradivari's instruments had the odor of propolis.

Can't remember that Sacconi was talking about propolis for a sealer from the inside. A precise quotation would be helpful.

However he talked about an inside sealer.

 

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6 minutes ago, Andreas Preuss said:

1. Then we can safely say that old violins sound better than new ones  is a prejudice.

2. So there must be a reason why some 300 year old instruments sound actually amazing.

3. If someone wants to create a violin which he wants to last for 300 years it is a necessary condition.

4. I don't know what most violin makers want 'deep down'. 

1. not a prejudice, but for a 300 year old violin to sound great it needs to have a lot more than just 300 years of ageing. It also needs to start out with excellent materials, sublime arching and thicknessing, great proportions, and possibly some immeasurable "essence" or beauty of conception.

2. we can also reason that because the majority don't sound amazing, it might not be something which can be attributed to its age

3. no - perfectly possible to create a violin that will last for 300 years and which will sound terrrible throughout. Besides, who wants to be prosperous and highly respected in 300 years? 

4. the pursuit of this particular fantasy is so pervasive, every time someone just mutters "secret of Stradivari" we go to about 30 pages. I think that says it all.

It's great to have an ideal, but the myth of Stradivari is self-perpetuating. In my view it's an unhelpful ideal, since the single most important element of a Stradivari is the fact that it's a Stradivari.

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7 minutes ago, martin swan said:

 

1. not a prejudice, but for a 300 year old violin to sound great it needs to have a lot more than just 300 years of ageing. It also needs to start out with excellent materials, sublime arching and thicknessing, great proportions, and possibly some immeasurable "essence" or beauty of conception.

2. we can also reason that because the majority don't sound amazing, it might not be something which can be attributed to its age

3. no - perfectly possible to create a violin that will last for 300 years and which will sound terrrible throughout. Besides, who wants to be prosperous and highly respected in 300 years? 

4. the pursuit of this particular fantasy is so pervasive, every time someone just mutters "secret of Stradivari" we go to about 30 pages. I think that says it all.

It's great to have an ideal, but the myth of Stradivari is self-perpetuating. In my view it's an unhelpful ideal, since the single most important element of a Stradivari is the fact that it's a Stradivari.

1. You can see it like that. You could say as well that 300 years of adjusting something which was always supposed to be the 'non plus ultra' brought some good results. (Playing advocates diabolus here)

2. I was saying that it is age plus alpha (or call it the unknown factor x)

3. Nobody ever compared the sound of a violin when it was made and 300 years later. 

It depends how you see yourself as a maker. In my personal view only things which last have quality from the beginning,, (prosperous on monetary terms aside) being respected in 300 years is for me a valid and good goal.

4. No comment. :D

(Besides, if you look on the development of Strad in his over 60 years long working time at the bench? I would certainly say it is a helpful ideal. To me he was someone ahead of his own time.)

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2 minutes ago, Andreas Preuss said:

 

(Besides, if you look on the development of Strad in his over 60 years long working time at the bench? I would certainly say it is a helpful ideal. To me he was someone ahead of his own time.)

But what he did in his very long working life was to set out with phenomenal tool skills, make a couple of thousand instruments, and bring the violin to a point of completeness.

To emulate the basic level of extraordinary competence is very difficult if not impossible in the modern world, and the end point (a fully realised violin) has already been attained, so it's not a "pure spiritual practice" to try to emulate it.

This photo of Everest might illustrate what I mean ...

everest.jpg.404ecc3205b27f65f2e5bb157846227a.jpg

 

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