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Tap tone test , top plate


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2 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Actually, notes and intervals have a strong basis on fairly simple numeric frequency ratios, whether makers centuries ago were aware of that or not. Even today, most pro musicians do not choose their interval relationships on the basis of real-time electronic frequency measurements, since a "good ear" will compare these frequencies much more quickly and efficiently, while also allowing some "fudging" to alter the mood.

Yes.   Does not bolster the case for assuming old guys used new methods.

They did not use ffts.  They did not measure frquencies of pitches.

They did compare pitches by intervals and even by ratios.

You can rhetorically conflate these all you like. They remain distinctly different things.

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4 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

How did they tune the upper harmonics of bells?

As others have pointed out, they often simply didn't tune the harmonics.

Just think of the classic church bell sound. It's jarrring and clanky rather than pure.

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22 hours ago, sospiri said:

Does it burn well though?

 

Yes! The best we have.

22 hours ago, sospiri said:

What's Birch like for soundboards?

Mellow, never the wolf. My friend did a violin for a UK performance not long ago. I have two great fiddles made of back Birch. B1+ is low in dB.

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5 hours ago, David Burgess said:

They built those impressive cathedrals without logic based on science?

Apparently. There are examples where the construction almost collapsed. The cathedral in Amiens is one famous example. The constructors misestimated some static proportions. With scientific knowledge this can be predicted and therefore avoided. 
 

Some other ‘riddles’ also came from those constructions because they made things scientifically proven to be impossible. The famous cathedral in Chatres uses the squaring of the circle in some parts. While this is impossible in theoretic geometric terms, they had apparently approximative methods which were good enough. 

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57 minutes ago, Bodacious Cowboy said:

Now you Belew it. You should have more Discipline.

Yes well speaking of lack of discipline, I think I'm going to have another apple fripper, it's all talk, Giraffe talk, gargle,garble,gasping gaffe gaffe gaffe grammatical gesticulations! it's only talk

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4 hours ago, Don Noon said:

3) Even if something can be positively debunked, there are still those who either don't understand the debunking, didn't hear about it, or would rather continue believing the debunked thing anyway.

The problem here is that the end product doesn’t fail (1) if some debunked principles are used. The ‘better’ or ‘worse’ for violin sound is in certain terms very ambiguous. It seems that violin makers live in a world of who can ‘sell’ its own bias of ‘better sound’ best to their peers. And this has often vey ‘religious’ forms where ‘belief’ counts more than any ‘proof’. in such an environment it is clear that the search for ‘truth’ ends always in endless discussions between believers and disbelievers. 
 

———————
 

(1) complete ‘failure’ would mean that the instrument would turn out to be mute. As we know this is never the case unless we make a solid brick.

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17 minutes ago, jezzupe said:

Yes well speaking of lack of discipline, I think I'm going to have another apple fripper, it's all talk, Giraffe talk, gargle,garble,gasping gaffe gaffe gaffe grammatical gesticulations! it's only talk

words with a G this time...:D

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1 hour ago, David Beard said:

As others have pointed out, they often simply didn't tune the harmonics.

Just think of the classic church bell sound. It's jarrring and clanky rather than pure.

I wouldn’t say that the bells of the cologne cathedral sound clanky. (And as far as I know they are one of the few ‘parts’ of the cathedral which hasn’t been replaced yet.) 

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7 hours ago, Michael Darnton said:

A model that is wrong but works is far better than a model which is correct but doesn't work.

I would rather put it like this
 

A model which is unproven but works is by far better than a model which is proven but doesn’t focus on the essentials. 

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2 hours ago, Bodacious Cowboy said:

But isn't that what tap tuners do? (I'm not a tap tuner by the way).

?? It seems to me I've seen a lot of use of ffts and plenty talk of tap pitches in terms of numeric frequencies.

It is idea of very specific tap pitches the I rebel about the most.   What frequency is 'A'?    440, 430, 418, 443, etc?    Historically, there wasn't a fixed right answer.  They couldn't even examine the question in those terms.  'A' simply varied from one setting to the next.    

So, to suggest Strad tuned a particular tap mode to some specific freqency like 440 is just historically ignorant.

To suggest that some much looser conception of tap tuning might have been used is less unreasonable.   But, considering the lack of correlation between tap values and good example instruments, the whole subject is suspect from the beginning.

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34 minutes ago, David Beard said:

?? It seems to me I've seen a lot of use of ffts and plenty talk of tap pitches in terms of numeric frequencies.

It is idea of very specific tap pitches the I rebel about the most.   What frequency is 'A'?    440, 430, 418, 443, etc?    Historically, there wasn't a fixed right answer.  They couldn't even examine the question in those terms.  'A' simply varied from one setting to the next.    

So, to suggest Strad tuned a particular tap mode to some specific freqency like 440 is just historically ignorant.

To suggest that some much looser conception of tap tuning might have been used is less unreasonable.   But, considering the lack of correlation between tap values and good example instruments, the whole subject is suspect from the beginning.

I've never paid much attention to tap tuning, but my vague recollection is that there was some importance attached to the relative pitch of the top and back plates. The idea that there was some importance attached to harmonious intervals goes right back to Pythagoras, so I don't think it's totally implausible to think that the Cremonese might have followed such a strategy.

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I can never remember which is which, but the idea you're referring to has the top at like F# and the back at F,  or similar, not a harmonic interval. I had an experience years ago where someone picked up some pieces I was working on, tapped them and complimented me on my perfect tuning. Which I never have done.

I think it's possible that the "right " tuning might be an indication that something is right, but also consider that possibly you could forcibly tune a plate to the right pitch, and still have everything else wrong resulting in a bad violin. Remembering here that statistics work in only one direction. As my stats prof said: "States with more PhDs are proven to have fewer goats, and the other way around, but that doesn't mean that if you drive goats in on one side of the state PhDs will be streaming out on the other side."

[for the slow witted: some good violins may have a particular tuning, but that doesn't mean that tuning other violins that way will make them be good violins.]

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6 hours ago, David Burgess said:

At one time, Tom Croen was heavily into the Vigdorcic tuning stuff. I don't know whether or not he still is.

Inquisitive minds try almost everything knowing that in the worst case the improvement gain is zero. Someone like Vigdorchik could promote himself only because nobody in the editorial staff of the Strad magazine would label his ideas as nonsense. 
 

Carleen Hutchins on the other hand is THE example for our belief that science is able to explain everything. It is this modern belief which created her so many followers.
 

On the other hand the perception of ‘art’ has changed at the beginning of the 20th Century. ‘Beauty’ got redefined by theories about aesthetics, mostly in abstract and philosophical terms. (For example the ‘beauty’ of art works by Joseph Beuys lies in their abstract ideas.) 

I see there a Connection the violin world. The theory by Hutchins explains the ‘beauty’. And because the theory becomes more important than the skill to produce the artwork it distorts the reality about the ‘beauty’. We shouldn’t forget either that she had a kind of monopoly on acoustic theory. Other attempts were only misguided ideas to ‘improve’ her theory. Vigdorchik and his teacher Yavroi belonged to this group. 

(This seems to be the reason why many amateur makers are believers in her theory, and probably they are the majority.) 

 

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One definition of a great violin violin is it is a violin that a great player wants to play.

But great player told me that he owned his Strad violin for seven years before he even began to like playing it because it had so many difficult to control and quirky notes.   

I asked him why he stuck with it for so long.  He said it made him a much better player because he had to learn how to overcome all these problems.  I said if he wanted to be an even better player he should be using one of mine.

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4 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

One definition of a great violin violin is it is a violin that a great player wants to play.

But great player told me that he owned his Strad violin for seven years before he even began to like playing it because it had so many difficult to control and quirky notes.   

I asked him why he stuck with it for so long.  He said it made him a much better player because he had to learn how to overcome all these problems.  I said if he wanted to be an even better player he should be using one of mine.

:D.....one of your best.

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6 hours ago, Bodacious Cowboy said:

I've never paid much attention to tap tuning, but my vague recollection is that there was some importance attached to the relative pitch of the top and back plates. The idea that there was some importance attached to harmonious intervals goes right back to Pythagoras, so I don't think it's totally implausible to think that the Cremonese might have followed such a strategy.

Pythogoras gives the idea of associating ratios with musical intervals.  Ancient yes.  Related to tap tuning? No.

The tap tuning stuff is only as ancient as Hutchins and the Catgut Society.

 

Why the appeal of tap tuning?  It suggests that instead developing intimate arcane experience with the instrument, you can just use some measuring equipment and play some number games.

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4 hours ago, David Beard said:

The tap tuning stuff is only as ancient as Hutchins and the Catgut Society.

Not quite. I think Savart made the first observations on tap tones of Cremonese violins. Allegedly he had access to a few disassembled violins from the workshop of Vuillaume.

 

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18 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

How did they tune the upper harmonics of bells?

During the 1600s, Mersenne, theologian and physicist, studied overtones. He studied bells in detail, including the materials they were made of, and apparently tried but failed to come up with a scientific theory for why different metal sounds different. He discovered the mathematical formula for the fundamental pitch of a stretched string. He probably talked to instrument makers and bell founders.

The Grassmayer bell museum's exhibition implies that bell founders were looking at theoretical scientific treatises to make their bells more musical, as well as using and attempting to refine inherited knowledge.

Contrary to what I wrote before about secrets being passed down, Wikipedia says that some of the trade secrets for making the best sounding bells were forgotten.

The museum also suggests that whilst a notch could be cut to supposedly improve the sound of a bell, generally experiments with different shapes involved starting over with a new mold.

Stainer frequented nearby Innsbruck which had two or three well-known bell founderies (of which Grassmayer who run the museum is the only one to survive). He also went to prision for reading books on theological ideas coming out of France. This makes me think that it is entirely credible that he, and probably other early violin makers, had enough intellectual curiosity to read scientific books and talk to scientists in an attempt to improve their products.

A reading of early acoustic treatises such as that of Mersenne may still yield new insights into the thinking of early bell founders, and makers of stringed instruments. If one had time! Not sure whether it is available in English. There is a Latin version and an early French translation.

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15 hours ago, David Beard said:

They did not use ffts.  They did not measure frquencies of pitches.

 

So your contention that the old Cremonese makers didn't use tap tuning is based on their not having known the frequency of the notes in hz, and their not having used FFTs? So the validity of your contention relies on your personal definition of tap tuning?

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2 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Not quite. I think Savart made the first observations on tap tones of Cremonese violins. Allegedly he had access to a few disassembled violins from the workshop of Vuillaume.

 

Good to know.

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