Effects of Restringing a "Normal" Right Handed Violin to Lefty


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Mr. Noon wrote: Do you play as well lefty as righty?

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I don't think one has to "play" as well lefty as righty; one does have to bow as well (and listen as well).  I would think an experienced and talented luthier has the ability to do this, even better than the average "player."  If the difference of response after string reversal is only 1-3 dB,  I am greatly reassured. 

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1 hour ago, Don Noon said:

I roughtly estimate that the low-frequency coupling to the G string is 50% higher in the normal position vs. in the E position, which should give an observable difference of 1-3 dB depending on whether it is bow power or bow force amplitude that matters. 

OK, enough armchair analysis and anecdote stuff.  I did the switch on one of my junkers, and took bowed semitone scales.  I also reviewed the low frequency mode shapes, and found that the B1+ has the greatest difference between bass and trebel foot mobility, even more than A0.  Counterintuitively, B1- and CBR modes have about equal foot mobility.

The A0 and B1+ differences show 1.7dB and 2.6dB stronger at the normal G string position, within the estimate I made earlier.  The B1-/CBR shows stronger in the E string position, which I speculate might be due to the bow angle being more vertical at the E position than the G position... or just experimental noise or bowing variation.

One side interesting note:  G foot response seems unusually strong around 4 kHz.  The Strad3D modal analysis does show a strong bass foot mode around that frequency.

In general, there is a whole lot of frequency content going on, and hearing these low-frequency differences probably get swamped by all the other stuff.

1904506304_SwitchedGstring.jpg.dcf58f898c5fa1bf0fbd4de87d771739.jpg

 

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Keep in  mind that a because the db scale is logarithmic, a 1db increase is roughly 26% more sound energy and roughly 7% of perceived or subjective loudness increase. Anything over 1 db is possible to be perceived as louder (if your hearing is "normal"). As the db change increases the difference in perceived loudness (amplitude) is increased. 

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Is it just me, or does anybody else find this thread very funny?

So many heated "discussions" on MN about tone and graduation and set-up, and yet this thread essentially shows that a violin strung backwards sounds the same or nearly the same as a violin strung normally. 

That there is funny. :D:ph34r:

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a 15-20dB change in level around 2kHz is going to have an immense difference on the sound (perceived or otherwise) of the instrument. The read and yellow lines don't look remotely similar.

I think people expect changes in the loudness of the fundamental to make a big difference, but for my money everything to do with projection and perceived loudness is in the overtones or higher harmonics.

 

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25 minutes ago, martin swan said:

I think people expect changes in the loudness of the fundamental to make a big difference, but for my money everything to do with projection and perceived loudness is in the overtones or higher harmonics.

Agreed... although in my technospeak, I'd say that signature modes are not totally unimportant, but the real important qualities of the instrument are elsewhere... i.e. the higher frequencies.

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On 9/18/2020 at 9:25 PM, Don Noon said:

In general, there is a whole lot of frequency content going on, and hearing these low-frequency differences probably get swamped by all the other stuff.

Could you hear a difference?

Also, n=1 and the 1 is a "junker" so who knows? 

Perhaps a study between modern and old Italians strung normally and strung backwards would give us an answer.

An answer to what, I don't know, but it would be some good fodder for discussion. It might even get featured on NPR. :D

 

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10 minutes ago, martin swan said:

Damn I really must stop hitting the Scotch before mid-day :lol:

Me too. But occasionally and confoundingly, I still manage to get a li'l bit of something right, from time to time. :)

However, one does need to allow for the time difference. It is only about 10 o'clock here, and probably something like 5 to 6 hours later where you are.

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Our recent threads, and some conversations on FB, have made me think about this notion of left and right in the violin.

This whole thing is flying under a false flag.

The 'lefty' violin, the only 'lefty' violin, is the standard violin.  The 'reverse' or 'backward' violin is no more 'left' than 'right'.  And, the 'standard' violin is no more 'right' than 'left'.   

Many things do have a real 'righty' v 'lefty' aspect.  But somethings don't.  What is a 'lefty' book? Are we going to read a 'left handed' book from right to left?

Cars?  In America, most people driving on the right side of the road are right handed. Are we being biased making the lefty minority also drive on the right side of the road?  Does driving on the right side of the road constitute right handed driving?  What about England?  Is 'lefthanded driving' driving on the right in America, and driving on the right in England?

Violins are similar.   The lefthanded violin and the righthanded violin are both the standard violin.  And the reverse violin is neither.  It is only entirely appropriate for cases of injury when oppositions for fingering and bowing are improved by the switch.  Or for insistent oddballs.  But even in these special cases lefthanded or righthanded is irrelevant.

 

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We should not use or echo the lefthanded v righthanded language reguarding violins in anyway.  It only validates and extends the underlying falsehood and confusion.

 

Standard v reverse.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Alma said:

I think there is a common understanding of what left-handed and right-handed violin means.  What do you suggest to replace those terms, if you find them false and confusing?

I suggest 'standard' and 'reverse'.

The current terms are understood and common, but they are based on a fallacy and promote continued confusion.

99%+ of all violinists, left and right handed play a standard violin.  Almost all lefties play a standard violin.  The official ' lefty' violin by any measure is the standard violin.  

Only a very small percentage of anyone uses the reverse violin.  It certain has zero claim to be the 'left handed' violin.

This language probably mattered less in the past.  In today's environment, more people are learn from social media and youTube.  Fewer people who are still figuring out which way is up have a direct real teacher.

For this reason, a bad name like 'left handed violin' will cause more people to get confused and think they should use a reverse violin, or that it is somehow a reasonable alternative.

In truth, reverse violins should only be used when they are the only  viable option. 

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6 hours ago, David Beard said:

I suggest 'standard' and 'reverse'.

The current terms are understood and common, but they are based on a fallacy and promote continued confusion.

99%+ of all violinists, left and right handed play a standard violin.  Almost all lefties play a standard violin.  The official ' lefty' violin by any measure is the standard violin.  

Only a very small percentage of anyone uses the reverse violin.  It certain has zero claim to be the 'left handed' violin.

This language probably mattered less in the past.  In today's environment, more people are learn from social media and youTube.  Fewer people who are still figuring out which way is up have a direct real teacher.

For this reason, a bad name like 'left handed violin' will cause more people to get confused and think they should use a reverse violin, or that it is somehow a reasonable alternative.

In truth, reverse violins should only be used when they are the only  viable option. 

I agree but this world is becoming so silly "democratic" that some folks will ask reverse pianos from music schools just because their child is left handed. They typically know nothing about teaching/ learning music instrument and roles of both hands. I agree that very few folks really need the non-standard (lefty) instrument.

In guitar world the left handed hobby is especially strong, even though so many of the great players were/are actually left handed guys playing standard instrument.

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True "left-handed" and "right-handed" violins are "chiral," just like our hands: The left hand is a non-superimposable mirror image of the right hand. 

So it is perfectly legitimate and correct to refer to a violin as left- or right-handed depending on which hand it was built for.

A "right-handed" violin that has had simply had its string order reversed is not a "left -handed" violin because it is not a mirror image of a "right-handed" violin, i.e. a violin built for a left -handed player with the bass bar, sound post, pegs, etc. in the corresponding places as a right-handed violin.

So a "right-handed" violin with its strings reversed is simply a "right-handed" violin that has been set-up in reverse. It is not a true "left-handed" violin, and should not be referred to as such. 

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2 hours ago, HoGo said:

I agree but this world is becoming so silly "democratic" that some folks will ask reverse pianos from music schools just because their child is left handed. They typically know nothing about teaching/ learning music instrument and roles of both hands. I agree that very few folks really need the non-standard (lefty) instrument.

In guitar world the left handed hobby is especially strong, even though so many of the great players were/are actually left handed guys playing standard instrument.

Very few people really need left handed scissors, golf clubs, or baseball mitts--probably just left handed people.

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2 minutes ago, Rue said:

There's a difference between a genuine need, and a perceived need.

In this vein, I am strongly right handed but I have learned to play violin and viola with the normal set-up.  If I tried to play fingering with my right hand I think it would be as awkward and clumsy as when I try to write with my left hand.  I learned how to be dexterous with my left hand.  Of course, the Latin root of dexterous means the right side, so in theory one could not be dexterous with the left (levo) side.

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4 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

True "left-handed" and "right-handed" violins are "chiral," just like our hands: The left hand is a non-superimposable mirror image of the right hand. 

So it is perfectly legitimate and correct to refer to a violin as left- or right-handed depending on which hand it was built for.

A "right-handed" violin that has had simply had its string order reversed is not a "left -handed" violin because it is not a mirror image of a "right-handed" violin, i.e. a violin built for a left -handed player with the bass bar, sound post, pegs, etc. in the corresponding places as a right-handed violin.

So a "right-handed" violin with its strings reversed is simply a "right-handed" violin that has been set-up in reverse. It is not a true "left-handed" violin, and should not be referred to as such. 

So why not use the better term 'reversed'.

And, why not call the standard violin the 'lefthanded' violin??  True, it is chiral, but there is no definitely 'dominant' side.

There is no valid argument defending calling the standard violin 'righthanded' that will not have an equally valid dual argument defending calling the standard violin 'lefthanded'.

 

Consider again cars.  Also are chiral (or for each a chirsl can be made), but the same car should be used by righties and lefties.  We don't drive on opposite sides of the road in reflection of our handedness.

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3 hours ago, David Beard said:

So why not use the better term 'reversed'.

"Strings reversed" would be a more descriptive and less confusing term. 

If you want to call a standard violin a "left-handed" violin, then its mirror image would be a "right-handed" violin, which would have its sound post, bass bar, pegs, etc on opposite sides as compared to a left-handed violin.

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3 hours ago, David Beard said:

Consider again cars.  Also are chiral (or for each a chirsl can be made), but the same car should be used by righties and lefties.  We don't drive on opposite sides of the road in reflection of our handedness.

In times past in the UK, it might have been better to be left-handed, when it came to most easily operating the gear-shift on the left side. But manual transmissions are decidedly on their way out, and In the modern-day UK, it might be better to be right-handed to pay and pickup at the drive-through window, reducing fumbling and errors. ;)

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