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Fade

Personal approach to violin making

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Hi everyone! I would like to talk about my approach to the liutherie that is different from modern liuthers. The main differences are that modern maker's are trying to copy things like thicknesses and external arching but for me it has no sense because thicknesses are specific for every piece of wood and the external surface(arching) is a consequence of the project of the inner area (where the reflections of the vibrations take place) that works like a concave mirror for light waves. This system is shown on a book Peluzzi "Tecnica costruttiva degli antichi liutai italiani" he also reports notes from Stradivari that he checked personally(maybe he is lieing ,i don't know it) ,for him all old liuthers had a different concept of violin making than modern liutherie. He explains how to find the position for soundpost and bridge, he explains the stradivari system,but some italian makers say they don't agree with him! I personally found his system very interesting and I know you cannot read the book cause it s in italian but if you want I can try to explain that with photos or video.
If there is any maker here that would like to talk about it would be great.

Thank you for the opportunity of expression.
Alex

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Hi Fade,   I think more explanation with photos and videos would be very interesting.   

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I think I have seen the book long time ago. The author claims a sort of sound reflection which bundles the sound towards the f -holes (that's what I understood from the graphs and my rudimentary knowledge of Italian) However this can not be verified by any means. 

From restoration of instruments we know positively that the archings deform and this would undoubtedly destroy the focus with only minimal arch alterations. 

Secondly from an historic point of view such thoughts seem to me completely anachronistic. I doubt that they knew that sound can be viewed like a lightbeam which would reflect on a surface like a mirror. If we read the manuscript written by Antonio Marchi in 1786 his 'acoustic' explanations are full of strange descriptions which definitely don't match our modern understanding. 

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The form of a concave mirror for light waves works only if the light waves are much smaller than the mirror and depends on the wavefront shape coming at the mirror and where you are trying to focus the waves.  Similar for sound reflection.

In the case of the violin, I don't see that ANY of those things apply, and it looks like arm-waving magical thinking to me.  Best to spend one's time learning what actually works rather than going down a rabbit hole of obscure theories about what should work.

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16 hours ago, Fade said:

Hi everyone! I would like to talk about my approach to the liutherie that is different from modern liuthers. The main differences are that modern maker's are trying to copy things like thicknesses and external arching but for me it has no sense because thicknesses are specific for every piece of wood and the external surface(arching) is a consequence of the project of the inner area (where the reflections of the vibrations take place) that works like a concave mirror for light waves. This system is shown on a book Peluzzi "Tecnica costruttiva degli antichi liutai italiani" he also reports notes from Stradivari that he checked personally(maybe he is lieing ,i don't know it) ,for him all old liuthers had a different concept of violin making than modern liutherie. He explains how to find the position for soundpost and bridge, he explains the stradivari system,but some italian makers say they don't agree with him! I personally found his system very interesting and I know you cannot read the book cause it s in italian but if you want I can try to explain that with photos or video.
If there is any maker here that would like to talk about it would be great.

Thank you for the opportunity of expression.
Alex

Non è un buon posto per fare ipotesi

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1 hour ago, jezzupe said:

Non è un buon posto per fare ipotesi

And for those of us who live in the land of the Kings English, that means…?

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This is the book and a page for example of the unnecessarily complicated theory. Furthermore, from the detail of the cover it can be seen that he was using the external form, not very consistent with the method of old masters. Also, if this theory would be applicable, I would expect to see a mirror finish inside the ancient violins to improve reflections, which is absolutely not the case. So I think it is a waste of time to do all these calculations, at best the violin will sound like all the other violins if you build it well, but the theory of reflections has nothing to do with the results you can get.

476316256_EuroPeluzziBook.thumb.JPG.7cf47719630675e7f09840c1369f7151.JPG1077283517_EuroPeluzziBookdetail.jpg.acb71b2548c5c4e30790457ba4b3b9bf.jpg1054682605_EuroPeluzzi3.thumb.JPG.e6213da4bfe99ac47c814ea9672a1b9a.JPG

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17 hours ago, Fade said:

Hi everyone! I would like to talk about my approach to the liutherie that is different from modern liuthers. The main differences are that modern maker's are trying to copy things like thicknesses and external arching

You take this for granted, but it's not true that all modern makers do it.

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31 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:

This is the book and a page for example of the unnecessarily complicated theory. Furthermore, from the detail of the cover it can be seen that he was using the external form, not very consistent with the method of old masters. Also, if this theory would be applicable, I would expect to see a mirror finish inside the ancient violins to improve reflections, which is absolutely not the case. So I think it is a waste of time to do all these calculations, at best the violin will sound like all the other violins if you build it well, but the theory of reflections has nothing to do with the results you can get.

476316256_EuroPeluzziBook.thumb.JPG.7cf47719630675e7f09840c1369f7151.JPG1077283517_EuroPeluzziBookdetail.jpg.acb71b2548c5c4e30790457ba4b3b9bf.jpg1054682605_EuroPeluzzi3.thumb.JPG.e6213da4bfe99ac47c814ea9672a1b9a.JPG

Frederick Castle's 1906 book "Violin Tone-Pecularities" (attached) also makes the claim that the internal surfaces should have a mirror finish.  In the absence of any recent tests I try to keep an open mind regarding the inside surface's properties.

Internal microphone measurements show there's all kinds of cavity resonances going on.  The sound waves are either absorbed, reflected, or transmitted through the violin walls.  I would be surprised if there wasn't some optimum internal surface property for violins. The surface roughness may not be important as Don pointed out because the sound wave lengths are so much larger than the roughness scale.  Sound waves therefore won't be scattered.  

However the surface porosity is important were a high porosity produces high sound absorption--like ceiling tiles.  So one question could be the ideal number of times a sound wave bounces around inside before it dies out.  

The frequencies f of the internal air resonances can be easily calculated from the distance between the opposing surfaces L in meters:    f=340/2L where 340 is the speed of sound m/sec of air.

For example the internal distance between the inside surfaces of the top and back plates at the bridge location might be about 53mm or 0.053meter so the resonance frequency f:

f = 340/(2*0.053) = 3200hz    which is in the desirable "Bridge Hill" region of a violin

A similar calculation for the lengthwise air resonance (A1) is f= 340/(2*0.35) = 486Hz which sometimes is a sound contributor or couples with other body modes (B1-, B¡+).

These above calculations assumed the opposing surfaces were parallel but the actual violin surfaces are curved.  This widens a resonance and lowers its amplitude and its expected that the internal arch shapes might have some broadening effect on the violin's sound.

The curvature of the internal top and back plate surfaces can also have a focusing effect which Pellusi seems to describe in his diagram.  A well known and common use of this effect is in parabolic microphones used for amplifying far away sounds.

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Just now, Marty Kasprzyk said:

Frederick Castle's 1906 book "Violin Tone-Pecularities" (attached) also makes the claim that the internal surfaces should have a mirror finish.  In the absence of any recent tests I try to keep an open mind regarding the inside surface's properties.

Internal microphone measurements show there's all kinds of cavity resonances going on.  The sound waves are either absorbed, reflected, or transmitted through the violin walls.  I would be surprised if there wasn't some optimum internal surface property for violins. The surface roughness may not be important as Don pointed out because the sound wave lengths are so much larger than the roughness scale.  Sound waves therefore won't be scattered.  

However the surface porosity is important were a high porosity produces high sound absorption--like ceiling tiles.  So one question could be the ideal number of times a sound wave bounces around inside before it dies out.  

The frequencies f of the internal air resonances can be easily calculated from the distance between the opposing surfaces L in meters:    f=340/2L where 340 is the speed of sound m/sec of air.

For example the internal distance between the inside surfaces of the top and back plates at the bridge location might be about 53mm or 0.053meter so the resonance frequency f:

f = 340/(2*0.053) = 3200hz    which is in the desirable "Bridge Hill" region of a violin

A similar calculation for the lengthwise air resonance (A1) is f= 340/(2*0.35) = 486Hz which sometimes is a sound contributor or couples with other body modes (B1-, B¡+).

These above calculations assumed the opposing surfaces were parallel but the actual violin surfaces are curved.  This widens a resonance and lowers its amplitude and its expected that the internal arch shapes might have some broadening effect on the violin's sound.

The curvature of the internal top and back plate surfaces can also have a focusing effect which Pellusi seems to describe in his diagram.  A well known and common use of this effect is in parabolic microphones used for amplifying far away sounds.

Oops, here's the Castle attachment

violintonepeculi00castiala.pdf

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I have this book, the theory is just.... too complicated.  The man in the front cover is Euro's father, if I am not wrong.

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1 hour ago, MANFIO said:

I have this book, the theory is just.... too complicated.  The man in the front cover is Euro's father, if I am not wrong.

You're right, this is the son, Euro Peluzzi. I'm not sure what he smoked in the strange pipe he holds in his mouth while he elaborates his theories.:ph34r::lol:

1394742562_EuroPeluzzi.thumb.JPG.03be885f4a3f64ff385c292a5e2f8667.JPG

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3 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

Frederick Castle's 1906 book "Violin Tone-Pecularities" (attached) also makes the claim that the internal surfaces should have a mirror finish.  In the absence of any recent tests I try to keep an open mind regarding the inside surface's properties.

Internal microphone measurements show there's all kinds of cavity resonances going on.  The sound waves are either absorbed, reflected, or transmitted through the violin walls.  I would be surprised if there wasn't some optimum internal surface property for violins. The surface roughness may not be important as Don pointed out because the sound wave lengths are so much larger than the roughness scale.  Sound waves therefore won't be scattered.  

However the surface porosity is important were a high porosity produces high sound absorption--like ceiling tiles.  So one question could be the ideal number of times a sound wave bounces around inside before it dies out.  

The frequencies f of the internal air resonances can be easily calculated from the distance between the opposing surfaces L in meters:    f=340/2L where 340 is the speed of sound m/sec of air.

For example the internal distance between the inside surfaces of the top and back plates at the bridge location might be about 53mm or 0.053meter so the resonance frequency f:

f = 340/(2*0.053) = 3200hz    which is in the desirable "Bridge Hill" region of a violin

A similar calculation for the lengthwise air resonance (A1) is f= 340/(2*0.35) = 486Hz which sometimes is a sound contributor or couples with other body modes (B1-, B¡+).

These above calculations assumed the opposing surfaces were parallel but the actual violin surfaces are curved.  This widens a resonance and lowers its amplitude and its expected that the internal arch shapes might have some broadening effect on the violin's sound.

The curvature of the internal top and back plate surfaces can also have a focusing effect which Pellusi seems to describe in his diagram.  A well known and common use of this effect is in parabolic microphones used for amplifying far away sounds.

There is no doubt that there may be a relationship with internal reflections, but proving it is stuff for modern scientists who like to have fun and who have a lot of free time. To say that this was the "technique of the ancient Italian luthiers" is highly improbable and at least pretentious, do you see Guarneri del Gesù doing all these calculations?

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Years ago, I made several instruments following Peluzzi's principles.

It was a lot of tedious extra work and the only difference I observed

in the sound was an undesirable metallic ringing after each note that interfered

with fast playing.

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1 hour ago, Davide Sora said:

There is no doubt that there may be a relationship with internal reflections, but proving it is stuff for modern scientists who like to have fun and who have a lot of free time. To say that this was the "technique of the ancient Italian luthiers" is highly improbable and at least pretentious, do you see Guarneri del Gesù doing all these calculations?

Of course they didn't do all these calculations.  But maybe they were observant enough  to notice if things got better or worse when things changed by chance or by making deliberate small changes.  On the other hand maybe they didn't have a clue what worked.  Only some of their instruments were great--even a dumb squirrel finds a nut sometimes.

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53 minutes ago, donbarzino said:

Years ago, I made several instruments following Peluzzi's principles.

It was a lot of tedious extra work and the only difference I observed

in the sound was an undesirable metallic ringing after each note that interfered

with fast playing.

That's why I speculated that there might be an ideal number of reflections.  Like many other violin characteristics I suspect different people will like different things.

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2 hours ago, Davide Sora said:

There is no doubt that there may be a relationship with internal reflections, but proving it is stuff for modern scientists who like to have fun and who have a lot of free time. 

Yeah, well... I thought there might be something to the internal reflections idea a while back and went through calculations similar to what Marty shows, and as a result I have a VSO with several holes drilled into it so I could place a microphone in certain places looking for it.  As usual, this is the stuff scientific papers are NOT written about, because I didn't find anything.  It was only partly a waste of time... as I found out something that wasn't important.. and it didn't take much time.

Side note:  acoustic tiles might absorb sound, but isn't a wood-paneled room awfully  lively?

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59 minutes ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

That's why I speculated that there might be an ideal number of reflections.  Like many other violin characteristics I suspect different people will like different things.

In the architectural acoustics of performance halls for various functions it was found that the reverberation time (how long a time a sound is heard bouncing back and forth before it can't be heard anymore)  plays an important role.  For clear speech recognition in lecture halls you want a very short reverberation time so the hall walls have highly absorptive surfaces.  On the other hand for churches (often hard stone walls with stained glass windows) where you want to hear the gravity of God's echoing words and for halls made for organ music you want a long reverberation time.  Orchestra concerts halls and opera halls are somewhere in between but not identical.  The acoustic problems of Australia's Sydney Opera House are well documented--its impossible to design something great for everything.

I watched acoustical engineer, violin maker and player Anders Buen do a standard balloon burst test for reverberation time in Oberlin College's Warner Concert Hall which was designed for its enclosed organ.  The college eventually recognized that this hall, with its hard surfaced parallel walls had a long reverberation time and wasn't ideal for other types of music so they installed remotely controlled hanging absorptive curtains along the walls that could be raised and lowered to adjust the hall's sound absorption and reverberation time.  

So I suspect that the violin's internal surface has an analogous role.  donbarzino mentioned didn't like the long metallic ringing because I suspect it blurred the notes of fast passages like a long reverberation times blurs spoken words and they can't be clearly identified.  One viola player told me the opposite.  He liked a long ringing because it gave the the lovely harmony effect of rolling church bells in which the long metallic ringing of one note carried on through the next.

One personal opinion--if your instrument has low damping you can always add on something to increase it.  If your instrument has high damping there's nothing much you can do to lower it.

 

I've been thinking of viola jokes but I'll skip it.

 

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If the design of the violin was conceived by an early member of the Amati family  I have no doubt that every aspect of that design including arching was laid out on paper. And both the back and front arching would have had a complementary shape which would have defined the inner cavity. The only common surface on both the back and front plates that can be laid out geometrically is the horizontal inflection point on each at any  given point along the length of the body. I would say that is a very significant design aspect as far as sound resonance is concerned.

As far as wood is concerned I think the early makers would have used wood that had some sort of standard of density, &c. that was considered at the time most suitable for making violins, so there would be no reason to vary thickness measurements much at all. It's fairly easy to judge the density of wood just by picking it up and judging its weight.

 

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Interior surface "texture" has about 0 to do with a good sound. I have experimented with both coatings as well as interior lattice work, both of which effect the stiffness/ elasticity of the plate in general, but as a whole,inside the "tiny little room" inside the violin, surface texture,be it smooth,rough or interrupted, as long as those interruptions are on the plates,and not partitioning or baffling the cavity, it does not much. what happens inside the cavity means nothing other than it is the "center" of the shock wave, we only care about what happens after it gets outside of the "machine". I will not say that "glass like" coating and preparations and or lattice bracing  will not effect the sound, but it is how it effects the mechanical properties of the wood and they're undulations during dynamic mode states, not about how sound waves travel inside the "tiny little room" .

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