A new research conducted at the University of Rochester found that the sound is the same whether a violin is young or old.
“It was interesting to see how the sound changes with age. We noticed how the instrument vibrates when you pick it up,” said the study’s lead author, Ryan C. Anderson. “The reason why was our goal. What you hear is what you’ll perceive.”
This sound and the instrument is the same. (Photo: University of Rochester and New Hampshire Orchestra) Story Highlights The sound is the same whether a violin is young or old
The acoustic properties of the violin have remained constant over time
The acoustic properties of the instrument have remained constant over time Researchers did this experiment because “old” violins don’t vibrate at their best anymore, and “young” violins vibrate at the best they do.
On average there are some 1,000 violin bows and 3 million strings on violins. If there was such a thing as a “young violin,” it would vibrate twice as much as in the past, which is no small change.
“It’s a little hard to believe that there’s an old violin sitting in your living room, but it is,” said the study’s author, Ryan C. Anderson (no relation to composer John Anderson), in a phone interview with USA TODAY. He is a doctoral student in the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering at the University of Rochester.
Anderson, along with his adviser and a research assistant, Dr. Joseph DeBrigier, decided to create a “tactile-mechanical analysis” of vibrating strings for old violins to determine what kind of sound a violin made when it became younger.
The acoustic properties of a violin have remained constant over time. The research team looked at violins to create the sound. (Photo: Ryan C. Anderson)
The researchers measured sound through microphones that had been attached to each string of the violins and to a computer that recorded the sound produced. They then created mathematical formulas based on sound frequencies that accounted for the time it takes for the violin to vibrate.
“We tried to make it as detailed as possible so you could actually go and play with an instrument and then try to compare the sound and tell. If the violin still produces a very good sound, you’re still playing well,” Anderson said.
After looking for years into the history of the instruments and their vibrating strings, the researchers came
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