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How does a violin reproduce overtones? - Theorizing a model


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10 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

1) Yes, I can tell that it is not true. It never happened and so it isn't true. 

2) Some do.

3) Yes, I believe that there are known fakes in circulation of all the well-known Cremonese makers that are considered authentic. 

1. It does not need to happen to be true. It needs to happen to be proven true. 

2. Agree.

3. Agree.

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18 hours ago, ctanzio said:

For a theoretical TRIANGULAR wave, the amplitude of each harmonic varies as 1/n^2. There are only odd harmonics.

So if we give the fundamental (n=1) a relative amplitude of 1 , then the third harmonic has an amplitude of 1/9, the fifth harmonic has an amplitude 1/25, and so forth.

A theoretical sawtooth wave has all the harmonics and the amplitudes decrease as 1/n. (Thank you Marty for the correction to my previous post.)

Since the shape of the actual wave traveling along the violin string is something akin to an asymmetric triangle, you would need to measure it experimentally. I participated in some studies with a forum member a few years back. He setup a test bed and measured the reaction force over time at one end of a bowed string.

I took the resulting data file performed a fourier analysis of it. Harmonic amplitude was not 1/n, nor  1/n^2, but some monotonically decreasing value. I used the amplitudes from the fourier analysis and mathematically created a tone by adding sine waves together. It sounded oboe-like. This would be the "input" into the bridge and violin.

A violin would not reproduce this oboe sound because of phase shifting, damping and variation in the strength of its response spectrum. So you get a "violin" sound. But interestingly, sound tests of recorded violins where the transient and noise sound was filtered out made it hard for people to distinguish between an real oboe and the violin. I am not saying most or even many people could not recognize it as a violin, only that the fundamental quality of the wave shape produced by the string remains strong even after transformed by the violin.

 

The amplitudes for an ideal string follow  1/n where n is the harmonic number but real-life strings have some stiffness and damping which changes this relationship.  

Different amounts of stiffness and damping is what causes strings to sound differently.  For example, damping is often frequency dependent so a string with a lot of damping has lower amplitude high harmonics so it sounds less bright than a string with low damping.

So you can pick your strings to offset or augment the filtering effect of your instrument.

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1 hour ago, Carl Stross said:

1. It does not need to happen to be true. It needs to happen to be proven true. 

1) As the OP's statement was specific and experiential, it needs to have happened or be happening to be true. It hasn't happened nor is it happening. :)

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1 hour ago, GeorgeH said:

1) As the OP's statement was specific and experiential, it needs to have happened or be happening to be true. It hasn't happened nor is it happening. :)

I'm not allergic to being wrong.

Let's see what was actually said :

Him :

"The general consensus you hear from world class players is that Strads first of all play completely different to 'normal' instruments."

You :

"Respectfully, unless you have some data to support this, I don't think this is at all true."

Either Strads play completely different to normal instruments or they do not. They'll do either , irrespective of the "data". Of course, you do not have to believe that to be true, same time you can't (yet) tell it isn't. How much weight this "general consensus" carries is a matter of opinion. In my opinion. :)

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9 hours ago, Don Noon said:

Strads graduations are usually abnormally thin, which would suggest to me that bowing with less pressure but more bow speed would be appropriate.

I'm not a "Strad player", but have played a few Strads, and my impression is that "digging in" to get the fiddle to growl or sound aggressive is pointless... they don't growl.

Of course they growl. All violins do. How else can you play a G scale and make all the notes sound consistent?

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1 hour ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

The amplitudes for an ideal string follow  1/n where n is the harmonic number but real-life strings have some stiffness and damping which changes this relationship.  

Different amounts of stiffness and damping is what causes strings to sound differently.  For example, damping is often frequency dependent so a string with a lot of damping has lower amplitude high harmonics so it sounds less bright than a string with low damping.

So you can pick your strings to offset or augment the filtering effect of your instrument.

It doesn't matter what the string differences are. We have to be technically proficient to make the incongruity into congruity.

14 minutes ago, Carl Stross said:

I'm not allergic to being wrong.

Let's see what was actually said :

Him :

"The general consensus you hear from world class players is that Strads first of all play completely different to 'normal' instruments."

You :

"Respectfully, unless you have some data to support this, I don't think this is at all true."

Either Strads play completely different to normal instruments or they do not. They'll do either , irrespective of the "data". Of course, you do not have to believe that to be true, same time you can't (yet) tell it isn't. How much weight this "general consensus" carries is a matter of opinion. In my opinion. :)

How long does it take for a professional player to learn their way around a different instrument? 2 years? 

How many notes is that? Go on, have a guess?

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3 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

The amplitudes for an ideal string follow  1/n where n is the harmonic number .....

 

Depends on the initial conditions. Which is why a plucked string sounds different from a struck string (and why the sound of a plucked string depends on where you pluck it, and what you pluck it with, for example).

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1 hour ago, Anders Buen said:

Here it is: 

 

Notice one big difference is less noisy and well defined articulation.

We do wrong to aim at maximizing one aspect of violins over another.

The received classical Cremona ideal is a highly evolved design, and a highly evolved balance of elements into a favored tradtional sound.

Let's aim to make the traditional wine, not to remake it into something novel.

The Cremona examples have tops that are quite diaphragm like, but not crazy thin or thick, nor super light.   If you greatly change this balance, you will also rebalance the tone into something novel.

Some guys, like Marty, are out and out serving up novel wines.  But for those serving to traditional classical players, I say serve a classic wine.

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2 hours ago, Bodacious Cowboy said:

Depends on the initial conditions. Which is why a plucked string sounds different from a struck string (and why the sound of a plucked string depends on where you pluck it, and what you pluck it with, for example).

A good description of this is given starting on page 49 of the attachment:

An_interdisciplinary_study_of_the_timbre.pdf

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Let me be the first to argue that  a classical Cremona erhu would have an entirely different breed of shrimp dissolved to make into a wood treatment and the methods of tap toning erhu are entirely different.

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29 minutes ago, Bodacious Cowboy said:

And? Fig. 3.5 is a good illustration of my point.

The original topic brought  up by Andreas was: How does a violin reproduce overtones? - Theorizing a model

I tried to summarize other people's work in 100 word or less so even I could understand it.  Here's another attachment if you  like more insight:

1292804563_e-MusicalAcoustics-Copy.docm

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2 hours ago, David Beard said:

Notice one big difference is less noisy and well defined articulation.

We do wrong to aim at maximizing one aspect of violins over another.

The received classical Cremona ideal is a highly evolved design, and a highly evolved balance of elements into a favored tradtional sound.

Let's aim to make the traditional wine, not to remake it into something novel.

The Cremona examples have tops that are quite diaphragm like, but not crazy thin or thick, nor super light.   If you greatly change this balance, you will also rebalance the tone into something novel.

Some guys, like Marty, are out and out serving up novel wines.  But for those serving to traditional classical players, I say serve a classic wine.

I'm also a hobby wine maker for about 40 years. I don't make any novel wines.   Wine making is very similar to violin making. You folks out in California bought into the  successful international mass marketing hype that French and Italian classic "traditional" varieties (cab sauv. cab franc, merlo, pinot  noir, chardonnay, nebbiollo etc.) were the best and nowadays everybody follows that "tradition" of making only about twelve different grape wines. In a similar fashion violin makers copy Strad and DG models.

However many very very old grape varieties do taste interesting and there is an immense variety of them that is overlooked.  At the moment I'm drinking some of my home made  Blaufrakisch which is an old variety from Eastern Europe that predates all the other classic grape varieties mentioned earlier.  

My experimental violins and violas explore other ancient instrument ideas.  My flat tops and sound post through the f hole are taken from the medieval fiddle and thousand year old Welsh crwth.  My use of paulownia wood is from a thousand year old Chinese instruments.

But screw tradition-- I use Wittner geared pegs.

 

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3 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

I'm also a hobby wine maker for about 40 years. I don't make any novel wines.   Wine making is very similar to violin making. You folks out in California bought into the  successful international mass marketing hype that French and Italian classic "traditional" varieties (cab sauv. cab franc, merlo, pinot  noir, chardonnay, nebbiollo etc.) were the best and nowadays everybody follows that "tradition" of making only about twelve different grape wines. In a similar fashion violin makers copy Strad and DG models.

However many very very old grape varieties do taste interesting and there is an immense variety of them that is overlooked.  At the moment I'm drinking some of my home made  Blaufrakisch which is an old variety from Eastern Europe that predates all the other classic grape varieties mentioned earlier.  

My experimental violins and violas explore other ancient instrument ideas.  My flat tops and sound post through the f hole are taken from the medieval fiddle and thousand year old Welsh crwth.  My use of paulownia wood is from a thousand year old Chinese instruments.

But screw tradition-- I use Wittner geared pegs.

 

More power to you!

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9 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

The original topic brought  up by Andreas was: How does a violin reproduce overtones? - Theorizing a model

I tried to summarize other people's work in 100 word or less so even I could understand it.  Here's another attachment if you  like more insight:

1292804563_e-MusicalAcoustics-Copy.docm 56.48 MB · 10 downloads

That's a nice article, thanks. As the guy says in section (13).2.3: 

"The simple Helmholtz solution is clearly incomplete for a number of reasons including:

...................

(b) the insensitivity of the Helmholtz bowed waveform to the position and pressure of the bow on the string.  In particular,  the simple Helmholtz waveform involves partials with amplitudes proportional to 1/n, whereas such partials must be absent if the string is bowed at any integer multiple of the fraction 1/n along its length, since energy cannot be transferred from the bow to the string at a nodal position of a partial.......etc"

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59 minutes ago, Bodacious Cowboy said:

That's a nice article, thanks. As the guy says in section (13).2.3: 

"The simple Helmholtz solution is clearly incomplete for a number of reasons including:

...................

(b) the insensitivity of the Helmholtz bowed waveform to the position and pressure of the bow on the string.  In particular,  the simple Helmholtz waveform involves partials with amplitudes proportional to 1/n, whereas such partials must be absent if the string is bowed at any integer multiple of the fraction 1/n along its length, since energy cannot be transferred from the bow to the string at a nodal position of a partial.......etc"

The technical limitations of the the instrument have to be controlled and manipulated by the player's familiarity with the node points.

It's a compromise, that requires thousands of hours of prctice to master.

Is that what you're saying Bo?

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11 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

However many very very old grape varieties do taste interesting and there is an immense variety of them that is overlooked.  At the moment I'm drinking some of my home made  Blaufrakisch which is an old variety from Eastern Europe that predates all the other classic grape varieties mentioned earlier.  

If I may ask : are yourself the sole consumer of your wines or you inflict them on other people, too ?

I noticed long ago there is nothing wrong with people making violins as long as they don't inflict them on others.

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54 minutes ago, Carl Stross said:

No, that's the Mend. VIOLIN concerto. Mend. never wrote a concert for erhu, which is what Jazzupe was claiming. 

He's Italian American, of course he's going to write English here.

Anyways you spelled his name wrong.

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1 hour ago, sospiri said:

The technical limitations of the the instrument have to be controlled and manipulated by the player's familiarity with the node points.

It's a compromise, that requires thousands of hours of prctice to master.

Is that what you're saying Bo?

I'm just wondering aloud about the value of modeling a bowed string in a way that doesn't allow for the timbral variations arising from bowing parameters etc. 

Not trying to upset anyone.

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2 minutes ago, Bodacious Cowboy said:

I'm just wondering aloud about the value of modeling a bowed string in a way that doesn't allow for the timbral variations arising from bowing parameters etc. 

Not trying to upset anyone.

I'm in complete agreement. These discussions, experiments and calculations go off on weird tangents that ignore the physics of playing.

It's the player's job to synthesize a tonal cocept by the most intricately subtle movements. 

I understand the self deprecating humour from Andreas, Don and Marty. They make their latest masterpiece and hope the player feels the same way, but the reality is...it sounds different to what the player is familiar with. Sometimes we are instantly smitten and sometimes the love grows...or not.

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14 hours ago, David Beard said:

But for those serving to traditional classical players, I say serve a classic wine.

David, I am surprised that you are making such razor sharp dividing lines. What are 'traditional classical players'? IMO interpretations and the sound ideals linked to interpretations are evolving. Therefore the classical instruments are permanently reajusted for 'traditional classical players' to serve new trends. 

In this sense I wouldn't draw a razor sharp division line between the original Cremona approach and newly developed making concepts. I think successful new concepts are based on the transformations the classical instruments have undergone in the setup over the past 200 years. There is a reason why modern setup became a general accepted standard. (Maybe with the exception of Il cannone:rolleyes:)

We have to be aware as well that 'classical music' as such has undergone enormous changes. Broadly speaking I see very different sound ideals in the music of let's say Mozart and Shostakovitch. Musicians figure out techniques of sound production to give both composers the right expression on classical built instruments. But isn't it time to think about it a little in violin making to support the efforts of musicians?

Personally i see  a small contradiction in the fact that players use for 21st century violin technique instruments designed in  the 16th century essentially for 16th century violin technique.

I see as well that many so called classic players drift in other music regions like Tango, Jazz Pop, or Rock. I see there the desire to redefine our view on a classical music which often fights with its own inflexible viewpoints. 

 

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7 minutes ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Personally i see  a small contradiction in the fact that players use for 21st century violin technique instruments designed in  the 16th century essentially for 16th century violin technique.

The only significant difference is the length of the fingerboard. The rest is semantics.

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22 hours ago, Jeffrey Holmes said:

Well, the oldest instrument I regularly care for was made around 1580. Some restoration and alteration, but still going strong... I see plenty of 17th century fiddles on a regular basis that are still just fine... some with surprisingly little past restoration... so I think the Strads are safe for now.  :-)

I was trying to set David up with a step in the pile episode but you saved him - he didn't reply back.

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