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Michael Appleman

Vibrating Neck Test

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From David Burgess in the Wolf thread:

So the test scenario failed to meet your enjoyment level? Sure, we all like to have more information when participating in tests, but that's the point of blind or double-blind experiments.... trying to sort out observations from prejudices.

So your opinion is that neck vibration does have an influence on player perceptions, even going so far as there being something wrong with with a fiddle if the neck vibration is "wrong" ? Isn't that what the experiment was trying to sort out?

Did you participate in this experiment with the expectation that it would confirm your prejudices or beliefs? Sometimes that works out, and other times it doesn't. Live and learn.

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21 minutes ago, Michael Appleman said:

From David Burgess in the Wolf thread:

So the test scenario failed to meet your enjoyment level? Sure, we all like to have more information when participating in tests, but that's the point of blind or double-blind experiments.... trying to sort out observations from prejudices.

So your opinion is that neck vibration does have an influence on player perceptions, even going so far as there being something wrong with with a fiddle if the neck vibration is "wrong" ? Isn't that what the experiment was trying to sort out?

Did you participate in this experiment with the expectation that it would confirm your prejudices or beliefs? Sometimes that works out, and other times it doesn't. Live and learn.

I believe this is a direct copy/quote of Davids from that post, were you going to add anything like a question or statement about it? or are we supposed to just start giving our opinions? 

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Well, David, that's a sharp slap to the face! Moving over to a new thread would be better, I think, than side-tracking the wolf topic.

I have to admit that you're right that I was being dismissive of this test, so let me try to be a little more objective about it, and show some sincere respect for the crew that put it together.

First of all, enjoyment level? Actually, it was fun. I got paid for my time to participate. Claudia and Indiana are both very nice people, and it is always enjoyable to be in their presence. I think it's a good thing that labs like this are funded (by our high French taxes, btw) to do all sorts of research that most of us might not dream of being useful, but might reveal insights that further our undertanding of psycho-acoustics.

Of course, being one of the "mice in the maze" means we don't see everything the observers of the mice see, and it's not really my role to  give a "Booking.com" rating to the maze. That said, I found the "vibrating neck" gizmo a bit of a gimmick. Sticking your hand into a box and holding a neck, fingering along with another person while he's playing a piece, was what the researchers thought might lead to an "enhanced listening" experience. To me, it didn't remotely come close to feeling as though I was playing, without the feeling of strings or the vibrating violin body, but reading their results, it seems there was a greater than statistical tendancy for the subjects to prefer the same violin when they were fingering the gizmo, so I guess the hypothesis was confirmed.  

I frankly never gave much thought to neck vibrations before taking this test. I have always been much more aware of and interested in dozens of other tactile responses to vioins than vibrating necks, and the violins I've been playing all my life have never had necks that danced like the gizmo in this test. Sometimes I come across a violin with a fingerboard that's so thin it starts to resonate and I feel that. Other times, a violin that's so flimsy that the whole thing is twisting and turning, losing energy that should be radiating sound with larger amplitude shaking in areas that don't radiate much sound. Those violins tend to not have the sort of sound or playability that interests me. So yes, I learned someting from this test.

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4 minutes ago, jezzupe said:

I believe this is a direct copy/quote of Davids from that post, were you going to add anything like a question or statement about it? or are we supposed to just start giving our opinions? 

Yes. >Just the time it takes to type it.

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24 minutes ago, Michael Appleman said:

Yes. >Just the time it takes to type it.

Just read it

Well I think what I call tactile input response which covers everything under the "how does it feel/playability" side of an instrument is very important, but by no means universal, what may be bothersome to someone may not even be noticed by another.

I do think "school" Russian, French, German styles based on how the instrument is wielded and the bow elevations may play a part in "who feels what and how or why" 

but I will add that my post in the "Rib taper" recently goes over some of the basics of weight gradients and how they can potentially effect this very aspect of the violin as well as some inputs related to tone, but mostly feel 

I would go so far as to say that instrument that have been built by someone that is aware of gradients and how to use them will most likely sound excellent assuming allother things are considered

We always want a pyramid, but we do not want a pyramid that is built with styrofoam blocks at the base with concrete on top,we always put the heavy stuff at the bottom...always

edit; or quite simply, if we take the back wood, the top wood, and the neck block material and create a balance point fulcrum and try to balance the pieces of wood at the center, it is very rare to find a piece that is say 24" long and that if we place it right at 12" that the wood will balance even at that point, it will tip towards the heavier side of the wood, the heavier side should always be at the bottom, as the violin tapers in a gradient geometrically this is why it is VERY important for the neck block to have the heavy side down at the heel and the light part up at the top of the scroll.

All pieces should be "leveled" so as to determine the heavy side, and then simply make sure you always have them at the bottom.

IMO this is the best way to get good feedback from the neck and or to avoid "buzzy" feelings

 

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24 minutes ago, Dwight Brown said:

Does this have anything to do with unwanted fingerboard resonaces that happen about on open A on viola?

 

DLB

No Dwight that's just because it's a viola :lol:

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Just now, Dwight Brown said:

Oh dear........

DLB

I'd defer the question to Manfio, he is the viola man in my book

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On 3/26/2020 at 5:45 AM, Michael Appleman said:

think it's a good thing that labs like this are funded (by our high French taxes, btw) to do all sorts of research that most of us might not dream of being useful, but might reveal insights that further our undertanding of psycho-acoustics.

Of course, being one of the "mice in the maze" means we don't see everything the observers of the mice see, and it's not really my role to  give a "Booking.com" rating to the maze. That said, I found the "vibrating neck" gizmo a bit of a gimmick. Sticking your hand into a box and holding a neck, fingering along with another person while he's playing a piece, was what the researchers thought might lead to an "enhanced listening" experience. To me, it didn't remotely come close to feeling as though I was playing, without the feeling of strings or the vibrating violin body, but reading their results, it seems there was a greater than statistical tendancy for the subjects to prefer the same violin when they were fingering the gizmo, so I guess the hypothesis was confirmed.  

I frankly never gave much thought to neck vibrations before taking this test. I have always been much more aware of and interested in dozens of other tactile responses to vioins than vibrating necks, and the violins I've been playing all my life have never had necks that danced like the gizmo in this test. Sometimes I come across a violin with a fingerboard that's so thin it starts to resonate and I feel that. Other times, a violin that's so flimsy that the whole thing is twisting and turning, losing energy that should be radiating sound with larger amplitude shaking in areas that don't radiate much sound. Those violins tend to not have the sort of sound or playability that interests me. So yes, I learned someting from this test.

I'd love to hear from the experimenters just what they expected their study to reveal, and why. It clearly it had nothing to do the mechanical issue as to whether a violin neck vibrates perceptibly or the psychoacoustic one as to whether tactile sensations interact with auditory ones, but the purely psychological effect of being in contact with the instrument and responsible for the sound (even though it would have been completely obvious to the player that he or she wasn't responsible; holding a bow in the other hand might have helped...). Why "enhanced listening" should be manifest in one's preference for one violin over another completely defeats me.

I rather suppose the experiment would have been justified as an attempt to throw light on the non-results of their old vs new study - in other words a way to attract more grant money. Thinking there is a need to elaborate or "explain" marginal or non-significant findings is one of the common errors that most scientists are warned to avoid at an early stage. Michael's account absolutely reinforces my initial impression that the whole scheme was half-baked, nay a complete dog's breakfast. I wonder if it was ever published?

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I have noticed that A( open string)is the frequency of the vibration of the head in viola and cello. The open A string is always a little bit ugly, but if the neck is too thin, it’s a desastre. 
this doesn’t happen so many in the violin because the neck is shorter in relation to his thickness.

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5 minutes ago, christian bayon said:

I have noticed that A( open string)is the frequency of the vibration of the head in viola and cello. The open A string is always a little bit ugly, but if the neck is too thin, it’s a desastre. 
this doesn’t happen so many in the violin because the neck is shorter in relation to his thickness.

I had a viola that behaved as if it had a wolf on open A. I put a small piece of sheet lead that I had in my lab (around 3 or 4 grams) under the end of the fingerboard with some rather interesting 3M sheet adhesive. This completely cured the problem. Another Maestronet member who is a very fine maker put me on to this. My thought was there was vibrational coupling of the unsupported portion of the fingerboard with the rest of the instrument Or just the A string at A 440. It was pretty much miraculous the difference it made. 
 

DLB

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