CAS Journal
May 1999
Volume 3, No. 7 (Series II)

To Our Readers

This issue of the CAS Journal is being published without the guiding hand of its former Editor A. Thomas King, who has indicated that he wants to spend more time making violins and less time writing about it. It is a choice all of us can well understand, and we look forward to some great instruments coming out of his shop.

Tom has done an outstanding job of rejuvenating the CAS Journal and in attracting two Associate Editors of eminent stature. Less visible but equally important was his initiation of desktop publishing, which brought flexibility and shorter leadtimes to the more mundane aspects of semi-annual production. With considerable personal effort Tom has put the Journal on a new footing; he has our sincere gratitude and we wish him well.

The departure of our Editor occasioned a review of the direction and positioning of the Journal. We serve two distinct audiences: makers and scientists, -- and to some of our friends that dichotomy at tim&s has seemed the Journal's undoing. It also is its strength: there is no other publication that attempts, issue after issue, to report and translate scientific findings into practical guidelines for the stringed instrument maker. We will need to get better at that process of translation: we know that for many the Journal is often still too technical. We will be grateftil for suggestions, such as those of John Soloninka (November 1998 issue).

We are not merely interested in publishing end-products of research. There is also a need to provide all those engaged in this wonderful business of exploring the secrets of sound a greater awareness of projects that are ongoing or may still be in the planning stage. George Bissinger's article in the November 1998 issue is an example. We intend to be activist, by fostering new research and helping to create new opportunities for collaboration. Our only constraint will be a healthy dose of peer-review, which has served us well in preserving the credibility of the CAS Journal and which forms the basis for Editorial discretion.

We are most fortunate to have Dr. Robert Schumacher and Gregg Alf as Associate Editors. Each is a highly respected leader in his field. Pending the appointment of a new Editor, and even thereafter, they will need the help and support of us all. Specifically they need to be alerted to work being done in the various corners of our musical acoustics world, which might eventually lead to an article in this Journal. A simple note will do the trick!

This May 1999 Issue contains the usual mix of technical and maker-oriented articles. We trust you will find it of interest.

J. Maurits Hudig

Table of Contents with Abstracts

5 - Down-Home Lutherie III: A Loudness History of a Newborn Cello by Carlyn W. Field

A newly constrtucted cello is tested for loudness before and after varnishing.

9 - Directivity Patterns of Acoustic Radiation from Bowed Violins by Lily M. Wang and Courney B. Burroughs

Directivity patterns of acoustic radiation have been measured in the far-field of a violin, excited with an open-frame mechanical bowing machine. Analysis of the directivity patterns confirms that, at frequencies below 600 Hz, the violin readieates omnidirectionally, while abouve 600 Hz, certrain trends are apparent as the patterns become increasingly complex. It is noted that when different strings are excited, the far-field radiation patterns observed at nearly the same frequency are similar, even in higher frequency ranges where modal overlap is high. When the difference in frequency betweeen two directivity patterns exceeds some fraction of a semitone, though, the measured radiation patterns differ significantly. This is demonstrated quantitatively by computing an rms difference around the polar plots between patterns. The sensitivity of the directivity patterns to percent changes in frequency increases with frequency.

18 - Innovation in Violinmaking by Joseph Curtin

The violin is a cultural icon as well as a working tool, and departures from its traditional form have been variously regarded as impossible (it would no longer be a biolin), unnecessary (the violin is already perfect), and unacceptable (players would not play it). Is it possible to change, or even "improve" the classical violin? Where would one begin? A number of highly qualified violinmakers and researchers are investigating innovative approaches to violinmaking. While the craft has withstood many similar effors in the past, makers today are able to learn from the acousticians, engineers, and material scientists, as well as from the four centuries of violinmaking which precede them. In order to be successful, an innovation - whether in the acoustical, aesthetic, or ergonomic domain - must offer the violinist some tangible advantage over a more traditional instrument. In this paper the author will consider what it is that musicians look for in a violin, then examine the possibilities of changing the traditional violin in order to give them more of what they want.

23 - On the Acoustics of the Violin: Bridge or Body Hill by Erik V. Jansson and Bendykt K. Niewczyk

In measured frequency responses of violins of soloist quality a broad maximum is usually found at about 2.5 KHz which has been called the "bridge hill" as the bridge has its major resonant frequency nearby. Experiments show that this name is misleading, since the frequency and bandwidth of the hill can be influenced by the properties of the top plate between the f-holes as well as by the bridge.

28 - E String Whistles by Bruce Stough

This paper argues that the whistle that can be bowed on an open E string is a torsional mode. The attributes of the whistle mode are compared to characteristics of transvers, torsional and logitudinal string modes, including such characteristics as fundamental frequency, excitation mode, volume, and the effects of changes in tension and string diameter. It is found that the whistle mode closely matches the expected torsional characteristics.
The paper also describes an experimental setup which provides a direct observation of the whistle mode. A mirror on the string reflects a dot of laser light in an arc about the string when the whistle is bowed.


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Book Review

3 - The Baroque Double Bass Violone by Alfred Planyavsky, reviewed by Dr. Paul Laird

Recent Publications of CAS Members

34 -

Meetings, Workshops, Seminars

40 -

News and Correspondence

42 -

Octet News

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