Sign in to follow this  
Wood Butcher

Soundhole wing fluting

Recommended Posts

Why do you think soundhole wings are fluted, for a purely visual aspect, or something more?

Who was the first to introduce this practice? I have seen an Andrea Amati violin a long time ago, and on that example it was hard to be sure if the wing was fluted, or a result of subsequent distortion.

Which method do you prefer when fluting a wing? To mark out the soundhole, cut the fluting, and then the soundhole? Or to cut the soundhole first, then flute the wing as the final step?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think good f fluting is subtle, and can make the ffs pop without really noticing the fluting itself. Different than trade instruments where someone just swiped a gouge down the wings.  

Some make a big deal about, important sign of quality etc. etc. But sometimes its not there at all and the instrument sounds great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The late violin researcher Oliver Rodgers used a tiny paper clip bow to demonstrate that the f hole wing tips vibrated wildly at high frequencies.  More recent laser scans have shown the same thing. However the wing tips  are too small to produce  much high frequency sounds because their size is smaller than about 1/4 of a sound's air wavelength.

Perhaps the opposite happens.  A  physics conservation of momentum principle says if something is going up something else must be going down. So it's possible that the vibration of f hole wing tips and edges affects some other larger area of the top plate that do efficiently make sound by taking energy away from it--sort of like an ordinary tuned vibration absorber used in machine tools, autos etc.  

My guess is that the fluting  the lowers stiffness of the f hole tip adjoining area which lowers the tip's the vibration resonance frequency.  This helps achieve a sharp cut-off of the frequency response curve around 3000 to 4000 Hz seen on good violins. If the the cut-off frequency is too high the result is a harsh sounding violin.  The f hole fluting is thus helpful for making a smooth and warm sounding violin.

On the other hand maybe the makers just thought it looked nice.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

On the other hand maybe the makers just thought it looked nice.

That gets my vote.

Same reason they fluted the scroll.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Wood Butcher said:

Why do you think soundhole wings are fluted, for a purely visual aspect, or something more?

Who was the first to introduce this practice? I have seen an Andrea Amati violin a long time ago, and on that example it was hard to be sure if the wing was fluted, or a result of subsequent distortion.

Which method do you prefer when fluting a wing? To mark out the soundhole, cut the fluting, and then the soundhole? Or to cut the soundhole first, then flute the wing as the final step?

Mark, flute just shy of the line and then cut sound holes. It just seems more stable and easier to do that way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't say who was the first to do it, but I'm inclined to think that all the ancient Cremonese who used the closed box method did it in a more or less marked way, as this detail was not treated separately but simply was part of the edge fluting. Stradivari is the one where it is just more evident and accurate. It certainly had an aesthetic value to improve the flowing of channel into the arching, but inevitably also an acoustic influence even if I don't think restricted to F hole wings but relatively to all the elasticity governed by the perimeter area of the fluting all around the plate. The fluting of the soundhole lower wing in itself I think is purely aesthetic to give greater prominence to the central area of the arching improving also the soundhole wiew from the side. Wanting to look for acoustic effects at any cost, I believe it also helps to increase the f hole area improving air flowing, but don't know how much and quantify the real effect on the sound it's another story.

That's how I do it :

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice video, and Sam is one of my favorite makers.  My main complaint is about the wings acting like tweeters.  I agree with Marty's previous post, that these wingtips are too small to be effective, and they could be functioning more like non-radiating resonators, which actually reduce the sound output of the whole body at the frequency where they are active.  That was my conclusion from some tests a while ago.

There is also the argument that due to the relatively low frequency, small size and opening to the back surface, any sound pressure from the back of the wing will come around and cancel that from the front.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ff hole wing frequencies do seem to matter, based on my experiments with having moved them around a bit, mostly using stuck-on clay. I don't have an explanation. These are just my observations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It matters if we're talking about upper wings or lower wings.  The upper ones are closely coupled to the bridge movements, and matter a lot.  The lower ones... not so much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, Don Noon said:

It matters if we're talking about upper wings or lower wings.  The upper ones are closely coupled to the bridge movements, and matter a lot.  The lower ones... not so much.

I think that the lower wings matter a lot. Again, I can't come up with an explanation, only observations from trial and error.

Sometimes, trying stuff has been my chosen path, versus rejecting stuff "which couldn't possibly work",  based on what I thought I knew already.

There have been many surprises and needed re-evaluations along the path.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I think that the lower wings matter a lot. Again, I can't come up with an explanation, only observations from trial and error.

I have tried experimenting with the lower wings as well, but I haven't observed much of anything.  If you put enough mass there, yes... that will significantly change a bunch of lower modes other than just the wing flapping mode.  At least that's my take.  To try to isolate the wing flap effect, you need to keep the added mass to a fraction of the effective wing mass, which is tiny.  Then try to find changes in the response.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

simple test:  place a violin on a flat surface so that you can do a long bow on each open string.

touch the f hole wings with a left hand finger to damp the vibrations while bowing with the right hand.

listen for a change in the bowed tone.

simple answer: I hear no change.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Roger Frankland said:

simple test:  place a violin on a flat surface so that you can do a long bow on each open string.

touch the f hole wings with a left hand finger to damp the vibrations while bowing with the right hand.

listen for a change in the bowed tone.

simple answer: I hear no change.

My hearing is shot too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

lol Marty ... tis probably due to all those lake effect snow storms we were exposed to for over 70 years. I maintain that  it is a good test ‘cause a/b comparison can be done in a fraction of a second .. and over and over until I am convinced. One could get more scientific by doing a recording but I rely on my “old” ears as much as the recording tools I have been using.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/11/2020 at 10:09 AM, Davide Sora said:

I can't say who was the first to do it, but I'm inclined to think that all the ancient Cremonese who used the closed box method did it in a more or less marked way, as this detail was not treated separately but simply was part of the edge fluting. Stradivari is the one where it is just more evident and accurate. It certainly had an aesthetic value to improve the flowing of channel into the arching, but inevitably also an acoustic influence even if I don't think restricted to F hole wings but relatively to all the elasticity governed by the perimeter area of the fluting all around the plate. The fluting of the soundhole lower wing in itself I think is purely aesthetic to give greater prominence to the central area of the arching improving also the soundhole view from the side. Wanting to look for acoustic effects at any cost, I believe it also helps to increase the f hole area improving air flowing, but don't know how much and quantify the real effect on the sound it's another story.

Beautifully put Davide, and a beautiful job in your video too.

On 2/11/2020 at 10:48 AM, notsodeepblue said:

If you haven't seen it already, this Strad3D video of Sam Zygmuntowicz discussing his take on the function and performance of f-holes is thoroughly interesting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ke-LkYYXXN8

Thank you, I had not seen this before

 

On 2/11/2020 at 4:57 AM, Mampara said:

Mark, flute just shy of the line and then cut sound holes. It just seems more stable and easier to do that way.

I agree, that in some ways it makes the fluting easier to finish with a scraper, and often do it this way, not having to worry about the edge of the soundhole.
On the other hand, with the soundhole already cut, I get a better sense of the sculptural element of the fluting, but find it a bit trickier to scrape to a nice finish.

There is also the question of wing thickness, and how much this is altered by the fluting. For this to matter, the belly would need to be at its final thickness before cutting the sound holes, which I don't think everyone does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.